Podcast Series: Catalyst Counseling, PLLC

Gina Thorne:                      Hi everyone. Welcome to the Harmony Foundation Podcast Series, and I’m pleased today to be joined with Khara Croswaite Brindle with Catalyst Counseling out of Denver, Colorado. Welcome, Khara.

Khara C. B.:                         Thank you for having me.

Gina Thorne:                      It’s so exciting to have you here, and I’m equally excited to share some of the services that you do in Colorado. But obviously, you’ve got your hands in a lot of different areas. But today we’re going to talk specifically about Catalyst Counseling. Before we into the details around that, let’s talk a little bit about your background and how you got into the field of behavioral health.

Khara C. B.:                         Sure. I basically was one of those people that had been a confidant to friends in high school and college. And when I was making a career change, psychology was something that interests me, so I did that. And then I’ve been in at risk youth and family work for eight years now, so it’s just been something I’m passionate about and continues in the practice.

Gina Thorne:                      And you’ve certainly created quite a name for yourself, so you started this practice, Catalyst Counseling. It services from ages 13 to 55 years, but probably beyond. I would imagine that you’re not just cutting it off at 55 years. I’m sure you see all age ranges. You created this team of talented clinicians that have the ability to treat anxiety and depression and defiance and bipolar disorder, trauma, self esteem challenges, pretty much what most people are struggling with these days. Do you tend to see a certain type of mental health issue more prevalent with specific ages and genders when they come into your program?

Khara C. B.:                         I think a lot of our clients are experiencing anxiety and depression throughout, no matter the age or the background. I think the trauma is something that we’re really looking at with EMDR specifically. And then with the college age, which is a really fun population for us, we’re seeing a lot of high functioning anxiety, which is now a subcategory that’s being described for that perfectionistic type of person that’s almost OCD quality to some of the things they’re doing to cope with that need to control, so that’s coming up.

Gina Thorne:                      And I didn’t include this on the questions, but I’m just curious. You’ve created this really strong clinical team to work with. How do you look for the people that you want to have a part of Catalyst Counseling?

Khara C. B.:                         I definitely am looking for people who want to be a part of the team long-term. I don’t want people that are looking at this as a stepping stone. I really want them to feel like collaborative team long-term. When I was interviewing people, I was looking for people who have the same passion for Medicaid that I do and working with the age groups that I do, so I could support them and be a consultant as well as a collaborative team member.

Gina Thorne:                      And that’s actually … I’m going to kind of go off script here because one of the things that listeners may not hear often about is providers who do a lot of work with Medicaid. And you are kind of rare, to be honest with you. You don’t talk to a lot of providers that are willing to do the Medicaid thing, willing to do the billing thing. But you do all of that. So I’m just curious why. What is it about that particular population and that particular process that makes you feel like this is important?

Khara C. B.:                         I think just coming from community mental health, it was a shift to see that people needed that work. There’s plenty of people who come to therapy for things that are more short-term. And I’m really coming from a place of long-term help to get them empowered and willing to work on those skills. So for whatever reason, the Medicaid population, I was the clinician that liked the really hard cases, the really, for lack of better word, messy cases that had a lot going on with substance use and domestic violence and health and human services involvement. And those were the cases that I lived for because I felt like I could do a lot of good work or help them make those changes. And so that population has just kind of stuck with me. And when I thought of my private practice in the group practice building, I said, “I still want to work with people who have a lot going on, but really are motivated to do the work and want to be here.”

Gina Thorne:                      And it’s a really special place to be because they deserve the same kind of treatment and the same quality of treatment as everybody else.

Khara C. B.:                         Absolutely.

Gina Thorne:                      So your practice offers trainings. One training that stuck out when I was reviewing your site was one on burnout. What do you think contributes most often to burnout with professionals?

Khara C. B.:                         Lack of boundaries, and I can speak for myself on that one as well. I think supervising a team of new therapists when I was in community mental health really brought this to the front of my mind because we have this helper cape on. We want to help everyone. We want to save the world. And that’s a piece of being a good therapist, but boundaries are so important. Otherwise, we work all the time. We end up saying yes to things we probably shouldn’t. And then there’s the long-term burnout of ethical violations we have to worry about, so boundaries are absolutely something I’m still working on and I think the team’s working on. And it’s just something that needs to happen to prevent burnout, no matter the field.

Gina Thorne:                      So I guess I’m kind of putting you on the spot. If you’re doing a training and you’re working with people on burnout, what’s one thing that you would suggest to somebody, particularly if they’re a professional in the field that’s listening to this podcast, what would you recommend that they do first to try and address their burnout?

Khara C. B.:                         I think really just identifying the symptoms. When I first looked at burnout and saw this comprehensive list of, here are all these things that go under that umbrella, it was eye opening. I didn’t know I was in burnout until I saw the list, and I think that’s the first step even with clients, is awareness. And so having them kind of categorize what’s going on. Am I road raging more than I normally am? Which was a really interesting one that all of us were like, “Wow. I didn’t know that was part of burnout.” Am I more irritable? Am I fatigued? Am I overeating, under eating, sleep disruption? Just so many things that when put together really fall under that umbrella of burnout. So I’d have people start there, and then when I do the workshop, we really look at self care. And that’s an overused term in our field, but really have them map out. What does that look like individualized? So some of the interventions I do with clients, I do in that workshop with professionals.

Gina Thorne:                      That’s great. And I’ll tell you, self care always feels like you’re being selfish. It always feels like you’re being gluttonous when you take care of yourself, but obviously it’s that putting on your oxygen mask first in order to help others.

Khara C. B.:                         Exactly.

Gina Thorne:                      Playing off the idea of the word harmony, what do you think it means to live a life in harmony?

Khara C. B.:                         Well, when I definitely saw this question, I was thinking the word balance because that’s something, again, I think all of us are actively looking at with work and home life balance. Clients coming in, how they’re balancing the stressors that are happening. So for me, that’s kind of one of my keywords for the year. How do I balance out all these projects and the things I’m working on?

Gina Thorne:                      Great. And when you figure that out, could you tell me next? That would be great.

Khara C. B.:                         There’s words of wisdom. I will try and capture those.

Gina Thorne:                      Thank you. Thank you. For someone who wanted to access your services at Catalyst Counseling, how could they connect with you?

Khara C. B.:                         The best way is through the website, which is catalystcounselingpllc.com. And that’s where they can learn more about the team. They can learn about the workshops that we have going on. We also have kind of a community involved page, where it shows what we’re doing in the community when it comes to other activities and things that we do to give back. And really, it just helps them get a sense of who the team is and their personalities. I’m really proud of this team and I want people to be able to go on the website and say, “I think that’s a good person to work with.”

Gina Thorne:                      That’s great.

Khara C. B.:                        That’s the best way.

Gina Thorne:                      Thank you so much. And for those of you that are listening, I certainly encourage you to visit our website or Catalyst Counseling’s website. Khara has an amazing talent for writing and blogging. And you’ve done some great blogs that have made a difference for a lot of the people that have read them, so thank you so much for that. And again, thanks for taking the time to come up to Harmony to visit us. We’re really happy to have you here.

Khara C. B.:                         It’s been a great day. Thanks for having me.