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Name: Laurie Marsden
Location: Sag Harbor, New York, U.S.
Industry: Healthcare, Wellness & Fitness
Reason for starting? I had been a mental health professional for over 15 years and had developed a program that women did in groups and later in workshops and seminars. I found that women struggle with basic core issues and that is what they work on when they come to therapy. My program succinctly addresses those core issues. After several years I realized that many women are too busy or for another reason do not prioritize themselves. I decided to take my program online and give women the opportunity to do the same work, but in their own home at their own pace and schedule. I basically took the “but”s out of the equation.
Now if a woman really wants to significantly change her behavior, or thoughts and feelings and is motivated she can! The 8 Steps to Becoming You uses CBT, mindfulness and self-help strategies to help women change their lives for the better. The program is also a good compliment to traditional therapy (individual) sessions. The program has 46 videos and a 95 page workbook.
Related: Read about another Healthcare, Wellness & Fitness entrepreneur here.
How do you define success? I have always looked at success as being helpful, grounded, balanced and healthy. I also think that happiness often comes from meaningful work and experiences of connection. When I was younger I was a fashion model in NY, Paris, Milan, London and Germany. I spent 11 years as an international model with clients and agents all over the world. That life was my 11 years of self discovery. It is true that the fashion industry is full of lots posers and superficiality, but it also affords the kind of time and self reflection that can be very important to understanding your inner workings and true self.
When I left the industry I went back to college and got 2 degrees from Columbia University, a BS in psychology and a Master’s of Science in Clinical Social Work. I have only worked in mental health since. Mental health is slowly being de-stigmatized and embraced as a foundation of health in general. To me, being mentally and physically healthy is the foundation of a successful life.
Biggest success: I do have a balanced and relatively healthy life and for that I am grateful. If I have to talk about my business success to date, I would have to say completing the volume of work necessary to launch a web based program was an amazing feat. I worked very hard and I have developed and completed a comprehensive program that I am very proud of. The women who do my program love it, the feedback has been amazing. Each Step of the 8 Steps program addresses an area women struggle with. So for instance Step 3 Communication & Assertiveness has videos where I talk about how to communicate effectively and how to be assertive, etc. And then there are beautifully designed worksheets the women can use to reflect on how they are currently doing in these areas. Columbia University has interviewed me and featured the program several times in their various materials
Related: The Independent Life – Pam Cooper
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? My top challenge has been being a pioneer in my field. As nice as it is to be one of the first out of the gate, it is also harder for people to understand what you are doing. The 8 Steps to Becoming You is the first web based or online therapy program ever launched for women. And the idea of online therapy is relatively new to many people, although it has been around in some forms for years. I have spent a lot of time educating other clinicians, institutions and clients on what online interventions are and what they offer. Most people don’t realize that web based therapy has been proven very effective. Many research studies how that it can be more effective than traditional face to face therapy! This may be due to the anonymous nature of the intervention. People disclose and are more honest by themselves. To me therapy is a personal journey. So as long as you are doing the work on yourself that you need to, are safe, and have support in place, this is a great option.
Who is your most important role model? I have always been in awe of Oprah Winfrey. I had the great pleasure of meeting her 18 years ago when I was starting to develop my program and she was incredibly supportive. I love her honesty and authenticity. I love her energy and her devotion to the truth. And of course I love all that she has accomplished in her life (that’s the awe part). How can one woman do so much?!! She is truly an amazing person who I admire greatly.
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Edited by The Story Exchange