Lemon Tree Wellness launches accessible wellness studio
STEPHANIE VLAD, the owner of Lemon Tree Wellness & Consulting, uses mindfulness and movement as well as cognitive therapy to help people overcome the hardballs life throws their way.
Vlad, who is trained in acceptance and commitment therapy, also offers embodiment classes – classes that use movement to foster self-growth – to community members.
“It’s a way to help people who can’t afford therapy or don’t have the time to have regular sessions,” says Vlad. “It’s a way for them to feel and process their emotions in different ways. They get the benefits of therapy but not therapy.”
As Vlad is naturally empathetic and has always been intrigued by the brain and how it works, she decided early on to pursue psychotherapy as a profession. Vlad earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Georgia Southern University and her master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Upon graduation, Vlad treated patients in community mental health agencies, substance abuse treatment facilities, and eating disorder treatment centers.
However, Vlad wanted to offer more in-depth assistance to her patients than she could in those settings, and in 2017 she opened Lemon Tree Wellness & Consulting.
“I noticed a lot of gaps in treatment,” says Vlad. “There were gaps in services and educational opportunities.”
At Lemon Tree, Vlad uses numerous therapeutic strategies to fill in those gaps. In addition to analysis, she incorporates meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga or other movement exercises into her clients’ treatment. She also teaches her clients new, constructive ways to handle negative or harmful thoughts.
“My clients learn to observe their thoughts without judgment,” Vlad says. “Instead of saying, ‘I need to change this thought,’ they learn to reframe it, to say, ‘This thought doesn’t define me,’ and then to shift their focus to another thought that better serves them.”
Using these techniques, Vlad helps patients struggling with a wide variety of issues, including anxiety disorders, addictions, life transitions, entrepreneurship, and perinatal and other issues impacting some women (self-confidence, body image, boundaries, assertiveness, and achieving balance).
Though Vlad offers individual, couples, family, and group therapy, she found that she couldn’t fit more patients into her schedule – a fact that was unacceptable. To remedy the situation, Vlad launched the Lemon Tree Wellness Collective Embodiment Studio this year. There, she, along with other mindful wellness practitioners, offers workshops and classes that use the body and movement to help community members increase self-awareness and self-acceptance.
Vlad’s classes, which consist of mindful movement, journaling or painting, and discussion, are a place where participants can safely deal with past trauma and any difficult emotions that may emerge.
“If something is really heavy, I will work through things with that person,” Vlad says. “Or, if everyone feels that same way, it makes sense to talk about it together.”
Vlad currently teaches a mindful mornings and a self-compassion class, and she plans to add a mothers’ support group.
The biggest benefits of the embodiment classes are that they are supportive and they let people know they are not alone, according to Vlad.
“This isn’t called therapy,” Vlad adds. “It’s community and support.”
To view more of Aris Harding’s work, go to arisharding.com. Want more WILMA? Click here to sign up for our WILMA newsletters and announcements.