My name is Jonathan Smith, and at the start of 2020 I will be taking over as the owner of Chicago Mindful Psychotherapy. Georgia and I have been working on this transition together since around August of 2019. I have witnessed firsthand her dedication to the practice, its staff, and their clients and I relate strongly to her feelings about leaving CMP. I own a practice already, which is called Andersonville Psychology. Like Georgia did with CMP, I started it on my own and guided it as it grew to where it is today.
I am confident that I and the staff at both AP and CMP will continue the excellent work Georgia initiated. She and I have both hired and trained great teams with diverse knowledge and skills. My goal will be to build on that knowledge and those skills and to grow both practices together in a way that aligns with the values Georgia and I share as well as those of the entire staff. In the early days of this transition, my goal will be to minimize changes or disruptions for the clients at CMP. After we know things are stable, I am excited to begin implementing some ideas I have to invest in our community and continue my goal of increasing access to the care that can help people overcome obstacles and grow.
For those curious about my background, I am a clinical psychologist who specializes in LGBTQ+ issues primarily with an additional focus on trauma. I moved to Chicago from Louisville, KY in 2010 to attend graduate school. Although we originally planned to move back to Louisville after I completed my degree, my husband and I quickly decided Chicago would be our new home. I founded Andersonville Psychology based on the principles and values I learned from my previous training and job sites, and I have grown the practice to include two other psychologists and two doctoral trainees. I am currently completing a master’s degree in clinical psychopharmacology which will eventually allow me to prescribe mental health medications to clients at both practices who might benefit from them. That fits with my primary career motivation, which is to increase access to mental health care. The opportunity to take over at CMP is part of a longer-term vision I have to provide access to care for those who might otherwise be unable to reach it. Some of the changes I hope to make at CMP in the short term will also be geared toward increasing access to care.
The two psychologists at Andersonville Psychology will have a role to play at CMP as well. Dr. Shelby Mailho will be our Director of Clinical Services and Dr. Jerrod Handy will be our Director of Training. Tom Bob Nedderman, who has handled intake for CMP, will become our Director of Community Engagement. He will still have a large presence in coordinating intakes for new clients and will play additional roles as well. The rest of the team at CMP will remain and I hope to learn from each of them as much as possible.
My own experience with mindfulness is more limited than Georgia’s. It almost must be because of how knowledgeable and skilled she is. This transition will give me the opportunity to continue to learn about mindfulness and the role it can play in building wellbeing into our lives.
Despite my more limited exposure, I have benefited tremendously from the elements of mindfulness I have integrated into my life. I took a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course two years ago and found it to be an incredibly valuable experience. I highly recommend the course to anyone I can, and I am proud to be the incoming owner of a practice that offers the course a couple of times throughout the year. After taking the course myself, I worked to integrate mindfulness into my daily routine. While this included dedicated meditation time, it also involved being more present in day-to-day activities. In addition to calming my mind, this has helped increase my enjoyment of my life and remain focused on personal and professional goals. I was recently diagnosed with a chronic medical condition that results in intermittent difficulty with mobility and a constant low level of pain that is sometimes exacerbated and increases to a challenging level. Mindfulness has been invaluable to my ability to manage this condition and I have come to see what a powerful tool it can be for others managing chronic pain.
I am honored by the trust Georgia and the staff at CMP have placed in me up to this point, and I look forward to the work ahead of us. If you are reading this then you probably have a vested interest in CMP. This could be that you are a current or former client, a professional who has collaborated with the practice, or someone who attends our free weekly drop-in meditation session. If you have any questions or comments for me, or if you ever have a need or want to contact me for any reason, please feel free to reach out. My email address is email@example.com and I welcome the opportunity to hear from the people whose lives have been touched by Chicago Mindful Psychotherapy.