Each week, I like to feature a play therapist who has built an inspiring career providing play therapy in private practice in order to inspire other therapists who are just beginning the practice building process.  I am also on a mission to continue building the world-wide community network of play therapists so that we can enrich our connections and resources.

This week I want to introduce you to a highly skilled therapist who not only provides top notch clinical services on some very tough cases but also has served as a guiding mentor to four other professionals within her practice.

Lauren M. Gaspar, MSW, LCSW-S, RPT, EMDRIA Certified is the founder and director of Good Mourning Counseling Center located in Austin, Texas founded in 2005 where she has taught, supervised and mentored 4 professionals through the development of their careers. Lauren and her team of therapists provide play therapy and family therapy focused on traumatic grief, medical PTSD, abuse and assault, abduction, and related anxiety and depression. Lauren is also a Family Advocate for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

When I asked Lauren what led her to becoming a play therapist she said she was first introduced to play therapy in 1999 when she lived in Boston and she immediately saw play therapy as a path she would pursue in her career journey. “Play therapy felt so natural and effortless. It just clicked for me.”

I asked Lauren about the most challenging aspect of providing play therapy in private practice. She said, “The most challenging part for me is balancing being a business owner with motherhood. After 14 years I still haven’t perfected it and summer is my most dreaded time of year, hands-down.”

Lauren spoke about the most beneficial aspect of being in private practice also.  “The most rewarding part of being in private practice is the FREEDOM I have in how I work. I can say no to working with a client, I can decide to refer a client out if they’re not a good fit, or I can decide to take Fridays off to watch Bravo all day and call it self-care. I can’t even remember what it’s like to have a boss anymore.

I have had the privilege of providing case consultation for Lauren and I was so impressed with Lauren’s clinical knowledge but also her professional savvy when it comes to decision-making in her practice.  

Lauren has managed to create a very successful small group practice and she takes her responsibility as a supervisor, mentor and director very seriously.

I asked her to share some wisdom with therapists just starting out in private practice. Lauren advises, “Be patient with the time it takes to grow a private practice that runs like clockwork. It will ebb, it will flow, and there will be moments where you wished you’d gone into real estate, and that’s normal. But 90% of the time it’s so great to have your own practice and you’ll feel so thankful you took the plunge.”

You can reach Lauren and read more about her practice in Austin, Texas at www.goodmourningcounseling.com