"Helping people who help people"

Clients are dealing with loss, divorce, solo-hood, mental health, family dysfunction, etc may be emotionally flooded to the point they aren’t even sure therapy can help.  And therapists are being flooded with buzz words, marketing tips, experts who can make you have full practices with all cash-paying clients, plus tons of magical extra money through multiple streams of income. All while trying to see their current clients, keep up with the latest therapy research, attend CEU trainings, maybe be a spouse, parent, friend. How to balance it all?

My goal for 2011 is to help you stop your marketing flooding.  Stop the pounding you feel from every direction to do it all – BLOG! Social media! Get a website but not a static one (and you think, my website doesn’t give me static, what do they mean?) Network!  Give presentations and workshops!  Get video on your website. Go mobile! On and on it goes.

My problem is seeing therapists who stumble around, trying whatever the last marketing expert told them to do.  They aren’t sure why they’re, say, on Twitter, nor do they know what it would be like to have a strategy on it.  They start blogging and hope that’ll fix their problems. They buy a $40/month shopping cart system when they don’t yet have a product to sell, nor anyone to actually sell it to.  They don’t trust people on the internet.  (I’m with you on that one, so not sure if that makes me a self-hater seeing as I’m on the internet selling stuff, too!)  They put a lot of money into Google Adwords and have a horrid website, thus defeating the point of drawing people in to convert them to clients…

What is missing?

Perspective.

Perspective on how it ALL fits together.  On what personality types and skills best match all the options out there.  Honesty on what it takes within each marketing option to really do something real with it.  And honesty about just how much effort each of these ventures take, and honesty on whether it’s worth another $10,000 a year of earnings for you to give every non-therapy hour to a bunch of tasks you may not enjoy…or to throw a bunch of money at virtual assistants to do the grunt work, not knowing if success is around the corner.

I also see no discussion on the dark side of self-promotion as therapists.  I’ve seen it for years and I have private conversations with therapists who watch their peers go down the dark path.  You go from being a solid person who helps people, to a business card, book-pushing, email-spamming self-promoter who becomes blinded to anything that doesn’t result in you selling your books, filling your classes, or getting email addresses for your lists.  You view any potential venture strictly in terms of how much cash you can make, and donating time, energy, or effort feels very naive.  It’s like there is this vortex and once you get sucked in, it’s very hard to get out of it. It’s not all about greed, either, but about ego.  It’s highly unattractive when self-promotion gets out of balance and simply put, it makes me sad.

What do you want to see?

That is my huge task.  To help give perspective.  What questions do you have that I can try answering in this blog post?  And if you had this “big picture perspective”, should it be in a teleclass, written, video, or in a short-term teleseries where I do some teaching and some on-the-fly consulting with people on the call, recorded for others to hear who couldn’t make the call?

I find out soon if I get an interview, then find out in March hopefully, that I got into graduate school.  I’m not going anywhere long term, but for the shorter term starting in the fall I’m not going to be as helpful.  I feel very blessed, however, to have hundreds of therapists friends who can support me emotionally in graduate school and in the internship.  Maybe this blog will turn into YOU supporting ME! 🙂

This is currently on my roster: nuts and bolts book on therapy profiles, book on informational interviews (what they are, strategy, their power), Twitter for therapists (micro-trainings, really affordable!), a 3 part series on journalism for therapists (plus hopefully more smaller ones on, say, new therapists and journalism).   Finally, a really affordable Google Adwords service/product (hopefully launching soon!)

I do all this with an unwaivering passion to provide rock solid information without jazzy hyped up marketing fluff.  I want to help make therapists more rock-star like in order to attract more clients.  My secret mission is to rebrand therapy in our culture and by sharing great information with YOU, more people consider therapy for the first time based on how you market yourself and market what therapy actually is.  And my not so secret mission is to give energy to therapists. Without energy nothing else matters.

I know.  I aim so low, don’t I?

But seriously, comment and I’d love to find a way to help a bunch of you who have the same  struggles.   Ultimately I believe marketing is identical to therapy.  It’s an internal journey first, and a practical journey of skill building and behavior changing second.

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Comments on: "Flooding – Yours, Not The Client" (3)

  1. I love your passion and vision. Your Twitter training sounds interesting. I would love more info when it is available.

    I am new to the counseling profession and I agree that therapy needs to be “rebranded”. Therapy is and should be viewed as a “wellness” activity, much like going to the gym. Unfortunately, many clients view counseling as something you do once all the wheels have fallen off.
    Good luck in grad school!

    • Thanks for commenting, Sean! Follow the blog or go to http://www.twitterfortherapists.com to sign up there for notification.

      One of my areas of interest is in chronic pain and the relational components of it. I love coming up with ways to market the fact that “NO, I can’t remove your pain, I can’t help you feel physically better. But I can help you with the emotional crud involved in physical pain and help you not feel like a whiner, or neglect your pain trying to do it all in your family life.”

      I’m in love with the challenge of rebranding and marketing therapy. Maybe I’m stubborn but I think there are lots of awesome ways to do it that aren’t yet discovered.

      Elizabeth

  2. Elizabeth,
    Your therapy friends are there for you!
    I agree, we need perspective and I want to add; authentic and wholehearted goals that makes sense and helps us go forward, because it seems right.
    Thanks for a post that makes me think about what I want!

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