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Meet Claire Ellison of Spot to Talk

Today we’d like to introduce you to Claire Ellison.

Claire, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born in London, raised in New York City, spent 11 years in San Diego where I attended college and graduate school and then I recently moved to the Flathead Valley of Northwest Montana. With this eclectic background, I had the opportunity to live amongst a variety of cultures and environments, naturally leading me to connect with individuals and families of all different backgrounds. As an only child growing up in NYC, I continuously found myself wanting to help others while also noticing that my friends and family often looked to me for advice. This innate desire to provide others with assistance eventually led me to make the decision to enroll at the University of Southern California Graduate School of Social Work, where I obtained my MSW degree.

After earning my Master’s degree, I pursued my desire to work with youth by providing mental health services in several different high schools within San Diego. I provided individual, group, and family therapeutic services while also assisting in the development of district-wide psychoeducational programs focusing on social skills, substance use, nicotine addiction, and physical violence. In 2017, I became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker which would allow me to pursue my passion of working with youth even further. During this time, I also mentored graduate school students and assisted them in developing their skills and acquiring the knowledge needed for a career in social work.

Following my work in the public school system, I moved to Northwest Montana to gain experience working in a youth residential treatment center. As a primary therapist for a group of high school-aged students, I provided individual, family, and group therapeutic services for the students residing at the therapeutic boarding school. As my career progressed, I began to notice that students who were graduating, moving to different schools, or leaving residential treatment centers, were leaving without mental health support in place. I noticed a lack of available mental health referral services for youth in both Montana and California, and it was then that I decided it was time to create something.

I envisioned a platform that would provide virtual mental health services to adolescents and young adults while keeping the comfort and personal feel of an in-person setting. A virtual space that would appeal to the younger generations while understanding their need for flexible schedules and privacy. Transportation challenges would be eliminated, and the anxiety that often accompanies an in-person visit would be reduced.

After a year of generating and believing in this idea, creating a plan and building it, I am so excited to introduce you to Spot to Talk.

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?
It definitely has not always been a smooth road. Attending graduate school while holding an internship and working full time was challenging. It was exhausting and required a lot of accountability. It seemed as though there was always one hurdle after another and I remember feeling as though I would never get to the end. After graduate school, I needed to obtain over 3,000 hours of clinical experience and a year’s worth of weekly supervision hours to obtain my licensure which was another long road that was more difficult than I imagined. It also entailed studying for a complicated cumulative clinical exam that would finally allow me to obtain status as an LCSW if I succeeded.

Outside of all the logistics to the social work degree and licensure, I remember feeling uncertain about which direction to go in my career and whether or not I could open my own business. I knew there was a lack of services available to the younger generations and many roadblocks, but I wasn’t always confident that I could make a difference. Finally, after deciding that it was time to take a leap of faith, the current situation with Coronavirus occurred virtually simultaneously as the time I had planned to launch Spot to Talk. COVID-19 has impacted the start of Spot to Talk in many ways, from clients’ inability to pay for services and the changes in the use of telehealth platforms. What used to be a choice, the telehealth market, has become saturated as providers are switching to virtual services. In spite of that, I hope that Spot to Talk can be a resource even more so now than ever and to reach as many adolescents and young adults as possible to let them know that if they are feeling alone or have no one to talk to, Spot to Talk can help.

Spot to Talk – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Spot to Talk is a group of therapists focused on helping teenagers and young adults (ages 13 – 24) break through the challenges preventing them from living their best lives. Our platform is all online, allowing participants to connect with their therapist through any phone or computer as long as there is a videocamera and a wifi connection.

We specialize in assisting adolescents, young adults, and their family members work through mental health challenges that include but are not limited to:
– Depression
– Anxiety
– Substance Use Disorders
– Electronic Use Addiction
– OCD
– PTSD/Trauma
– School Refusal
– Identity Formation
– Parent Child Relationship Challenges
-Aftercare post Residential Treatment / Intensive Outpatient Programs

What sets us apart from other teletherapy companies is that we are specializing in just working with the younger generations and have a more personal approach to connecting with youth and families. I wanted the process to feel similar to an in person outpatient office where each participant is placed with a specific therapist to ensure a good fit. Each interested party will first meet with me to share parts of their story so that I can ensure they are placed with the best Spot to Talk therapist for their needs. All of our therapists enjoy working with teens and young adults and have made it their passion, not just a demographic.

As a company, I am most proud of our authentic work and our desire to understand youth. I am proud that Spot to Talk can truly represent and offer the following: A spot to connect. A spot to be heard. A spot to feel welcome. A spot to share your story. A spot to be yourself.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career so far has been witnessing the graduate school interns that I supervised return to their internship placement post-graduate school as full-time therapists. Watching the future generations of clinicians embrace the skills and confidence they have earned and witnessing them put it to use is inspiring. Knowing that we have strong, skilled clinicians to work with the future leaders of the world, continues to motivate me as I grow Spot to Talk.

Pricing:

 

  • Individual 60 Minute Sessions: $120
  • Family 60 Minute Sessions: $150
  • Initial 45 Minute Intake: $100
  • Sliding Scale Fee Offered

 

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Haley Jessat, Highline Design Company

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