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Meet Jill Stoddard of The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jill Stoddard.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
“The time is going to pass anyway. You will wake up one day at 31 and you will either be a psychologist or you won’t.”

I had graduated from the University of Vermont with a BA in psychology and was working as an admin assistant at my dad’s record storage company. I knew I wanted to be a psychologist, but I wasn’t sure I had the stamina for the very long road to get there. Doreen, an over-retirement-age woman who was forced to return to work after her husband unexpectedly left her, gave me this very simple but very wise advice. I took it. The time did indeed pass, and at almost 34 (not 31) I woke up a licensed psychologist. It was a long and arduous road that I am grateful every day that I traveled.

Over the past 10 years, I have been building my clinic, The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management (CSAM). When I opened in 2008, bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, but more risk-averse than my successful entrepreneur dad, I Sublette an office and worked only one day a week. Wanting a stable income while I figured this business owner thing out, I also worked full time in other agencies, first with the San Diego VA, and then as an associate professor at The California School of Professional Psychology. In the past decade, the clinic has grown to three locations in Mission Valley, Rancho Bernardo, and Carlsbad, and an incredible team of eight women. This June, a month after our 10-year anniversary celebration, I will be leaving my faculty position to devote myself full time to CSAM.

In addition to being a therapist and business owner, I love writing professionally and creatively. I published my first professional book, The Big Book of ACT Metaphors: A Practitioner’s Guide to Experiential Exercises and Metaphors in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, in 2014, and am currently working on a self-help book for anxiety. I write children’s fiction for fun, much of which is based around my experience in psychology. I also love providing workshops to clinicians and the lay community on topics related to evidence based interventions for stress and anxiety.

I feel so grateful to wake up every day looking forward to a job that I love and that allows me to help my community.

Has it been a smooth road?
One of the most gratifying parts of being a business owner has been putting together an incredible team of therapists and admins who are the heart of CSAM. Once in a while, someone squeaks through the hiring process who is not a good fit, and sometimes even a liability. Discovering this and having to terminate contracts as a result, has been the most challenging part of the journey. Other bumps along the road, like a landlord who allowed a music studio to rent the space next to our therapy office (have you ever tried to practice mindfulness with live drums 5 feet away?) or battling tiny ants falling from the ceiling tiles, have been annoying, but have also provided great learning lessons.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
As a team we proudly live by our CSAM Mission, Vision, and Values Statements

Our Mission Statement
At the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management, we offer evidence-based treatments, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, for clients struggling with anxiety disorders, stress management, depression, and chronic illness. We offer the most effective, short term treatment to our clients, so they get the most out of the time and money they spend with us. We help clients to get in touch with their values in order to live a deeper, more conscious, more meaningful life. We provide them with the tools they will need to move forward from therapy with a sense of groundedness and purpose. Our goal is not to keep clients leaning on us longer than necessary. We believe in our clients’ inherent strength and wisdom. We are here to offer our clients empathy and support in the midst of challenging times, and to celebrate their triumphs and progress with them. Our clients’ wellbeing is our top priority.

Our Vision Statement
To create meaning and vitality by encouraging ventures beyond comfort zones, into courage zones. To kick fear in the rear because this is where the magic happens.

Our Values Statement
Our work is guided and informed by our commitment to:
Evidence based treatment: We only offer treatment that has scientific support for its efficacy because we value our clients’ time, money, and overall wellbeing.

Ethical practices: We only offer treatment to those whom we are confident we can effectively serve. If we have reservations about whether we are suited to treat a client, we refer to a provider who will offer the appropriate specialized care. We abide by the ethical guidelines set forth by our professional associations.
Empathy: Our clients come to us in the midst of pain and struggle, and we know that healing is facilitated by empathy, first and foremost. We understand that who we are as therapists is more important than the techniques we use, and that feeling heard and being seen is a vital piece of therapy.

Congruence: We are therapeutically authentic with our clients. We understand this is an important piece of trust and rapport and allows our clients the space and freedom to be authentic with us in return. Unconditional positive regard: We value our clients for who they are and do not impose judgment upon them, no matter their thoughts or feelings. We believe every human is a whole, unbroken being who is capable of dramatic and powerful change.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
CSAM started in Mission Valley, which was and continues to be a perfect location. Because every major freeway runs by MV, and it is ripe with office space, we have loved being in Mission Valley. I grew to Carlsbad and Rancho Bernardo with the idea that anyone in San Diego county would be able to reach one of our 3 locations within 20-25 minutes max. We also opened in RB in hopes that folks in Temecula, who have far fewer options for specialized mental health care, would be able to access it through us more easily. We love our offices and their locations and plan to stay for a very long time.

Contact Info:

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