We had the good fortune of connecting with Katherine Dunham and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Katherine, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work life balance is TOUGH. To be completely genuine, I’m still a work-in-progress. Growing up, I was very achievement-oriented and loved the validation that came with a “job well done”. I found myself at 16 taking all AP classes, working a part-time job, and participating in extracurricular activities on a daily basis. Constantly chasing validation resulted in overextending myself (picking up extra shifts, working late, sacrificing sleep for homework/work) and unfortunately burnout. While in graduate school, I learned how to manage and prioritize my time and more importantly, how to set boundaries. Not only boundaries with others, but also with myself. The latter is essential now that I am self-employed and run my own business. Small things I strive to do to help with work life balance include giving myself permission to not respond to emails immediately, taking time off for family visits and holidays, prioritizing time to recharge with friends, not over-scheduling myself (this one has been hard working as a therapist during a pandemic), and saying “no”. Prioritizing work life balance allows me to thrive in each of my worlds. I am able to feel present and connected in my work with clients and in my time at home with my family. Seeking balance and setting boundaries is essential; it can take us from an either/or to a both/and world.

What should our readers know about your business?
I co-founded Connect to Thrive, LLC in 2018 with my business partner and friend Kelsey D’Amore. Together, our vision was to help support the North Texas community by providing affordable, accessible, trauma-informed, and developmentally appropriate services to children, teens, adults, and families struggling with mental health concerns. I think our combination of specializations as a team set us apart from other practices in the area. We offer activity based therapy, animal assisted therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), expressive arts therapy, play therapy, and psychotherapeutic yoga. We are also paneled with two major insurance companies, Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Health Care. Unfortunately, working with insurance companies can be a hassle, which is one reason many therapists choose not to become paneled. One aspect of our business I am most proud of is our belief that mental health services should be both accessible and affordable. In addition to accepting insurance, we also offer evening and weekend appointments, as well as telehealth sessions. Getting where we are today business-wise has had it’s challenges, but I feel lucky to have the support of Kelsey on this journey. Together, we have learned when to take risks vs. when to take pause. We provide each other balance and support during stressful times (i.e. navigating a pandemic while helping support others while they also navigate the same pandemic) and help each other stay true to why we began this adventure in the first place.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m not local to the DFW area, so I’ve had to pleasure of showing around friends and family when they come to visit. My main go to spots: Pie Tap for delish pizza, Bonnie Ruth’s for brunch, and Deep Ellum Brewing Co. for live music, outdoor games, and beer. Things to do: Klyde Warren Park, Perot Museum, and walking around downtown Dallas or Deep Ellum.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Definitely my husband, Jordon. He is eternally patient and understanding as I continue to figure out this work life balance thing. And my amazing team at Connect to Thrive, LLC- Kelsey D’Amore, Shannon Kouser, and Amy Bartley. They are encouraging, kind, and support me in respecting the boundaries I set with myself/other.

Website: www.thriveplano.com
Instagram: @connecttothrive
Facebook: @connecttothrivecounseling

Image Credits
Shelbie Monkres Photography

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