Celebrating our 5 year anniversary!
Reflecting on our journey since our grand opening on September 30th, 2016.
What is it is like to start your own Art Therapy private practice? Well, let me tell you about our story…
Our Humble Beginning – A big dream and a little studio
From the day Jessie and I met, we shared this dream of starting an Art Therapy Private Practice here in Wichita. And let me tell you, we had SO many ideas (and still do, truthfully).
We wanted to have art therapy sessions, art therapy groups, art-based workshops for the community, open art studio events, participate in events happening in the local art community, and more. All with the underlying goal of spreading health and wellness through creativity.
Once we had this dream, we could not turn away and were driven to make it happen. Leading us to our first little studio space in North Riverside in Wichita. We called on our family and friends to help renovate and prepare for our grand opening event on September 30th, 2016.
After about one and a half years of building up our business, holding creative workshops, and working with local Art Therapists and ESU Students to showcase their artwork, one of our biggest hurdles nearly stopped us in our tracks.
The owner of the building where our business was born decided to end all the leases so they could renovate the building and use it for something different. We had 30 days to figure out what we were going to do, find a new place, and move… This was almost devastating for us. Here we were, working full time in our day jobs while trying to grow our little business in our spare time, slowly starting to visualize our big dreams coming to reality, and it felt like the rug was pulled out from underneath us.
Together, we experienced a range of emotions – Grief at the loss of our little studio, frustration with the wrench suddenly thrown into our plans, and panic about figuring out what we were going to do.
This is where creativity can shine brightest. It is not simply about being able to paint a beautiful picture or draw a realistic still life. So much a creativity is finding the best use out of what you have in front of you, and let me tell you, we flexed this creative muscle to the max.
Enter Phase 2 – Moving, Partnership, and Credentialing
Scrambling to problem solve find a new location for our studio while trying to not get lost in the thoughts of “Is this over before it really began?” was challenging to say the least. We problem solved every potential solution we could think if, including a brief wondering of whether or not we could operate out of a storage unit… Luckily it never came to that!
In comes a professional contact we had made, who ended up playing a pivotal roll in the continued growth of our business. Jill Miller, founder of the Finishing School for Modern Women, just so happened to be looking for someone to rent an office in her space. So, on February 15th, 2018, we moved in!
Relieved to have this wonderful opportunity (and know it wasn’t the end after all) we knew it was time to make our business official. Thus, Creative Bliss Therapy became a partnership and LLC! We were dedicated to continue to grow our precious baby-of-a-business into our big dream. We also decided at this time to start taking more clients through insurance to continue to grow our business, and boy howdy, did she grow!
We were having so much fun holding art shows and workshops, and collaborating with Jill on creative journaling classes! And after 2 years, we had grown so much that our lovely little space was eventually starting to hinder our continued growth, simply due to two therapists sharing one office outside of their full time jobs.
It was time to start looking for a new space… again. This time was different though, we were looking for a space to GROW our business instead of a space to SAVE our business. Wow, what a great feeling!
Moving Up! – Dreaming big in a bigger space
Let me start by saying, that looking for a building/space for your business can be a bit overwhelming. And for two people who are big dreamers, creative minded, and good at problem solving, almost any building had the potential to be the perfect space for us!
So, the opportunities seemed limitless for a period of time. After viewing, dreaming, discussing, negotiating, and more discussing, we finally settled on a new space that we loved and felt we could grow into. We were each going to have our own offices (for the first time in our professional carriers) a waiting room, and a large room for groups and workshops. We were EXCITED!
Let the renovations begin!
Again, we called on our family, friends, and connections to help with getting set up and then to celebrate our Grand Re-Opening on March 6th, 2020. I don’t need to re-hash what everyone when through later that month, but we are so grateful that we were able to celebrate when we did.
Needless to say, we have had to adjust and adapt to our changing world since our grand re-opening, and our journey still continues to this day. Our dreams of groups and community workshops have been on hold, we have learned to navigate providing Art Therapy services virtually over Telehealth, and we have seen an increase in stress and anxiety across our community over the last 17 months.
We are along for the ride, and in it for the long haul. Where there are people and communities in pain, we are here with our paint brushes and an open seat at the table.
Creativity: For the Win!
As Art Therapists, we value creativity to the core. We fully believe that everyone is capable of exercising their creative muscle in their own way. Without our creative minds, dreams, and goals, we would not be where we are today. Which is at the table where creativity and healing meet, ready to help the next person to have a seat with us.
We have come a long way over the last 5 years, and we are SO EXCITED to see what the next 5 years has in store!
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!
We would not be here without some truly amazing people! This is a super special thank you to those who have helped, guided, and supported us along our journey!
Tiny Mill – Jill Miller – Finishing School for Modern Women – The Muret Family – Moeder and Associates – The Art of the Matter, LLC – ESU Art Therapy Program – Melanie A. Miller Garrett LSCSW – AATA – KATA – The Francis Family – EMPAC – WSU CCHT – The Meredith Family – Locust Grove Carpentry –