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Meet Jeremy Desmond of Insight Counseling & Wellness in Jamaica Plain

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeremy Desmond.

Jeremy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up wanting to make a positive difference in the world, and for most of college thought that was going to be through public policy. However, when I saw how very little you can get accomplished in politics and government, I became disillusioned. As I was finishing my Political Science Degree, I decided to take a seminar in Crisis Counseling and found I had an innate skill in actively listening to people. This made me realize I could still make a positive difference, it would just have to be on a much smaller scale, one person at a time.

I began working in residential facilities dealing with substance abuse and mental health, eventually going back to school to get my Master’s in Social Work. I always knew I’d become a therapist, at least that was my dream, but knew I needed some front line work and experience. I worked for the Boston Emergency Services Team back in 2002 for a few years, and then worked as a Trauma/ER Social Worker at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. These jobs were great for learning about the city, the system of social and mental health services, and connecting with people on a human level at their most difficult times in life.

To pursue my dream of becoming a private practice therapist, I realized I had to start in a clinic, build up my therapy skills, and build up my name in the field. Along the way I got pulled into a small management role that developed into a bigger one and eventually I caught the bug of wanting to build something that I could be proud of and that would help people on a greater scale. However, as many people realize, being a part of a corporate enterprise, even if it’s for mental health can be humbling and frustrating. So after many years working for a mental health corporation, I decided it was time to build something I, and others could be truly proud of, which is how Insight Counseling & Wellness came into being.

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?
As anyone can attest to in the mental health field, the struggle of making enough income is real, but is something that is accepted as part of the process. You have to take the long view if you’re going to enter this field, as far as making money is concerned. It can’t be a priority when you’re trying to gain valuable experience, but the more you learn and grow and improve people’s lives, the more you can gain from a prestige or income standpoint. Self-care is another struggle for most of us, as you sacrifice a bit of your own health and wellbeing while absorbing others’ pain. But luckily we have clinical supervision built in to the field and this is there to help us process that pain along the way.

It has NOT been a smooth road in building the practice, but I never felt like there was something I couldn’t handle. Fortunately, I’d put so much time in as a therapist, social worker, and manager over the years, that there weren’t too many things that I couldn’t deal with or anticipate. Also, luckily, I just happen to be married to a mental health clinician and director of the biggest mental health organization in Massachusetts, and she has helped immensely in navigating the process.

One of the biggest struggles in health care, but even more so in mental health, is health insurance and billing. As most are aware, the insurance system is so complicated and so speedily evolving, that an organization has to have a constant awareness of and monitoring of the various changes happening on a regular basis. Insight’s philosophy is to take these things on so that our therapists can stick to the job of helping people. Other “struggles” have seemed more of a challenge that were rewarding to figure out. I guess you’d have to enjoy these things to build any small business, which I honestly do.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Insight Counseling & Wellness story. Tell us more about the business.
Insight Counseling & Wellness is first and foremost a mental health private practice. This was my bread and butter and still is. However, we also have a Reiki Master/Mindful Meditation specialist on staff and have plans to add more wellness services in the future, such as acupuncture, massage, hypnotherapy, etc. We have 5 mental health/substance abuse therapists in our JP location, and one therapist (me) in Scituate, where I live. We’re about to add another therapist to the JP office, and add another office and therapist in Worcester. The therapists do individual, couples, family, and community/home based counseling.

We specialize in various issues that people are dealing with, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, family problems, relationship problems, ADHD, LGBTQ related issues, grief, life stressors, etc. One of our most valuable services is our DBT Group, which stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and helps people struggling with managing their emotions in a healthy way and is primarily focused on giving people practical tools for handling life’s problems. We started with one DBT group and now have 3 running weekly.

What I’m most proud of with our company is its dedication to quality. This isn’t just a buzzword, it’s our defining characteristic. I truly believe the way to be viable in this business is to offer the best possible services by the most qualified, experienced staff. I’ve seen other, much bigger practices, get so big that they lose that focus on quality and are mainly concerned with filling offices. Unfortunately, there are many bad therapists out there, and if your practice doesn’t use quality as it’s guiding principle, you’ll be employing those therapists and potentially harming people along the way. Of course, you have to pay for quality therapists and we focus on making sure our therapists get the most we can afford. I’m extremely proud of our staff.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Good luck requires being opportunistic and keeping your eyes open on growth opportunities, because they WILL be there. Bad luck requires rolling with the punches and adapting if something pops up and blocks the way. Both good luck and bad luck have played a role in the growth of the business because these things are about the randomness of life. It makes life fun and interesting. I don’t focus on whether I have too much or too little of either, whether in business or my personal life. I take this attitude into my therapy with others and find that that philosophy seems to lead to the most success and fulfillment for myself and others.

Pricing:

  • Insurances accepted: Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts, Medicare
  • Therapy Self pay rates: $100 individual, $120 couples, kids, families, $140 home visits, Group $50
  • Reiki/Mindfulness Meditation – self pay only, $120 for 60 minutes, $150 for 90 minutes

Contact Info:

  • Address: 11 Green St Jamaica Plain MA 02130
    78 Rebecca Rd Scituate MA 02066
  • Website: insightcounselingandwellness.com
  • Phone: 617-221-5951
  • Email: info@insightcounselingandwellness.com
  • Facebook: Insight Counseling & Wellness, PLLC

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