Kathleen Interviews Nevart Willborn of Life Tree Counseling

Kathleen Mills

Kathleen is a creative and gifted therapist who has extensive experience in helping children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of issues.

SUMMARY: In this podcast, Phillip Crum and Kathleen Mills talk with Nevart Willborn, LPC, about her professional practice, as well as her advice to counselors in training.

Episode #15 | Nevart Willborn of LTC is Kathleen’s guest

Kathleen Mills-Proprietor, Counselor at Life Tree Counseling
Phillip Crum-The Content Marketing Coach
Nevart Wilborn-Life Tree Counseling

Episode 15 - Nevart Wilborn

PHILLIP CRUM: Welcome back. We’re here for another edition of Kathleen Mills and the Lifetree Counseling Podcast “It’s Just Coffee”.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Good morning, Phillip.

PHILLIP CRUM: Hello, Kathleen. How are you?

KATHLEEN MILLS: I’m great. I’m not going to laugh today.

PHILLIP CRUM: It’s Friday.

KATHLEEN MILLS: It is Friday. Do you know how tired I am?

PHILLIP CRUM: Yes, and we have a three-day weekend coming up.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Yes, I’m excited.

PHILLIP CRUM: You’re as tired as you want to be.

KATHLEEN MILLS: It’s going to be birthday weekend this weekend.

NEVART WILLBORN: Is it your birthday?

KATHLEEN MILLS: No, it’s both sons’ birthdays and they’re flying up and driving in and we’re going to tear up North Dallas tomorrow.

NEVART WILLBORN: Heck, yeah. How old?

PHILLIP CRUM: Your birthday’s not until August.

KATHLEEN MILLS: I don’t have birthdays anymore.

NEVART WILLBORN: You can celebrate with the boys.


NEVART WILLBORN: How old are they?

KATHLEEN MILLS: They will be 27 and 22.



PHILLIP CRUM: Who is the third person in the studio, as long as she’s going to speak?

KATHLEEN MILLS: My dear colleague. It’s Showcase Time. Nevart Willborn, LPHILLIP CRUM. Hi, Nevart.


KATHLEEN MILLS: How are you?

NEVART WILLBORN: I’m great. I’m excited.

KATHLEEN MILLS: You know, this is the most I’ve seen you on a Friday, and we work together. Is that odd?

NEVART WILLBORN: A little bit. We just need to make more time for each other.

KATHLEEN MILLS: We pass in the hallway.

NEVART WILLBORN: Check in real quick. High fives and hugs.

KATHLEEN MILLS: And chocolate.

PHILLIP CRUM: Tell me what’s new at Lifetree.

KATHLEEN MILLS: What’s new at Lifetree?

PHILLIP CRUM: Tell me something good.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Something good? We are very busy and we have great therapists.


KATHLEEN MILLS: One of which is here, sitting right next to me.

NEVART WILLBORN: Thank you, ma’am.

PHILLIP CRUM: Well, good.

KATHLEEN MILLS: It’s been a full week.

NEVART WILLBORN: My week’s about to start at Lifetree.

KATHLEEN MILLS: I know, and I can’t wait I didn’t bring soup today, sorry.

NEVART WILLBORN: That’s OK. I can manage without it.

PHILLIP CRUM: I’m still Phillip Crum, content marketing coach, and we’re going to have an interesting discussion today with Nevart.


PHILLIP CRUM: And we’ve been trying to talk her into working more hours, working longer hours.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Longer, better, faster.

PHILLIP CRUM: So, Nevart, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, where you’re from, East Texas, and so forth.

NEVART WILLBORN: A little further than that.

PHILLIP CRUM: A little further?

KATHLEEN MILLS: A little further east.

NEVART WILLBORN: Okay. My name is Nevart and I have been with Lifetree just about since January. I’ve been a therapist for about five years and originally, I’m from Jerusalem, Palestine, Israel, and I was born and raised there. We moved to the United States, to Texas, in 2003 to go to college. I went to TCU for my undergrad and went to UNT for grad school. I met my husband at TCU. I’ve been married almost seven years.

KATHLEEN MILLS: So you’re a Horned Frog.

NEVART WILLBORN: I’m a Horned Frog.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Texas Christian University.



NEVART WILLBORN: I’ve got a little boy. He’ll be two in August. His name is Tristan. I love what I do. I love being a therapist. I’m very fortunate to love my job.

PHILLIP CRUM: What’s your specialty?

NEVART WILLBORN: I work at my full-time gig on the side of Lifetree at an agency, so I’ve been exposed to lots of things, so you can say I’ve got lots of specialties, but some of the things I prefer to do and I enjoy doing are couples counseling, when that could be marital or pre-marital, kind of relationships in general, and that can be on an individual level, and then parenting. Kind of the whole family.

KATHLEEN MILLS: The family dynamic. You really like working with that.

NEVART WILLBORN: Yeah, definitely. I really enjoy helping people understand their needs in relationships and what they need for themselves in the future and how to work towards that and kind of understand they’ve been, what their experiences have been and what they want to change to be a little more healthy and happy in their relationships. That’s my specialty.

KATHLEEN MILLS: You’ve wanted to do this for a while.

NEVART WILLBORN: Yes, since high school, actually. I started out wanting to do child psychology and that changed quickly when I got to college.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Why did it change quickly?

NEVART WILLBORN: I think I just realized that children are not as verbal for me.
KATHLEEN MILLS: You want somebody to talk with.

NEVART WILLBORN: I’m a talker, and it was just – I realized that it was easier for me to work with someone who is able to understand themselves a little bit more and to be able to understand.

PHILLIP CRUM: You need more of a two-way feedback.

NEVART WILLBORN: Yeah, but I do work with a lot of kids, and I obviously do enjoy that. It’s just different. It’s a different kind of therapy. The youngest child age I work with right is about eight. Actually, I have a seven-year-old right now, but usually it’s about eight and up. I do really enjoy it, but I do tend to have more adults, and actually, a lot of teenagers and pre-teens.

KATHLEEN MILLS: I was just going to say you like the teenagers.


KATHLEEN MILLS: What do you love about the teenagers because most people bring in their teenagers and say, “Please do something!”

NEVART WILLBORN: I love the teenagers just because their worldview is so different, so it’s amazing to see the transition from the child perspective that they have, and then the growth that they experience and how it turns into a more of mature responsibility. Now it doesn’t always happen that way. Some of the kids I work with just don’t reach that level when I meet with them, but some kids do. And part of it, too, is that you can’t work with the child without working with the family, and I enjoy that part. It is sometimes a little bit challenging when the parents don’t want to be involved as they need to be in counseling, so that’s where my frustration does sometimes come in with working with kids, but for the most part, when I do have a family that I’m working with and the parents are involved, it’s amazing to see the transition from going from a family that’s struggling and just having a lot of conflict to them actually getting along and feeling that improvement in their relationship, whether it’s just their communication or fun times spent together, and I love when they do come in, and they’re like “Oh, my gosh! We had a great week and we got along and there wasn’t as much fighting.” That’s such a rewarding thing for me.

KATHLEEN MILLS: You love the reconciliation and the vindication and it’s like, “I’ve got my little boy back” or “I’ve got my little girl back.”

NEVART WILLBORN: Yeah. And you do family counseling like that. I get to do more than one aspect, because I’m doing the parenting piece, which I love, and then the relationship piece, which I love, and just the individual growth, which I love. It’s just a little bit of everything.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Your eyes lit up when you said that.


KATHLEEN MILLS: I know. I can tell.

PHILLIP CRUM: What do you really like about working at Lifetree, in particular?

NEVART WILLBORN: Oh, goodness. There’s a long list. It first started when I met Kathleen last year, when I was interviewing for the position just as an instant liking to her personality and just how open and relaxed and laid back she was, but at the same time, really organized and just – she knew her stuff. She knew how to run a business. She knew how to connect to people. She knew how to draw people into Lifetree, and that’s exactly what I wanted. She wasn’t doing it because it was a business, she was doing it because she was passionate about it. That was the first that drew me to it, and that hasn’t changed. It’s grown just that much more. And then once I got into Lifetree, it’s just a family kind of feeling. I don’t get to see the other therapists as much because we all have different schedules, but when I do, it’s very warm and welcoming and we’re all just comfortable with each other and willing to help each other. We do a lot to try to fill in the gaps for each other if we need to, whether it’s checking in other therapists’ clients, getting them something to drink, or just forwarding voice messages, or “Hey, this client doesn’t work for my schedule, let me send it to this person,” and just not feeling it’s not a competition, it’s very much working together. And just the clientele and being able to see that people are drawn to Lifetree because of its mission and the warmth that it presents. And when clients get there, I’ve had several clients who have commented on how comfortable they feel at Lifetree because it’s like sitting in your living room on the couch, just talking to someone, and that’s a lot because of how Kathleen has decorated everything and just added her personal touch to every room that’s in there. The flexibility – I love being able to make my own schedule that works very well with my family life and I never feel – I don’t dread going to work with Lifetree. I enjoy it and look forward to it.

PHILLIP CRUM: She has, actually, put together the world’s first mental health interior design program. We can completely overhaul you inside and out.

KATHLEEN MILLS: That’s perfect. I can see it.

PHILLIP CRUM: So where do you want all of this to go? What do you want to be when you grow up?

NEVART WILLBORN: When I grow up. I really like Lifetree, so I told Kathleen she’s going to have to push me out or fire me at some point, because I don’t see myself going anywhere. I love being able to come to work and see clients, do what I’m passionate about without having to worry about the business aspect of things. Kathleen manages that with such perfection in my perspective, so I do see myself being here for a really long time where I can focus on what I want to do and not have to worry about that side. I do see myself maintaining the direction of working with families. I really love what I do, and I don’t really feel like a lot has to change. I don’t have anything I’m unhappy with in terms of what I’m doing. Just growing it, building it. I’d love to dedicate more time to Lifetree in the future, when the time is right, to be able to transition because right now, I’m only there one day a week because of my schedule, that’s how it works.

KATHLEEN MILLS: A while back, you had mentioned, and I’m curious, you said some really complimentary things, and I’m trying to take it all in at this point. I did not force her to say this, but…

PHILLIP CRUM: She’s done such a good job decorating the lobby. Every time I’ve been in there, there’s always somebody asleep on the couch up front.

KATHLEEN MILLS: It’s probably me.

PHILLIP CRUM: And usually don’t have an appointment, either.

NEVART WILLBORN: Just wander in.

KATHLEEN MILLS: And take advantage of those naptimes there. But you had mentioned something about there’s a distinction, and I’m curious, really honestly, what that distinction is in your mind between working in an agency setting, which is such a great value, versus. What is inherently different about working in a private practice, which is what you are in.

NEVART WILLBORN: That’s a good question.

PHILLIP CRUM: Be honest now.

NEVART WILLBORN: The benefit for me is that I haven’t had to do the business side of the private practice, so in terms of the everyday work I do, a lot of it is the same because, at the agency that I do work for, I do have to do a lot of the payments and stuff like that. And so a lot of that crosses over to what I do here, but I still don’t have to handle the insurance, which you do so gracefully, and same at the agency I work for. So that part isn’t different, but the difference is just in the – at a practice, my schedule isn’t always as full, so there is more open time. I do feel more flexible, I guess, at the practice because I don’t have a certain amount of clients that I have to schedule a week. And then there’s just the self-pace kind of goes along with that. That’s a good question, Kathleen; I have to think about that.

KATHLEEN MILLS: I’m just curious, because a lot of people don’t have that distinction, but I think we do it similarly to the agency where probably a lot of private practices don’t.

NEVART WILLBORN: I don’t feel like it’s a huge difference for me. I don’t know if that’s strange. And, again, I think it’s because you handle all of the hard stuff.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Let me ask you this. What advice would you give an LPHILLIP CRUM-I or college student who wants to do this, who is studying in their master’s. What advice would you give them in terms of being ready to begin their work career? What kind of advice, because most people want to be in that upper I want my own.

NEVART WILLBORN: That’s a good question because my experience is that it is not as glorious when you first start out as you expect it to be when you’re in grad school. So going through grad school, I very much had that perspective of “I want a private practice, and that’s what I’m going to work toward, and I want it.” I didn’t understand what that meant, that I didn’t have any…

KATHLEEN MILLS: Where did that come from?

NEVART WILLBORN: I don’t know. Maybe the times have changed because at that time, it seemed like everyone I went to school with knew that the money was in private practice, like “That’s where you go to make the big bucks.” We were all like, “Private practice. That’s where we need to get to.”

KATHLEEN MILLS: But how did they get that?

NEVART WILLBORN: I don’t know.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Where did they get that from?

NEVART WILLBORN: I can’t even remember personally where I got that from. I think it’s either maybe part of it was media, TV, getting the idea that when you’re in practice, you’re loaded and you don’t really struggle financially, and I think just knowing people that were in private practice and not knowing the specific numbers that they made, but just getting the impression that they were very comfortable and financially. But I didn’t know the details and honestly, I did not even have a single class in grad school that was focused on private practice. There is never any business class; there is nothing that prepared me for what it would take to open a business.

PHILLIP CRUM: Do you have a background in – maybe your parents had their own business, and that sort of thing?


KATHLEEN MILLS: Yet you wanted to be in your own business.

NEVART WILLBORN: I wanted to be in my own business.

KATHLEEN MILLS: And you don’t know where that came from?

NEVART WILLBORN: I don’t know. I really think it’s just the idea that when you’re off on your own, you can charge whatever you want, and you can make more money. When I think back to that, I can’t think who specifically would have said that to me, but It was. It was very common. That was the conversation we have among ourselves with other students. That’s where the money was.

PHILLIP CRUM: It was part of the whole image.

NEVART WILLBORN: Absolutely. When I was in grad school I did an internship at the agency that I work for right now, and basically just told them I wasn’t going anywhere after I finished my internship. I said, “I want a job.” I hung out, volunteered a little bit, and just got part-time hours, and then eventually, became hired on full time, and that was the best thing for me because I got to learn the ropes while being under the umbrella of an agency where they gave me more realistic perspective of what the health care world was really like, or mental health.

PHILLIP CRUM: Let’s revisit the question, then. What advice would you give to that college student at whatever level, but they have yet to begin their career. It’s your little brother in the grad program. What would you tell them?

NEVART WILLBORN: I would, first of all, have chitchat about reality and we’d talk about how coming out of grad school is not going to be as easy as you think it is. You need to do your own research because grad school didn’t really prepare us for how to get a job and what to look for was internship and you’re on your own. I think it would be understanding that you’re going to have to start slow. My huge advice would be to go to an agency first. Be a part of a group that is set up in a way that you don’t have to do the marketing for yourself yet. You need to focus on building your knowledge of being a therapist before you need to worry about the business side. I look online and see a lot of people, who are on their own seeing clients out of their home, and I’m like, that’s really hard because they’re having to spend all their time and energy trying to get clients instead of growing as therapists. And being part of an agency, I’ve had the privilege to be put in lots and lots of different trainings. I was able to grow in my experience and my knowledge just because of what came from that.

KATHLEEN MILLS: So I guess you’re telling newbies not to do this on their own. Do not go around the block and collect two hundred dollars, but you need to be involved in a group.

NEVART WILLBORN: Initially, absolutely, until you get the experience.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Do not think you can do this on your own.

NEVART WILLBORN: Yes. I’ve been in this for five years and I still don’t feel like I want to do it on my own because – and some people are more business-oriented and have a passion for that, but even if you have a passion for it, you can’t just step out and do it on your own. You need someone who is going to know what they’re doing to give you some guidance, so you don’t go into it expecting to make two hundred dollars and hour and then be really disappointed and down and feel like this isn’t the right thing for you. Start it in a way where you feel like you can build yourself, market yourself just through the clients you’re seeing and word of mouth, and that kind of thing, and then, when the time is right, start looking at the business.

KATHLEEN MILLS: We’re talking about you’re also having a reality is that you’re starting all over again. You’re at the bottom of the ladder and you have to work your way up.

NEVART WILLBORN: And if you just take a look around and Google “counselors” in whatever area you live in, there’s going to be a lot of people that pop up. You’re not special. If you want to make a name for yourself, you have to build that. But you can have all the letters you want after your name, but if you’re not good at what you do, then it doesn’t matter.

PHILLIP CRUM: Just because your mother loves you doesn’t mean the world is going to beat a path to your door.

NEVART WILLBORN: Exactly. And just because you think you’re good at what you do doesn’t mean that people are going to be drawn to you. You have to build your comfort with yourself and with the clients.

KATHLEEN MILLS: You have to pace yourself out.

NEVART WILLBORN: And it’s a word-of-mouth kind of thing. If someone likes you, they’ll refer you to someone else, and if you have the ability to get on insurance panels and do all that, that’s great, but that doesn’t come with a lot of money, either, and that’s the reality is that you can’t bill private-pay all the time, just people paying without having insurance because not everyone can afford that. You have to decide is your passion working with people, or is your passion making lots of money, and sometimes you can get the benefit of both, but the helping profession doesn’t always come with a lot of money.

KATHLEEN MILLS: You have to revisit that balance.

PHILLIP CRUM: I would think – and I’m not a mental health professional, but I’ve been called mental many times.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Or making someone mental.

PHILLIP CRUM: But a career as a counselor or as a doctor or a dentist, anything where you have to physically bet here to do it, that’s a full-time job by itself and then some if you really want to get good at it.. Then running a business – and I do know this from experience – but running a business is a full-time job and a half by itself. Coming out of school for any career where you have to be there, you are the practice, you are the business, and then having to run the business, that’s two full-time jobs and we’re not talking 40 hours a week. That’s a part-time job. 40 hours a week is a part-time job in this world.
NEVART WILLBORN: And that’s what I see what you do, Kathleen, and I don’t know how many times I’ve asked you. I don’t know how – and it’s really, I imagine, it’s experience and just you’ve been doing this for so long that you’ve figured it out, but it’s hard.


PHILLIP CRUM: She has been doing this a long, long time.

KATHLEEN MILLS: I’m older than dirt is what I said in one of my presentations the other day.

PHILLIP CRUM: We are out of time. This has been fun.

KATHLEEN MILLS: This has been awesome.

NEVART WILLBORN: I’ve enjoyed this. Thanks for talking to me.

KATHLEEN MILLS: And I didn’t tell you to say any of what you just said, did I?

NEVART WILLBORN: If you did, it would have sounded better than I said it, but I speak from the heart. I love being at Lifetree.

KATHLEEN MILLS: And I love you being at Lifetree.

PHILLIP CRUM: If someone is out there listening that says, “I have a teenager. This woman may work her magic on my kiddo,” how would they find you?

NEVART WILLBORN: They would have to go to lifetreecounseling.com, or they could call us. Kathleen, what’s the number?

KATHLEEN MILLS: 972-234-6634 and your extension is?


PHILLIP CRUM: Also, if there’s a college student or -anything that wants to talk to you about your experiences and so forth, just one-on-one, phone-to-phone, are you willing?

NEVART WILLBORN: Absolutely. That’s one of the biggest things about growing in this area is having someone to talk to who’s been through it, so I wouldn’t mind that at all to talk to someone and offer the little knowledge that I do have.

KATHLEEN MILLS: You know a lot.

PHILLIP CRUM: We’re going to do this again, so get ready.

NEVART WILLBORN: I’m ready. Bring it on.

PHILLIP CRUM: Kathleen, Lifetree Counseling. Where do we find you?

KATHLEEN MILLS: You find me at lifetreecounseling dot com more than 40 hours a week and you can also e-mail me: Kathleen at lifetreecounseling.com. And the address is 14679 Midway Rd., Suite 200, Addison, Texas 75001.

PHILLIP CRUM: They can call, e-mail, text, or just wait in the front lobby.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Sit in the lobby and take a nap and I will not wake them up because I understand the value of a nap.

PHILLIP CRUM: I’m still Phillip Crum, the content marketing coach, and I can be found at contentmarketingcoach.us.

KATHLEEN MILLS: The one and only.

PHILLIP CRUM: Or call me if you have nothing else to do. 214-264-6297 and we’ll chitchat. So say goodbye Kathleen.

NEVART WILLBORN: It’s been a pleasure.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Say goodbye Phillip.

PHILLIP CRUM: Goodbye, Phillip.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Goodbye, Nevart.

PHILLIP CRUM: See y’all later.

KATHLEEN MILLS: Thank you so much.

PHILLIP CRUM: And on we go.

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