It Takes Two: Louis and Denise Joseph of Open Sea Institute
“How do we build a better world? We focus on our most precious resource— each other.”
This is a belief firmly held by Louis and Denise Joseph who built and lead the Open Sea Institute here in West Palm Beach.
OSI is a movement for Positive, Sustainable, and Ethical Growth via various wellness and coaching initiatives.
So what does that mean, exactly?
As a psychiatric and wellness practice, they offer psychotherapy, medication management, substance use intervention, coaching, consulting, organizational counseling, team building and more.
In their own words, “As a society, we prioritize the fostering of resilience and joy in our people. We coach people to weather storms with grace. We coach people to become unashamed seekers and experiencers of satisfaction and fulfillment. We coach people to interact with kindness and social conscience, breaking generational patterns when necessary. We coach people to become the change they want to see and feel around them.”
Don’t worry – we’ll explain more! The dynamic duo had much to teach us – and share about what they can offer us – in an interview held ahead of the holiday season.
Denise and Louis go toe-to-toe when it comes to interesting, in-depth backstories.
Partners in both business and in marriage, the two met in DC during their respective studies.
But neither one charted a straight path to get to where they are today – between them they share experience in law, fine art, international politics, fundraising, and most importantly, a passion for mental health.
How did they get here? We’ll start with Louis.
“I personally came to the realization in my teenage years, when I had been recruited to spend my summers at the National Institute for Health in Maryland, researching neuroscience,” he shared.
The next decade included a Howard Hughes fellowship to research schizophrenia in a translational lab setting which “crystallized his belief that mental health and wellness are pivotal aspects to individuals’ lives.” This followed additional extensive education in neuroscience and psychiatry, plus training at George Washington University in public health and public policy as well.
Later he joined the Henry Ford Health System to lead the Emergency Psychiatry Division and spend time working on the Zero Suicide Movement.
“Throughout mental health there was an accepted, substandard statistic that you’d always have some degree of suicide. My previous mentor said, we can do better than that.”
Via extensive research and work, the mission continued to be a big part of Louis’ life, including working with the Mayo Clinic Network here in Florida.
He sought to ingrain it in the community at large, rather than just in the mental health system. Within the ensuing 24 months, a community-wide evidence-based technical package to prevent suicide was implemented and the pediatric suicide rate was reduced to near zero, the lowest rate the region had seen in over 20 years.
Impressed? Us too! We’ll continue the momentum with more from Denise.
“My interest in psychiatry started in childhood,” she shared. “I was born different, with a brain that was sort of hyperactive in a way that other people’s brains aren’t.”
Early development for Denise included extremely advanced reading and verbal capabilities in her early childhood, ultimately digging into PHD level psychiatric literature as a pre-teen.
She graduated from Law School and after a brief stint at a K street law firm, she was chosen to work in an experimental program at the Smithsonian Institution. She then decided to formally study fine art in New York and after venturing into fundraising and entrepreneurship, Denise was ready to pursue “a desire to understand herself and her place in the world,” continuing a journey towards mental health, which she’s able to share with her husband.
“I married Louis, and he reflected my interest in the mind right back at me! That was thrilling for me, to have this partner in one of my primary interests. I saw this person and this field with such great potential.”
Despite arriving at their current careers via different paths, the two align directly on so much of what they’ve built the organization upon.
Denise and Louis stress the importance of the Doctor/Patient bond, and the deep levels of trust and security that come with it. They believe in the importance of meaningful, person-to-person interaction, while also maintaining a sense of privacy. While healthcare is increasingly financialized, Open Sea Institute stands firm in its dedication to true quality of care.
They leverage their combined diversity of knowledge to create a unique and impactful experience for their clients.
And, in the digital age, they recognize the importance of a strong virtual presence.
Primarily a telehealth business, the duo was primed for online communication and therefore able to capitalize on being ahead of the curve during the COVID era.
Shared Denise, “About a year before COVID, I realized that psychiatry and counseling services would and should go online, and I realized it was an inevitability. We were able to really hit the ground running when COVID started.”
Since then, they’ve continued to grow a client base locally in the Palm Beach community and beyond on an international scope.
What we love most about the OSI mission is that a client doesn’t need to actively be in discomfort or distress in order to seek their support. In fact, a large portion of the member population has no diagnosis at all.
Of course, they provide a wide range of psychiatric services for adults and families, including those administering to anxiety, addiction, depression, psychosis, stress, autism, and developmental disorders.
But moreover they seek to optimize the human experience –helping, often, people who have already begun to help themselves.
Regardless of who is seeking the support – whether an individual, team, business, or couple – OSI can support in achieving meaningful change.
You can get in touch via their website, or email them directly at:
Written by TSG Contributing Editor, Kate Rowan