We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Lajiness and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, how does your business help the community?
I’m a Psychotherapist and Ecotherapist, so my day-to-day work includes supporting my clients’ mental health, as well as connecting them with the natural world. During the pandemic, this has often looked like meeting my clients outdoors and providing therapy in a beautiful setting, away from the stressors of home and the digital world many of us find ourselves in for many hours per day. Getting people into nature not only supports their mental health, but also creates a sense of connection to our world. It is important to me that my work facilitates people falling in love with our beautiful Earth, with in turn will lead to each of us taking steps to protect our environment so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am most proud and excited about the way that my work pushes past the boundaries of traditional office-based psychotherapy by bringing it to the outdoors. Nature is accessible to all of us, and research shows that it has amazing impacts on our physical and mental health, from boosting our immune system and attention, to reducing stress and depression. Getting to this place wasn’t easy – Ecotherapy is a relatively new field, and required a great deal of time, energy, and money to become certified and knowledgeable around how to provide this service to my clients. I was also, frankly, terrified of starting a business, because I am fairly risk-averse as a person. But I knew that this is the work I need to be doing, and that it would support many people, which is what gave me the courage to push forward in launching my business. I really learned to be patient with myself and my business, as well as to be scrappy – finding alternate streams of income as my practice was in its early stages of growth. Now, I’m so happy that I took the risk – it’s amazing to be able to spend parts of my workday at the beach, hiking trails, and San Diego’s beautiful neighborhood parks, and at the same time providing support to many wonderful and deserving folks.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite place to be in San Diego is the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas, so we’d start there, followed by the amazing Coop Deville chicken sandwich at The Crack Shack nearby. The next day, we’d grab some bikes and do a self-directed bike tour of the breweries in the Mira Mesa and Miramar area. Some of my favorites are Societe Brewing and Little Miss, although you can’t go wrong with the giant Alesmith Brewing either. We’d grab some food at the food trucks stationed outside many of the breweries, and maybe fill a few growlers for later in the week. For a more chill day, we’d head down to South Park and browse the boutiques and stores, definitely buying some books at The Book Catapult and some home goods at Gold Leaf. If we’re lucky, we might fit in a facial treatment with Dana at Girl on the Go Spa in nearby Golden Hill. Liberty Station is a must – we might pick up some grub at the food hall and have a picnic on the grass, then browse the art galleries and shops. Lastly, a trip to San Diego would be incomplete without a trip to the beach. Coronado is my favorite for the endless stroll and white sand, plus it is never crowded like some of the other beaches can get during the warmer months.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to Mother Earth for being a haven for us during COVID times, and for being my co-therapist on a daily basis!