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Meet Ryan Madigan of Boston Child Study Center

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryan Madigan.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My parents say that although most children grow out of the phase of constantly asking “why?” – I never did. I have been curious about finding explanations for things that don’t make sense or add up since I can remember. This curiosity led me to study and work in many fields including engineering, finance, marketing, veterinary medicine, biology, and psychology. I wound up focusing on people, specifically, people’s emotions.

It seems to me that we, as a society, have gotten off track with understanding emotions a long time ago and this has contributed to the many mental health issues people struggle with today. Our societal norms seem to teach us to pursue happiness by doing certain stereotypical things “right” (go to school, get good grades, exercise, be likable, etc) and to avoid or view as weak the “bad” emotional experiences like sadness, anxiety, shame, anger, etc. This pattern seems to be what makes some people appear as if they are mentally ill when in reality I see it as a result of struggling to survive in a mentally ill society where healthy, neurological signals are taught to be feared and avoided.

It’s like trying to get through your day without plugging in your phone or stopping for gas because the “signals” or alerts from your phone and car are unpleasant. Life undoubtedly gets more chaotic or challenging for anyone attempting to pursue rules that don’t make sense. These detrimental patterns leave us distrusting our thoughts and feelings and essentially ourselves. It’s this self-doubt that seems to drive so many people to suffer unnecessarily.

I founded the Boston Child Study Center in 2013 to help change this pattern and other elements of our mental health system that didn’t make sense to me. After training and working in many hospitals, universities, and clinics, I noticed how difficult it is for most families to access highly effective treatment and how the treatment that families do receive misses the boat in identifying and understanding the underlying causes of their symptoms. With the addition of my partner, good friend and former graduate school roommate, Nathan Lambright in 2014, we have built a team of providers who are passionate about teaching our clients how to listen to their emotions and focused on ensuring that every family can access treatment by breaking down unnecessary financial, geographic and psychological barriers.

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?
The biggest challenge has been managing the growing pains, which we are both grateful to have and mindful to keep in check. Nathan and I have worked hard to ensure that the quality and expertise of care remains as strong as families and referring providers have come to expect. Finding the right talent to support our services can also be a challenge. While Boston offers the brightest minds in the world, it has required a great deal of patience for Nathan and I to identify a team that is not only passionate but as intelligent socially as they are academically.

Tell us about your business/company. What do you do?
The Boston Child Study Center is a multidisciplinary team of over 35 clinicians dedicated to improving the lives of children, adolescents, young adults, and families, through improving access and quality of evidence-based treatments for anxiety, mood, and behavioral disorders. Our team’s depth of expertise allows us to treat anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders, behavior problems, depression, eating disorders, executive function skills deficits, family conflict, gender dysphoria, learning disabilities, mood disorders, substance abuse, self-harm and suicidal behaviors, trauma and PTSD. We are proud to have served families from across the U.S. over 15 countries worldwide.

What are you known for, etc? What sets you apart from others?
One aspect of our care that sets us apart from others is our ability to provide comprehensive mental health and learning based services in one location. Our clients value the ability to access comprehensive care for complex issues all under one roof. All of our care resides in our 10,000 square foot state-of-the-art treatment, training and research center in the heart of Back Bay. We enlisted the support of my wife and incredibly talented designer, Ashley McDonnell, who pulled us out of the dark ages that so many mental health facilities seem stuck in. It’s unfortunate that so many mental health services are offered in unnecessarily dark, scattered and depressing settings. Ashley transformed our center into a bright, optimistic, and welcoming space where our clients and staff can thrive.

Perhaps what sets us apart the most is our passion and ability to break down barriers to treating even the most severe and complex cases. Most of our services were born from the need to fill gaps in care that families can’t get elsewhere. Where other facilities turn families away due to cost, the complexity of symptoms, or geographic barriers, we are proud to provide comprehensive services that can flexibly increase in intensity from one to twenty-five plus hours of individualized treatment per week.

What are you most proud of as a company?
Nathan and I are probably most proud of the fact that we have developed a business model that allows us to provide the highest quality of care without turning a single-family away due to financial limitations. Our sliding scale reduces fees to as low as $15 and applies to our entire team. Whether you’re working with a supervised clinician or our directors, the reduced fee ensures every family can access the care they need without limiting who they work with.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Combrinck Photography, Imagix Studios

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