Maria Spada has a Holistic Mental Health Group Practice | GP 53

Can counseling become more effective when it includes physical wellness alongside therapeutic treatment? How does a holistic group practice find the best fitting clinicians? What are some valuable pieces of advice from a successful group practice owner?

In this podcast episode, Alison Pidgeon speaks with Maria Spada about her holistic mental health group practice.

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Meet Maria Spada

Maria Spada is the founder, director, and lead psychotherapist at Awakened Path Counseling & Psychotherapy in Monmouth Junction, NJ. She is inspired and driven to honor a holistic philosophy in her practice where integrative treatment is not limited to incorporating nutrition, neuroscience education, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness practices.

Awakened Path aims to be a driving force in moving away from the traditional disease-centered model where diagnoses and medication are the cornerstones of treatment. She empowers her clients to take a deep look inwards and reconnect with their natural powerful ability to heal.

Visit her website, connect on Instagram and Facebook.

In This Podcast


  • Maria’s Holistic Group Practice
  • Hiring holistic clinicians
  • Advice to new group practice owners

Maria’s Holistic Group Practice

Maria’s practice focuses on personal wellness before medication. Of course, she discusses that there is a time and place for medication when it is necessary, however before that they work with their clients on their eating habits, exercise, social wellness, and what they expose themselves to day-by-day, whether that is intensive social media or a stressful work environment.

We really aim to help the client claim their power in healing and in healing themselves. What that looks like is not being so focused on the symptoms but instead being focused on ‘what do I have control over?’ ‘What are some small changes I can make with support and comfort that will lead to feeling relief? That will lead to healing’ (Maria Spada)

The practice, therefore, has a holistic overview of therapy that does not focus on the brain and body as separate entities, for example, and instead views any issues in the body by examining the body, mind, and spirit together before simply diving into writing prescriptions for medication.

Hiring holistic clinicians

The process takes time. Sometimes Maria’s practice gets potential clinician queries through Indeed or their website and Maria always makes it very clear what their philosophy is and that the potential clinician is comfortable with integrative counseling and healing.

It is important for Maria’s clinicians to be aware that prescribing medication is not the first step in their treatment plan.

When a clinician’s resumé looks promising, Maria will follow up with additional screening to see that they are a good fit and have a face-to-face meeting to discuss the job’s expectations.

Advice to new group practice owners

  • Mindset: It is frightening to do something new, and a business owner should be aware of the decisions that they are making, and if they are coming from a place of fear or a place of confidence, even nervous confidence.
  • Knowing your limitations: Know your limitations and do not be shy about asking for help when you need to. This might look like hiring a coach, an office manager, or an extra accountant.
  • Understand the different skillset for managing people: There is something to be learned about what kind of leader you want to be, and what it takes to become that leader, and what type of experience do you want to create for your staff to have when working for you.

When clinicians feel comfortable and well taken care of in their workplace, they perform better and give the best counseling they can to their clients. It is a trickle-down effect; the better you lead, care and provide for your clinicians, the better care and counseling they will provide to their clients.

Books mentioned in this episode

Useful Links:

Meet Alison Pidgeon

A portrait of Alison Pidgeon is shown. She discusses ways to grow your group practice on this week's episode of Practice of the Practice. Alison is a serial entrepreneur with four businesses, one of which is a 15 clinician group practice. She’s also a mom to three boys, wife, coffee drinker, and loves to travel. She started her practice in 2015 and, four years later, has two locations. With a specialization in women’s issues, the practices have made a positive impact on the community by offering different types of specialties not being offered anywhere else in the area.

Alison has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016. She has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, through mastermind groups and individual consulting.

Thanks For Listening!

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