Explore What’s Next Associates: Nicole Brown, LCSW, Dr. Amy Brook, Christine Frank, LMSW

A few months ago, after a tough week, I went to the barn for a bit of rest and relaxation and found fellowship.

Patty, a longtime boarder and friend of Maple Row Farm, was celebrating Vito’s Gotcha Day; the day she got Vito, a handsome pure-white Warmblood, fourteen years ago. (Ugh. As I write this I realize my coffee is too far away from me…) As I walked into the barn to check on my mare, Annie, Patty invited me to join in the celebration that was happening in the barn lounge. I felt a bit like I was crashing the party but everyone made me feel most welcome. There were sandwiches and it was lunchtime so it made sense. There were also cupcakes which I thought about resisting a couple of times. This battle was completely internal, like in my head. While I demolished the cupcake, (yeah, that battle was totally a losing proposition) Patty declared me “one of us!” which was kind of like the Queen Bee saying I was alright to be part of the cool kids’ group. She said something about the frosting all over my face being the clincher.

While people were still gathered around the table, I showed off my new website. After all, the photos were almost all taken at Maple Row. Everyone was very complimentary and curious about the practice. I got nervous.

Why do I get nervous? Haven’t I arrived by now? Aren’t I the head of a big successful practice? Aren’t I doing what I said I would set off to do ten years ago when all this was merely a twinkle in my eye? I’m amazed that I can still feel flustered, a little defensive, a little like I don’t want to sound too braggy. A little off balance.

It’s an old feeling. It’s the voice in my head saying “Don’t get too full of yourself, you don’t want people to think you’re conceited.” That’s a powerful voice. It was planted there by experts, my parents. I don’t mean to make it their fault. I’m sure they had the same voice to contend with and they were just passing it on.

What’s different now is my awareness. What’s different now is my place in my own life.

Later that day, I was folding clothes in my bedroom when it hit me that maybe I was self-actualized. That’s a scary prospect but I wasn’t so much scared as happy with a touch of apprehension. My discomfort talking to my barn mates about Explore What’s Next suggested I had a ways to go yet. Maybe I’m 90% self-actualized. The other 10% is yet to come and that’s cool.

I’m definitely going in the right direction. This new website for instance. The fourth edition for Explore What’s Next, it’s the visual representation of the culture and environment I’ve always wanted to build to serve people shaken with the stress in their lives. With the artful website architects at Smack Smog who took my dream and made it better, and the photographers, Brian and Christina Shaw of Shaw Photography, we have this site that reflects the warmth, professionalism and camaraderie we all share at Explore What’s Next.

This website says, “You’ve come to a safe place. We can and will help you.”

That’s why I wanted the photo shoot to be outside at Maple Row Farm and not in the office. The Farm is my happy place. Not to say the offices aren’t comfy! It’s just that at the Farm it’s easier to show that EWN therapists are real people, not just professionals who live in offices with couches. The fellowship I find with my barn mates, we have that at Explore What’s Next. Each and every associate at Explore What’s Next is a qualified mental health professional, and so much more. We are authentic. We are serious about our work. We are genuine in our concern for you. We are funny and laugh easily! We pride ourselves for being accessible (no receptionist!). We are the therapists at Explore What’s Next!

Contact us today if you could use some help with your life stress. Or if you are a licensed New York State Psychologist, Social Worker, Psychiatrist or Nurse Practitioner looking for a professional home, we’d love to hear from you, too.