Starting her own mental health counseling business was in the back of Megan Duerring’s mind for years. It took the COVID-19 pandemic and help from the Bucks County chapter of a small business mentoring organization to transition her long-time idea into reality.
A full-time mental health therapist for a New Jersey school district, Duerring, of Easton, was researching how she might be able to help people with mental health concerns during the pandemic and came across information on how SCORE Bucks County guides entrepreneurs in all aspects of establishing and growing their business.
“I filled out the form right away,” Duerring said of her outreach to the local chapter in early April. Through Zoom conferences, Duerring was able to connect virtually with her SCORE mentors, Wayne King and Steve Wolfson. By July, Duerring had established Conceptual Counseling Services, a teletherapy business focused primarily on young people ages 11 to 25.
“I felt so accountable to them. I really felt and feel their support and they’re genuinely invested in my success,” she said. “I really wanted to come through for them.”
King said Duerring’s recipe for success is built upon her many positive entrepreneurial traits, as well as her ability to identify “contemporary and intuitive” ways to counsel clients virtually.
“Megan is one of the most passionate and emotionally dedicated business owners I have met,” King said. “She creates her business actions around how to recognize client needs and then sets discussion and action plans to meet those customer needs.”
Duerring, who is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is continually adapting to meet her clients’ needs. In addition to teletherapy, Duerring, an avid runner, is a proponent of walk and talk therapy, which she said is popular among teenagers.
“To me, it’s a natural thing,” she said noting similarities between running socially and walk and talk therapy. “You’re like best friends by the end of a 10-mile run. You share a lot of moments you wouldn’t otherwise.”
Even prior to COVID-19 and the need for social distancing Duerring said she was a proponent of incorporating movement into therapy since some patients have a need for it. Duerring strives to introduce appropriate ways to incorporate and normalize movement.
For now, Duerring is primarily counseling clients who are personal referrals. Her intention is to continue working her full-time job and run the business part-time. She is in the process of being credentialed by insurance companies, which will help in referring new clients as well.
Eventually, she plans to hire employees and will likely look to her SCORE mentors for guidance. SCORE mentors provide no-cost support throughout every stage of business as needs arise.
“I’m so impressed with how supportive everyone is,” Duerring said. “When I talk about it in some of the professional forums that I’m involved with, people can’t believe that this service exists. I’m glad I checked it out and went ahead and did it.”