You will not be the right fit for every single person out there and that is okay. My therapeutic work or skills may not be fit for everyone I come across; I am not superwoman, nor do I know everything. The people I am equipped to help have and will continue to come.
Today, more than ever, wellness is at the forefront of societal discussions. From mental health to physical well-being, women are making significant strides in bringing about change, introducing innovative solutions, and setting new standards. Despite facing unique challenges, they break barriers, inspire communities, and are reshaping the very definition of health and wellness. In this series called women in wellness we are talking to women doctors, nurses, nutritionists, therapists, fitness trainers, researchers, health experts, coaches, and other wellness professionals to share their stories and insights. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Samantha Nusom.
Samantha Nusom is a psychotherapist and founder of her own private practice, Nu Solace Therapy, LLC, located in New Jersey. Outside of her office, Samantha is a wife, stepmother, sister, daughter, friend, and “mama trainer” at her husband’s personal training facility. Importantly, Samantha dedicates time towards her faith in God, which has allowed her to use her gift of exhortation in her business and community.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Itis an honor to be a part of this! My “backstory” begins with my parents. My parents came to the United States from Nicaragua to provide better opportunities for their children. Learning about their journey from one country to this country is inspiring. It truly puts into perspective how much their sacrifice has impacted me as an individual and even business owner. I completed my undergraduate and graduate careers with their support. I worked in several types of jobs throughout the years, including doing psychotherapy and social work in a marginalized area called Camden (which used to be America’s Most Dangerous City years ago). It wasn’t until I married my husband that I realized it was possible to become a business owner. My husband was the one to encourage me to open my own private practice doing psychotherapy. At first, I was hesitant and thought the best way for me to get my foot in that type of business is to first join one, but my husband’s support and lots of prayer to God helped me to open my own. I never thought I would ever be a business owner; I was comfortable with a regular 9–5 job, getting benefits, and being directed on what to do. My private practice was formed in October 2021, and I was doing it part-time while working a full-time job. It wasn’t until June of 2023 when I left my full-time job and took a leap of faith to go full-time into my private practice. Now, I can’t look back. As a woman, as a Latina, as a daughter of immigrant parents, as someone who started her wellness business from scratch…I am just blessed and humbled.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
The most interesting thing that has happened to me since I started my career was when I enrolled in a program called “Lean In, Make Bank” created by another woman in wellness named Tiffany McLain. The program helped me to introspectively examine my relationship with money and my history of naturally taking on the role of caretaking of others, hence the career path I chose. This program also guided me in realizing wounds I had in money ties and overextending myself to loved ones and how these two factors correlated to what I was conditioned to think of myself prior and during the beginning stages of my business. Understanding what I came from helped me to realize changes I needed to make. I needed to reshape how I viewed money and that scarcity mindset I had. I also learned to create a firm boundary between my desire to exhort others versus feeling like I need to help every single person by overextending myself at the expense of my own mental health and financial needs. Being in the therapy field, we are told many times that we must go into the field because we love to help others, not to make money. I realized these two things can coexist. The reality is this: if my sole focus is only to help others and not make the amount of money I desire, how will I be of service to others if become burned out from trying to work longer hours and take as many clients as I can just to survive? That mindset shift has been so real! Yes, I can have my financial goal. Yes, I can still help people in the process. Yes, I can provide great services. All these factors can exist simultaneously.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first entered the mental health field, it was right after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in psychology, and I began working at a group home. I only lasted 6 months at this job because I realized throughout that I was not equipped. My mistake was having had that mindset that I needed to help everyone, and this was the first job to hire me after graduation. The population I served demonstrated challenges (consistent to their development level), but I felt defeated by the fact that I could not help them in the way I felt someone else who may specialize in working with this population would. I thought there was something wrong with me because I was unequipped. It took me time to realize that it is okay to not be able to help every single person I come across. There is a reason why in the mental health field there are so many concentrations and specializations. I had to learn how to be okay that I am not the right fit for each person.
Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Mental health is vital to every single human being. Our mental health can affect our physical health and vice-versa. My ability to provide psychotherapy to others is purposeful. Being present with my clients (and sometimes being the first therapist they come across) is important because that hour is my clients’ investment in themselves. Maybe their schedules are so busy with life, so that hour is significant for them. Giving them the space to feel what they feel, think what they think, and guiding them through whatever may be most beneficial in their mental health journey is a blessing. Society has made many of us believe that talking about feelings is not allowed or not encouraged, but this develops a habit of avoidance. Society also has made us think that we need to get rid of all negative thoughts and emotions, but this undermines the reason and how valuable even the most difficult emotions/thoughts can be.
I have been blessed with the gift of exhortation (encouraging others) and the opportunities to have completed my schooling and licensures. Providing psychotherapy for adults with history of trauma is a major deal for me because of how post-traumatic stress can show up in our lives. To help others process their trauma so that they can live a life they desire and deserve is rewarding. I also provide psychotherapy for healthcare workers who perhaps want to break away from relational patterns that no longer serve them. Seeing the connection between the career they chose, their childhood life, and their relational patterns is so interesting to me. Assisting them in navigating through these factors brings a better balance in their work-personal lives, as well as in their dating world. Overall, the work I do comes with purpose and meaning, and I learn a lot from my clients. It is a win-win scenario because as they grow, I am growing, as well, as an intentional expert and human being. Everyone deserves a safe space and a person to be vulnerable with.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?
1 . Engage in therapy. This is no surprise to anyone since I am a psychotherapist myself, but I highly encourage this. Give therapy a chance. Being in therapy will help you get to the root of whatever challenges you may be facing, while also learning the strategies you need to manage in moving forward. Sometimes we think as long as we use our coping skills we will be okay, but addressing the root of the wound can further progress our healing. Even therapists, like me, go to therapy. It is for everyone (no matter what society says therapy is for).
2 . Identify your values. By doing this, you may notice what it is that you do that help you move forwards or further away from what you value. For instance, if you value physical fitness, see what activities or tasks you can do that will help you move towards that. By doing more of what would help you move towards your values, this can help with your mood, energy, decision-making, goal setting, and even the meaning of life.
3 . Form connections with others. Psychologically, us human beings desired connectedness and relationships. We want to know that we belong somewhere. Whether it is through your circle of friends, an activity, church, etc., having that support system is important (through the good, the bad, and even the ugly). Fellowshipping at church and with the group I workout with on the daily has brought me that feeling of community that is so important and I truly value.
4 . Develop self-compassion. I cannot stress enough how important this is. I know a lot of us struggle with that inner critic and the self-judgment. Yet, we do not give ourselves enough time or space to be kind towards ourselves. It is much easier to criticize the decisions we make or things we do than to look at those factors from a compassionate point of view. Self-compassion truly does help. Developing this may look like engaging in therapy, mindfulness techniques, affirmations, reading books on self-compassion, and other ways. It is possible and you deserve it.
5 . Make space for all thoughts and emotions. The more we fight against the ones society/world see a “negative,” the worse we feel because we ultimately cannot control when or how they come. You are not a defective human being if you cannot get rid of your depression or anxiety (the way society thinks we should/can). Generations and generations and generations back, our ancestors may have also experienced depression or anxiety but because of survival, they had to push forward. We cannot control those thoughts or emotions (which can definitely be unwanted), but we do have a choice on what to do when they do show up. The more you fight against them, the more you may feel defeated. But if you give those thoughts and emotions space to exist, you may understand why those parts of us show up. And usually, those parts show up out of benign intention. Therapy can help you understand it from that view.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would want everyone to be able to attend yearly wellness retreats that would involve workshops/meditations on self-compassion, fitness classes, fellowshipping, health classes (like how to manage diabetes, for instance) and others. These retreats would be financially accessible to all; ideally insurances would cover this.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
5 things I wish someone told me before I started would be:
- You do not need to burn yourself out just to show you are capable. We have been engrained that we must hustle, but it does not mean we should. I burned myself out at a few jobs because I wanted to show how hard-working I was, but that did not benefit me.
- You do not need to overextend yourself just to show you are worthy. Before I did my own inner work, I was not consistent on boundaries with others because I wanted to demonstrate how flexible and reliable I was. Yet, that only benefitted the recipient rather than me.
- You will not be the right fit for every single person out there and that is okay. My therapeutic work or skills may not be fit for everyone I come across; I am not superwoman, nor do I know everything. The people I am equipped to help have and will continue to come.
- Yes, you can enter the social work/therapy field wanting to help others and make money. I always thought it was one or the other because schooling conditioned us to think that way. Both are possible.
- Be ready to continue to learn as you go. Before I started, I honestly thought that having my degree and licensures was enough to heal others. I had to realize along the way that the learning process continues, especially as wellness and psychology continue to evolve. I am a learner naturally, so this excites me now, although that earlier version of me would feel discouraged or intimidated because she wanted to help others heal fast. Learning takes time and so does healing.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
May be another obvious answer, but mental health! Our minds and emotions are at the forefront of situations and circumstances. If we can work on our mental health, it can help us to make wise decisions especially during moments of distress, have a better understanding of ourselves and the world around us, feel connected to others, navigate life with purpose, and feel supported.
What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?
Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.
About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at CrunchyMamaBox.com.