For Chasity Chandler, owner and founder of Center for Sexual Health & Wellness, creating a safe and empathetic environment for people to get help with mental, emotional and sexual health is her number one priority. Growing up, Chandler wanted to be a teacher, a lawyer and a clinical psychologist. She believes she was put on this earth to help people and loves seeing their lives change for the better.
Before founding the Center for Sexual Health & Wellness in 2017, Chandler worked as a rehab therapist in Hobe Sound. The company was going through a transition and Chandler had a decision to make. "There was some uncertainly on the part of my employer in regards to the program I was creating," she said. "I decided the time was right to go off on my own. For about a year and half, I operated out of someone else's practice. Last year, when I founded Center for Sexual Health & Wellness, I moved into my own space." Today, Chandler primarily operates out of her Port St. Lucie location, but also has offices in Vero Beach and Stuart.
Like any technician turned business owner, Chandler faced her fair share of challenges. "I started off with a nice size case load and had a good reputation in the community, so that wasn't really an issue," she said. "Creating a separate and unique brand for myself was one of my earlier challenges. I had to learn all about marketing. I also had to get comfortable collecting payment from clients and setting my rates. The first few months in business were rough but I stayed focused, persevered and, in the process, learned a lot about being a small business owner."
In addition to running her own business and serving clients as a therapist, Chandler is involved in two anthologies set to launch in the summer and fall of 2018. One of the books is titled, 'Black Therapists Rock: A Glimpse Through The Eyes of Experts', and focuses on mental health topics specific to people of color based on personal experiences by the authors. Other authors collaborating on the project include therapists and life coaches.
According to Chandler, she was born to be her own boss. She doesn't have anyone to answer to and she's free to choose the areas of work she deems important. One such area is the LGBTQ+ community. "A large portion of that population is harmed when they reach out for help," she said. "We're very empathetic to their needs and provide a safe place for them to express their feelings." Looking ahead, Chandler will continue to provide her services to populations that need it the most and plans to open offices in Atlanta and the Maryland area.
For this single mother of three children, perceived obstacles are not barriers, but instead serve to motivate her to work harder. Her advice to other therapists looking to start their own practice? "It's possible to build a practice while working for someone else as a contractor," she said. "You can easily rent space within someone else's practice. I have several therapists including licensed marriage and family therapists, social workers, certified life coaches and interns that are building their own business under my roof. It's a great way to get started in the business. Having so many therapists is nice for us too because we're able to get clients scheduled a lot quicker." Chandler's reading suggestions include, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly.