Mass media

10 Media Interview Mistakes Therapists Make

10 media interview mistakes I've written before about how media interviews (television, podcasts, speaking engagements etc.) can be helpful in educating your community about critical mental health issues, establishing yourself as an expert in your field, and perhaps even gaining new clients (click here to learn more benefits of participating in media interviews). But our expertise is as clinical counselors, and many therapists have little to no experience with a cameraman, bright lights, and the general "show-biz" aspect of the process. Over the years, I've noticed a few common mishaps that some individuals (including myself) have made. In hopes of preventing our readers from making these same mistake, here are 10 common interview mistakes therapists make:

10 Media Interviews mistakes therapists(2)

1. They don't see the value in media presence

Some clinicians may not see the purpose or value of sitting down with someone and having a formal interview about a topic concerning mental health, relationships, or some other aspect relating to their niche. "Wouldn't my time be better spent doing clinical work or working to attract new prospects?" they may wonder. While it's true that you must work to balance your responsibilities, participating in the occasional interview is worth your time. And there is also the possibility that interviews become more frequent and perhaps even becomes a paid opportunity for you. Then it will certainly be valuable as an income stream.

2. They begin by promoting their practice

While media interviews are a great way to get the word out about your therapy practice, avoid being pushy or overly promotional. Don't mention your services first thing. Instead, present your message, then end by giving the name and contact information (usually the website) of your practice. Viewers and listeners will want to hear your thoughts before they are interested in taking the next step. So let your work speak for itself, then close the interview by concisely talking about your practice.

3. They prepare too much material         

Time is of the essence in interviews, and you'll have a very specific time allotted to communicate your message. Some therapists may fear running out of things to say, so they prepare an abundance of material. But this technique can backfire, as it may cause you to be too long-winded, neglect valuable pieces of your message, rush to try to fit everything in, or cause you to run out of time. As your prepare your talking points, be mindful of your time limit and even practice your interview in that same time frame.

4. They expect those in production to help them manage nerves   

There are many individuals who work together to make sure the interview goes smoothly. The person conducting the interview, the camera operators, sound techs, etc. Everyone has a designated job and are usually very busy in their own responsibilities. If you are feeling nervous about an interview (particularly if it is your first one), know that you probably can't expect these people to be able to help calm your worry. Trust your own self and perhaps bring a friend along if you think you may need moral support.

5. They don't switch out of therapist mode to sound byte mode  

The way we speak in an interview is quite different than the way we speak to a client (it's interesting that when we are in the therapist chair, we are the ones asking questions, but in an interview, we are being asked the questions). Good therapists often speak slowly, reflect back, pause often, and go deeper. However, good TV interview skills require the opposite: speak quickly, don’t reflect back, keep the interview moving, and stay on target. Someone may take something you say as a quote to use in an article or to simply remember, so try to make the things you say somewhat "digestible" and even catchy (while not being gimmicky, of course). Read here for specific ways to keep your message clear, concise, and effective.

6. They don't ask to be invited to interview again     

If your interview goes well, there's no reason to not do one again in the future! Building that relationship takes time and will not happen in a single media exposure. Self-advocate and ask to be interviewed again by a certain outlet or production crew. The worst they can say is no! Simply asking to be interviewed again has helped me secure and maintain ongoing interview gigs.

7. They don't maximize their interview  

An interview is worthless if others do not view/ listen to/ read it. Be sure to maximize it by sharing it via your social media outlets. For example, when I am interviewed for a television segment, I always obtain the link, share it on Facebook and Twitter, then upload the video to my Youtube account and my blog. I want to make sure others know about it. Don't be shy about letting your followers know that you've given your professional insight in a formal setting. Remember, they are interested in what you have to say!

8. They speak in psychobabble    

As mentioned previously, in an interview, you're not speaking to a client, but you're not speaking to a psychology professor, either. Make sure you phrase your ideas in ways that others can understand. There's nothing worse than a pretentious expert talking over others' heads. Though you want to establish credibility, your point is not to prove how smart you are, but instead to educate viewers on a specific topic. Don't "dumb down" your message, but avoid using too many theoretical terms.

9. They don't do their homework

It's important to do some research about the media outlet before your interview. Ask yourself: 1) Who is the audience?, 2) What is the tone? 3) What is the format? 4) Who is the host or interviewer? 5) How can I best serve their audience? Once you've gathered this information, use it to inform the content that you prepare and deliver in the interview.

10. They don't specify how they would like to be introduced

Prior to your interview, be very specific about how you would like to be introduced and referred to during the interview. Make sure to include the full name of your private practice. Also, make sure you request that they mention your website, and if it's a TV interview, ask them to display your website address in a visual banner. You are donating your time in exchange for the opportunity to talk about your passion, and in exchange, you get to build trust with your community. So be very clear about who you are, what you do, and how the audience can find out more about your work.

What are some media interview mistakes that YOU'VE experienced? 

If you'd like to build your media skills and develop a strong media and social media presence hop on over and check out my new media training just for therapists! Enrollment just opened today and there are a limited number of early bird spots offered at a reduced fee Rock the Media School for Therapists

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How Your Therapy Skills Can Help Build Your Online Presence (Part 1)

canstockphoto9611721 This is the first post of a 2 part series of how to best utilize social media to engage your readers.  

Developing and maintaining a strong online presence to engage readers employs the same skills you use as a therapist: the ability to foster trust, build rapport, and serve your community.  

The internet allows you to expand your therapy outreach in a way that exceeds the bounds of what you could do from a traditional office setting.  Here are some specific points to consider when building an online presence.

Your Therapy Skills in Practice

Some clinical counselors new to social media aren’t always confident about how to approach the task of building an online presence and effectively building a social media following, but you already have many of the skills you need.  Your training has taught you to help others feel comfortable, address their specific concerns, and provide professional insight to respond to their needs.  Building your online presence is simply translating those therapy skills to a larger venue.

Don’t be scared or overwhelmed by the technology side of things; by starting small, asking questions, and perhaps even learning a bit through trial-and-error, you will gain the experience you need to create a thriving online presence.

Content Creation vs. Content Curation

We’ve talked about the importance of creating quality content to frequently post to your blog and social media platforms.  But just as important is curating material that already exists; that is researching, finding, and presenting content that is relevant to your current focus or professional study.  Your goal is to connecting with both the general public and other professionals in the field in an effort to serve, educate, and inspire.

Some may wonder how much original content they should produce, and how much existing material they should repurpose.  I generally try to obey the 40/ 60 rule; about 40% of the media I share through my social platforms is my own, where 60% is material I’ve found that I feel could best serve my community of clients.

“Why am I not getting new clients?”

I have talked to therapists who wonder why they haven’t seen a significant growth in their practice after they began to devote time to their online presence.  But social media is a long-term strategy, and the results are usually not immediate.  You need to build a collection of quality articles, podcasts, media contributions, etc. that prove you serve as a reliable resource in the field.  It won’t happen overnight, but if you consistently create and curate quality material, you will be able to better serve your community, establish yourself as a trusted professional, educate the public about relevant topics pertaining to mental health, and also grow your business in order to meet your own needs.  So keep plugging away; you’ll get there!

Stay tuned for an upcoming post about the logistics of using different platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to further engage your readers.  

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4 Ways to Build a Thriving Practice in an Uncertain Economy

canstockphoto9071108Since the economic downturn of 2008, my practice has experienced significant growth. I attribute that growth to these four strategies.

Our economy took a turn for the worse in 2008, stock market crashed, and many companies were forced to downsize.  It was a hard time for many Americans, financially and emotionally. And yet, during this same time frame, my practice Wasatch Family Therapy experienced exponential growth. We steadily acquired new clients. opened two additional locations and grew from half a dozen therapists to over 20 therapists.

So how did I do it?  I put time and energy into creating and maintaining a strong online presence.

1) I used a website as a way to introduce myself and to serve my community

As an early technology adopter, I had a website (or webpage) in the early 2000's. As social networking expanded in the mid-2000's I saw the incredible possibilities for reaching out directly to potential clients. My website not only acts as an introduction to my clinic and my therapists, but also allows us to serve and educate through videos and articles about important issues related to mental and emotional health and well-being.

2) I used social media to have meaningful conversations with people

Social media has played an invaluable role in acquiring and retaining clients. I estimate that we gain about 80% of new customers through Google and the internet.  The importance of having an online presence cannot be overstated.  It changed my business forever, and Wasatch Family Therapy continues to thrive to this day. Here's a rough time frame of my social networking journey:

  • 2002 Started solo private practice Wasatch Family Therapy
  • 2004 Webpage
  • 2008 Joined Facebook
  • 2009 Joined Twitter
  • 2009 Started blogging on practice website
  • 2009 Employed 4-5 therapists
  • 2009 Joined LinkedIn
  • 2010 Started YouTube Channel
  • 2011-12 Joined Instagram, Pinterest
  • 2013 Joined Google+
  • 2014 Currently employ 20+ therapists with 3 locations

3) I created consistent and meaningful content on reputable websites

I  caught the vision of providing quality content to educate and serve the public.  My professional Facebook presence, blog, and other media projects were ways for us to get my name out there, establish trust and reliability, and connect with readers and potential clients. I started blogging for PsychCentral's Ask the Therapist in 2009, Private Practice Toolbox blog in 2011, Sharecare and Daily Strength in 2012, and became the Answers relationship expert blogger in 2013.

4) I sought out media interviews and learned to leverage them

Once I started creating content on larger websites, I started seeking local and national media interviews. As a result of my blogging and media interviews established news and lifestyle websites began quoting me and linking to my website.  This led to even more traffic (readers coming to our site), which in turn meant building trust with more people. It’s been very encouraging to see the fruits of my labor pay off in the growth of my clinic, and the ability to employ amazing therapists.

Never before have therapists been able to serve potential clients before ever meeting them and to educate our community without leaving the house. Through developing your strong online presence through an effective website, an engaged social media following, creating helpful content, and seeking media interviews, you can maintain viability and keep your practice strong, even when the economic climate is less than favorable.

What strategies have you used to survive and thrive in an uncertain economy? Please share your thoughts below!

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4 Ways to Repurpose Existing Content for Blog Posts

Repurpose content for blog postYou already have content for hundreds of blog posts. You just don't recognize it yet. Therapists who are new to blogging sometimes have a difficult time finding material to write about.  So where to begin?  Actually, it’s much easier than you might expect.

An excellent strategy to finding material to write about is to simply repurpose and repackage existing content. That means that you remake something that’s already been created, either by you or someone else.  This of course does NOT mean that you simply regurgitate what has already been written, but instead you thoughtfully craft existing material to serve a new purpose and audience.  There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, here!

So let’s about specific ways to repurpose existing content for your blog posts.

1) Transform Your Existing Content

One of the most effective ways (and easiest, too!) to find something to blog about is to use content that you yourself have already created.  For me, I look to podcasts or webinars I’ve done, articles I’ve published, or other media projects I’ve been involved with as inspiration for my blog.  Sometimes I take just a sentence or two from one of these things and elaborate on it for a blog post.  To give an example, I often say that “Conversational is the new professional” to describe how therapists can use social media to interact with clients.  This phrase alone could spark a great blog post about new methods of communication between professionals and customers.  So look back on content you’ve created to find something great to write about.  Easy as pie!

2) What Other Experts Say

If you haven’t yet landed those media interviews, published articles, or speaking engagements, don’t worry!  You still have a lot of topics to write about.  As a professional of any kind knows, it’s critical to continue to read and study about one’s field to stay current and relevant concerning best practices.  Consider that new and interesting research findings can become fodder for a blog post. Summarize the findings, add your perspective on the topic, link to the research article, and voila!

Additionally, consider embedding a YouTube video from another professional that is relevant to your idea client's needs. Write a couple of paragraphs about why this video speaks to you or how it applies to your ideal client. Remember to link to the original video and the expert's website.

3) Notice Trends in Your Practice

Also, don’t overlook the specific issues you see as a therapist.  Reflect on trends you observe in your practice and use those for content for your blog.  For example, maybe you’ve noticed that many of your recent clients struggle with communicating with their spouses about finances.  Draw upon your professional expertise (and possibly do a bit of research as well) to provide advice related to those situations.  And there you have another great blog post.

4) Community Talks & Presentations

I recently spoke to a group of mental health professionals on building an online presence. I asked them how many of them had Powerpoint presentations they have used for community events or school projects. All of the participants raised their hands. Take your community presentation content and divide it up into smaller sections for blog posts or blog post series. For example, say you have a presentation on warning signs that goes through the diagnostic criteria for common mental health disorders: mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. You could take each of the larger categories and use those for a blog post series such as the following:

Mood Disorders 101: Warning signs to watch for (1 of 5)

Mood Disorders: What's the difference between mild and major depression? (2 of 5)

Mood Disorders: When a loved one threatens suicidal (3 of 5)...You get the idea.

Another way to use community presentations as blog content is to audio or video record your presentations. You can easily edit your audio or video and post sections of it as mp3 or video on your professional blog.

Once you get going on your professional blog, you’ll likely find that you have an abundance of material to write about. Take something already created, put an original twist on it, and then make it your own.  So get to thinking about something you’ve written, read, or seen in your practice, and then write a rocking post about it!

I'd love to hear your ideas for repurposing existing content. Please share your ideas and creative ideas in the comments below.

Get Graphic! Using Visual Content to Build Your Online Practice Presence

Get Graphic

Photos, graphics, and memes can help build engagement and grow your online private practice presence.

Visual content is becoming increasingly important to a business’s online presence, and your therapy practice would do well to get on board.  Nothing can replace quality written content, but too many words on a page can be overwhelming and/or dull. In fact, visual media networks, such as YouTube and Instagram have more referral traffic than Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ combined.  It makes sense, as studies show that 90% of the information transmitted to our brain is visual and that we  process images 60,000 times faster than text.  Additionally, information presented visually is much more likely to be retained, so your followers will remember things better than just plain text.  So don’t be afraid to put some quality and purposeful images out there to help boost your online engagement.  Here are some examples of ways to get graphic and connect with your readers visuals.


Photos are a great way to add to your blog or social media content.  They can both attract readers who are more visual learners and also enhance the message you are trying to get across.  You can carefully select online images to match your content, but don’t be afraid to also use your own pictures to show your human side. A word of caution:  ignoring copyright laws can really get you in trouble by slapping you with a lawsuit.  Certain companies, such as Getty, are pretty strict about their rules and aren’t afraid to go after you for breaking them.  Avoiding this type of problem is just one more push for using original photos.


Graphics are a way to portray or emphasize a quote or idea in a way that’s succinct and easy to read (think Pinterest quotes).  They can incorporate both text and images.  Tap into your inner artist by using different colors and fonts; get creative!  It’s a good idea to make sure your graphics are square-shaped to best accommodate social media networks, such as Instagram. A great online tool for creating graphics is  As is usually the case with online tools, Canva offers different levels of membership that correspond to varying levels of usability (ie:  the more you pay, the more stuff you can do).  But even just choosing the basic free option allows you to create beautiful and interesting graphics. I often design visuals from my iPhone for Instagram and other social media sites on either Rhonna Designs or InstaQuote.


Memes A meme is a kind of graphic that incorporates humor by taking a commonly known image (often from a popular movie), and then putting a twist on it.  Using memes may or may suit your social media presence; it all depends on your personal style.  Memes can provide comic relief and entertainment that may liven things up.


Remember, incorporating visual content doesn’t mean you are detracting from the professionalism of your business.  It means you are engaging a new generation of readers and potential clients by showing your human side and making your stuff easier to read. Graphics and images can be a great part of your online content.

How do YOU utilize visual content to spread the word about your practice?


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