We had the good fortune of connecting with Linda Hsieh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Linda, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting my own business has evolved over time. Growing up, my intention was to make sure that the time I spent away from my kids would be well worth it, so I dreamed of a well-paying private practice. As I grew into a young adult, I felt like an infiltrator in psychology classes as teachers would talk about those with mental illnesses as though all of us present in the class were not familiar with those struggles of “the others.” The further along in my education and training I became, the more radical my politics and the less likely I was to compromise and let anyone or any agency tell me how I was going to practice. I started my psychotherapy practice immediately after finishing graduate school. That was over a decade ago. Throughout those years of helping clients, I often felt like a subversive as I would validate the experiences of racism, transphobia, sexism and all the multitude of ways people and systems denigrate and dehumanize people for being different or challenging traditional or old timey notions of the status quo. I grew tired of this and found a greater freedom in celebrating the work I do and expanding my impact when I branched into coaching. Coaching allows me to dramatically move away from the medical model and integrate soul work, social justice liberation components and embodiment in new and life giving ways.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am a queer womxn of color whose parents immigrated from Taiwan, who integrates soul-embodiment and social justice healing into my psychotherapy and coaching work. I love that I have not compromised my integrity or vision in my work and continue to expand and grow in ways that I support for my clients. I also love that my clients inspire me with their work, courage, integrity and voices. I feel deeply fortunate in this way. As therapists of color in Colorado, we are a minority of a minority in that our field is dominated by whiteness as is our state. 4 years ago, I started a Facebook group for Colorado Therapists of Color. My primary curiosity was how many of us were there? I was tired of being told, sympathetically, by white therapists that, “there aren’t any therapists of color,” and decided instead to do something about it. The group now stands at 220 members, and I know there are more out there. I have learned that I don’t want to do it alone. I have also learned that my growth and change should always be perpetual for me be to effective and that my joy matters. It’s been a long journey, but I have learned that it’s important for me to be clear about what sustains me as well. When I was on the cusp of burning out, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to help anyone if I quit or changed professions due to my work being unsustainable.
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.
My absolute favorite place around Denver is Red Rocks! Beyond that, I think there are so many incredible food options. Personally, I love Lao Wang’s Noodle House, dim sum at Star Kitchen, Kung Fu Tea, Q House, El Taco de Mexico, Beatrice & Woodsley, Linger, El Five, Williams & Graham. My husband and I are going to Beast + Bottle for our anniversary later this month. I’ll let you know if it makes the cut. I’ve lived in Denver all my life, and generally would recommend the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and I am a Nuggets Fan, but amidst the pandemic it’s hard to think of these fun and exciting events and places. We’d more likely leave the city for the mountains with visitors and head to Glenwood Springs, Hanging Lake, Steamboat, Estes Park, Granby, Evergreen Lake or our cabin near Deckers.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Grazia DiGiorgio, LPC is a former supervisor, mentor and friend who has taught me and supported me in expanding my integration of social justice and human rights in my work as a therapist since my internship in graduate school. She was my biggest cheerleader when I started my practice and struggled to build a client-base; and she continues to be a source of wisdom and inspiration in my life to this day. Tsunemi Rooney, LPC is a former supervisor, mentor and friend who modeled for me the kind of therapist I wanted to be. She’s a shaman, a fierce advocate for social justice and works to decolonize therapy every day. She was also the officiant at my wedding 10 years ago. My mom, Tong-Lan Hsieh, was the one who planted the seed of prioritizing my kids and helping others. She had often spoken about wishing she had become a social worker and has always supported me in my dreams. I like to think that my life fulfills her dreams as well.
Other: My website lindahsiehlifecoach.com is in the works.
Amanda Tipton, Ariel Kipnis, Linda Hsieh