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Miesha Rice and Team at Whole Family Healing Group
Whole Family Healing Group, LLC

Whole Family Healing Group LLC, Miesha Rice, MSW, LCSW-C, LCSW

Title / Role: Founder/CEO/Therapist
Location: Pikesville, Maryland
Formed in: 2018
My successes.

I was born and raised in West Baltimore City, not far from where the Freddie Gray riots took place; I grew up in a single-parent home. My mother, grandmother, and maternal aunt raised me, and once I entered elementary school, my mom purchased a home for us to live in. I attended Mount Royal Elementary Middle School after transferring from Rosa Parks Catholic School, also known as St. Ambrose on Park Heights. From there, I attended Baltimore City College High School in East Baltimore. Once I graduated, my mom gave me two options, I could either go to college or find a job, and she made it very clear that I would not be allowed to sit at home and do nothing...well, I chose to go to college. That summer, I entered Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, NC. My major was Mass Communication, focusing on Broadcast Journalism/TV/Film/Production. I worked in that field and the Entertainment Industry doing Marketing in the Mid-Atlantic for Universal Music and Video Distribution, including music labels under their umbrella.

I was introduced to social work, and shortly after that, I applied and was accepted into the University of Maryland Graduate School of Social Work in 2011. After taking some time off from my entertainment career to care for my mother, who was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, I decided to go this route. There was a desire to do something to advocate for people who were not quite able to advocate for themselves, such as my mother's experiences during that time. In 2013, I earned a Master of Social Work (MSW) in Clinical Mental Health from the University of Maryland Graduate School of Social Work, one of the top Social Work schools in the nation.

I founded Whole Family Healing Group in October 2018. I started seeing my very first client on April 20, 2019. I envisioned providing services to families, individuals, and children dealing with trauma, and family and relational conflict associated with mental health issues. I recognized that when my mother lost her mom to breast cancer, she was diagnosed with the same Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer shortly after that.

Cancer. Looking back, I know now that my mom had sunk into a deep depression that remained undiagnosed by clinical/medical professionals, although there were many
signs. My mother grew up in a home with both of her parents. Her father, my grandfather, whom I loved and adored, was not there for her emotionally due to some things he had been dealing with throughout his life. My grandmother did her best to keep the household together; she had to do it alone because of her husband's, my grandfather’s, alcohol addiction.

My mom was a single mother and raised me alone, all the while attending undergrad and graduate school, working full time, putting me through grade school, and then college out of state in North Carolina. With all these things going on throughout my childhood, there was never mention of mental health, grief, or anything related to my family. There were also no discussions of a safe place for anyone in the family to go together or individually to talk about and process life issues, feelings, emotions, or the effects single parenting had had on my mom’s emotional and psychological well-being. However, as I got older, my mom sent me to a therapist to help me with some changes she had seen in me as a little girl. I appreciate my mom to this day for being so forward-thinking and loving me enough to give me something that she may not have fully understood or experienced for herself.

The name, Whole Family Healing Group, literally came to me in a dream. I had been thinking for many weeks about a name that would encompass all I had dreamed of to provide for people struggling to cope and deal with life’s stressors. I wanted to build a place that feels like home, where people from all racial, gender, ethnic, socio-economic backgrounds and cultures feel safe and heard. They learn how to create, re-create, and maintain better lives for themselves, their children, their families, and other loved ones. It was also my thinking to provide that safe space for families, and individuals within the family, to get help in the same ways my family members and I needed back then. Lastly, I desired to build a company where clinicians providing the services would feel supported, and valued, and be in an environment that promotes learning, healing, growth, and self-care.

Our mission is to help our clients heal from the inside out by addressing mental health disorders associated with trauma, depression, anxiety, and life stressors. We also provide therapy to address intergenerational patterns of trauma and family conflict. We are a practice where whole families can come to heal emotionally, socially, and psychologically together as well as individually.

Whole Family Healing Group provides easily accessible mental health and wellness services that are ethical, culturally competent, and non-judgmental to individuals, families, and couples around the world.

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What do you do?

We offer a safe space for families and individuals within the family system to heal from many life stressors associated with mental illness. What sets me apart from others in the industry is that our system was built to accommodate whole family healing and the healing that can take place with individuals in the family. We guide entire families together on healing journeys and have clinicians who can work with the individuals. We also offer Spanish-English translation services. What I want people to know about my business is that we host multiple-member family sessions and serve military veterans and active military families. We are culturally competent and accept people from all socioeconomic backgrounds and the LGBTQ Community. We understand that healing is a process, and we will stick it out with our clients along their healing journeys; whether they regress or succeed, we will provide a non-judgmental healing space to promote unity within families.

What inspired you to start your business?

What inspired me to start my business was growing up in a family that was broken and dysfunctional. Seeing family members not know how to communicate with each other to repair and maintain family relationships. My family did not do the work, so I wanted to provide a safe space for whole families to come together to become WHOLE again. What also inspired me was finding out the story of my grandfather who was an alcoholic. He witnessed one of his siblings killed and was also a victim of a violent throat-slashing incident; I know now that my grandfather drank daily because he was masking pain and did not have anyone to help him unpack or process those traumatic events. That missed communication led to my grandfather leaving this earth way before his time. I also now recognize that when my mom’s behavior changed later in her life, it was depression. I want to be sure that families and communities are educated about the signs and symptoms. Most of all, to help erase the stigma of getting help for mental health issues, especially in communities of color.

What's special about your business?

What is special about my business is that it is a Black woman-owned business. We are also working to serve the Spanish-speaking community globally as we are entering our 2nd year of offering Spanish-English translation services. We are also licensed to serve families and individuals within the family system in Florida as well. What is also so special is that we offer virtual and in-person therapy, and we believe in working along with medical doctors to address mental illness. We are also proud to see parents and their children come for healing therapy sessions to restore or maintain their relationships.

What influenced you to seek help from SCORE?

What influenced me to seek help from SCORE was that I was entering my third year in a legal business and my second year serving clients, and I felt stuck. I started the business in 2018 and started seeing my first client in April of 2019; then soon after that, the pandemic hit, and everything literally changed overnight. I had to pivot my entire business. That meant transitioning clients from in-person to telehealth, enhancing my technology and infrastructure, trying to keep all patients engaged, guiding them through what was happening, and maintaining my/mental health together. I needed to change some things with how my business was operating, and I had tried to get help before, but for whatever reason, it did not go through, so I said, well.... let me try again and see what happens. It was TRULY one of the absolute best decisions I have made business-wise to date.

How SCORE helped.

SCORE made a difference in my business in that I was able to launch a new professional website complete with enhanced SEO. Norm helped me find better buzzwords so people would find and notice my business more on the website. That increased by website traffic and phone calls for appointments 100%. In December 2022, my profiles were viewed 486 times on Google. Then, in the first week of January 2023, my profile on Facebook was viewed just over 1,000 (1.3K) times in one week. Our active client number increased by 35 percent, and our no-show rate has decreased. I grew, having more than 2,000 followers on my Instagram page, and I am now working on placing content on my business YouTube channel. SCORE also helped me to be able to choose the most professional photos for the site, and my overall business presence was enhanced exponentially. Norm also supported me through that process, looking at my drafts and giving excellent feedback. I have also been notified of all the pieces of training, and there have been many to date, but my favorite so far has been the one-page business plan workshop. I loved it because it made me feel more confident in writing a solid business plan that I can take to any bank or investor to get more financial support for the business.

There have been numerous successes achieved with SCORE. We have increased our audience and awareness of the business and services. We expanded to the Dominican Republic as part of our DEI initiative and have been working to aid and address mental health challenges within the Spanish-speaking culture and communities. We hired a virtual administrative assistant and increased our revenue. We also decided to launch an online T-shirt store and mask accessories where part of the proceeds will be used to give food and other supplies to children and families in need in the Dominican Republic.

What's great about my mentor?

I can't say enough about how awesome working with Norm has been for almost two years. The first time we spoke, he was so patient, took the time to listen to my concerns, and wanted to know about me, my business, my goals, etc. He is so knowledgeable about business, and what he shared with me applies across the board, regardless of the industry that you are in. He helped to bring my business up to best practice business standards. Everything increased. He took a fine-tooth comb and combed through my business and website presence; all his suggestions were spot on. He was not pushy; he gave me the time and space to be great in my own way. Although he offered advice/guidance, at the same time, I knew that he was not there to tell me what to do with my business. I felt heard, and I did not feel judged. When it was time for me to check in and let Norm know about my progress, he always responded... I felt that he truly cared. He has been my silent cheerleader, and I am so grateful. This experience has been PRICELESS!! I could go on and on, but working with Norm has been a sheer pleasure.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business?

Starting a business gives you freedom. Think of a problem that needs to be solved, match that with your gifts and what you are passionate about, and go out there and do it. Life is so precious and unpredictable, we should all work to ensure that we are enjoying our life daily, doing what we can to help communities and give back to the most vulnerable populations. Also, get an excellent mentor and coach to help you through the process. Go to the SCORE website and submit your business information to be assigned a mentor. But do your research, never give up, and remember that the only "bad idea" is the idea you never act on or give life to. Last, but not least, failure is a success. Fail forward always, learn the lessons, and forget the mistakes.

What would you tell a fellow business owner about SCORE?

DO IT! Don't overthink it; just complete the application process, which is not long, and think positively. I want to ensure people know that you are responsible for doing your own work. Do not expect your mentor to do your work or your thinking for you. They are there to guide you through the process and offer guidance on enhancing your overall business operations. Whereas they are supportive in every way, I know that I would not be as successful with my business at this point had I not taken notes when Norm and I would meet, created my own to-do list, and taken the initiative to check in and not wait for him. I was not pressuring him to solve my business problems; instead, he presented ways for me to improve things. You must be committed to the process. It took time, and I still have many things to accomplish, but I feel so confident that I will succeed in all areas. Lastly, if it does not work out for you once, do not give up; try again and again because you never know.

My mentors
Norman Bickman

I help SCORE clients with business planning and sales and marketing, with a particular focus in the...

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