At Kindful Psychology Services of Thunder Bay, clients are free and open to explore the “not-so-often talked about” aspects of our human experience with curiosity and kindness.

Founder Monique Mercier – a psychological associate registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario – works with adults who struggle with stress, burnout, anxiety, depression and trauma.

Her team specializes in offering “third wave” psychology interventions. These focus on the relationship we have between our thoughts and emotions, as well as drawing upon various techniques to gently challenge unhelpful ways of thinking and to gradually face fears that may be holding us back.

Challenge: Not enough hours in a day to manage own digital development

After half a decade as a sole practitioner, Monique opened her practice with a team of therapists in July 2021. She appreciated how the psychology concepts of her practice may be fairly abstract to understand and set out to convey them in an impactful way that would attract attention online. Her team began with website design and social media.

“I knew that to be found as a new business, you need a really nice, clean and cohesive website and the social media that accompanies that,” Monique said. “People are probably looking for these kinds of services more as they struggle with isolation. So, I needed a really solid online presence with Google Search, Facebook, Instagram and my website.”

Which all sounded good on paper, but how best to execute as a start-up business that has so much else going on?

Solution: Digital Main Street enables team to keep core focus where it needs to be

Monique’s launch coincided with a new round of funding through Digital Main Street (DMS), and she jumped at the opportunity when she heard about it from the Thunder Bay Digital Service Squad which was delivered by the Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre.

DMS is a government-funded program that supports digital transformation for Ontario small businesses through grants, hands-on help, training and resources. Monique qualified for a DMS $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant and took advantage of the program’s free educational resources and expert counseling in online marketing and advertising. That helped her to focus on her core skill areas with the business and rely on outside experts to tune her digital marketing and advertising.

“As a business owner, you’ve got your core focus of what you need to do to build the business, serve your clients and support your team,” Monique said. “The digital side of your business will help facilitate that, but is that where your time is best spent?”

“DMS gave me the focus and help to build my entire social media and web presence as I knew it had to be done,” she added. “We now have a new, attractive website and social media profiles that I think are useful to bring clients in and connect them with the help that they need. Our web traffic has increased over the past few months, and it’s just great to see.”

Outcome: An impactful web presence that connects people in need

Monique’s team continues to expand operations with additional counseling and support services to find the right balance between safety, comfort and accessibility, whether that is in person or via remote sessions.

Group sessions have filled up. There is currently a waitlist for in-person mindful self-compassion training, with another program planned. The team continues to look at how services can expand to meet demand.

“We will likely offer free resources to our website clients and more live Q&A talks in areas such as mindfulness and compassion, and tools for resilience, and use social media to facilitate all that,” Monique said. “Feelings of stress and burnout are almost becoming normalized. We need this engagement to help people overcome any misgiving or feeling of stigmatization they may have about being open and honest about seeking the help they really need.”

Despite the example of her own success, Monique finds that some of her fellow business owners continue to struggle with the digital literacy to be able to build a strong online brand.

“It can be daunting and intimidating for some, and I totally appreciate that,” she said. “I am super supportive of anyone reaching out and accessing any support from a program like DMS. These are amazing tools and there are plenty of places to turn for the help to use them.”


Monique’s story is just one example of how small businesses across Ontario have taken advantage of the Digital Main Street Ontario Initiative.

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