Today we’d like to introduce you to Denise Fournier.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Denise. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My journey into the world of mental health and healing began auspiciously in 2002, when I was first introduced to both the field of psychology and the tradition of Buddhism. It was then that I officially committed myself to learning about human nature and exploring the great mystery that contains all of us. But it’s fair to say that my curiosity about these things has existed for as long as I have. As a kid growing up in South Florida, I had a philosophical bent and would often spend my private time pondering deep existential questions. I was endlessly curious about why things are the way they are and why people behave the way they do. My way of looking at the world caused me quite a bit of insecurity; I always felt like an oddball. But when I started studying psychology and philosophy as an undergraduate, I felt completely identified. I knew I’d found a home. I earned my Bachelor’s in Psychology and later a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy, all the while delighting in the process of expanding my view and absorbing every bit of knowledge I could.
When it came time for me to work directly with clients as a therapist, I found myself entering a captivating new world. I felt honored to bear witness to people’s life journeys, and I fell in love with the process of walking alongside them. Though I spent most of my time in school believing I’d go on to become a researcher, my time with clients convinced me that I needed to choose a different path. I made that choice about 10 years ago now, and I’ve never once looked back.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I definitely can’t say that it’s been a smooth road, but the struggles have turned out to be the best parts of the ride. Doing what it took to earn my credentials and establish myself as a professional was, in its own way, a struggle. There were many sacrifices involved and I sometimes wondered whether it would all be worth it. What kept me going was my passion for the path I’d chosen and my deeply rooted conviction that I was doing what I was put on this earth to do. The other big struggle showed up for me in 2015, which has been the toughest and most transformative year of my life. I started the year with a commitment to getting a private therapy practice off the ground by year’s end. But my personal life wound up putting my professional plans in a chokehold. In May of that year, my marriage fell apart and I spent the summer going through the divorce process. Then, just two months after the papers were signed, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer — same cancer that took my father’s life when I was a kid. Thankfully, I responded well to surgery and treatment, and my story got to continue. Coming out of that tough time, I committed myself to living every day with purpose, integrity, and gratitude. Standing in that commitment, I found a way to follow through with my plans to open a private practice and on January 1st, 2016, Evergreen Therapy was born. I give thanks to my struggles all the time because they’ve always been my greatest teachers.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Evergreen Therapy – what should we know?
Evergreen Therapy is a private therapy practice that I own and operate in the Morningside neighborhood of Miami, just outside the Design District. I see it as the manifestation of my devotion to the practice of therapy. After several years of working as a therapist in a variety of capacities — from community mental health programs to nonprofit organizations and drug treatment centers — I’ve created a home for my own brand of therapy.
The way I practice is reflective of who I am and where I’ve been. It blends my traditional mental health background with teachings from the Eastern traditions of Buddhism and Taoism. It’s what I call person-centered, possibility oriented therapy. But that’s only what I call it when I feel like being official. Really, what I do is hold space for the unfolding of the deeply personal processes people choose to share with me. It’s a journey into new meanings and deeper understandings — a heart-centered connection that moves away from the clinical and into the personal. It’s a unique encounter intended to heal and expand.
I work with a diverse range of clients and a wide spectrum of issues in my practice, but I specialize in practicing mindfulness-based therapy to support people in facing life transitions and addressing issues like depression, anxiety, and addiction. I’m recognized for integrating the spiritual dimension into the therapeutic process, and I’m also known for my work with LGBT individuals and couples.
Many of my clients have told me that what they experience at Evergreen Therapy is much different from other therapy experiences they’ve had in the past. I think what sets me apart is my willingness to think flexibly and create a space for each client’s unique journey to unfold. I don’t see people in terms of their symptoms or pathology; I see their strengths, resources and awe-inspiring resilience. My job, as I see it, is to support people in establishing healing and transformative connections—with themselves, with others, with the earth, and with the stories they want to create for their lives. Like I always tell my clients, I want to put myself out of business as quickly as possible. And I mean it. Life is beautiful and it should be lived outside a therapist’s office. My intention is always to work with people in as brief a way as possible, so they can get on with the business of living.f
I’m most proud of my commitment to being transparent and authentic with my clients, maintaining a sense of integrity in the work I do. Being a therapist is not a job for me, it’s a vocation; and I’m grateful to be where I am today, sharing my work with my community here in Miami.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There’s no question I wouldn’t be doing what I am today without the support of so many people in my life. First and foremost among those people is my family, who have always encouraged and believed in me. There’s also my incredible partner, Khaled, who is wholeheartedly dedicated to me and always holds me to my highest. I’m endlessly grateful for their love and support, and I can’t credit them enough for their contribution to my success. I’ve also been honored along the way with the guidance of my mentor and friend, Dr. Douglas Flemons, who’s inspired my work and given me the confidence to do it my way. Juan Lesende, Eva Ugarte, and the entire team at Adaptive Center supported my growth and gave me a home to practice and gain inspiration before taking the leap into private practice. All of these remarkable people and so many others have inspired and helped me along the way. I bow to each and every one of them.
The success of Evergreen Therapy is owed entirely to my incredible clients. They are my greatest teachers and my biggest inspiration. None of what I get to do would be possible without them, and their presence in my life is truly a gift. I feel fortunate to know every client I’ve gotten to work with and I’m excited to meet every future client who will walk through the door.
- Individual Therapy: $150 per 60-minute session; $190 per 90-minute session
- Couples Therapy: $175 per 60-minute session; $215 per 90-minute session
- Address: 4770 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, FL 33137
- Website: www.evergreen-therapy.com
- Phone: 305-814-4863
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @evergreentherapy
- Facebook: instagram.com/evergreentherapy/
- Twitter: facebook.com/evergreentherapymiami/
- Other: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mindfully-present-fully-alive