We had the good fortune of connecting with Patrick Bryant and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patrick, what is the most important factor behind your success?
In a word, “authenticity.” This lesson didn’t come easy. As a male therapist, I’m in the gender minority within my field. I had exceptional training from some great women, and caught myself striving to be them, professionally, so that I could one day have the impact they had in helping their clients. I learned that, in order for me to do what I do, and with the many men with whom I work, I had to find my own approach. Of course, that meant I needed to really check-in to learn about myself as a person and as a therapist, to discover what I bring to this profession. What I can offer, simply by being me, to the many guys who prefer to lean into those vulnerable spaces with a male therapist, is invaluable, and most definitely requires authenticity.
There are times when I catch myself admiring, or wanting to be more like, someone else I deem successful. Sometimes, that nudge can be quite strong. Something that has been invaluable to me, is remembering that I got where I am by being me, experiencing my life as only I can through my lens. My practice became, and remains, successful because people gravitate to the way I show up in these sessions. If I were to be someone else, the energy just wouldn’t be right. As long as I commit to being the very best version of myself, and continue to strive to make a positive impact on my community, I trust that who I am is enough.
What should our readers know about your business?
The Peaceful Place started as a vision for me. While working as an associate therapist in community mental health, I envisioned a psychotherapy practice that truly operated from a place of curiosity about people; seeing them as human beings with real lives, real strengths, and real stress. Emotional, mental, and spiritual pains do not discriminate among race, gender, social class, or sexual orientation. Bringing my vision to fruition certainly was not easy, but I don’t think I ever considered that it wouldn’t work out. I committed to reaching my goals, and never looked back. That drive is largely how I was raised. Of course, there have been plenty of discoveries on my own, as I’ve navigated various stages of life. One of the most impactful and most meaningful experiences in my life has been the practice of mindfulness. Through meditation, yoga, Aikido, and instruction on mindful living, my lens has shifted less toward labeling, judging, and shame-based thinking, and more toward curiosity, kindness, and compassion. Mindfulness, or paying attention to the here and now with kindness and curiosity, is how I strive to live, it’s in the foundation of my counseling practice, it’s how I invite others to see themselves and the world around them. From the moment clients walk into our building, they are welcomed to a peaceful, relaxing, safe place. A great amount of thought and intention has gone into everything from the aesthetic, to the ambient music and aroma therapy, to ways my colleagues and I work with our clients. Much of my training and focus falls into treatment of psychological trauma, but also involves a great deal of focus in helping men develop a healthy relationship with masculinity. At any given time, the majority of my caseload is comprised of men, which seems to surprise a lot of folks. I sometimes hear, “How do you get men to open up and be vulnerable with feelings?” I’ve given talks about working with men in therapy, and have worked with more guys than I can count. One thing resonates more than anything else; showing up authentically. For me, this authenticity also includes compassion, honesty, and sincerity. Of course, clinical skills are important, too. Many folks have great clinical skills, but truly connecting with someone in a meaningful way is the art in therapy. I find that most men really appreciate realizing that I’m human, and one who treats them as humans; not problems. Every person has a story. I take pride in making sure that every therapist hired in our practice shares my appreciation of those stories and how they can foster growth. We’ve grown to have four additional therapists in the practice, each very skilled and talented. I’ve been so grateful to work with these folks.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
On several weekends from March to October, I can be found at an Atlanta United match. I cannot say enough about the experience of an AU match – the interpersonal connection one feels with 50,000 – 70,000 people all at once, the talent and energy of the team, the general atmosphere – it’s impressive. Some of our favorite restaurants and watering holes around the city are Wrecking Bar, Twains, Brick Store, Anis, and Industry Tavern. If you like mussels, Anis and Industry Tavern have some of the best. Oh, and those oysters at Kimble House… This city has so many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, and I indulge as much as possible, whether navigating one of the trails at Stone Mountain, or exploring any number of the nature preserves/trails throughout the metro area. One of my favorites is The Path that connects Medlock Park and Mason Mill Park; it’s so peaceful and conveniently close to my office. My wife and I are members at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and enjoy the many events and casual strolls through the garden offered there. Another of my favorite pastimes is live music. My wife and I love catching shows at Variety Playhouse, Eddies Attic, concerts in the Decatur Square. Jazz at Cafe 290; blues at Mad Matt’s. We also try to catch several of the festivals in town. Inman Park, Dogwood, and the Ponce festivals are some of our favorites.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Honestly, there are so many people throughout my life who have made an impact, and all of them deserve a shout out. I hope I’ve communicated my gratitude to each of these folks in person. From my parents (mom, step-dad, and dad) who have done all they could to provide me with the best opportunities and lessons, each in their own way, to my granddad for providing a stand-up example of how to be a “gentle man”, to my friends who helped me out of my cocoon to feel more comfortable with being “me.” I have been fortunate enough to have some of the most incredible experiences and opportunities in my life; some things I couldn’t even have imagined. Perhaps, one of the best lessons was that we don’t have to have much money (and we didn’t) to create memorable and impactful experiences. If there is one person at this phase of my life, who deserves a very loud shout-out, it’s my wife, Megan (Bryant). Among many qualities, she has been an inspiration to me from the day I met her. In the beginning of our relationship, and presently, she has a keen ability to be the ray of sunshine or bring a lighthearted view when I get stuck in my head. Megan is an Art Therapist and Professional Counselor, and practices with me at The Peaceful Place. Since the birth of this practice, we have enjoyed fostering countless creative ideas to both grow the business and deliver innovation and out-of-the-box ways to reach people in need. She truly inspires me in a way that keeps me energized and excited about what we do. There are really no words to describe those moments when we’re in the zone, but both of us recognize it while it’s happening and ride that wave all the way in. She also supported me while I made the leap from working for an agency and supporting someone else’s vision, to fulfilling my own entrepreneurial vision. I’ll never forget that, and remain grateful. If I can offer one piece of advice, it’s that no matter how hard one works to be successful in life, chances are, nothing came completely independent of anyone else. Being grateful to and honoring others doesn’t negate one’s independent efforts, it keeps us humble, and helps us remember where we’ve come from.