It Began With the Best Sort of Problem
As a Social Worker in private practice, the best problem to have is for your business to grow so quickly that you need more space. One day, I simply found that I had far too many clients, far too many therapists to supervise, and far too many contractors to house in my tiny one-room office. However, I did not want to grow alone. I longed for the community I had left behind when I moved out of community mental health and into the private sector. I yearned for a way to get back to providing quality services to all, not just those who could afford it.
While on a run, I found my mind wandering to different solutions to my problems of rapid growth, isolation, and service. I wondered if there was such thing as co-op therapy spaces and what that would look like. I sat on a park bench and Googled "therapy co-op". Low and behold, the perfect business model for solving all my problems existed in Portland, OR (of course), Wise Counsel and Comfort. The owner, Lynne Joy Nesbit, graciously shared her secret sauce with me and just a few months later, in March of 2016, Gateway opened its doors. It has become an opportunity to not only collaborate with some amazing wellness professionals, but also to help folks new to private practice overcome their fears and incubate their own businesses.
At GWA, we have space to grow our businesses, alongside many others. Together, we share business expenses and referrals, encourage one another, and benefit from the expertise of other professionals. Our clients benefits from that expert collaboration as well as the savings in overhead expenses.
Casey Limmer, MSW, LCSW
Founder and CEO, Gateway Wellness Associates and St. Louis DBT, LLC