I think it goes without saying that we’re all happy to see 2020 go. While I wouldn’t want to do it again, 2020 has given us an opportunity to take stock, reflect and reinvent. And for that, I’m grateful.
For Family Tree Wellness, 2020 started out as a year of possibility - a year of massive growth and a year of creativity. We’ve had many, many successes this year, as well as many challenges. I’d love to share just a few highlights with you, because our collective success is buoyed by your engagement and belief in our mission to provide specialized mental health care for pregnancy, fertility challenges, new parenthood, trauma, loss and beyond.
First and foremost, Jessica and I made our business partnership official - we now lovingly refer to each other as “my other spouse”. (Watch our silly announcement video, if you dare.) This partnership was a big deal, with lots of paperwork and also lots of dreaming and visioning and inspiration.
We continue to nurture this relationship, as it is the foundation of our business. We are committed to leading a team of connected clinicians and talented staff who share our values of integrity, compassion, and resilience, and who have fun working together. 2020 taught us how to be creative in how we connect with each other, and as a result, we are tighter than ever. We hired Gina, Emma and Qu’Nesha all during the quarantine, setting the bar for building relationships and trust in a virtual environment - and we are so grateful they took a chance on us!
The very public murders of our Black brothers and sisters forced us to look at how our business shows up in the world. We couldn’t shy away from the fact that there are such grave disparities in the kind of healthcare that Black women receive in the perinatal period, and we needed to address this in our small, Bay Area practice. We made a commitment to face this challenge head on and created our “Black Mamas” program specifically for Black women.
Additionally, we implemented powerful new internal practices within FTW that will keep us informed, engaged and introspective. To that end, we even applied for a grant to help seed this program, but we didn’t get it. That application was so much work and getting that rejection was so disappointing! However, the positive part of this grant process was that it helped us hone our long term plans and gave us more clarity on how to structure the program.
In 2021, we hope to add an offering for the broader BIPOC community and expand our practice even more. In the beginning of the year, we had been looking for a new building - a place to make a warm, inviting physical space - a soft place to land for our clients, and for our team. We were so close - about to sign papers even -- and then the pandemic really took hold and we opted out, deciding that it was more prudent to put those plans on hold.
We negotiated out of our current leases, pivoted, and moved our entire business online. Virtual therapy has been a learning curve, but everyone on our team was able to reinvent how they show up for their clients. We continue to provide quality therapy each and every day, either through phone or video. I would venture to say that even when we are able to be in person again, we will keep a good chunk of our telehealth business.
Bonus of this new format, we can now see clients throughout the entire state of California! In 2020, we became CEU providers, not only adding another revenue stream but also an outlet for creativity and for sharing our hard earned knowledge with other providers.
We’ve only scratched the surface of possibility here, releasing the first two of many trainings to come; much more to come in 2021.
As I’m writing this, I am aware that despite the challenges of this past year, we have accomplished so much and nobody really wants to read a treatise. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of our team’s individual accomplishments! Some team highlights this year, definitely worth mentioning:
Gina joined us as our first ever Client Care Coordinator! She continually impresses us with the way she meets each new client and supports our staff. Fun fact: she has aspirations to become a therapist one day. As a student of psychology and a mom to 5 kids, she will be an incredible one!
Qu'Nesha came on board to expand our therapy practice and help start programs devoted to people of color at FTW. Check out Moving Mamas, a free weekly support group for Black women and her new Fertility Support Group for Womxn of Color.
Emma created our first online course, on Intimate Partner Abuse. She approaches this subject matter with such warmth and intelligence. She's also leading an additional Fertility Support Group and is enjoying her new area of specialization.
Jessica completed Level 3 Internal Family Systems training and began offering incredibly well attended online workshops for other clinicians and IFS enthusiasts. She, along with Rebecca also became certified in Perinatal Mental Health through Postpartum Support International (PSI).
Rebecca completed her Brainspotting certification! She also became certified in Perinatal Mental Health, through Postpartum Support International (PSI). Taking a 3 hour exam during a pandemic was quite the experience!
Jamie became our Director of Fertility Services and launched new, more comprehensive programming to accompany people on their fertility journeys. Her support groups received some hard earned recognition from RESOLVE - a big deal in the fertility world.
Dani got her EMDR certification and continues to bring her huge heart to clients who have experienced trauma. She also started a new Stillbirth, Miscarriage and Infant Loss group - all online - creating a safe holding space for so many.
Suzanne completed the multi-year journey of 3000+ (!!) hours required for licensure, and she is well on her way to that huge accomplishment. We are so honored to be her home base as she evolves.
And we... Implemented new groups, including a weekly group for Black Mamas, a monthly Dad’s Group and a weekly IFS-inspired Belonging Group.
We offered a free pregnancy loss ritual for the community and had such good attendance at our fertility support groups that we are adding two more monthly groups in 2021!
We presented a poster at the PSI conference. We’ve used this time to tighten our infrastructure so we can spend more time being creative and providing quality therapy...and more.
All of this while also processing our own deep losses, balancing being at home all.the.time. with the kids, and the overall emotional rollercoaster that has been 2020.
So, while 2020 was not at all what we’d expected (if I hear the word “unprecedented” one more time…!), in many ways it’s been a gift. Thank you for reflecting with us as we forge ahead.
Here’s to possibility and connection.