We had the good fortune of connecting with Lia Damiani-Tinney, LMHC and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lia, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
My work life balance has definitely changed over time, especially during this pandemic. I come from a family of hard-working men and women. My grandparents were Italian immigrants; while my grandfather was attending medical school in Boston, he would finish class for the day and then drive a fruit delivery truck at night to pay for school. My parents are small business owners and have managed their own business for the past thirty-five years. I’ve learned so much from my family about what it takes to achieve goals, but what I have struggled with the most is balancing work with self-care and my social life. After graduating from the University of Miami with my master’s degree, I worked three jobs as an outpatient substance abuse therapist, a dance teacher and a server at a popular restaurant in Kendall. I did this so that I could support myself and complete my required hours for licensure as quickly as possible so I could start my practice, but I felt like I was making zero progress towards that goal. I was always exhausted from being so busy and I was making no time for myself or my social life. My priorities were to work as much as possible and if I had time left over, I would do something for myself. What I’ve learned is that I need to make time for myself so I have the energy to keep up with my schedule and to maintain my own mental health. Since I switched up my priorities, I feel much calmer and happier. I’ve also created my LLC, built a website and attended different workshops and trainings to continue to grow as a therapist, which I did not have the time or energy for before. This has also helped me with my clients because I work mainly with young adults who experience anxiety and burnout. There’s a Gallup study that found 7 in 10 millennials have experienced some level of burnout in their lives. I believe this is because we learn that we need work as hard as possible to achieve what we want (and to be able to afford things like rent or food), but we don’t realize how essential it is to balance working so hard with taking care of ourselves.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’m excited to see how my practice, In Depth Wellness, will grow in the future since I just started it this year. This is a goal I have wanted to achieve since college, when I realized I wanted to be a therapist. I think what sets my practice apart from others is that I believe my clients are the experts of their own lives and I focus on helping them recognize their strengths. I specialize in anxiety and negative thinking and I teach my clients skills to use in response to intrusive thoughts. This can lead to relief from these powerful thoughts, but stopping there is just a quick fix to a larger problem. I named my practice In Depth Wellness because taking an in-depth perspective at why a client might think the way that they do, what they believe about themselves and others, and what events caused this way of thinking can create overarching change. I am there to support them so that they can gain insight while providing them with mental health information. I also decided on In Depth Wellness because I’m originally from the Florida Keys and I wanted to tie something related to the water/ocean into the name. It hasn’t been easy establishing a business during a global pandemic, but I’m fortunate to be a member of The Collaborate Counseling Center of Miami. The Collaborative is a co-working community for mental health professionals and the physical location where I meet with my clients. The Collaborative has been incredibly supportive and the members provide so much insight into maintaining a private practice. There are workshops at least once a month that help clinicians learn about the business side of therapy, which is not something that is focused on in most mental health counseling programs. The Collaborative has provided that to me and the rest of our members which has been crucial in starting my practice. Being a member and having access to these resources has been one of the most helpful assets in creating my brand and starting my business.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love food so most of my favorite places to go are restaurants. I’d start by taking her to one of my favorite restaurants, Crazy About You, the night she gets in. It’s right on the water and has a great view of Biscayne Bay. The cocktails are great too. I’d definitely take her to South Beach for a day, but I love Fort Lauderdale Beach too so that would be a stop. I used to work at Ghee Indian Kitchen in Kendall and it’s the best Indian food in South Florida. Chef Niven is so talented and just opened his fourth restaurant, Mamey, in South Miami which would also be a stop. I just went there for the first time a few weeks ago and it’s incredible. I’d probably also take her to Wynwood to see the walls and to stop at The Salty Donut. I would make sure to drive down to The Keys for a day before she left just because it’s home and it’s little less busy than Miami. Playa Largo isn’t too far from where my parents live so we could go there to rent paddle boards or kayaks. Before we leave, I’d take her to some of my favorite places down there like Cocoplum Place and Café Moka.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
It’s so difficult to narrow my shoutout to one person or group because so many people helped me get to where I’m at in my life, but above anyone else is my mom. She’s one of the hardest working people that I know and she has always encouraged me to pursue whatever career and opportunities that I want. I almost didn’t apply to graduate school the year that I did because of a crisis in our family during that time. She encouraged me to submit my application despite everything that was happening to our family. If she hadn’t, I don’t think I would be where I am today. My mom inspires me to push through life’s challenges.
Katie DeLuca-Hernandez at The Red Umbrella