Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Gray.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Julie. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
I am a late bloomer and the first one in my family to graduate from college. I had a troubled childhood, growing up in a chaotic environment. My father was an abusive alcoholic, who died at age 36, leaving behind me and my seven siblings. I was 12 years old at that time. My mother and father were in the process of a divorce when he passed, and she was not living with us. She came back when he died, and our house turned into the “party” house, where drugs were sold and used.
We had no rules or role models. My mom did not care if I went to school, so often times I didn’t. Usually, when I went, it would be to eat the school lunch, as often that was my only meal of the day. I soon tired of living in chaos, so my sister and I decided to move. I got my first apartment with her at age 17. I also decided at the time, that I wanted to graduate high school. All of my peers had graduated, and most had went off to college.
I started working full-time (I was previously working part-time) at an insurance company doing clerical work, and I went to high school at night. I pulled my 1.5 GPA up and graduated, earning mostly A’s in my night school courses. I continued to work at the same insurance company, being promoted to supervisor. I was laid off after 13 years and found I could not command the same salary I was earning, as I did not have a college degree.
I began to take classes at a local community college and then transferred into a BA program, earning a BA in Applied Behavioral Sciences. During the time I was laid off, I volunteered at my church, filling and passing out food bags to the less fortunate. I found that this really warmed my heart. I continued to work in the insurance industry as a supervisor and then a manager.
One day, I was sitting at my desk and thought to myself “I am not helping anyone!” That day I decided I was going to quit and pursue a Master in Social Work (MSW) on a full-time basis. After obtaining my MSW, I worked for many years at community mental health agencies in urban/blighted communities in Chicago and Los Angeles. During this time, I was pursuing a PsyD, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy.
I obtained my degree in Sep of 2017. Though I loved the work, at my last job, I got tired of the bureaucracies involved with dealing with the Department of Mental Health and other issues, so I quit and opened my private practice in July of 2017. I love helping others to realize their full potential. I find that I am able to relate to so many of my clients due to my own experiences. Being an entrepreneur is hard work, but I love being my own boss!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
This is my first time being a business owner, so I had and continued to learn along the way. I have no shortage of clients, but what I did not have was formal training in running a business. I went from collecting a paycheck to needing to create my own paycheck, take care of all overhead, all administrative tasks and everything involved in running a business. It has been difficult, but along the way, I have learned so much and continue to work on streamlining processes.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I am a psychotherapist in private practice. I specialize in treating depression, anxiety, and trauma. I also work with clients who have issues with co-dependency and addictions. Many clients seek me out for help with trauma.
I am certified in Eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) which is an evidence-based practice known for its efficacy in treating trauma. I love working with clients to help them resolve their pain.
I am proud that I have grown my company by myself. It has been a vision for me for a while. I would hope that all psychotherapists are empathic, caring individuals, but I believe that is what sets me apart, along with my own traumatic history.
My history allows me to peer into the souls of others while relating to them on a different level
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Well, I have already accomplished one of my goals! I wrote a book. The title is Diva Five Alive – Letters to my Sisters., which came out in December of 2018.
This book which was co-authored with my sisters is a culmination of letters that my sisters and I wrote to each other. It is a story of our childhood pain and triumphs, as we walked through family dysfunction, domestic violence, substance abuse, mental illness and more.
I do plan to continue to write and spread the hope of resiliency. I also plan to branch out into coaching and mentoring others who are on their journey for self-discovery.
- My individual sessions start at $150
- The paperback of my book is on sale on Amazon for $14.95, Kindle version is $9.95
- Address: 18411 Crenshaw Blvd. Suite 260 Torrance, CA. 90504
- Website: www.lightedpathways.org
- Phone: 847-212-3564
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: dr.juliegray
- Facebook: Lighted Pathways
- Twitter: @JulieAnnGray16