Natalie Graves owns a Chicago-based mental health therapy practice, one that much to her delight, is steadily attracting a national presence.
For that very reason, her practice is starting to attract exposure through the mainstream media, a trend to which Graves essentially is trying to become accustomed.
“Sounds good,” Graves told Making Headline News during a weekend interview when word spread of her latest coverage through the media. “I’m nervous.”
While Graves admittedly was gripped with a few jitters, the mere fact that she is garnering the exposure she deserves is surely warranted.
Amongst the reasons is that Graves, 47, the founder and chief executive officer of Natalie Graves Athletic Counseling, has worked tirelessly to help construct her practice to what it has become to this very day — one that is undoubtedly turning heads, particularly throughout the world of professional sports.
A Chicago-based private practice that Graves established in 2012 and is located at 155 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 633, Graves boasts a wealth of experience in the social work industry, considering her expertise spans close to two decades.
Not only that, Natalie Graves Athletic Counseling is widely regarded as a credible venture, in large part because Graves specializes in working with athletes, most notably those who are hampered by an assortment of challenges on and off the field.
MORE ON NATALIE GRAVES ATHLETIC COUNSELING: www.nataliegraves.com
“The service I provide to athletes is unique in that not only do I focus on improving performance, my perspective also considers factors like family structure, social economic-status, ethnic and cultural diversity,” Graves explained. “I gain a complete profile of the person I am working with. As a clinical social worker, I view athletes in a holistically way. It is important to understand all aspects of the individual. This is even more important with athletes.”
Interestingly, Graves witnessed her immeasurable body of work soar to immense heights when, just last month, she was on hand in New York, during which she was afforded the golden opportunity to consult with the NBA 2K League representatives on a variety of topics centered on the health and the overall wellness of their players.
Talk about basking in the glory of her element on one of professional sports largest stages.
“I want to be viewed as a sports psychotherapist, a sports social worker, or therapist who specializes in working with athletes,” said Graves, adding that amongst her primary objectives is to give athletes with what she labels the winning edge or, as she specifically puts it, changing the face of sport psychology. “That’s my thing…being a girl in boy’s world of sports and helping athletes win.”
Credit her profound passion for sports and, most importantly, her commitment to helping people from various walks of life as the key factors that have greatly inspired Graves to connect with her God-given purpose.
“I have always loved helping people and I grew up watching sports,” Graves said. “You could call me a sports fanatic. What is special about my practice is that I get to combine my two loves. Assisting athletes to overcome obstacles that have impacted their game gives me such a high.
“Oftentimes, when athletes first come to see me, they have never worked with a therapist before,” Graves continued. “The best feeling in the world is when someone says to me, ‘I feel better,’ or their coaches see a change in their performance. That never gets old. It’s so inspiring.”
To her credit, Graves has certainly put in the work to be able to function mightily in her element for such a time as now.
Having earned a Bachelor’s degree from the historic Chicago State University, Graves received her Master’s degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.
Consequently, she was a visiting student at the University of Maryland, where she studied abroad in the United Kingdom, where she became knowledgeable in the Sports, Commerce, not to mention the Culture in the Global Marketplace Program.
Interestingly, Graves completed an Addictions Studies Program at City Colleges of Chicago Kennedy-King College.
“I have been very fortunate that I have been able to travel through speaking engagements all over the United States and as far as to England and France,” said Graves, adding that her parents and husband headline her solid supporting cast. “My mentor, Greg Harden of the University of Michigan, has been very impactful in my professional life. He was the first social worker that I found that was working directly with athletes. Seeing what he did reinforced that I could make a career in sports.”
The rest, as they say, was history.
Today, unlike never before, Graves is not only savoring the fruits of her labor as an accomplished sports psychotherapist, but she’d be the first to admit that she’s literally having fun with it.
Which, fortunately for her, was all a part of God’s plan all along.
“My story started when I was a young girl, growing up in Chicago,” Graves recalled. “I remember rushing home from church to watch the (Chicago) Bears and Bulls games. That was our thing as a family. We watched Chicago sports together. My dad taught me the rules of the game and I loved it. As I got older, I started not just following football and basketball, I developed an interest in all sports.”
A trend that has ultimately given way to her basking in the glory of her element on one of professional sports largest stages.
Ask the NBA 2K League crew.
For more information about Chicago-based Sports Psychotherapist Natalie Graves of Natalie Graves Athletic Counseling, call 773.294.3903. Also, connect with her via:
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Andre Johnson is Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.
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