We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Vandegriff, LCSW and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, career-wise, where do you want to be in the end?
When I think about my end goal, in the words of Hamilton, “I wanna build something that’s gonna outlive me.” I started my group therapy practice solo in a 450 SF office with no windows. 18 months later we are moving to a four office suite and I employ four people. I always knew I wanted to focus on women’s issues. It seemed like a natural fit and there’s something affirming about working with people who get it. My ultimate dream is to create a holistic wellness hub for women. A place where our clients can receive integrated services for their bodies and minds. We are taking one step at a time to reach our ultimate goal and I have a great team and supportive family and friends, We are working together to build something that we’re proud of, and that serves the community and the need for women to have a place where they are understood and valued. My end goal is to create this space and then hand it over to the next generation of brave, strong, and committed women so they can continue changing the lives of the clients we serve, which in turn positively impacts the people they love and the world as a whole.
What should our readers know about your business?
Cactus Flower Healing is committed to providing effective and transformative therapy to improve the lives of women. We provide individual therapy to adult women, addressing issues such as anxiety, perfectionism, life transitions, and historical trauma. Our specialization allows us to focus on areas and treatment that directly impact women (motherhood, body image, pregnancy and infertility, perfectionism, etc.) We accept insurance to meet the needs of the community, especially following the financial uncertainty of the pandemic. We also have reduced rate fees for associate therapists and offer pro bono and sliding scale fee slots. We want our clients to feel like they are talking with a friend who can be objective and not judgmental. Our clients should feel at ease and comfortable to laugh and not take the process or themselves too seriously. Our hope is that people will walk into the office and feel comfortable, nurtured and welcomed – like this is their calm place for an hour. We emphasize resolving trauma because this helps women to not just feel better temporarily, but to be able to work through the things that were holding them back and discover who they truly are. This allows women to go out and model this for their friends, families and their own children. Changing one life creates a ripple effect that can have benefits for generations. Starting a therapy practice in the midst of a pandemic was not easy. Referrals slowed considerably but when things started shifting, there was an avalanche of need for mental health services. This was difficult to manage at times and it was really hard to tell people we were full. Adding the additional therapists has been so helpful and our practice is really starting to feel like a family.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Locally I think downtown Gilbert has the most interesting and fun atmosphere (especially if you’re hungry)! There are so many restaurants in a small area and the people watching is always entertaining. I like spending time in nature and Arizona is an absolutely amazing place to explore. If you have never been to the desert, it seems like another world. Sometimes I wish I could see it for the first time all over again. The Phoenix area is a great place to visit in the winter and spring. The weather is beautiful and people are surprised by the amount of green. In the summer I would visit higher elevations. Flagstaff and the Mogollon Rim are incredible and offer astounding opportunities for hiking and outdoor recreation. I am a National Parks geek and the three parks here are among the best. Everyone wants to see Grand Canyon but Petrified Forest and Saguaro are so unique and beautiful in their own way.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I credit our success and growth to my amazing Cactus Flower Healing team, my extremely patient husband and children, and the support of my closest friends and family.
Professional photos courtesy of Alicia Jefferies and MTM Photography