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Exploring Life & Business with Megan Phillips of Cottonwood Psychology Center

Today we’d like to introduce you to Megan Phillips.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
In 2013, I gave birth to my first child, and almost immediately after he was born, I felt an overwhelming sense of dread and fear. As a trained psychologist, I was aware that these feelings weren’t normal and they certainly weren’t what I expected to feel as I was ushered into motherhood. Sadly, none of my training prepared me for what was going on. I developed severe postpartum depression, and I was on Zoloft for the first few months of my son’s life. When the fog began to lift, I was finally able to reach out to my support network where I learned that my experience was not uncommon. I learned that many new parents feel depression or anxiety after they have a baby, but there were so few resources available to help them, and those that did exist seemed very out of reach. Therefore, I decided that this needed to change and I was probably going to be the one to do it. In 2014, I received specialized training from Postpartum Support International, and I switched my clinical focus and the entire trajectory of my career. I opened my own private practice specializing in maternal mental health after my daughter was born in 2016, and in 2018 when I was pregnant with my third baby (after which I developed another round of postpartum depression), I branched my small private practice into a group practice. I realized that there were countless families in my area who were struggling and they didn’t know where to turn for help. I did not want anyone to get left behind, so we grew to fit the need. We are now about 20 therapists strong and growing, and we take many forms of insurance to make therapy affordable and accessible. We will continue down this for as long as our community needs us because no one should be made to feel alone on their journey to starting their family.

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?
Ha! It never is! I tell my clients that the path from A to B is almost never a straight line. There are twists and turns, short cuts and breakdown lanes. You learn what works and what doesn’t, and that is where growth lives. Having three small children during the growing years of my career wasn’t an easy feat, but my husband, family, and friends always encouraged me because they saw the vision that I had. Two rounds of postpartum depression, a neurodivergent kid and a child with complex medical needs definitely created an uphill battle. When you throw in a years-long global pandemic into the mix, things can get dicey. But what I learned is that you need to pivot and remain flexible as much as possible so that you can keep moving forward. The journey may change, but the destination is what you have to focus on.

As you know, we’re big fans of Cottonwood Psychology Center. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
We are the largest group practice that specializes in perinatal mental health in Orange County. We are an interdisciplinary practice that provides individual, couples, and family therapy to parents across California, and all of our providers are trained to work with this unique population. We accept many forms of insurance which make us accessible to everyone–not just those that can afford out-of-pocket treatment. We also provide clinical training to master’s and doctoral level graduates and trainees. This year, we hope to expand our services to more states so that no family gets left behind. We have also opened our new Child and Adolescent Services track because we realized that once families have babies, those babies tend to grow up and need support along the way, so it was an organic transition for us. Perinatal mental health is something that is a work of heart for our team. Most of our providers are survivors or love someone who is a survivor of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, so we understand what it feels like to walk through that darkness. We want to be the light that guides you through to the other side.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
I didn’t get where I am today without the guidance and advice from colleagues in my field. I asked anyone and everyone who was doing what I wanted to be doing for help, and they were willing and eager to share it with me. I genuinely believe in an abundance mindset whereby if you help others achieve the greatness that you have achieved, the world will be filled with more great people doing amazing things. Who wouldn’t want that? Anyone who rejects an offer to help you grow and thrive is coming from a scarcity mindset where they think that there are only a few spots at the top and only a few people can have them. Fortunately, I didn’t run into many of them in my quest for knowledge and mentorship, and I believe that the abundance mindset tends to prevail. I, therefore, encourage folks to reach out and ask your questions to whomever you are trying to get advice and support from. The worst that they can say is no. But chances are good, they’d be happy to share, and then you found a lifelong connection.

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Image Credits
Nicole Orue Photography

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