lisasavagelcsw, Author at Lisa Savage
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I learned the importance of self-care the hard way.

In 2012, my business exploded. It’s what I worked hard for and felt up to the challenge. I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist, but I’m pretty fixated on doing a great job, being accountable and being reflective. These are all essential qualities that have served me well as I sought to build a reputable business.

As a Black girl growing up in the 70’s, My parents told me that mediocrity wasn’t acceptable. I needed to show the world what exceptionalism looked like to combat common stereotypes of Black people. Whew. I now recognize the burden of that charge, but it’s hard to beat back when it was drilled so deeply into your mind and soul.

So here I stand, representing the dreams of ancestors who came before me and sacrificed so much for me have it all. I bought the dream and then some. I own a decent size private practice. The business yearly revenue tops seven figures, and I’ve garnered respect in my state for the work that we do. It’s a pretty good feeling. Except, it came with a huge cost–my emotional and physical well-being.

I remember standing in the hall of an elementary school where we provide services. Sheer panic came over me as I realized I didn’t have my keys. On my keychain were my car, office and home keys, so there was a reason for concern. What was more concerning is that for a minute, I could not speak. At that moment, my anxiety was so high, and it paralyzed me. I didn’t know what to say or where to begin looking. I wanted to cry, but that wouldn’t have been appropriate given the location. It wasn’t about the lost keys; it was about the events that lead up to that moment.
I was running on empty. There were plenty of nights that I kept the midnight oil burning and was up again before the sun. I didn’t say, no enough. I took on tasks up tasks with no regard to how full my plate already was.
I wasn’t exercising with any regularity and had no social life. I felt like those things took second place to other more ‘important’ priorities.
I had hired a lot of contract therapists because I needed to keep up with the need. One lesson I learned was not to hire in haste because it often can be costly. A couple of the therapists I employed were contentious about everything, instigators and thought they knew more about my practice than I did. It was an interesting process to see how group dynamics work but allowing that type of poison to linger, can have deleterious effects in a workplace. Again, more stress and additional worries about keeping up with the expectations of others.

So there was the confluence of many things that conspired to make my life a living hell. I’ll never forget the hot summer day I woke up with a rash on my chin. Not only was it on my chin, but it was also on my eyelids. Yikes, I wondered if I had caught something from one of the little ones with whom I worked. A trip to my dermatologist revealed that I had an autoimmune disease that was affecting my skin. Big massive tears were shed as he told me there was no cure and that for the rest of my life I’d have to give myself injections of medication to beat back the inflammation. Prolonged exposure to stress often triggers inflammation and autoimmune disorders.

Yes, stress was killing me, and no one knew it but me. That’s because I did an excellent job of hiding and pretending. I still smiled, laughed a lot and got things done. Oh, the price I paid.

Fast forward to how I took control, regained my happiness and health.
I terminated the troublesome contractors. That instantly improved the internal morale of the practice. I also learned better ways of screening potential employees to avoid future dysfunction.
I went back to the gym and dedicated time to escape by working out. I practice mindfulness, but not nearly to the extent to reap the full benefits. I’m working on that.
I stopped working so damned much. I cut back by as much as fifty percent. It seems counterintuitive for trying to grow a profitable business, but freeing up my time, gave room for more creativity. I also learned the art of delegation and grooming others to take on responsibilities.
I only answer my phone when I feel like it. I’m not screening calls; I’m protective of my time. I will always return phone calls, but when the time is right for me.

I say, no a lot more. No, I can’t take on more clients. No, I cannot talk right now. No, I can’t hear about your relationship woes. No.

I’ve learned to slow down my responses. Not everything is an emergency requiring my immediate attention.
As I conclude this post, there is no need to summarize the important points. I think it’s quite clear that if you don’t actively engage in taking care of yourself, prioritizing your health, it will catch up with you. My health remains an issue which is troublesome, but I do what’s in my power to tamp back the damage that has been done from enduring chronic stress.
If you’ve read till the end, chances are, this is a topic that speaks to you. Listen very carefully to your inner voice and do whatever it takes to make changes in your life. Sometimes, it means radical changes. Sometimes it’s little maneuvers, but still meaningful in the bigger picture.


Building a school based mental health practice that works

Many years ago, when I entered into private practice, I knew I had skills and expertise to work with children. Over the years, I found opportunities to develop my knowledge further to be even more efficient in the work I love doing.

I quickly realized that my target population could not get to my office. It is in the suburbs of a state with limited public transportation. I also learned that mental health services for children were sorely lacking. From a clinical perspective, I know that sometimes the best work is done in a client’s natural environment. The social worker in me is strongly rooted in community-based services. The business woman had to figure out how to meet a burgeoning and ongoing need.
What I did:
I approached one school about seeing one child who was already receiving services from me. The principal was open to this arrangement. The teachers were less than enthusiastic because they perceived it would disrupt the learning environment, which I understood. However, I worked hard to develop a positive rapport with the teachers and assured them my therapy interventions would ultimately increase this child’s ability to attend to the learning environment. Viola. My client’s behaviors improved, I became a familiar face at the school, and before I know it, the administrator was talking to me about seeing other children.
How I did it:
It became incumbent upon me to figure out a system for working in schools. I didn’t want it to be hit, or miss and I wanted to make sure that the services I offered were quantifiably impactful in a positive way.

I had previously managed wellness centers in high schools, so I used that knowledge and experience to create an infrastructure that would work. It’s too easy for therapists to walk in a school and see a child. That’s not how I wanted to function. It made better sense to create a model that was like private practice, only different. It would be different because the school primarily serves as my office. It’s the same because we bill third parties for all clinical services. Nothing else is billable which came with constraints. I wanted to be able to attend school meetings, consult with school personnel and be seen as the in-house mental health expert. The schools in my state don’t have excess money, receiving reimbursement from them was not an option.

I met with the director of special services in one of the major school districts. She loved my pitch to provide school-based mental health services and contracted with me to serve four schools. The next year, she asked me to increase my ability to take on more buildings and soon, I had to bring on another therapist to help with the growing need. We were getting inundated with referrals. That was in 2010. At this point, my practice contracts with over 55 schools throughout Delaware and is known for school-based mental health. We are also the mental health consultants for other early childhood programs and will expand to provide training to day care providers.

I figured out how to build a program that was built on a limited private practice model. We attend school meetings, conduct consultation with personnel and participate in school activities. We have learned how to integrate ourselves into schools as an outside provider who is very much involved in the school community. I insist that my therapists provide the highest quality of service possible. We measure quality using assessment tools to conduct pre and post therapy assessments.
The results:
I practice in schools because kids need us. Parents need us to be accessible to them, and schools need us to help improve the learning environment by improving behavior and emotional regulation. We ‘show up’ for children whose behavior often improves because we’re consistent, warm, and accepting. We also set firm boundaries and implement consequences. Schools love us because we get results. We talk to staff. We support them in feeling good about the hard work they put into helping children learn. We partner with parents to help them discover their parenting strengths. We’re also normalizing therapy because we’re visible. We talk about mental health issues and lessen the gaps in services.


Don’t fall for the shiny, new penny.

Hey, look over here. I have a shiny new penny. *All eyes glaze front and center*. We’ve all done it before–being enticed by the next great thing. I see therapists, especially those who are new to private practice, jump from one idea to the next because it looks or sounds good or there’s the promise of financial success. There are tons of great ideas, but none better or worse than the ones you’re capable of creating. One of the predictors of success is not in following someone else’s shiny penny but creating one for yourself. Resist allowing yourself to get distracted by chasing someone else’s vision and get focused on your own.

1. What are you good at doing? How can you become an expert in this area? More training? More education? More experience?
2. Think back to a project that you completed? Write down step by step how you created this project. Be sure to list what went right, what you learned in the process and how you can replicate it for greater success.
3. Take risks. Most people shy away from risk taking because they fear failure. Much of my growth personally and professionally has come from taking risks and not focusing on failing.  Having this mindset is freeing.
4. Think about a topic that you know that about that the general population does not. Now, figure out how you can monetize this knowledge. Write a book? Teach a class? Conduct a workshop.
5. Call upon your creativity. It’s there, but you have to give room for it to rise. Comparing ourselves to others will kill any creative juices. Stop comparing, stop copying and your creativity will come.
6. Forget perfection. Just get it done. You can always go back to an idea or project and tweak it. If you focus on making it perfect, you will not get it done.

Being focused is at the center of success. Stop allowing the shiny penny to blind you to creating a goal, project, or product of your own.


Most of the time, I have no idea what I’m doing!

If you wait until you’re comfortable, you’re likely never to start.

It’s a bit of hyperbole to say, that I don’t know what I’m doing when I start a new project. Oft times, I have some knowledge, but the real learning comes in the process. Many people avoid the process because of fear. They fear failure and sometimes the fear is of being successful. There are others who struggle with the imposter syndrome–the fear that they are inadequate and soon, others will discover their inadequacies.

When I was a teen, I started a day camp in my neighborhood. It was wildly popular among kids and parents. When I look back on this, I don’t know where I got the nerve to do such a thing. It’s probably a good thing I was young and negative self-talk hadn’t set it. LOL

Eighteen years ago, I set out to build a private practice. I had no idea what it took or what the challenges would be. I just knew it was a dream and that the potential for me to help people in a way that made sense to me was a priority. I made tons of mistakes and am still learning, but it’s been nothing but fulfilling.

A month ago, I opened an online store! I can honestly say, I don’t know anything about the retail industry. Nothing! I researched, studied and launched, it. The process has been fun, and I made two sales last week. In fact, I’m working on building another online store this week. Why not?

My point to all of this is to encourage you to examine your desires and let them be stronger than your fears. Do not wait until you’re ready, or until you know everything or until you’re comfortable. Chances are years will go by, and you won’t have ever achieved your dreams.



I’m going to do it anyway.


On January 19, 2017, I’m going to launch a year-long training intensive for therapists who want to start a private practice or for seasoned therapists who want to increase their revenue. I’ve toyed with this idea for three years and kept deferring to the opinions of others. “It’s too much work”. “There are others who have done the same thing”.

Well, I’m doing it anyway. I have built two successful practices in Delaware and know a lot about creating mental health businesses that provide quality services and generate excellent revenue. I’m creative and have developed models of service provision that have gotten positive recognition. The need for mental health services is increasing and so is the need for providers with sustainable practices. If I can help others develop successful practices, it becomes a win-win situation.

For this training intensive, I have partnered with experts from around the world. (I know some dope people). Participants will be guided step by step with resources, forms, legal consultation, HIPAA training, virtual mental health, health care integration and so much more. Each month, you’ll get a new lesson and training. You’ll have access to a forum to share your stuff with others and get support.

There will also be a clinical component where participants will receiving training and resources on:

working with LGBT+Q populations
trauma and military families
sex therapy and creating a sex positive attitude
assessing and measuring clinical success

There will also be specialty sections

school-based mental health
community-based mental health
health care integration

We will address anxiety and fear of starting a business and help participants to move from fear to action. We’ll discuss becoming comfortable with charging people for services.

This training will be conducted online using a membership site. There will be two levels of membership–novice and experienced therapists. The training will materials will be forever available to participants.

So there you have it. I jokingly call this training—a practice in a box. That’s because you’ll unpack everything you need to open the doors and create a career that you love and a life you feel good about.

So here’s the deal–I’m expecting at least 300 participants. Will I accept everyone who signs up? Nope. You have to demonstrate some level of readiness. Click the link below and get on my list. By the end of next week, I will personally email you and we can chat about your goals and together, we’ll make sure this is the right program and right time for you. You’ll also learn about my personal guarantee. There will be no unsatisfied customers if I have anything to do with it 🙂

So yup, I’m doing it anyway!

Registration Link!


The Essential Steps to Healing lack of action

These days, you can find easy motivation by simply signing onto Facebook or Twitter.  You will find beautiful quotes or view encouraging videos.  You’ll feel like you can do anything.   It’s an awesome time we live in.  There is easy access to wise gurus.  Are you looking for spiritual enlightenment?  There’s a quote for that.  Do you want to leave your miserable job?  I have  videos of a woman who quit her day job; she’s now a millionaire.   Therefore,  she can teach you how to accomplish this.

Stop looking for motivation and start doing.  Create a plan, put some action behind it and be intentional with every step you take.    The best motivation comes from just doing.  Plan. Action.Intention. Progress.Quote



Reflections as I look toward 2016

I’m slightly winded from my afternoon walk.  It was brisk and it was chilly, but I always feel renewed after walking.  I began my walking journey in February of this year.  This simple, daily habit has changed me. I’m much calmer, more mindful and my overall health has improved.  I aim for twelve thousand steps a day and more often than not, I far exceed that goal.  The mental clarity I get from walking is indescribable.   Walking became part of my self-care regime after enduring some pretty stressful events in my life.

2016 is just two weeks away and I always look forward to the newness of another year.    I’ve taken off from work and am so excited to have time just for me.  Sure, it will be filled with the splendor and surprises of the holiday season, but I won’t do anything that doesn’t bring me joy.   Therapists spend most of their waking hours tending to the needs of others,  often at the expense of self.  Unfortunately, some of us learn the hard way, that self-care has to be a priority or we will pay the price–one way or the other.

I will exercise, spend time in nature, enjoy the company of family and friends and find gratitude in the small things.  I have downloaded two books in my kindle and tons of new music on my iPod. I have two new coloring books and sparkly crayons.  You do know that coloring is extremely relaxing, right?  Hooray for time away from the office.

I won’t take a break from my daily walks.  During this time,  I will think about  the goals for my private practice in 2016.   What’s the next level for my company, and how will we get there?  I want to teach the therapists  who work for me, how they can make very good money, but balance that other things that make them happy.  I’ve started a practice in Baltimore so I’ll put more energy into growing it.  We’re opening an educational portal for online learning opportunities, so I need to keep that moving forward.  It’s all so exciting, but it means I need to be fully present  on every level.   It means I have to stop, re-set, reflect and then charge onward.  I’m here for it!

In the new year, I’d love to connect and collaborate with others who are in the helping professions.  Another lesson learned this year, is that collaborating with others who do this work,  is important.   It’s helpful for learning, growing respective businesses and builds support networks.  If you’re interested in collaborating with me and using your expertise to –write a book, facilitate a workshop, or another endeavor, email me–   I respond to every email.  In the meanwhile, I hope you’ll find some time for you.  I hope you’ll prioritize your self-care.  I hope you’ll enjoy more success in 2016.

“[G]rowing into your future with health and grace and beauty doesn’t have to take all your time. It rather requires a dedication to caring for yourself as if you were rare and precious, which you are, and regarding all life around you as equally so, which it is. (267-268)”
― Victoria Moran, Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body and Revitalize Your Spirit




What to do when you’re unhappy with your life.


You change it!

Change will happen even if you do nothing.  The question you need to ask is, will you be the one controlling it or leave it up to fate, or the will of someone else.  At any given time in our lives, we need to do an assessment of our lives.  What needs to change?  Are you happy where you are in life?  What are you allowing to continue that is unhealthy?  Who is in your life that is toxic, but you’re holding onto out of fear of letting go.  Is your job bringing you the satisfaction you long for?  Assess, examine and make a game plan for change.  Below you can download a free worksheet to get started.  It’s a blue print for helping you to, not only get started, but to stay on track.    Print it and share with anyone else who is craving change.



You can download the free worksheet by clicking here.


Grab the opportunity now before it’s too late


Did you ever think of great idea and before you knew it, someone else had acted on your thoughts? You never said it out loud yet someone else co-opted your great idea. Someone else has usurped your dream and now they’re capitalizing on it. It has been happening to me often lately. I had a great idea for a blog post and before I knew it, someone else wrote on the same theme. Not only that, her post went viral and was shared all over social media. Gah! How could I be angry with her? I was mad at myself. Why did I meditate so long on the thought and not act on it when it first came to mind? Has this happened to you? That’s a dumb question, because it happens to all us. How is it that a thought, so brilliant and unique, becomes someone else’s ticket to greatness and success?

Allow me to get metaphysical on you for a minute. Once we put a thought in the universe, if not acted upon, it becomes free for someone else to pick up on. If they’re smart and often they are, they own it. For those of us who take too much time to act, overthink and analyze, we’re left, literally watching our dreams fly right by us. Argh! It’s so frustrating when it happens, but we have the power to change it. We can make a decision to allow it to continue to happen or make another choice. The other choice is to act on our great ideas with swift and decisive action. It’s a call to action for us to take a risk, believe in our ability to manifest that which we desire. Any other decisions, give others permission to claim the idea and make it their own.

I’m chasing my dreams. I’m manifesting the life I desire and I’m acting swiftly on my ideas. I have lots of great ideas and even if they don’t go on to produce millions, I’ll never know unless I give it my best shot. My businesses are the result of swift, strategic and intentional actions. As I push forward to other entrepreneurial pursuits, I have to remember to act and not overthink. I know how to do this. Otherwise, it’s like giving away a winning lottery ticket. Lately, I’ve given away a couple of winning tickets.

Want your own winning lottery ticket? Tired of seeing your dreams slip by and having others capitalize on your great ideas? Dissatisfied with where you are in your life? Need step by step guidance to manifest your ideal living? Click below and sign up to work with me–the dream catcher! The freedom maker!


Who I am. What I do and and why I do it.


I started out in business in 1998. I had been in a large, prestigious private practice and was miserable. I needed to make a change and I did. Much to the surprise of the doctor I worked for, I leased an office in the suite right next door. I furnished my office with hand-me-downs, put a shingle up and established my solo mental health practice. The early days, I sat around waiting and worrying because the clients weren’t coming. Yet I persisted because I knew it was exactly where I needed and wanted to be. Eventually my clientele increased. I was able to pay the bills and I began to feel settled. Even as I got more financially comfortable, I continued to dream about what the next level would be for me. I wanted to create a practice that served the needs of children and families thorough out my state. I wanted to serve as an educational portal for people seeking information on issues that effect children. In 2010, I started working on that goal. Within 2 years, my practice grew from one person to 13 therapists. I had contracts with over 45 local schools to provide on site mental health services. My practice revenue had increased beyond 1million dollars. I had arrived. I had achieved my goals. I was happy. My practice continues to be recognized for the high quality services we provide.
In the midst of growing my practice, I got married. My husband is brilliant. I mean knock you to your knees smart. He, too, is a self-employed, owning 6 businesses. We’re super busy, but our focus is on living and enjoying life. We are also bound by the belief that we have to share our knowledge, expertise and experience with others. He’s a man of second chances. He will hire people who might have made poor choices in their past. He works to develop his staff so that one day, if they choose, they can become business owners. Last year, he and I joined forces. I conducted staff trainings and one on one coaching with some of his employees. In six months, his sales grew by 30%. That’s huge! In part, I attribute that growth to us focusing in on his staff’s strengths, holding them accountable and helping them to develop latent skills. It’s been an awesome and fun process.
I am using my skills as a highly trained, experienced and licensed mental health professional to help people in different ways. You’re all familiar with the term coach. In fact, every time I see someone calling themselves a coach, a piece of me cringes. Not that I don’t value coaching, but I feel like it’s suddenly become a trend for people who don’t have the skills or training to call themselves a coach. I’m calling myself a Life enhancement Facilitator (c). I believe that you already know the answers but sometimes life requires us to seek the guidance of someone who can help to facilitate change. I use evidence based tools and skills that I have as a mental health professional to assist you in enhancing your life. I know how to listen. I know the questions to ask. I know how to give you actionable tasks to take you from —talk to change.
I only specialize in three areas, because they are the areas I know the most about and have the most experience with.
Emotional eating
Relationship enhancement

I know how to help you gain control over your eating and get healthy. I know how to help you feel better about yourself. I know how to create lasting self-love.

Relationships can be challenging. In fact, finding a healthy partner can feel impossible. I start at the core by helping women to look at themselves. I help women to go the root of their struggles and discover why they can’t find ‘the one” and why they’ve experienced relationship failure. I help women to become ‘the one’. I also guide women to making the tough decision to get out of unhealthy relationships.

Being an entrepreneur is more than a title. It involves being strategic, understanding your audience, marketing and hard work. You also have to have a strong desire to create something that’s yours. I needed to break free from the constraints of others. That was the driving factor in my decision to take the chance on me. I’ll never work for anyone else again. I know how to reinvent myself and make decisions that keep me financially solvent. Sound like you? I’ll get you there by helping you to with a step by step guide, homework assignments, readings. If you need financial consultation, I’ll bring in my husband who help you to demystify complicated matters that will either make or break you.

Career changers–Click here to start your journey

Need relationship enhancement–sign up here

Struggling with emotional eating and want to get healthy and lose weight, click this link.

Once you sign up and pay, you’ll get access to my calendar where you can set up appointments at times that work for the both of us. We’ll meet online using a secure connection and then we’ll facilitate you to the process of enhancing your life.

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