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Meet Kevilynn Gatson of Reflections Counseling Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kevilynn Gatson. 

Hi Kevilynn, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
After graduating high school, I was given one of two choices, go to college or go into the military. Growing up a military kid I knew that wasn’t for me so college it was. I started with the plan to become a Physical Therapist. However, microbiology quickly showed me that was not going to be for me. I did some soul searching and decided on Psychology. After graduating from The University of Arkansas, I really had no idea what I wanted to do but was advised that the next step was to get a job in the field. I went to work at the Department of Children and Family Services. Working there showed me that I was on the wrong side of the field in respect to client care. Making the decision to take children from their home was challenging for me and I struggled each time I had to. One day, I was taking a child to their therapy appointment and I had never been to that particular office before. Little did I know that trip would change the trajectory of my career and vision for my future. I sat in the lobby waiting on the therapist to come out and when she came out to my surprise, she looked like me. Although I knew there were black therapist, something just struck me in that moment and it felt attainable for me. I waited looking around and envisioning how I could do the same thing. I talked to the therapist after the session about her business and was even more convinced that this was what I wanted for myself. I began researching, networking, and talking to the therapists and case managers more about business structure and what it would take to become a therapist. 

I decided to go back to school for my Master’s in Mental Health Counseling. I spent years in community mental health as a case manager then transitioned to a school-based therapist, and thought I hit big when I accepted the role of a Clinical Director at residential facility that I eventually assumed the role of Executive Director. I learned the business side of the field and decided that while we are running a business, we have to consider that we are dealing with humans. In order to service people, the way I wanted, I needed to stretch myself beyond what I was taught which was to get a good-paying job and stay until retirement. It took me years to make the leap, but I started Reflections Counseling Group part-time to learn the ropes and build confidence in my ability to sustain a business–on my terms. In February 2020 I left my corporate job and went full time with my practice. I got a bigger office space and opened Reflective Journey Counseling Suites with my business partner. Then the pandemic hit, but I have not missed a beat. Being full-time was actually right on time because the need so great. While I wasn’t fully prepared to deal with running a business in the pandemic, I quickly figured it out and have been rocking and rolling ever since. 

Yearly, I explore how I want to expand my business and my brand. I decided in 2020 to follow my heart to become a doula and provide much-needed support to mothers in postpartum. My own struggles with postpartum really fueled this desire for me. I did some research and completed my training with Homeland Heart in Nashville. I also co-founded Nashville Clinicians of Color with my fellow peers to initially curate a space for clinicians of color to network and fellowship, but it has grown into something much bigger and I am excited about the growth and things to come. 

This year I celebrated 5 years in business! 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Choosing to start a business sounds great in theory, but there are a lot of things that you really just learn along the way and I lost some of my edges too. I had a few setbacks and bumps, but overall, the losses came with great lessons that helped me grow and expand my practice. 

Aside from business woes, the biggest struggles were actually internal. The business stuff I could google, ask colleague or simply take my L and do better going forward. However, the personal growth took a bit more time. The quest to conquer self-doubt, fear of failure, burn-out, finding work-life balance, and establish personal and professional boundaries to name a few. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone and there are days you want to throw in the towel and just go sit at someone’s desk and collect a check, but remembering the bigger picture keeps me grounded. 

Ultimately, I had to make a personal decision to shift my beliefs and understanding about self-sacrifice recognizing that I am human and the business side of things had to take a backseat to what my needs were as a human first. In a nutshell, I had to learn BALANCE! I attribute much of my success to that lesson. 

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Reflections Counseling Group (RCG) is a private practice located in Goodlettsville that provides individual, family, group and couples counseling to those in the State of Tennessee. We offer in-person and telehealth sessions. We are dedicated to serving those with needs including trauma, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, perinatal mental health care, and more. 

RCG is also a teaching practice. We provide training and development for future clinicans via internship opportunities for master’s level students as well as licensure supervision for those pursuing licensure in the State of Tennessee. Partnering with students and licensure candidates also affords us the opportunity to provide low-cost services to those who may not be able to afford regular therapy services rates. 

RCG is located in Reflective Journey Counseling Suites (RJCS) in which I am co-owner with my business partner. Through RJCS we offer group licensure supervision, group therapy, office space, and virtual business services for other therapist/business owners. Our goal is not only provide therapy services to those in need, but also to a resource for upcoming entrepreneurs and clinicans. There are many lessons we learned along the way, but the most valuable is that you can do it alone, but having a support makes the process much easier. 

Additionally, I am the co-founder of Nashville Clinicians of Color, an organization created to cultivate a space for clinicians to network, support, and discuss all things business and personal. There is much more to come in 2022! 

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
I’m not sure I would call any of what I have accomplished in life luck. I watched my parents and grandmothers work hard for everything they have and overcome despite disadvantages or obstacles. Work ethic was pushed heavy in my family. My dad always taught me to have a plan for your plan and to be thoughtful about your moves, but also to be quick on your feet. My mom taught me the art of hustle. The lady always had a full-time job and a side hustle or two. You work to create the life you want and you always get back up and get back in the game. So, not so much luck, but definitely grit and learning balance along the way. I also know and truly believe what is for me is for me. The people I am called to serve and the things I am called to do will come and my responsibility is to be in position and postured appropriately when it’s time. 

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Image Credits

Porche’ B. Photography
Empowered Tees
Creative Journey

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