We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Josephine Almanzar and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dr. Josephine, what role has risk played in your life or career?

I believe risk is a necessary element for growth. It is relatively easy to make decisions when we have reassurance, reinforcement, and all the information. However, the decision-making process becomes significantly more difficult when the path ahead is unclear. In those moments, something important happens: We have to believe in ourselves and our purpose. That belief has to override doubt, anxiety, and fear and compel us towards action.

I am a proud legacy of individuals who embody this level of conviction. My grandmother took a tremendous risk when moving her two young boys from the Dominican Republic to the United States in the early 70s. Her belief in this country was so strong that she left the comfort of her homeland to provide a better life for her children. Her courageous risk all those years ago laid the groundwork for my parents, three brothers, and I. It offered me the opportunity to complete my undergraduate and graduate degrees and earn my license as a psychologist.

How I relate to risk is also how I relate to failure: If I believe in myself enough to take a risk, I also have to believe I can face failure and recover if things don’t go as planned. This mindset was crucial when making the jump into private practice. I always knew I wanted to build my own business and make my own rules. In my mind, it wasn’t a matter of “if” but “when.” I took a risk by making my “when” my postdoctoral fellowship.

Typically, postdoctoral fellowships are completed in a formal, structured setting with a clearly defined pipeline of clients. In the world of private practice, however, nothing is truly guaranteed. Your practice is built on the back of your brand, your marketing efforts, and your sweat equity. With this in mind, I took that career-defining risk and accepted a fellowship at a private practice. I decided that listening to my intuition and pursuing my goal was more important than security and waiting for the “right time.” I had it all figured out, or so I thought.

Shortly after starting the fellowship, I had the disheartening realization that it was not the right fit. The feeling of failure began to set in. “Did I make the wrong decision?” “Was the risk I made worth it?” “What do I do now?!” There came a moment where I had to release my initial expectations and transform this perceived failure into a stepping stone in my journey, not the end of it. Hopeful, I decided to transition to a different private practice, Midtown Psychotherapy Associate in Atlanta. From there, everything naturally clicked, and I hit the ground running. I completed my fellowship, became a licensed psychologist, and opened my own business, Oasis Psychological Services, LLC. In the end, the risk, and the pivotal lesson that came with it, was beyond worth it.

Ultimately, risk-taking is the ability to bet on yourself. As a Psychologist, I empower my clients to bet on themselves by teaching them how to use their strengths and values to attain a better quality of life. Sometimes this means challenging ineffective thinking patterns and letting go of deeply-rooted behaviors. Their progress is a continuous reminder that risk-taking is a process. It requires us to reflect on our core values, overcome our fear of failure, and commit to ourselves. In the end, the risk-taking process leads us towards growth and purpose.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?

I am the owner of Oasis Psychological Services LLC, a private practice in Atlanta. I primarily work with adolescents, young adults, and adults in individual therapy. I specialize in treating depression, anxiety, interpersonal functioning, self-esteem, and identity development. I also conduct psychological testing to assess for ADHD, learning differences, and mood disorders.

I pride myself in taking a strengths-based approach to healing; I believe that we all have undiscovered strengths that can be useful during challenging times. My theoretical orientation is Interpersonal, which is an integrative framework to help you explore your life through the perspective of connection, thoughts, and emotions. I also incorporate mindfulness-based techniques to enrich your connection with yourself and the present moment.

I am a life-long learner who enjoys helping people tap into their strengths and potential. “Take up space” is a phrase I lean on to empower others to bring all aspects of what makes them human to the surface. I view my clients holistically by celebrating cultural differences and recognizing social justice as an integral part of healing. Through compassion, patience, and a touch of humor, I hope to cultivate a space of safety for you to be your most authentic self.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I moved to Atlanta eight months before the pandemic hit, so I am still exploring this amazing city. However, I’ve come across some great restaurants where I’ve made incredible memories: Barcelona, Negril, Rumi’s Kitchen, and Tiny Lou’s. For some must-see views, visit Piedmont Park, The BeltLine, and the Botanical Garden. If you are looking for great music and a night on the town, check out RockSteady, Hotel Clermont, and Whiskey Blue.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents are my inspiration to live the best possible life I can. They are the ultimate pillars of perseverance, integrity, and kindness. My fiancé is my anchor, and he encourages me to step into my greatness every day. He always reminds me to take a step back and reflect on the “bigger picture.” Finally, my postdoc supervisor at Midtown Psychotherapy Associates, Dr. Amy Smith-Barnes. Thank you for believing in me and creating a safe environment for me to take risks and succeed.

Website: www.drjoalmanzar.com

Instagram: @dr.joalmanzar

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joalmanzarpsyd/

Other: PsychologyToday: https://www.psychologytoday.com/profile/761557 Email: oasispsychservices@gmail.com

Image Credits
Photographer: Ride The Wave Photography

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