Meet Dr. Mariam Alammadi- The most Influential Bahraini Psychologist

Dr. Mariam Alammadi

Dr. Mariam Alammadi is a Licensed Psychologist that has been working in the mental health sector for the last eleven years.

She is the Founder of the award-winning practice The Child & Family Foundation Center. Dr. Mariam is also the founder and president of Afkarech Female Network & Think Tank.

Afkarech is a nonprofit organization to help women define success on their own terms with charitable projects, social events, and educational workshops to further women both personally and professionally.

Mariam was elected as a committee member of the Middle Eastern Psychological Association (MEPA) in 2017 and re-elected in 2019 and is currently serving as the first Director of the Bahraini Chapter.

Mariam was recently recognized as one of the Ten Most Inspiring Bahraini Women in the publication Women, December 2021.

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

My name is Dr. Mariam Alammadi, I am a Licensed Psychologist, Author, and Founder of The Child & Family Foundation Center.

I started working in the field of psychology in 2010. Mental health was an emerging field in the Middle East and was exciting to be involved in. I helped set up the psychology department for a leading hospital in 2011.

Mental health is something that I have always been passionate about. I have always felt it in my true calling in life.

Where did the idea for “CFC” come from?

My center is called “The Child & Family Foundation Center” CFC for short. The name essentially came from the idea that mental health is the foundation for all your life.

Every decision and move you make is determined by your state of mind. If your foundation is shaky or badly constructed then you will not be able to reach your full potential.

How did you get started in your industry?

I was working for an NGO called Cara House in Ireland and was offered a job as a psychologist in The Middle East. After I started working in the hospital they offered me the chance to set up my private clinic in the hospital. I am grateful to the CEO for giving me that opportunity and trust.

Over four and a half years ago I decided that I wanted my own center and left a very comfortable job to chase my dream. I founded CFC in 2017 and have never looked back.

Why do you think that PR is the tool you need to implement in your business and how it helps to grow your business?

PR is essential for all businesses. There is no point in having amazing services or products if the public doesn’t know about them. All our PR undertaken was via smart usage of all our social platforms. As a startup, we were restricted in the budget so we were creative in how we advertised.

Using informative videos, collaborating with leaders in the industry, and providing valuable psychological content which was lacking in the region was our focus. We used different platforms depending on the age range we were targeting.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

During COVID-19 it was all about maintenance, not growth. As we have (hopefully) reached the end of COVID-19 we are currently expanding our services and working more hours to serve more of our community.

As an entrepreneur, what is it that actually motivates and drives you?

Helping people. It’s a cliche answer but it’s the truth. Psychology is not a field simply to make money. You met real people struggling in their worst moments.

When you see their life change for the best it emphasizes how much we need this industry. Making a living and having a good business is essential to be able to sustain your place in the market but it’s secondary.

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness and why?

We use Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok. We have seen the most growth with Instagram and LinkedIn and focus heavily on these.

What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?

In marketing, we focus on giving people more knowledge about psychology to make good sustainable changes in their lives.

We try and connect with as many people as we can on social media. Often people will not be able to come to a consultation yet we will still offer advice. They never forget that we were there for them in their time of need and will usually recommend us to others.

In my business people remember how you make them feel. That starts from when they first contact, to the first minute they put their feet in the door and until we leave. It is up to us to make that person feel heard, feel safe, and feel comfortable.

What is your brand’s philosophy?

Your child’s and your own mental health is the foundation of all growth and development. Without a healthy foundation, we cannot navigate life successfully. Let us help you.

What is one piece of advice you still remember that has practically changed your life?

To just be me. That is enough. Not to try and use gimmicks or have the most luxurious interior that I hide behind. That’s how you find out you are good as a psychologist people come for you not the place. It’s about how you make them feel.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

In all honesty, there have been many but reassessing and re-evaluating if there are any changes I need to make as a leader would be the one that comes to mind. We always need to be self-evaluating and adapt to the situations that come our way.

If you have things going on in your personal life it can be a delicate balance but it’s something you have to put time and thought into. Nobody will care about your business as much as you do.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

As I get older my sense of achievement has changed from counting accolades and awards to being at peace with myself and generally being a good human. I also love growing in confidence in my field and knowing I can achieve whatever I set my mind to.

You begin to think about the legacy you leave behind and how you can mentor people in the field to achieve even more than you could.

What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?

I said no to opportunities because I felt I was not ready. I realized I had been ready for a long time, and feeling fear is normal when it’s your first time doing anything.

Take any opportunity you are given and seize it with both hands. The worst that can happen is that you learn something.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

10to8 is one of my favorite pieces of software. It is amazing for startups, and you can use it to make appointments, schedule meetings, and contact clients/patients. It makes everything much more organized, and I can’t recommend it enough.

If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?

Thankfully, a time machine isn’t needed. We have to make mistakes so we can learn a new way to do something. I would never trade in that experience just to have perfection.

It builds character, and it changed who I am in a positive way. Obstacles also give you drive and push you to succeed. It would be easy to give up or become complacent without them.

What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?

People told me later on in my career that a mistake is offering to do things for free. People will keep telling you that it gives you visibility and a platform.

You have to know your worth, and not taking payment devalues you and your skills. You deserve to be paid for a job well done.

Fantastic! So tell us, how can people find out more about you?

You can check out my Instagram handles @afkarech. You can also check out my website.