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Faces of Brookside: Brookside Plaza Counseling

A New Venture

After a 20-year career of working for faith-based, not-for-profit counseling organizations, Roger Goldblatt decided to go off on his own.

Roger Goldblatt, LCSW and owner of Brookside Plaza Counseling, LLC

Roger Goldblatt, LCSW and owner of Brookside Plaza Counseling, LLC spends a lot of time at The Roasterie. You’ll find him there reading books about mental health as he continually tries to stay up-to-date with top research affecting his clients. It was on one of these evening reading sessions that Roger noticed that the building next door his business currently resides in was available.

“I noticed it was for rent, asked about it, and then decided to open my business,” he said. “It just worked out.”

The first year was slow as he worked to gain a clientele on his own, but Roger earned more and more clients through word of mouth and his listing on the Psychology Today website. He’s now in his third year of business, located in the Brookside building, right next to his favorite coffee shop.

“I’m proud of making it go,” Roger said of starting his own business. “I’m proud of standing on my own and not relying on an agency. I’m succeeding, I’ve built a viable business, and I’m proud that I can be in a position to help people navigate a very challenging world.”

Roger said that he enjoys the autonomy of being his own boss, where he has the freedom to focus on the business and not get sidetracked by the challenges of working in an organization.

Carrying on the Brookside Legacy

Roger has a long history of life in Brookside. He grew up in Kansas, and his family can trace their Brookside roots back to World War II. Roger’s father’s first cousin Leon Goodheart came to Kansas City from Poland after the war and opened the Country Club Shoe Store. Leon’s daughter owned the beauty parlor down the street.

“I grew up here, and now I’ve become part of the family in Brookside,” Roger said. “I feel right at home here.”

Roger said that there’s a sense of quality and caring and artistry in Brookside that he enjoys, along with a friendly community and office building neighbors. He even shares a building with George Harter, formerly of KXTR radio. “I used to listen to his voice on the radio years ago, and now I recognize his voice as he’s walking through the halls talking to people,” Roger said.

“It’s important to me to be a part of a community,” Roger said. “It’s a close community, and I really like that. Other neighborhoods have gotten away from that, but Brookside has kept it.”

Art, Literature, and Therapy

Roger’s office is bright and sunny and full of original photography and artwork.

“Art and literature have been influences on my therapy,” he said. Roger is an avid reader. He researches and reads a lot about the issues his clients are dealing with and often finds a connection between characters in literature and clients. With his clients, he will often discuss books and art as a way to process thoughts.

“A lot of people come to therapy and think the therapist will snap their finger, and things will be different,” Roger said. “Therapy is a process of growth at the same time that you’re sharing your journal with someone. Most of my clients are self-reflective. Every client has a journal in which they record their daily perceptions of events. We as humans are always processing, and therapy is a way to bring that journal out. Through that process, we grow, and we change.”

Therapy Methods & Services

In his sessions with clients, which can last anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, Roger simply tries to be present with his clients.

Usually what brings people into Roger’s office is pain, loss, or conflict. He works with people dealing with depression, anxiety, alcohol or drug addiction, grief, and loss, as well as couples in conflict.

“The key to therapy is developing a relationship with the therapist and trusting that relationship by exploring and perfecting your life and slowly tweaking and making changes,” Roger said. “Where else can you do that in our culture? Most people do not go to a family member or friend weekly with that dedicated purpose. Many people seem to need to share the weight of being human with another person.”

Roger said that he doesn’t see anything magical about being a therapist.

“I appreciate being able to be present to a person in that kind of pain,” Roger said. “It’s an honor and a privilege. If I can help someone with that intense level of pain, then that’s why I’m here. It’s a process of letting go of that pain. I wish I could snap my finger and remove it, but that’s not possible. It’s a slow process of growth with self-reflection.”

The Job

Roger’s favorite part of the job is helping someone leave with a little more faith in life and humanity than when they first came in. “I regret that they came in feeling so bad, but knowing they left feeling better is the best feeling for a therapist.”

Possibly the most challenging part of Roger’s work as a therapist is counseling people who have lost their children. “I’m grateful that I can be there to help and provide some solace.”

“People don’t think therapists have issues,” Roger continued. “I may not have experienced everything my clients have experienced, but it’s rare that a client can bring something in here that is so foreign that I can’t relate from some experience in my life. We’re not different. I’ve experienced a lot of life and things they have experienced and can relate.”

Being a therapist requires a lot of compassion and deep emotion, Roger said. It requires the joy to be with people and walk with them in their serious struggles.

“We (me and the client) work in partnership to try to help extricate them from those struggles as much as life will allow,” Roger said. “It’s not easy. I love what I do. It’s hard work and long hours. I take each client seriously. I take lots of notes. I write up those notes after they leave, review them, and try to put a laser focus on their life when they are in here. And I think that’s healing.”

You can find Roger at his office at 601 E 63rd Street Suite #340 above Bella Napoli. To schedule a meeting, call (816) 616-5016.