Today we’d like to introduce you to Tamika Lewis.
Tamika, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I lost two dear friends to suicide. These were smart, dynamic, beautiful women. The kind you study and admire from afar.
When I got the news about my friend, who was also my roommate throughout college, I was devastated. She was only 25. We were young, and had so much life ahead of us, but it was all too much for her. As with any loss, my mind swirled with shock and disbelief. But then I stated to remember things.
I remembered the two personas that she had in college. The happy, neatly-polished version that people saw around campus, and the more unraveled broken version I’d see at home. I worried about her often, but was admittedly too scared and preoccupied to pry.
When I lost Jen, a PhD candidate, wife, and beautiful soul, a few years later, I knew something was deeply wrong. There didn’t seem to be a space for strong ambitious women, who were struggling inside, to come clean. To be honest about the dark thoughts and feelings that haunted them.
In 2013, I opened my private practice in Sherman Oaks, and have since made it my business to pry. I provide women and teens a safe space to feel normal, despite the challenges (real or imagined) in their lives.
In over 13 years as a clinical therapist I’ve learned one thing. The simple offering of empathy, non-judgment, and shared experience can literally change someone’s life. With love, the proper support, and therapeutic tools like EMDR and CBT, I believe we can heal from even the deepest darkest traumas.
Great, 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?
Building a private practice has been highly rewarding and equally challenging.
For starters there is kicking the “imposter syndrome.” That’s the universal “wait you want ME to help you?” question every psychotherapist asks him or herself at some point. We help people solve very real, very concrete problems. Sometimes problems that we secretly struggle with ourselves. So it’s not uncommon for doubt and limiting beliefs to occasionally seep in, which ultimately get in the way of growing a business.
I rely on the lessons learned in Tara Mohr’s Playing Big to overcome doubt and discouragement, especially during drought season, when therapist’s phones aren’t ringing off the hook. It’s important that we network, support one another, and stay connected to the greater mission of helping people. You can’t help if you’re hiding. And you certainly can’t survive if you undervalue yourself.
On a personal level, it is especially hard running a business as a single parent. My 6 and 9-year old aren’t so concerned with the numbers. Soccer practice and piano are their top priority, and it’s certainly a balancing act making sure their emotional needs are met while meeting the demands of a business.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am a speaker, writer, and licensed therapist practicing in Sherman Oaks, California. I provide individual, group, and couples counseling, primarily working with women and teen girls.
As an EMDR trained clinician, I specialize in helping people move through trauma and loss. EMDR is a highly effective technique that works well with adults and teens in crisis. I also offer a unique program for women and teen girls who are eager to gain more confidence and clarity in their lives.
Something that sets me apart from other therapists is my background in educational counseling. In addition to private practice therapy, I have worked as a high school counselor for over 10 years. I am able to assist teens and families with the college planning/selection process. Having graduated with top honors from UCLA, I know the pressures that students face to “be excellent.” However, “excellence” should never come at the expense of our physical and mental health.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
If I could choose a hashtag to describe myself it would be #sisterhood.
I have an amazing circle of women in my life who love and support me. Women who I admire, who I can lean on, who hold me accountable for showing up in life when I don’t care to.
My calm compassionate nature is thanks to the stories gifted to me by inspiring women throughout the years. From sisters, friends, my children, mentors, and clients, I am an all-around better human because of them.
In her book Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes that “a woman must choose her friends and lovers wisely, for both can become like a bad stepmother and rotten stepsisters. ”
I think, for the most part, I’ve gotten this one right.
- Address: 13400 Riverside Dr., Suite 318, Sherman Oaks, California 91423
- Website: http://tamikalewis.com/
- Phone: (818) 284-7088
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org