Today we’d like to introduce you to Patrick Bryant.
Patrick, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I knew at an early age I wanted to do something in the world of psychology, and help others in a unique and meaningful way. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been perceptive and empathic. From childhood to present, people just seem to feel comfortable talking to me. This presence is a gift, and I don’t take it lightly. Like many therapists, personal experiences have certainly influenced the direction I have taken.
My parents’ divorce, and eventually my own divorce in my mid-20s, provided so much perspective on life. Relational grief and loss have a way of providing rich insight about oneself, relationships, and resilience. Actually, it was during the process of divorce that I elevated my immersion into the world of mindfulness and meditation. To this day, mindfulness is a foundation for my personal life, as well as my clinical practice.
While I was in college I had some pretty rigid expectations about the path I should take for my intended career. Life had some other plans that, now, I wouldn’t trade for anything. For instance, I missed a final exam my senior year in the psychology program at UGA, due to being so distracted and emotionally overwhelmed by my grandmother’s death. At first, I thought I had really screwed up. Interestingly enough, missing that exam led to being connected to my undergraduate research advisor, and eventual connections and perspective on becoming a clinical social worker.
After undergrad, I worked for DFCS as a foster care case manager. If you ever want to gain perspective on the impact trauma has on a person and an entire family, spend some time working in the foster care system. Later, came graduate school, and then a post-graduate job as an individual and family therapist at a large community mental health agency. I gained so much knowledge and experience working with the clinicians and families, there. Within four years, I became a clinical supervisor for an intensive family intervention team, and opened a private practice. That was all before turning 30. Looking back, my 20s were busy.
Opening my own practice was always part of my plan. The experience I gained from earlier jobs has been invaluable, but I knew there was more in store for me. I had some good ideas about effective ways to be helpful as a therapist, and to make therapy approachable. I didn’t let much stand in my way when bringing this vision to fruition.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My family has a saying, “Anything worth having is worth working hard to get.” Growing a private practice while balancing a high-demand full-time job, getting settled in a new city, and navigating a new and exciting relationship is tough, but it was important to me that I make this dream a reality. It’s neither cheap, nor easy to start a business from scratch. There are just so many things I had to learn on my own along the way. There was plenty of guidance, but much of what I learned was from experience; successful and otherwise. Getting the word out about what I was offering turned out to be a much greater challenge than I initially anticipated. All the work has paid off, though. The foundation I built, here, has exploded in growth, thanks largely to my wife, Megan, joining the practice a couple years after I started it. I don’t think I could have stayed grounded through all of this if not for her. She’s been here through the triumphs and obstacles. Our collective creativity is something special. It makes me smile every time I think about it.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Peaceful Place – what should we know?
Simply put, The Peaceful Place is a mindfulness-based, person-centered therapy practice. We offer a unique and eclectic approach to helping individuals and families strengthen their innate qualities to gain resilience to obstacles that cloud or block their path in life.
Our main objective is to understand and treat each person as whole and complete. All of the clinicians in this practice take the approach of helping clients be curious about their lived experience, in order to better understand themselves, people around them, and their environments. I like to say we help people invite experiences to work for them, rather than against them.
Much of my work involves helping teen and adult guys experience vulnerability without feeling they have to sacrifice masculine identity. Too often the former is suppressed or avoided like the plague, due to fear of failure of losing identity as the latter. Men have a vast spectrum of emotional experience, and we need to be able to healthfully express the vulnerable ones, as well as the powerful.
Approaches from our clinicians include traditional psychotherapies, mindfulness practices, clinical hypnotherapy, art therapy, dance/movement therapy (somatic therapy), and yoga. We also offer retreats that guide people in building resilience to overwhelming experiences and trauma. I also do trainings and talks for groups and companies who want to learn more about mindful stress-navigation. My goal has been to make therapy and wellness approachable. I love hearing feedback from so many of our clients that this truly is a “peaceful place.” I’ve been purposeful and intentional about each component, from the physical ambiance of the space to the types of services we offer, and the ways in which we deliver those services. There are no words to express what it’s like to see people positively affected by this vision in action.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There are really so many people and experiences throughout my life that have contributed to where I am now; some positive, some painful, most inspirational. My mom taught me not to jump to judging others, b/c I may not understand their experience, and there is often a reason others act the way they do. My dad taught me to be myself, regardless of what comes at me from others. There’s balance in those bits of wisdom. My maternal grandfather is one of the wisest people I know. It’s as if he’s lived multiple lives to gain so much perspective and wit. I think I get my love for stories from him; he’s full of them. Part of what I love about my job is people’s respective stories. They’re all unique, yet somehow connected through similarity. As for the initial spark for this career path, much gratitude goes to a one of my teachers from high school, Stanton Robertson. He is one of those guys who truly gets it. From him, I learned a little Spanish and a lot about compassion and what it means to be truly present for others. Dr. Stephanie Swann first introduced me to mindfulness and the neurobiological workings of human experience. I’ve been hooked ever since. Much of my operation was built upon what I learned from her. I also have so much gratitude for Dr. Roy Sanders, a great psychiatrist in Decatur. We began our private practices in Decatur around the same time, and I’ve enjoyed knowing and collaborating with him. Honestly, I’ve had the privilege to know so many amazing people.
- Address: 1799 Clairmont Road
Decatur, GA 30033
- Website: www.thepeacefulplaceLLC.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Facebook: Facebook.com/thepeacefulplacedecatur
Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.
May 2, 2018 at 3:03 pm
So glad I had the chance to read this article about you and your business. So glad it is doing well. Miss seeing you.
May 3, 2018 at 1:19 am
So proud of you and Meagan
May 4, 2018 at 2:11 pm
Great article! I really enjoyed my time working with you and Meagan, although it was short. I am really interested in taking my clinical work in the same direction. If you’re ever out this way, lets get together.