Healthy Living

Buoyant Family Services

Staying Afloat With Mental Health

By Linda Sutherland


What does the word “buoyant” mean to you? To me, buoyancy is a way to rise to the top, like a hot air balloon or a buoy floating on the surface of the ocean. Buoyant is a synonym for happy. Someone with a buoyant personality is fun to be around, who laughs and smiles and helps other people rise to the top, emotionally speaking. Dr. Betty Kola of Buoyant Family Services is positively buoyant in her work as a mental health expert.


Betty Kola immigrated from Kenya when she was 18 years old. She initially moved to India and eventually earned a PhD in Psychology (trauma). Then, she came to the United States. Getting accustomed to American life was a huge adjustment—the culture in the United States is entirely different from Kenyan culture. Dr. Kola decided that her path was to help people in similar situations manage their mental health. In 2016, Dr. Kola founded Buoyant Family Services Counseling and Consulting Inc. to help adults, children, and families who are struggling to stay afloat. She offers mental health therapy, substance abuse therapy, and behavioral therapy.


Dr. Kola is dedicated to erasing the stigma that is still attached to mental illness, and her diligent efforts to advocate for mental health is an ongoing crusade. Dr. Kola is also an advocate for the health care disparities that affect refugees and immigrants here in this country. “It is not always easy to find a provider who knows about other people’s cultures,” she points out, “and that is why I opened my company. In comparison to other countries, Americans are better at seeking out mental health help.” She aims to serve people from other countries who may need help navigating issues that seem like everyday occurrences to Americans but may be hard for immigrants to understand. She approaches this work with a great deal of respect and caring, meeting people where they are and helping them get where they want to be.


If you stop and think about the issues that you faced as a child, you may realize that those same issues can easily carry over into your adult life. If you experienced trauma as a child, you are still walking around with the effects of that trauma as an adult. Dr. Kola had trauma in her younger life; at one time, she even considered taking her own life. This personal experience with trauma helps her understand and empathize with other people who have trauma and heartbreak in their own lives.


When humans are exposed to trauma, the emotional responses can vary, including things like shock, denial, rage, and despair. Trauma can be chronic, acute, or even complex, and it affects the body as well as the mind. When Dr. Kola first meets someone who has experienced trauma, whether recent or long past, she learns as much as she can about what happened to them so she can best understand how to help them. Healing, however, cannot come from the outside. “You also must encourage them to do the work that it takes to become healed. People with hopelessness and despair need to know that they have a safe place to come and be heard and to heal,” Dr. Kola says.


Dr. Kola started her practice because she understands how people immigrate from different cultures to live in Omaha may need help with their mental health. She began with absolutely no money—not even a desk for her office. She works out of Suite 106 at The Center (the former shopping mall at the corner of 42nd and Center Street). The kindness and generosity of The Center’s owner got her started. He provided her with some furniture and, from there, she started building.


Today, she has 15 employees and a wonderful office that provides so many necessary services for those who need it. Though she loves her location, she notes that some patients lack transportation, which can be an obstacle toward getting the help they need. “My biggest and most rewarding moments are when someone who came in troubled and in distress comes out the other side of trauma and becomes a more confident and powerful human being than when they started,” Dr. Kola concludes. “We must always be culturally sensitive to the people we serve here at the practice.”


We must also acknowledge that asking for help when working through challenging moments is a sign of strength, not weakness. Let Dr. Kola and the caring team at Buoyant Family Services show you a way forward. To learn more or make an appointment, call 402-933-7577, visit, or send a message to Buoyant Family Services Counseling and Consulting Inc. accepts most forms of insurance.

Oct. '22 Healthy Living - Dr. Betty Kola, Founder.jpg

Dr. Betty Kola, Founder