This month I interviewed Sharon Shepard of Siskiyou Counseling and Consultation Services, whom recently opened up her practice during these challenging economic times.
Q: What services do you offer?
A: I am a Marriage Family Therapist (MFT) and offer counseling for children, individuals, couples and families. Over the past 25 years I have specialized in counseling children and adolescents, abuse survivors, marriage relationships and people who are in transition in their lives. I have been in Siskiyou County for the past 11 years and have been in charge of Children’s Mental Health services. For a year I was in charge of Alcohol and Other Drug services and most recently have also been in charge of Adult Services.
Q: Was it a difficult decision to open up a business while the economy made many people nervous about spending money?
A: Counseling is about helping people through difficult situations and experiences. The current economic situation is very sobering and is creating stress and anxiety for many people. Having a private practice allows me the opportunity to come alongside of people, to encourage them and to help them along the path of their life. I offer a sliding scale for some of my services to assist those who need counseling.
Q: What has surprised you the most about opening up a therapy practice?
A: I was surprised at the quality of support and training through the Small Business Development Center, JEDI and the Chamber of Commerce. Also, it has been great being part of a small community where people are helpful and supportive.
Q: How do people know about your practice?
A: I have had referrals from local pastors, attorneys and other professionals in the community. Also, I have had requests for counseling from people who have accessed my website (siskiyoucounseling.com). Otherwise, referrals have come by word of mouth and from clients referring others.
Q: What help did you get from the Small Business Development Center?
A: Stephanie Hoffman has been great! She is very knowledgeable and has given me suggestions and direction in making business contacts in the community. She has helped me develop a plan for my business and to stay on track with that plan. In addition, I took some great courses at the Small Business Development Center in Redding.
Q: Any plans for business expansion?
A: I recently took the training necessary to do child custody evaluations. Separation and divorce is very difficult for each member of the family. My hope is to be of service in various ways to children and their parents as they go through this difficult experience. I am also exploring the possibility of opening an office in Mt. Shasta.
Q: What is your contact information?
A: Siskiyou Counseling and Consultation Services, 208 Fourth Street (Yreka)
(530) 842-7227 / www.siskiyoucounseling.com
The Northeastern Small Business Development Center is available to assist you with the mentioned suggestions and can help businesses be competitive in a complex marketplace. Our center provides no cost one-on-one business consulting for Siskiyou, Shasta, and Trinity Counties. We are hosted by both College of the Siskiyous and Shasta College. For more tips call our Yreka office (located at 212 Butte St.) to make an appointment with business consultant Stephanie Hoffman at 842-2470 or email email@example.com www.sbdcsc.org