Author: Kloe Joseph, BSU student
In a time where “almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction,” but only 10% of these people with a substance abuse disorder seek professional help, the need for a shift in the therapeutic industry proves dire. There is no denying the intrinsic link between mental health and the presence of a person with a substance disorder as many as “20% of Americans who have depression or an anxiety disorder” are also afflicted by a substance abuse disorder. Yleis Engerman, a licensed mental health counselor and alcohol and drug counselor, is fully aware of these statistics and the real-world repercussions they pose.
Engerman began her journey with mental health at the age of sixteen after the passing of her childhood best friend, seeking therapy as a means to cope. Now in her adulthood, armed with an education and years of experience, Engerman is establishing herself as a facet of change slowly revolutionizing the idea of therapy within the scope of addiction and what it means to seek help.
Engerman is the private practice owner of My Self Oath (www.myselfoath.org) located in Brockton, Massachusetts. During the height of the pandemic she, like most others, found herself with a large amount of free time. However, like many Americans during this time, she was worried about her job security, so she took the initiative to not only create a contingency plan but to do so with an issue that she is truly passionate about. Making no waste of this new free time, she began work on creating her business. In its nascency, Engerman had expected the business to amass a small number of clients, hoping for around five of them. Her expectations were met and surpassed by threefold, when she started off with more than fifteen clients. While the prospect of having many clients interested in her service was a positive, it also proved to be one of the toughest challenges as well. This is due to her innate desire to help others through her practice, which can be difficult as she is only able to see a certain number of clients at any given time, while others make their way onto a waiting list. Though Engerman does utilize methods of advertisement such as social media and her website, the main contributor to her success has been word of mouth, a testament to her ability to connect with clients and provide a truly enjoyable therapy experience.
 “Addiction Statistics – Facts on Drug and Alcohol Use.” Addiction Center, 18 Sept. 2020, www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/addiction-statistics/.
My Self Oath stands out amongst other therapy private practices because of Engerman’s unique approach with her clients. Breaking free from the common experience of simply telling a therapist “how you feel” at any given moment, Engerman strives to foster a personal connection with her clients through her personable demeanor. After reflecting on the journey of creating her business, one of the only things Engerman would want to do differently would be choosing to create her website herself, rather than contracting someone to do it for her. Looking towards the future of her practice, she hopes to make her business sustainable as well as profitable within the next year. Finally, for those who wish to follow a similar path as Engerman, she offers the following advice: “stay focused, stay consistent, and don’t take everybody’s word as absolute.”