Pulse Wellness Cooperative Expands Local Mental Health Initiatives
Pulse Wellness Cooperative (PWC) recently announced its groundbreaking shift from a privately-owned therapy practice to a worker-owned cooperative. Formerly Pulse Wellness, LLC, Pulse Wellness Cooperative launched on January 1, 2023. Pulse Wellness Cooperative is one of only a few worker-owned behavioral health cooperatives in the country, and the first in the state of Oregon to offer a profit-sharing model to its therapists.
This milestone is a major move for its 5 initial worker-owners, who are excited to expand the organization’s purview and partnerships to align with its mission and values to support not only clients but other professional caregivers.
“We live in a world that invites us to ask for less, or expect the bare minimum from our professional settings, especially as helping professionals,” noted Erin Mahone (LPC), PWC’s Director of Marketing and Media. “Being a part of this process at Pulse has shown me that we can envision more for ourselves, our clients, and the world.”
“Unlike nonprofits, we’re not grant-funded, and this gives us tremendous power to partner with other mntal health and social work organizations, agencies and initiatives to help them grow. Plus, we’re not limited by location anymeore,” said Rosanne Marmor, Chief Executive Officer and the founder of the formerly private group practice. “We can offer consulting and coaching anywhere in the country and beyond.”
Prior to starting Pulse Wellness, LLC., in 2016, Marmor spent several years working independently in private practice but began to long for the connection, community, and creativity of ideas that come from collaborating with other professionals. Responding to a request from one of her social work supervisees, she decided it was time to create a group practice and begin to implement her vision for a new way of providing services within the community. At the same time that Marmor was starting the practice and trying to decide on a name, the Pulse Nightclub massacre happened in Florida, targeting the LQBTQIA+ community. It was then that she decided on Pulse Wellness, Marmor stated, “I knew I had to pay homage to what happened to my people in Florida.”
From its inception, Pulse Wellness has been rooted in a sense of social justice, inclusivity, and a commitment to the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, the belief that every person has a responsibility to do their part to “repair the world.” Marmor sought to build, “a hub for people to find safety and be valued for who they are and what they bring…those who work here and those who use our services.” Pulse Wellness has culled together a diverse group of therapists focusing on the innate value in having “variety in opinions and skills…with a team that sees the world from many perspectives.”
Marmor’s vision of creating a worker-owned cooperative, sprang from living and working in co-ops earlier in her life and seeing the ways that well managed
cooperatives can contribute to their communities. Her fervent desire to help and provide care to those in need, extends to the helpers providing the care.
This commitment is in opposition to the historical view of helping professions that have set expectations of providers to sacrifice their own financial security, health, and well-being. This culture in social work, and beyond, has fueled burnout and exploitation of labor leading to shortages within these fields; and contributing to the crises of access being experienced by communities throughout the nation. Marmor asserts, “My work has value and so does the work of all who serve [others]…I believe that all of the people here deserve a cut of the profit this company makes. I want ownership to be a reality for those in behavioral health in ways that are socially just and support equity of labor and wages.” It is her belief that the more fulfilled and healthy a provider is the more effective they can be in helping the people they serve.
Some of Pulse Wellness Cooperative’s initiatives will include:
- Developing a new Peer Support Program (2023)
- A new, enduring scholarship program (date TBD)
- Continuing to provide supervision to Portland Street Response team members
- Continued support of current projects and partnerships, including:
- If You Could See Me: Stories for Change;
- The Haymarket Pole Collective: supporting sex workers who identify as Black, Brown, Indigenous, and or LGBTQIA2S+;
- A Home Within, matching a therapist offering pro bono weekly therapy appointments with a child or adult who has been in foster care;
- The Black Excellence;
- William Temple House support for students
- New MSW internship program in partnership w/Portland State UniversitySchool of Social Work
“We’re just getting started,” said Marmor. “The idea is to slowly build and become
stewards serving our communities.”
Not all therapists at PWC are employee owners. The cooperative employs other therapists and interns. All therapist employees who work 1040 clinical hours or 1 year at the firm then qualify to apply to become an employee-owner. “I’m thrilled to work for an organization that embeds equity and restoration in the very
structure of our group….Building towards a collective working together is one of my personal goals, and [now] it gets to become a core part of my work as well,” said Rebekah Lubeck (MSW, LCSW), PWC’s Quality Assurance Director.
“There is growth in stepping out of my comfort zone of being ‘just a therapist,’” agreed Lola Ryan (LCSW), PWC’s Clinical Director. “And the growth is important.” To learn more about Pulse Wellness Cooperative’s therapists and offerings, visit the PWC website at: pulsewellness.coop