Therapist Spotlight: Ashley Ayala
Therapist Spotlight: Ashley Ayala
Ashley explains how she’s used Path to help her build a therapy practice that allows her to see clients on a schedule that works for her while also finding time to run her business and be present with her family.
How did you decide to become a therapist?
I’ve always loved working with people. I took a psychology class in college and was hooked! I really liked research and all the behind-the-scenes stuff too, but engaging directly with others is what really fills my soul.
Tell us about your career journey. What do you specialize in?
Most of my work has focused on children. I started in a school-based setting, but have bounced back and forth between school-based work and clinics.
Working with kids helped me understand how important it is to work with parents too. So I started integrating a lot of family work and got certified as a parenting coach. After I had my own children I got interested in working with families again, which is part of what led me to Path.
What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
I love when clients are super motivated and come back after a session saying, “Okay, I implemented this” or “I worked on that, and something shifted.”
Celebrating those little goals with them is so fun. It’s powerful when clients can see progress in their own lives, even if it’s a small tweak in the grand scheme of things.
Why did you decide to join Path?
When I was pregnant with my second child, I had to stop working completely because of some complications with the pregnancy. A year after she was born we were hit with the pandemic, and childcare was funky, so I didn’t have a strong interest in going back to working full-time at an agency. I found myself wondering, “What do I really want? What do I want my career to look like from here?”
I started my own business — which I’m still running today — and I really enjoy the entrepreneurial side of it. It’s an online parenting and caregiving resource center. I offer a variety of services including trainings for therapists, online courses for parents, and workshops for schools to provide trauma-informed care for the staff members.
But even with my business, I also knew that I wanted to keep engaging with clients without having to go into an office Monday through Friday. I heard about Path and realized it aligned with my goal of being able to take on bits and pieces of client work within my schedule. I wanted to make sure I could still show up in all the other areas of my life if I started doing client work again.
What did you expect when joining Path? How has the reality compared to your expectations?
It’s all been very streamlined and exactly what I expected. When I joined it was clear that Path would handle all of the admin stuff like marketing, billing, and scheduling, and that I’d be able to see clients on a schedule that worked for me.
And there were some really phenomenal reviews from other Path therapists. Especially about Path’s support team — and every time I’ve reached out to the support team for help, it’s been a great experience. So no real surprises there!
What does your weekly schedule look like? How does Path tie in?
The flexibility I get with Path is awesome. My son’s in school full time and my daughter goes three days a week. So the days they’re both in school are the only days I work with Path. All of the time in between, I’m running my business.
It’s been wonderful to not have to deal with billing, insurance, or any of that stuff. Instead, I get extra time to focus on my business, my family, and all the other things going on in my life. I get to focus purely on seeing clients because I have the Path team behind me handling the admin work.
If I was in private practice and had to do it all on my own, I know I’d be wondering if I could spend my time more effectively. With Path, I’m able to use that time to invest in myself with continuing education hours and spending time reading or listening to podcasts. All these things allow me to better support my clients and myself as a therapist.
How have Path’s patient matching services worked for you?
The clients I’ve gotten through Path have generally been good matches for me. I’ve had a lot of clients who I know have benefited from my specialties, the way I work, and my general approach.
What advice would you give to other therapists who are considering making the leap to private practice?
My honest answer is, “Just go for it.” And as a business person, I’m so glad I did it with Path instead of trying to do it alone. I save so much energy and effort. I’d imagine that other people do private practice solo to get that full fee in their pocket. But I think you’re really losing time and money in other areas by doing it all yourself.
As a Path therapist, you still get to provide services in the way that fits you best, using your therapeutic modalities — there’s no limitation to your practice whatsoever. I have full agency without having to do all the work myself.
I really like Path, and I can see that the company is on a trajectory of consistently getting better. I’ve been with Path for a year, and I’m liking how things are becoming more buttoned up over time. It’s also great to see that Path is working on offering even more resources to therapists. I’m excited to be involved.