Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Avila the founder of an Online group practice – Blue Oak Counseling Services, Inc.
Tina, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My life has always been guided by the core values of compassion and empathy towards others. And rightfully so! These factors have always been monumentally present in my perspective as I had experienced dilemmas myself; immigrated from Thailand to California at the age of eight, overwhelmed by the feeling of uncertainty between excitement and expectations. I was introduced to a new culture- American culture. In my teen years, I struggled with psychological issues of anger, depression, and social anxiety. However, I found solace in chaos and my struggles became the very reason I developed an interest towards the field of psychology and mental health in order to understand myself better.
I graduated from Pepperdine University with a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and started pursuing the path to become a licensed therapist. It didn’t go as well as I’ve imagined working in an agency after graduation, in the first 5 – 6 years, I left the mental health field to give myself time to reevaluate and recharge. Thus taking vacations from psychotherapy, I worked for many years after that in the neurodiverse field of Autism as a behavior analyst with family and children. Few years passed by, I realized that I was overworked and still felt unfulfilled. The pivotal moment came shortly after my son was born when I had to go back to work. It triggered my motivation towards making a change for myself and my family. At the end of my maternity, as I had ample time to ruminate on the change I had been needing to do for so long, I made up my mind.
I believe that to have the life I desired I must create that for myself. And that is when I decided to start my private practice and rented a small office in Ontario, CA where I could be closer to home. It was only a matter of a few months of marketing of my therapy services that I had clients reaching out. And by the end of my second year, I was able to quit my full-time job and became a full-time business owner. During COVID 19, we shifted from in-person therapy to online and found success in doing so. Pivoting our business model to staying online even after COVID was a significant decision and knowing that not everyone will want that.
Realizing that I can’t do this on my own and will need help in order to sustain the practice, I started to expand our team and hired support staff to help more people and being 100% online gives us opportunities to see clients outside of our city.
Currently, as of June 2021, the business has seen exponential growth and what started as a solo provider has branched into a team of seven licensed professionals providing effective online mental health therapy for adults who need support across a range of various areas.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As the saying goes, “Do not judge a book by its cover”, it may seem a very romantic journey to an onlooker, but no the road wasn’t smoother at all. It never is. The biggest and foremost obstacle in my case was the diversity of my roles; as a mother, wife, and a business owner and the necessity of balancing them. I was struggling with becoming a mom who wasn’t doing enough, I had to deal with moments of juggling many responsibilities, staying up at times beyond that which my brain could handle, overwhelming anxiety as I was engrossed in the business 24/7, and having mom guilt under the surface of it all. The multiple roles in my life demanded tremendous energy and time from me and it forced me to finally reevaluate and reexamine my core values and the reason for starting my business in the first place.
Another major and unforeseen obstacle during our scaling last year was the global pandemic. It was pivotal for me to ensure that we have steady revenue resources, which involved the strategic pillars of figuring out how to continue being in the business, supporting the team remotely, and shifting it to operate solely online, as well as ensuring we had all the necessary software and equipment wasn’t easy, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it has been worth it and I wouldn’t have changed anything about the journeys if you were to ask me!
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Sure! we’re an online therapy practice providing individual and couples therapy in California and Florida who are experiencing different problems such as anxiety, depression, stress, relationship issues, PTSD, work/life balance, grief/loss, mood disorders, lack of self-confidence, chronic stress, and feeling overwhelmed with life.
Our targeted priorities are mostly adults aged between 20 to 60 and who are in need of additional support, guidance, advice, and coping strategies to overcome struggles.
We have a well-intact and highly organized friendly team of administration who are helpful and ready to support our clients in meeting their therapist online. You’re not just a number to us like other online platforms.
Unlike other online therapy groups, what makes us different is being above industry standards and the uncompromising ethics we follow; we only accept clients we believe we can help, and we make sure that each client is matched well with the right therapist based on specializations, problems, and availability; we prefer quality over business and values over commercialism.
Online therapy have shown to be just as effective as in person therapy. The perks include convenience and affordability (no traveling cost, attend session from the comfort of your own home), treatment is more accessible (more appointments available), cover by most major insurance companies, easier to navigate using latest technology, and minimal barriers in reaching your mental health goals.
Booking an appointment with us is easy, convenient, and accessible. You can either 1) text our office, 2) call our office, or 3) fill in a contact form online. We respond to all messages within 24 hours. We make sure that everyone who wants to work with us gets the care and support they need to become best version of themselves. Together we can create change!
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