Nekeshia Hammond on the Ins & Outs of Running a Psychology Firm

Nekeshia HammondAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychology will experience a growth rate of 12 percent between now and 2022. It remains one of the steadiest professions.

Hammond Psychology & Associates out of Brandon, FL, offers a number of services, specializing in dealing with families and children. Nekeshia Hammond, a licensed psychologist, founded the fully-staffed firm in 2013.

She has also worked in a number of other areas. She is Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator and Parent Coordinator. Having received her bachelor?s degree in psychology from the University of Florida and her master?s and doctorate degrees, with a Child and Adolescent Concentration, from the Florida School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University ? Tampa campus, Dr. Hammond is also a clinical supervisor for clinical psychology graduate students.

Dr. Hammond currently serves on the board of directors for the Florida Psychological Association and in July 2014, she was awarded the “What a Woman Award” from the Florida Psychological Association, which is given to a psychologist who makes a significant contribution to the Florida Psychological Association and the profession of psychology.

Dr. Hammond also does a lot of community work and, in 2012, received the President?s Volunteer Service Award from President Obama for her volunteer work with the National Military Family Association. ?

Here, she talks about the field of psychology and more with What led you to venture into this field?

Dr. Hammond: I always knew from a young age that I wanted to work with children. In my undergraduate years, I was originally a pre-med student because I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician. However, I majored in psychology because I loved the subject matter in high school and loved learning about the way the brain worked. ?After learning more about how psychologists can make a tremendous difference by connecting with and empowering children and families, I decided to become a psychologist.

My solo private practice began in early 2009, and the practice expanded into Hammond Psychology & Associates, P.A. in 2013. What are some of the professional challenges you initially faced?

Dr. Hammond: One of the biggest challenges at start up of the practice is that I found out very quickly that graduate school taught me virtually nil about the ?business side? of running a practice. Although I felt very equipped in my clinical skills of doing therapy and psychological evaluations, I had to quickly learn about maintaining a business through various workshops, webinars, and books. What are some current challenges as the company grows?

Dr. Hammond: Today, the greatest challenge is keeping up with business. Our office has been fortunate to experience more calls than we can handle, and we are trying to expand our services and providers to help fulfill the needs of the community. ?Hiring a business consultant in 2013 has greatly helped us with learning creative ways of marketing and ways to reach others. ?My business consultant/coach is a great mentor and role model. What are some of the misconceptions about the field?

Dr. Hammond: Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma about mental health. Some people are afraid of going to a psychologist because they fear they are ?crazy? or ?weak?. The reality though is that everyone experiences problems in life and sometimes people just need an objective and professional ear to listen and provide the appropriate interventions for their situation. ?It is very sad that mental health services have a stigma because there are numerous people who can benefit from psychological services. Did the financial crisis affect your business?

Dr. Hammond: Yes, the financial crisis did affect our business ? in a positive way. We found ways to really help individuals through the economic crisis that our nation faces. Our practice has providers that offer reduced-fee therapy, in efforts to help reduce the financial burden that mental health services could impose on someone. ?We also have a free social skills group, and we provide free therapy for children enrolled in specific agencies in the community. What do you enjoy the most about what you do?

Dr. Hammond: What I enjoy the most about what I do is seeing the positive impact on others. Seeing a family heal from many hardships is joyous, helping people meet their individual goals is incredible, and providing education about ways to navigate life?s stressors has also been quite enjoyable. The other thing that I love about having a small business is the opportunity to give back to the community. ?Our office has been able to help with numerous outreach projects in the community, and we are grateful to be a resource to community members in need.