We had the good fortune of connecting with Micheline Maalouf and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Micheline, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I have always had a creative mind and I feel like I have always thought differently than most. This has helped me and hurt me in the past. It has helped me when working for others as I was able to come up with creative and innovative ideas which was helpful for jobs I held but many times I ran into some sort of wall or ceiling. I felt my hands were tied and was not able to reach individuals in the ways I wanted and believed would make an impact. I would go from being extremely exited to very disappointed and wanted to talk to my bosses and say “but can’t you see how this would be so impactful?” unfortunately when speaking up in a company there are many layers of approvals and politics at play. I either had to comply or move on my own. When it came to opening my private practice, I wanted to be able to reach the population that I knew I could help. I wanted to do things my way, the way I believed would be most helpful. I knew that for as long as I was working for someone else, I would not be able to practice being who I am in the workplace. I kept my full time job and started my private mental health practice part time and worked 12 hour days until I saved some money and decide it was time to take the plunge.
What should our readers know about your business?
My business is called Serein Counseling, LLC and it’s a private mental health practice in Orlando Florida but we provide services to anyone who lives in Florida. We specialize in complex posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, LGBTQ+ issues, and life coaching. Our practice is different in that we individualize treatments for each individual client. We don’t use cookie-cutter treatment approaches but rather work with each individual’s strengths to create a plan. We are very collaborative in nature and we encourage feedback from out clients to see what’s working and/pr what needs to change. We dig deep and try to find the cause of the issues to come to resolutions rather than just treating the symptoms. Some of the lessons I learned is that you can’t be scared of failure and you can’t be scared of judgement. People will judge and people will tell you what you should and shouldn’t do but at the end of the day, I had to keep telling myself “it’s your practice and you do it your way” and I am glad I listened and did not let the judgements of others get in the way. What I want to tell the world about my practice is that we truly care. I know a lot of companies say that but truly we go above and beyond for our clients. We work so hard to ensure our clients feel heard, understood, and are working on resolutions to their challenges and that’s why we welcome feedback all the time. Unlike other practices, we ask how things are going and how we can improve and when we are told we make actionable changes. Our job is to help people feel safe and heard and if we don’t then safety can’t be created which means change is impossible.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When I have friends visit from out of town I usually take them to Winter Park. I love walking around Park avenue and having a meal and a few drinks. I love eating at Prato, one of my favorite restaurants in Winter Park. I also often visit the beaches, Celarwater, and St. Petesrburg, since the water is so clear and beautiful.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I knew when I was in graduate school that I wanted to eventually be in private practice so I started listening to many podcasts to learn how to do so. But one podcast stood out and it is called “The Private Practice Startup” which is hosted by two amazing therapists. Dr. Kate Campbell and Katie Lemieux, LMFT. Their podcast took be step by step on how to do this by bringing in amazing and successful private practice guests. I leaned so much by listening and I felt like they were right there guiding me each step of the way. Also, my husband who was okay with me working more than I was home in order to make my dreams come true. It truly made a world of a difference to have someone who stood by me through this time.
Other: TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@mashmushe