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Archive for the ‘Rambling’ Category

Networker Magazine – Allying with the Internet

I am so proud that my second article came out in this September 2010 edition.  The editor, Rich Simon, said this second one makes me a “true journalist.”  Not sure about THAT, but it was still great fun to research and write.  Allying with the Internet is an exciting topic for me because I have been an active internet user and community member since the mid-1990’s way back when “meeting people from the computer” was considered not too far from having a date with an ax murderer.  When I become a therapist in a few years I’m going to have fun engaging people where they already are: online.  When I work with engaged couples I’ll ask which websites they are on, what message boards they are using, and how that is going for them.  For pregnant or new moms, or anyone else, I’ll add to their support system list which websites or message boards they are on.  It is invaluable information for a therapist because I know from first hand experience that online communities can have a dramatic impact (positive OR negative) on life stages and general mental health.

I am also excited because my first article, Website Marketing on a Shoestring, was more about launching my husbands private practice through search engine optimization.  Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE website marketing, but I am so much more than therapy marketing.  My passions, interests, opinions, motivations, and dreams for the profession extend well beyond the technical, dull elements of Google and general marketing tips.  My husbands website, Minnesota Couples Counseling, was the first website I could completely write and I have had a lot of compliments on it.  I can’t wait for my own website, once I get that little old “graduate school” and license taken care of.  😉 In the mean time I’ll be writing more non-therapy marketing on my Elizabeth Doherty Thomas website, which has my first article on my Journey towards Purging Facebook friends.

__ update __

send in your questions, like this great one from a therapist friend whom I’ll answer this weekend in a new blog post!

LesliDoares (via Twitter)

@MarriageKids Congrats! Question is how does a therapist keep up with all the information available to their clients on line?

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Which Comes First: The Idea or The Website?

This post is my “coming out party.”  It’s the most unimpressive party ever because I am announcing to the world that I want to be a therapist!  My friends are all saying, “uh, duh?”  or “Finally!”  One friend admitted that when I announced this news, she forgot in her head that I had never actually said I was going to be a therapist.  She simply knew that was part of my future.

However, for ME, it’s been a slow, swirling process of late that culminated in a “thunderbolt” date with my husband.  I asked him in almost a resigned manner, “so, should I be a therapist??”  His reaction, then my reaction to his reaction, then a long conversation… created that thunderbolt moment where you’re never the same again.  Reading two great books and more soul searching later, I have been going public!  The first book I read was Letters to a Young Therapist (Art of Mentoring) by Mary Pipher.  In pursuit at the book store for the classic On Becoming a Counselor: A Basic Guide for Nonprofessional Counselors and Other Helpers I happened to see another book that caught my eye.  And yes, it had a better design which is important!  I ended up buying On Being a Therapist by Jeffrey Kottler.

I’m now reading The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science which has been very interesting.  The talk about psychotherapy and the brain is interesting, though I have a feeling some would strongly disagree with some of the analysis in the book.  Even if the ENTIRE book is barely truth, I am enjoying it.  The science is important because I am not a “life coach” sort of person and I really need to wrestle with the idea of what therapy is in its truest form and feel good about articulating how and why it works and my desired goal(s) in that profession.

So the title of this post is the idea or the website?  I won’t even be applying for graduate school until this coming winter, to be admitted the fall of 2011.  Then two years have to pass before I can even pursue private practice.  So does this mean I sit and wait or can I do anything about my future private practice, web-wise?

I’ve already been writing down potential website names, noodling on their short term vs long term viability (based on what the heck I end up wanting to REALLY do post-graduation.)  And yes, I’ve been having loads of fun creating OUTRAGEOUS website names that I’d never actually use.  The crazy thing is there is nothing to say I can’t actually start building a website while in graduate school.  Or even today as I am absorbing a lot of books on areas I find interesting.  I could get some great content on this new website with all the book reviews and ruminations, maybe get a fun blog going.  The idea would not be to “convert” people into my practice, but to slowly build content, collect emails from people who find me interesting, see if I can find readers who are interested in what I have to say, and potentially have “guest articles” written by people in the various areas I’m contemplating.  Or even just the “journey to becoming a therapist” may interest some people.

Now for some of you this sounds worse than poking your ear drums with a toothpick.  Why would you EVER go through all that effort without getting money in the end???  Here are a few reasons:

If I can get the website to exist online and do all the things I teach (content building, linking from other websites, using the right keywords) then Google will know I exist.

  • Google also loves “older” websites. The newer the site the more likely your email will get put in people’s spam folders, if it’s not outright rejected.  The reason is spam websites newly exist on day 1, blast 1,000’s of emails, then vanish.   There is  a date tied to your domain name, and email programs don’t like new ones.  I’ve had this problem with every website I’ve owned.  Google takes time to rank your website high for the area you are claiming to know something about.
  • If I can build an interesting website and/or blog, I will get fantastic input from people as I pursue my graduate studies and contemplate my various interests.  How cool would it be to consider X or Y idea and have real people (who might be the people you’d want as clients), giving you feedback.
  • People love real people talking about mental health.  Professionals are trusted, but “real people” can seem more down to earth and relatable.  If I can actually be both a “citizen professional” and a therapist some day, I will resonate with more people and have maintained my “real person” voice as I get indoctrinated into the world of psychotherapy.  For example, the psychology of money is fascinating to me and I have a lot of personal stories I can share to demonstrate why I find nearly all financial educators advice falls flat.  (But before I make that blanket statement I will have read a lot of books, done book reviews, and explain where I see the gaps.  I’ve already read one money book this weekend that left me cold…even though it’s a very public money expert)
  • If I have a “future home of my private practice” online, it allows me to reference that website and start to be known “over there.”  Right now my voice is one of internet guru and marketer.  Where would I send people I start networking with, therapist-to-prospective-therapist?  Or people I talk to in the community as I build relationships for potential therapy business services?  Or my future fellow students?  It would be to this new website.
  • From a “branding” standpoint, few of my customers and professional contacts know the “real me” in my professional interests.  This website would let me bridge in a new way, the people I know, the resources they can offer me (books or people to connect with, etc.)  I think I’m a rather interesting soul… but right now I’m quite restricted to “website marketing.”  Blah blah blah, right!  I become one-dimensional.

So there you have it.  Strategic, long-term, marketing reasons to find a home online.  And as the Domains CD talks about, there are pros and cons to using your own name.   Right now I own my own name and there are reasons (some mentioned above) why I am not likely to use that website for professional therapy purposes.  And in case you’re interested in the website name training…it is as much business consulting and strategy building as what you may THINK of as “just the name.”

Domain Names: Is your name helping or hurting? Price: $49.99

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Testing an email feature

I am far from high tech on all manners of life.  I dial my cell phone, ignoring my speed dial, my contact list, and my voice command prompt.

I don’t do RSS feeds for blogs I read, but prefer to bookmark them “old school style” and read them at my leisure.

And just today I did Skype for the very, very first time!  It was made easy by walking into my fathers office at home and he has the web cam, my sister-in-law and nephew had called to say “hi” and I didn’t have to do a thing.  Pretty cool technology!

This blog has an email subscription service but no documentation (or perhaps it’s me refusing to look up documentation.)  I’ve set myself up and I’ll see how it works!  I’m not a fan of getting an email when a blog is updated, but I know others might and if it’s a free feature that takes no effort on my part, I’ll all for it!

My quiet blog

I’ve got two sweet young children and am doing the full time motherhood thing for the month of March… hence, the slower blog.   I will try to post when I have a moment, and will be “back” to blogging in a few weeks more regularly!

Therapists going to the Networker Conference in March?

Just wanted to see if anyone is going. If so, contact me!  A “Twitter” therapist friend  (we cracked each other up and voila – twitter friends!) are trying to get a group together to talk about therapy marketing.  She lives in DC so I think she can spearhead the group.  No details yet, but I figured I would try to connect with therapists who are reading this.  This would be fun and casual.  I LOVE talking with therapists.  Ya’ll teach me as much as I teach you! 

 I had a fantastic meeting today with a local therapist, a family friend, and it made me realize I MUST work on my own marketing to better describe the nuance of what I do and how I can help you!  In his case, he has his therapy website, a new book coming out, a new meditation project, a peace on earth group that he participates in, AND is going to get on the speaking circut for his unique perspective on stuff.  We had a good time sorting out lots of issues with his varied stuff!  I loved it and he got a lot out of it.  A win-win and a very heart-felt time helping get his “heart filled” messages out in the best way.

Working on my own website

I am now working on what I dare say must be my 11th or 12th website or blog.  Too much, I agree.  But this one is encompassing everything I do, everything I like, and even a password protected area for all my personal stuff, personal videos, photos, etc.  Thomas Consultation is just ONE thing I do and I have not been happy not having a “real home” online.  Everything requires a decision: am I writing as Marriage Friendly Therapists?  As The First Dance?  As Thomas Consultation?  Or as me PERSONALLY, say on a non-business blog?  It is getting tiring and complicated trying to sort these identities out.  I now have my official identity as my website – which I’ll share when it’s ready.

All the emotions I have right now are familiar to you.  What do I say?  What tone do I want to use in my writing?  How can I find a website design that really speaks to me?  What is this websites purpose?  What are my website goals?  Who will read this and what do I hope they do on here?  How will I market this website?  Will I update this site often or is really going to be a “static” website where once the website is launched, it barely changes?

How do I phrase things to share what I’ve done and what I aspire to do? 

I just wrote a page called, “Speaking”.  I LOVE to teach in person and have done so numerous times.  I’d love nothing more than to do a lot more speaking to groups.  But I also love to write and would love to do more of that as well.  Is it presumptions of me to put those things down when I have only taught 3 in person workshops (with positive feedback) plus numerous telephone based trainings (with positive feedback) or is it really self-defeating NOT to mention them because it could lead to more speaking gigs?  The writing I feel better about because I have a recurring article for the Minnesota MFT association (MAMFT) newsletter and the big guns: the Psychotherapy Networker magazine, which I consider my real formal launch of this website since it’s what I’ll have in my small bio.

We all go through these questions, often alone.  And for whatever our original website goals and purposes are, sometimes life swings us in a totally new direction and everything gets upended.  That’s OK, too!  For my DIY mindset, the goal is to never throw too much money into something too complex, or too rigid, that you feel trapped if something big happened and required a massive upheaval and reworking of your website.

Coming soon: You Tube Videos!  I’m really excited and thoroughly enjoying learning more about that world, and then being able to share my insights with you!

Why Do I Care About Websites?

I was just thinking today about how many people don’t know me, what I’m up to, what I’ve done or the success I have had in both doing website marketing, but in teaching therapists and educators, inspiring them, empowering them.

But it all comes back to why? There are many answers, but it comes down to two things.

1 – I’m a young person (33 years old) who believes in the power of the web as a transformational force, who has been knocked down hard and greatly uplifted by personal experiences on the web.

2 – I believe in therapists and educators work, and I believe few know how to translate their passion, wisdom, and experience to the online world.

Thus, my CD trainings, my website, my blog. If I can get that ONE person to find you online, and change that persons world because they saw you, then I’ve made a difference. It’s as simple, and complex as that.

My ministers son is dealing with cancer and a very small surival rate. He just posted this great article on young people with cancer, and I want to share it with you to help you understand how my generation is NOTHING like the baby boomers, and how we connect online both to seek help and get support.  My world was shattered twice, first in Googling “post partem high heart rate” and finding a horrendous 50% mortality rate, and second by being diagnosed with said disease…. My world has also been uplifted greatly when I decided to get surgery this spring to fix my horrendous chronic pain. I was on message boards, Googling the fool out of things, and got tremendous emotional, logical, and medical support as I walked the very scary journey through major reconstructive surgery. 

The web. It’s where much of America is hanging out and where I think you ought to be. Here’s the Newsweek article.

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