Family Relationship

From Cosmo to Wall Street: 7 Tips For Giving Great Interviews

Cosmo to WSJ

What do you think of when you think of professional networking? Private practice therapists who I've worked with in business consultations usually consider networking to be meeting with other like-minded professionals for lunch or handing out business cards to physicians offices.

While those are important ways to make connections that build your therapy practice, there are other ways to get the word to thousands and thousands of people in one shot, instead of just a few folks at a time.  Rarely do shrinks think of networking with reporters.

Over the last few years I've focused on responding to reporter queries seeking quotes from experts on a variety of mental or emotional health issues, and family relationship advice. There are a few who now contact me for quotes when they are pitching new articles or stories. I've had a great time corresponding with them by email or talking by phone.

This month I am thrilled to have quotes in:

Cosmopolitan Magazine (June 2012) article "Are we boring"

Wall Street Journal (today May 15, 2012) "For a nation of whiners, therapist try tough love" (with a photo included)

Click here to see quotes in other national publications

Tips for interviewing with reporters and journalists:

1) Seek out opportunities

Keep an eye out for opportunities to interview with local and national reporters. Sign up for services that notify you of reporters looking for interviews, like Reporter Connection, ProfNet Connection, Expert Engine.

2) Respond to requests ASAP

I've come to realize that journalistic deadlines are incredibly tight, and the sooner I respond, the better. I've interviewed one afternoon for an E! Online article and it posted that evening. When I get an email request for an interview I will respond right then on my smart phone with comments off the top of my head. I've been known to pull over on the side of the road while driving carpool to respond to an interview request.

3) Avoid psychobabble

Interviewing with the popular media is different than talking with colleagues. Fellow shrinks can talk in short hand with acronyms like DBT, CBT and EFT; we know what transference and countertransference are, but most people don't know and don't care. Always use layman's terms that can be easily understood even if someone's never taken Psychology 101.

4) Give quotable sound bytes

In the therapy office, we are used to taking our time, starting where the client is, and exploring client's deeper emotions. Media interviews require doing the opposite of what you do in therapy.  In media interviews you have to get right to the point. Most journalists are looking for a few engaging and relevant sentences to support their piece, not a dissertation.

5) Let your passion show

I think part of why I've been successful in getting quoted in national publications is because I show my passion for the work and for the topic of the story or article. Even in email correspondence, don't be afraid to show your personality and be approachable. I also openly share my gratitude for the interview opportunity and how much I enjoy media interviews.

6) Make your contact info easy to find

Make sure that your name and credentials (the way you'd like them to appear if you're quoted), your email address, and your cell phone number are easy to find in any correspondence. Reporters don't have time to hunt you down.

7) Ask them to contact you again

At the end of each interview or correspondence, whether you interview or not, be sure to ask them to keep you in mind as a resource in the future. Ask them to keep your contact information should they need your expertise in the future.

Simplify Your Social Media Life With HootSuite

I have wholeheartedly embraced social media to build my therapy practice and to educate the public on important emotional health and family relationship topics. Technology and social media have allowed me to grow my private practice free of managed care during difficult economic times. Facebook is the #2 referral source to my private practice website, topped only by Google. A common  challenge for private practice therapists is learning to effectively manage social networks in a way that maximizes their time and draws people to their practice.

People often ask how I stay on top of posting and interacting regularly on my social media networks. Just to give you an idea, I manage  3 Twitter accounts, 8 Facebook pages/profiles, LinkedIn, Pinterest,, 3 Ning accounts. One of my favorite social network management systems is HootSuite, a social media dashboard. Although I can't manage all of my accounts from HootSuite, I can manage the largest networks. I pay only $5.99 per month which includes the ability to add one "team member" to can access and manage my social network accounts.

Here's a list of social networks that you can manage from Hootsuite:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Foursquare
  • WordPress
  • MySpace
  • Mixi

I'm hoping they'll add Facebook groups, StumbleUpon, and Pinterest very soon.

Here's my 5 minute tutorial walk through of HootSuite's basic functions so you can see the dashboard, functions, and how easy it is to use.

Here are some of the reasons I like HootSuite:

1) Save drafts

You can save drafts of updates, posts, links, etc. to post at a later time, or to repost which saves time.

2) Schedule posts

If you find an article link , quote, or other resource that you want to share on any or all of your social media networks, you can schedule a post in the future by setting the day and time. You can set aside a certain amount of time every week and schedule your posts for the week on all of your networks.

3) Interact directly from the dashboard

Not only can you post updates, photos, links, etc. for HootSuite, you can interact, comment, "like", retweet, and many other options on several networks from one place. You don't have to login to each site separately which saves time.

4) Selectively post to networks

You can send or schedule an update to specific social media pages and not to others. For example, one of my Facebook Pages is a "Music/Band" page for my performing and songwriting. I post more music related links, stories, etc. there and I don't post those on my  private practice Facebook page. You can select which updates to send to each social network depending on the interests of your audience on any specific account.

5) Add team members

HootSuite allows you to add team members to your accounts to help manage your social media. I recently added a team member to assist me. The dashboard shows which team member responded to certain social media posts so you can track the other member's interaction and avoid duplicating responses.

How do you manage your social media networks to build your therapy practice?


World Mental Health Day: I've Never Met A Shrink Who Didn't Need One

I blog for World Mental Health DayMy grandpa used to say, "I never met a shrink who didn't need one," as if that was a valid reason for not seeking help for mental health problems. After being a therapist for nearly two decades, I totally agree with my Grandpa.

Therapists are an interesting and colorful bunch and we definitely have our own share of mental health problems. I'd take grandpa's phrase even farther by saying I've never met a person who didn't need a shrink. We can all benefit from examining our experiences and getting an outside perspective from a mental health professional during difficult times.

The most effective therapists I've worked with, as a colleague and as a client, are those who've already worked through some of their own mental health and relationship struggles with a therapist, have a handle on their own pain and vulnerability, understand their family relationship patterns, and are comfortable walking with others through their pain. Not only is working through issues with your own therapist good for your own mental health and personal relationships, it's also good for your therapy practice.

Here are 5 Reasons Your Own Therapy Is Good For Your Practice:

1- Increased empathy for and effectiveness with clients

Being willing to be "the client" in therapy is a gift to your own clients. Just like it's impossible to be a trail guide on a mountain you've never climbed, it's impossible to take a client into emotional terrain you've never traveled before. As we sit with clients in their painful crises, we are better able to "go there" with them in the therapy process if we can access of our own experiences.

2- Awareness of countertransference keep clients engaged in therapy

After training and managing therapists for several years, I've noticed that those who've done their own work in therapy have a better handle on countertransference issues that arise with their clients, they are less overwhelmed by the feelings, and they are more willing to process their own emotions in supervision. Therapists who have done their own therapeutic work  are better able to keep clients engaged in meaningful therapy, which is crucial to success in private practice.

3- Feel deserving of success and financial compensation

Therapist's I've supervised or consulted with who have difficulty collecting fees, setting boundaries, or allowing themselves to be successful in their practice are usually plagued by unresolved issues from their past. Working through your own childhood wounds, past trauma, or family of origin issues can free you to create and to embrace your own success in private practice.

4- Healthy boundaries with client's and colleagues

Therapists who've done their own work are less likely to enact their unresolved issues with colleagues and clients. They are also able to set and maintain appropriate boundaries with clients with out guilt. For example, if a therapist is still stuck in trying to please a parent, it may be extremely difficult for a therapist to tell a client that they don't have any evening appointments available because they may want to avoid dealing the client's disappointment.

5- Create a meaningful practice and avoid burnout

Your own work in therapy allows you to be a healthier individual and create a thriving therapy practice. Unresolved and untreated mental health issues will block your success. Your business will likely mirror the places you're stuck personally.  Doing your own therapy work will allow you to feel empowered to work with clients that energize you, work from an abundance mindset, and feel worthy of professional success.

How has your own work in therapy impacted your private practice?

Read my World Mental Health Day blog post on "Do your emotional family history"