How a somatic mental health therapist created a collaborative and holistic care team to help people across Vancouver, Washington.
Story by Jack Murphy
Kendall Hagensen is a mental health therapist, Jane Ambassador and the owner of Vancouver Wellness Studio, a multi-discipline health and wellness practice. She is also the creator of the Wellness Center Creators podcast, where you’ll find interviews with business experts, as well as resources, and solutions so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when creating your practice.
You have a deep connection with the work you do. Can you tell us about your background and how that brought you to what you are doing now?
Whenever I talk about my background, I usually start by talking about my graduating year in high school. I had a senior project with a corresponding paper that was a graduation requirement. At the time, my mom had already been living with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) for a few years, and I wanted to do something to support her.
I decided to complete my paper on the healing properties of dance and dance movement therapy in tandem with a dance show performance. The performance got a bit of buzz in the community, and in the end, the Portland Trail Blazer Dancers showed up at my little high school and performed too, and we raised money for the MS Society. I decided from then on that I wanted to be a dance movement therapist.
Then, while I was in college, I was diagnosed with MS too. It was then that I realized that our health care system was not built for preventative care or chronic illnesses.
So I started building a wellness care team around myself and tried alternative medicine, acupuncture, massage, etc., and I had wonderful experiences. At the same time, I realized that those providers were not in the same location, and they were not coordinating my care.
One of the most exhausting things about having a chronic illness is that it’s a lifelong diagnosis. There’s no cure. It’s finding a way to live with it and manage it the best that you can. It’s so tiring to go to providers and tell your story, and then go to the next provider and relay the same information and all the updates over and over again.
I realized there was a piece missing from my care, which was mental health counselling. My neurologist and the other specialists that were helping me were not talking about my mental health at all.
I started imagining a place like that while I went to graduate school to get my master’s degree to become a mental health counsellor and dance movement therapist. After I graduated, I was in private practice for about a year before I decided to give it a go, and my vision became Vancouver Wellness Studio, which I opened in 2016.
Tell me about the team you’ve built and the impact they’re having by being able to provide that collaborative care you dreamed about.
We have mental health counsellors, naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, Chinese medicine doctors, nutritionists, as well as a health coach, and a fitness trainer.
The impact of having everyone in one place has really been such a relief for our patients. Part of the beauty of our model is that someone can come and see their mental health counsellor for their appointment, and then right afterward go and finish with massage or acupuncture right across the hall and begin to integrate the work that they’ve just completed with their therapist.
As well as our private rooms, we have a movement studio here to provide yoga, dance therapy, and sound healing.
Why would you recommend a more holistic approach to health care?
Whenever I have had an emergency because of MS, the doctors and treatments I have received have been amazing. But some of our patients haven’t had that same experience. I believe that care doesn’t end once you have left the hospital or doctor’s office. There is so much work that needs to continue beyond any diagnosis or treatment a person might receive.
For some of the patients that we see, we are helping them work on goals beyond their diagnosis, and then, in some cases, we are helping them heal from the medical trauma they have received.
Our health system here in the states is hands down not created for preventative and holistic care. So what we see as the benefit of inclusive care is that we take the time to see our clients as whole people and communicate about their care.
It’s a real transformation. It’s the opposite of saying, “Here’s a pill or a band-aid.” We’re working to find the root cause of what’s going on and helping guide and support people’s bodies and their own systems to heal themselves.
Our doctors can spend an hour with their patients to really assess the entire person and build out the most effective combinations of naturopathic recommendations to benefit their mind and body. Our aim is to get you to your health goals and that means getting you feeling better and staying well.
Can you tell us a little bit about the second clinic you are opening?
We’re so excited about this, it’s opening in this beautiful, thriving community that has been building along the Columbia River. It will be an integrative medical spa. We’re creating a holistic take on the traditional spa. We will have massage therapy, acupuncture, and aesthetics. Clients will be able to get those true spa experiences like facials and infrared sauna therapies, but we’ll also have IV nutrient therapy with one of our doctors working there. We’re looking at opening the space in October or November of this year.
For those opening their first clinic, what have you learned that is serving you with clinic number two?
The most important skill is knowing that I don’t have to know everything and that I don’t have to be the one to be an expert on everything. I can have mentors, coaches, and accountants. It’s really important to utilize those people who are experts.
Understand that it’s okay if I don’t do everything. That’s how I made it through. Now that we are opening this second location, I have my whole team, and we feel much more prepared.
We definitely know more strategically what we’re doing in creating this second location.
We hear similar stories from first-time clinic owners here at Jane. Do you have any resources you could share with them?
No matter the modality, most providers go into this business to help people. And, we typically aren’t given much business training in school.
That’s why I created Wellness Center Creators, and the WCC podcast is a great resource. My goal is to help providers not reinvent the wheel or waste money, time, and energy. The core purpose of the podcast is really about finding WELLth in life and business.
Providers want this information, and I think during COVID, anyone who was considering opening a wellness centre decided the time is now, the world needs this, and I’m going to do it. I’m not going to waste my time anymore doing something I don’t want to do. That’s when I said I really needed to organize this information and find ways to disperse it so that people could get their places going.
On the podcast, I have speakers that have opened wellness centers of their own, the owner of an architecture firm, and other industries, but they all bring a wealth of knowledge as far as how to create healthy cultures in business and healthy work environments.
Tell us how you first heard about Jane.
I first heard about Jane in a very large Facebook group for therapists. We had been looking for an EHR since early 2019 that would work for us as a multidisciplinary team. After researching the tools Jane had that could help us run our practice and ultimately help our customers, we moved forward and welcomed Jane into our clinic in December 2019. Our whole team was just so excited. We’ve just had an amazing experience, and we’re so grateful that you exist.
I was kicking myself that I hadn’t found Jane earlier because we had been looking for years for an all-in-one system that would support our multidisciplinary team. At the time, we were using three different systems to make it all work. What’s so mind-boggling is that we thought that was normal. Then we would onboard a new practitioner. They would look at us like, “What are you doing? Why did they have to learn to use three different pieces of software?”
What is your favourite Jane feature?
One of our favourite features at the studio is Online Booking. The fact that it’s intuitive and works for a multidisciplinary team is great.
Then, of course, Jane’s Support Team is our number one favourite. Being able to talk to a real human when you have a question is second to none.
🗣Jane Team Shoutout: Jane’s Online Booking can be tailored to your schedule and needs. Want to work specific hours, assign rooms to staff or treatments, or make sure your days are full by clustering your availability next to existing bookings? Jane’s Online Booking has got you covered.
It goes back to the idea that if we’re new to business, faking it till you make it is totally a viable option, but it’s way harder and not necessary. Let’s utilize the people around us, learn from them, and find systems that make our lives easier!
What is the best advice you ever received as a practitioner or a business owner that you could share with the Jane community?
I think one of the best pieces of advice that I ever received was from a friend and mentor who is a yoga teacher. We used to do a private yoga class with her that was just for therapists, and we would talk about all things business and therapy. She would say how important it is to do what we know and teach what we know.
It goes back to the idea that if we’re new to business, faking it till you make it is totally a viable option, but it’s way harder and not necessary. Let’s utilize the people around us, learn from them, and find systems that make our lives easier. If you’re going to offer something in your wellness center or practice, it’s important to do that with intention.
For example, if you’re going to offer yoga at your center, are you doing that with integrity? Do you have a teacher that fully understands the scope of where yoga came from, what it even is, and how we teach that? That concept has stuck with me for a very long time. Lean on other people for support and knowledge.
If you had to choose a superpower for yourself, what would it be?
I think my real superpower as a provider, coach, and leader is in creating spaces and opportunities for people, providers, and patients to live the way they want to live. After years of working in health and wellness, I’ve been able to share my knowledge to empower others with the ability to work the way they want to work and to really find what they’re passionate about and be able to absolutely love what they’re doing in their life.
Resources from Kendall
- Vancouver Wellness Studio’s Website
- Vancouver Wellness Studio’s Instagram
- Wellness Center Creators Podcast
🖥️ Webinar: Lessons From Building a Multidisciplinary Practice Featuring Kendall Hagensen
Want to share your story with us or interested in learning more about becoming a Jane Ambassador? Send an email to [email protected]
If you’re not already part of the Jane community, welcome! We’re so glad you found us. If you’re in search of Practice Management software to help run your Mental Health clinic , we’d love for you to meet Jane. Take a virtual tour, book a demo with one of our lovely support staff, or sign up here! Or, check out what our customers are saying about us in the jane.app Community Forum. We can’t wait to chat.