We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Olivieri Wood and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
When I was very young, I knew I wanted to be a counselor. I always knew that the feeling of alone-ness, of not quite part of the club, the self-doubt and shame that I was feeling as a person who experienced childhood trauma was something that others must be feeling, too. I knew that there were more people out there who just needed to be seen, to be heard, and to be shown their human value. Something I say all the time, “it doesn’t have to be this way” really rings true for me from a very young age. As I got older, I learned that victims of abuse and assault are far more likely to be victims a second or third time. I learned that because of the way trauma affects our brain, survivors are less likely to trust their gut and recognize true danger, and they’re more likely to perceive danger where there is none. This vicious cycle must be stopped. The good news is, it CAN be stopped. We can rewire our brain to create healthy perspectives and recognize what’s true in this moment, vs. what was true in the past. For me, this information was incredibly powerful. This information saved my life. I knew that this is what I was here to do. My business, Benavieri Counseling, is a place where you are accepted for who and what you are, you’re never pushed further than you want to go, you will be seen, heard, valued and attuned to from the moment we meet.
I needed to build a place for people to learn that no one has the right to hurt them, for any reason, and that you can’t make someone be nice to you or be mean to you – it’s not your fault that another person is choosing to be abusive. That’s about them, not about you. You always have a choice, you are not powerless, you have the right to say no, and to take care of yourself.
I chose to work with children, teens, young adults, and moms because I’m passionate about helping those who often feel stuck and subordinate see their own value and realize their capacity to exercise their rights, and their choices.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Benavieri Counseling is me, it’s my heart, it’s my story, it’s my superpower. One thing that I realized quickly when starting this business is that as a counselor, I’m not just selling something, I’m not delivering a product that can be returned or exchanged, I’m supporting people in their journey towards learning about themselves, feeling like themselves, and finding their own center. This is a responsibility that I take very seriously. My interaction with my clients and potential clients is part of their healing journey. I must respect and honor that by showing up the way they deserve. The thing I’m the most proud of is how my clients and community feel they can relate with me. I am a little different than your typical counselor, I let my personal connection to the work come through because I genuinely care about every client and family member who I have the opportunity to work with.
Going out on your own is a vulnerable experience, I started after leaving a corporate job in 2020, and continued part time while I learned the ropes, I made a few mistakes back then, which is okay, mistakes are how you learn. One of my biggest challenges was learning how to forgive myself when I felt that I missed something. It’s easy to hold something back until it’s “perfect” but that search for perfection is an endless, and fruitless one. I had to learn that feedback, flaws, and opinions of the community are exactly what you need to make something amazing! I still catch myself stalling or refusing to call something done out of fear. We all need to talk ourselves out of that fear and realize that what we have to offer is great, and launching then learning is the best way to make it even better!
My story is evolving, my business is still new. I have so many ideas for what I want to do next, and each year I set aside a weekend do build a vision board that helps me stay on target. I know I can’t do everything at once, so I’m quite excited to continue to grow!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Depending on the weather I recommend the lakes! Or even kayaking down the salt river. My favorite place to eat is a Mexican Restaurant in Tempe called La Casa De Juana. It’s just a little spot my boyfriend and I go to on our date nights. I would also go to the Arizona Science Center, and the Musical Instrument Museum. A spring training game is always fun, too!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would be lost without my family, my children, my boyfriend, my therapist, and my mentors.
My kids have been through it all with me, we grew up together, I was a very young mom, and over the years I realized just how much my own trauma history impacted my parenting, and impacted their attachment. They’ve had to endure a lot of change, and adversity and I’m grateful to the therapists who’ve helped me learn how to attune to them and repair some of the ruptures that I had caused before I started to heal.
My boyfriend Mike Atkins with Atkins Law Group, is incredibly supportive, he sees me, he hears me, and we’ve been through many challenges and triumphs together, as a business owner himself, he gives me encouragement and strength when I feel fear or doubt myself.
I was introduced to the types of therapy that have changed me, and that I practice today, EMDR and Structural Dissociation, by Sarah Jenkins, Dragonfly International Therapy, and had the privilege of being trained by her. Her on-going support and consultation is imperative to my work. My good friend Ann Wilson at Ignite Equine introduced me to Equine Assisted EMDR and gave me the opportunity to work with her business to help additional populations find stability and calm. My Supervisor, Diana Canfield with Canfield Counseling has supported my business from the start, as a Licensed Associate Counselor I operate Benavieri Counseling as a Supervised Private Practice under the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health rules.