State of the Union for Practice PLLC

By Thomas Auflick

This month marks the two year anniversary for my partner, Patti F. Boyle, and I providing mental health and relationship counseling services through our business, Practice, pllc. I am proud to say that the state of our union as business owners and professional partners is strong. Each year we have seen continual growth in our business. As a counseling business in the Seattle area, I see this as a significant accomplishment as the choices for counseling and therapists are vast and abundant here. With our competition we are also faced with the challenges of an industry that has strict ethical guidelines on advertisement and self promotion. We are a part of a very humbling business that has brought out a great deal of inner growth for my own emotional, psychological and spiritual being. As I have waited for our business to grow in the face of business challenges within the field, I have had to have a lot of faith and fortitude of mind. With much appreciation, growth continues to build and success abounds for our business.

All of this comes in an area of business that deals with a subject matter (Mental Health) that is generally ignored or shunned by the majority of the public, and quite often, by those suffering from its very existence. Like dentists, a great deal of people often avoid our services until the pain and suffering is overwhelming and they see no other options. Not to mention the access and affordability of going to see counselor is not always provided within the healthcare system. Though the Affordable Care Act has provided greater access for the population to healthcare benefits, we, as mental health providers, have seen reduction in what insurance companies will pay us for services and an increase in red tape that allows us to bill. Often counselors option out of the insurance process, charging directly to clients their fee for service, and operating outside of the insurance realm only as out of network providers. In this case clients are saddled with the burden of billing and are still responsible for paying up front the counselor's fee. Here, the counseling business has a tendency toward a gentrification process that dissuades many and allows quality access to only certain individuals.

Still, in the midst of our challenges in the field of mental health counseling, Practice, pllc continues to proliferate. I am proud of the work Patti and I do as therapists. I am especially proud of the work we are able to do together in the therapy room as co-counselors. Our unique partnership that started in graduate school has created a synergistic model of co-counseling that we offer as relationship and couples therapists. As we have moved into a new office this last year with greater space availability, we are excited to soon offer group counseling services where we will continue create more opportunities to work together as co-counselors in the therapy room.

In my individual work I continue to assist people with their personal and professional development through easing symptoms of anxiety and depression. My 20 years of experience in the realm of vocational consulting has given me a unique perspective on the existential and personal importance of career in relationship to mental health. In simple terms career defines us and is critical in maintaining a quality life of health, happiness and wellbeing. I am passionate about the quest of helping people find balance, meaning and contentment in their personal and professional development. In addition, I continue to be inspired and excited to work as a couples counselor. I am honored to work for the Gottman Institute and am recharged by their message throughout the year as I assist in the production of their couple’s workshops, The Art and Science of Love. Each event with the Gottmans brings me new insight into couples counseling. This year I will continue on my journey to becoming fully certified as a Gottman therapist and look forward to providing greater levels of service.

I want to thank everyone for your recognition of our anniversary with Practice, pllc. Your comments through LinkedIn are greatly appreciated. Patti and I expect to see continued growth in our business and as professional mental health counselors. This is a career that is more than a job; it is a calling in life. I am grateful for the opportunity to share in the evolutionary process for all who take on the challenges related to self and relationship. The levels of success and wellbeing in life are infinite.