Learning Curves

A Day In The Life: Meet Expatriate Relocation Specialist Jill Kristal, Ph.D

Have you ever known a psychologist who specializes in helping expatriates through relocation transitions? Me neither. Talk about an interesting niche! So, how does one develop this kind of specialization?

While living in London, England Clinical Psychologist Jill Kristal, Ph.D. of Transitional Learning was instrumental in transforming the US Embassy internal counseling center into The American Counseling Center, a community based organization hiring American trained and licensed therapists to work with the expatriate community. Since returning to the US, Dr. Kristal has continued to work with expatriates, served as Special Education Consultant to School Choice International and established a private practice in Larchmont, NY. With over 20 years in private practice, Dr. Kristal has worked with with children of all ages, adults and couples.

Peek into a day in Dr. Kristal's life.

A Day In The Life

December 20, 2011

6:30 – 8am 

Started my day, which included packing lunch, dinner and snacks for the entire day as I won’t leave my office once I am there unless there is an unanticipated break because of a last minute cancellation.

8am -8:30am

Drive to a monthly supervision meeting.  I use car time to listen to books on tape, currently Steve Jobs biography (fascinating) or think about patients I’m struggling with, listen to music (Bruce Springsteen, often) or talk on the phone with a friend (hands free!). Today I listened to Steve.

8:30 – 10:00am  

EMDR monthly peer supervision.  I am a trained EMDR provider and I really look forward to this group every month.  We take turns presenting cases and often discuss a particular aspect of theory or application.

10:00– 11:30am

Drive to my office and prep for the day.  I am pretty fastidious about organizing my caseload and case files, so I looked through file notes from previous sessions and thought about how to structure a few EMDR sessions.

11:30am – 12:20pm

patient session

12:20 – 12:30pm

lunch while walking around my office and stretching

12:30 – 1:3pm

phone meeting with marketing director who's helping me develop a social media presence

1:30 – 2:20pm

patient session

2:30 – 4:00pm

Meeting with a new potential referral source got cancelled, so I used the time to reply to emails and to write up some ideas for an upcoming meeting with a relocation specialist. I also spent some time chatting with one of my office mates.

4 – 8.30pm

Saw 4 patients, one of which was an intake for a new child referral, ate dinner in between patients.

9 – 11pm

Home: chatted with my husband and hung out with our daughter who is home from university.


Read in bed – did some down time with a novel.  Good night.

To learn more about Dr. Jill Kristal and her practice visit TransitionalLearning.com


Multiple Income Streams Soothe Therapist's Financial Anxiety (part 2)

Developing multiple income streams is crucial to maintaining income stability in private practice. "Having different income sources allows me to be a bit less stressed when my main funding source, private practice, takes a dip," shares Jill Kristal, President of Transitional Learning Curves. Reducing financial anxiety is not the only benefit of developing additional income avenues. Multiple income streams allow therapists to fully express their many talents, gifts, and passions.

Writing and speaking provides former actor Frank J. Sileo, PhD with creative fulfillment as well. "I used to be an actor in a past life so getting up in front of others has helped get that need met, " Sileo adds. Additionally, multiple income streams allow therapists to make a difference on a larger scale, reaching far beyond the therapy office. "I had a desire to have more impact on troubled eaters than one-to-one sessions or even workshops and talks could provide," shares therapist and healthy eating expert Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed.

If you missed "Multiple Income Streams (part 1)" click here

Here are more potential income streams for you to consider as you seek a stable income and fulfilling career.

Teach classes

Therapist Mary Pender Greene, LCSW-R has created paid opportunities through giving workshops, webinars, retreats, seminars, training sessions, keynotes and public speaking engagements that have grown out of her passion.

These streams naturally grew out of my private practice and at the core, are centered on the struggles of adult human interaction… such as improving communication, expressing feelings, reflection, solving problems and refreshing relationships.

Michael Heitt, PsyD of Heitt Clinical & Corporate Consulting, LLC adds to his income through teaching masters students at Johns Hopkins, doctoral students at Loyola University and facilitating an online licensure prep course.

Provide professional training

After several students urged Dr. Carol Clark to teach a sex therapy program, she launched STTI, the Sex Therapy Training Institute, and then expanded it to Addictions Therapy Training Institute, and eventually published a book.

As I taught and counseled, several concepts and interventions really solidified and I realized that these themes were incorporated in everything I did with students and clients, so I spent seven years putting it all into my book, Addict America: The Lost Connection.

Therapist and faith leader The Rev. Christopher L. Smith offers supervision/consultation with other mental health practitioners and other faith group leaders as an additional income stream.

Become a paid TV contributor

After a year of contributing on a local women's lifestyle TV show, Studio 5, I was offered a position as a paid contributor. One of my personal and professional passions is using the media to educate and inspire, so not only has this opportunity created an additional income stream, it's allowed me to doing something I love to do anyway and get paid.

Provide supervision to students and interns

Have you considered leveraging your time by hiring students and interns to provide clinical services through your practice? I started hiring therapists under supervision about 5 years ago, and graduate students a few years ago. Its been a great way to provide clinical services to additional clients without having to increase my direct care hours. My Wasatch Family Therapy colleague and play therapist Clair Mellenthin LCSW, RPT loves supervising therapists. She says that in addition to providing income, "One of the unexpected joys of providing supervision is forming relationships with new therapists and helping them to develop confidence and competence."

Public speaking

From community events, corporate settings to professional presentations, public speaking and presenting is another common income stream that you may want to consider. Dr. John Duffy speaks regularly on parenting issues, and also to corporations on team-building and relationship skills.

Do any of these income streams jump out at you?

What income streams are you developing to add stability to your practice?


Multiple Income Streams Soothe Therapist's Financial Anxiety (part 1)

Relying solely on direct clinical hours may leave private practitioners financially vulnerable to income instability. Since client hours in private practice can vary greatly depending on the time of year, state of the economy, number of new referrals, and several other factors, developing multiple income streams can help you to create a more stable income. "By having the other income streams in place, I have been able to be less susceptible to the ebbs and flows that occur in private practice during difficult economic times," says The Rev. Christopher L. Smith, LCAC, LMHC, LMFT. In addition to providing income stability, diversifying your professional activities with multiple income streams allows therapists to explore a variety of interests, to express creativity, and to get paid for their passions.

In addition to clinical hours, I own and serve as clinical director of a private therapy clinic where I oversee and supervise 10 therapists, write for PsychCentral and other publications, work as a relationship and emotional health media contributor, do public speaking, provide consultation to therapists building a private practice, and I'm currently writing my first book.  Curious about what other private practitioners are doing to add to income stability I reached out to several successful colleagues to see what additional income streams they've developed. Here's a sampling of what other therapists are doing to diversify their professional life and achieve greater income stability.

Write and publish a book

Many therapists have taken their clinical expertise and turned it into a book. For example, Frank J. Sileo, PhD has  written three children's books, including Bug Bites and Campfires: A Story for Kids about Homesickness (Health Press, 2009). Clinical Psychologist Dr. John Duffy took his passion for parenting and authored a book The Available Parent: Radical Optimism For Raising Teens and Tweens (Viva Editions, 2011). What areas of expertise could you write about?

Write for print publications

Supplementing clinical work, Terrie Browning, LPC, CFC, DCC writes for a column "My Healthy Mind" for a local magazine My Metro You. Not only does it provide additional revenue but she says it's also personally fulfilling. Of writing for publications she says, "Writing allows me to share knowledge on topics that are a concern for many people and offers a way for me to network myself."  Therapist Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. has successfully written for professional publications including Social Work Focus, Social Work Today, Addiction Treatment Forum, and The Newsletter for the Society for Family Therapy and Research, adding an additional income stream.

Create a therapeutic product

Have you considered creating and selling a product based on your clinical expertise? Stephanie Ann Adams, M.A., LPC of Beginnings Counseling & Consulting, created a hybrid counseling/video series for premarital counseling through Twogether in Texas. To help families deal with the stress of relocation Jill Kristal, President of Transitional Learning Curves, developed a game and book series called 'Our Move'.

Develop a professional online network

The internet allows for many options for therapists to create passive income through membership sites. In addition to writing a local magazine column and providing clinical work, Browning, with the help of her adult children, developed a professional wellness center online called Experts Now. This online center offers wellness experts an avenue to offer services and sell products for a commission creating additional income for Browning.

Contract as a consultant

Consider asking yourself, "Which companies or organizations may want to tap into your areas of expertise?" Therapist Dr. Mario Kirk, LPC, Director, A Blessed Child, LLC, performs psychological testing for local attorneys and schools. Women's reproductive health specialist Pec Indman EdD, MFT consults and trains for county health programs and for the US Federal government.

Are you developing multiple streams of income to supplement your direct care hours? Please share your ideas in a comment below.

Watch for multiple income streams part 2 later this week!