Megan Gewecke’s desire to understand the inner workings of the human brain began well before she opened her own business as a Licensed Psychologist.
As a young child, science was always her favorite class, and she never missed an opportunity to help others in need.
“I loved learning about all the different systems in the body and how things like stress, healthy versus unhealthy foods, etc. can have an impact on certain areas of the body and the body as a whole,” said Megan. “I like to help others see their own strengths and potential—it is really exciting to see others succeed and increase confidence in themselves."
This passion helped push Megan through college and graduate school, and eventually to Kearney, Nebraska, where she opened her own business.
“My husband is from Kearney, and I have always loved Kearney from my undergrad days, so we planned to move back eventually,” said Megan. “We saw an ad for a local private practice looking to expand and add other individuals with their own businesses, so we took a leap of faith.”
After Megan was offered a position in the practice, she began setting up her own space. It was then that her mother-in-law suggested utilizing the services of the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP).
Through REAP’s assistance, Megan was able to create a business plan as well as obtain a business loan.
“REAP helped me in so many ways—they provided encouragement, workshops, and meet and greets,” said Megan. “It was also nice to have someone I could call if I had a question, to receive encouraging emails, and have someone to check in on me.”
Craig Eberle, loan specialist with the Center for Rural Affairs, said REAP has provided Megan with those services.
“Megan’s loan was for start-up costs, including supplies and capital to begin the private practice,” said Craig. “This included paying office rent until her private practice became self-sufficient. She ended up paying off the note before it was due, and has told me that REAP came through for her in a short period of time when this opportunity presented itself.”
Since starting her business, Megan has spread the word throughout the Kearney area to expand her services, including connecting with doctors, nurses, probation offices, nursing home staff, and more.
In her practice, Megan offers counseling for substance use issues and mental health issues such as grief and loss, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, stress management, and women's issues.
Now open for five years, Megan has continued to grow and expand her mental health services by becoming part of a different private practice with a new partner.
“We enjoy working together and having more say in things about the business,” she said. “I have expanded my services by doing compensation and pension evaluations for veterans, and have started to see more clients in nursing homes—I travel to them instead of them having to go to my office.”
In the future, Megan and her partner hope to move to a larger office and offer a holistic type of approach by adding additional providers who practice different types of services for clients to access.
“There is always going to be a need for mental health services,” she said. “The more stress we experience and the more pressure we feel, either from ourselves or others, the more tired, burned out, or depressed and anxious we may feel. Mental health is important and should be considered as important as physical health. My goal is to help people work through these stressors and struggles to enjoy their lives fully.”
Through REAP, Megan says she’s learned so much about running a business and continuing to help people through her job.
“It has been nice to be my own boss so that I can learn new things to help the business and decide on my own hours,” she said. “It was a bit of a learning curve in the beginning because business was not my strong suit, but I have learned a lot and am still learning as I go.”
And, because of REAP, Megan will be able to continue down that path for years to come.
“I love what I do, I enjoy the clients I work with, and I really have great colleagues in town,” she said. “The REAP staff have been very open, warm, and helpful. They’ve kept me informed about meet and greets happening, ways to build my business, and the different trainings. I felt very comfortable with them, and appreciate all the advice and help I’ve gotten.”
At a Glance
Stepping Stones Psychological Services, LLC
2804 2nd Avenue, Kearney, Nebraska 68847
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays, 8:45 a.m. to noon