Therapist Roll Call: Join The Private Practice Pinterest List

Therapist Roll Call Pinterest Do you use Pinterest? I do and I have found some amazing relationship and emotional health resources for my clients and practice building resources. I've also found that it's a great way to direct visitors to my website and learn about my services.

In the past, I've featured a roll call for therapists so we could connect on Twitter and Facebook, and it was very well received. I'd like to continue that tradition so we can get to know each other more on social media.

I recently wrote about how Pinterest can benefit your practice. So let's all add our Pinterest information and see what kinds of things we're pinning on our boards. Connect with me on Pinterest here

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Post a comment below and include:

  1. your name
  2. a link to your Pinterest page or board
  3. your city and state
  4. specialty area


4 Ways To Use Pinterest To Build Your Practice

oa4qcmjpg_zpsf989836bPinterest is a social media platform that therapists might overlook when building their online presence. It may seem more tailored toward foodies, pop culture junkies, or book lovers than for people wanting or providng professional counseling. However, Pinterest can be a valuable way to serve your online community and also get the word out about yourself and the clinical services you offer. Joe Sanock, an LPC who also works as a private practice consultant, explains that “People who go on Pinterest are dreaming about having a new life. It could be a new hair style, a new dress, or a renovation. They are in a mindset of change. As counselors, we fit perfectly into that mindset.” He says that Pinterest is his leading referral for both his private practice and consulting business. Bottom line: Pinterest can work as a great marketing tool for you (read more about Joe's experience here).

Here is some more information and tips for using Pinterest to benefit your practice:

1) Regularly Pin and Re-pin Inspiring and Informative Material 

Make a point to pin and re-pin inspiring quotes and ideas that are relevant to your work as a therapist. Quotes about change and personal development often work best. Try to use quotes that are universal enough to not seem super technical or boring, but specific enough to establish that your niche deals with emotional and relational well-being. Use original material as well as curating existing content.

9e255a8308018913f312cbe3afec454eIt’s a good idea to strategically include your name and website links on your graphics or memes (see left for an image I pinned as an example). This can be helpful when you get share and re-pins. It’s more than okay to tap into the promotional side of using Pinterest.

There is of course no cut-and-dry rule about how regularly you should post. But as is the case with any social media platform you utilize, you must commit to make content creation and curation an ongoing thing if you want it to make a difference in your marketing; pinning a new picture or idea once every month is not going to do much for establishing and maintaining your online presence.

2) Optimize Your Bio and Profile

The bio at the top of your Pinterest page is your "hello" to new followers. First impressions are important, and you want to introduce yourself professionally and accurately to your viewers. It should have your picture, a clear description of your speciality, and links to your main website. Optimizing your biography is also good for SEO (making your stuff for findable on the web). See screenshot below for my example:

Julie Hanks Pinteret

3) Be Deliberate in Selecting Categories and Board Titles

Similar to your biography, be strategic about your titles, categories and boards; they're more important than you might think. Not only do they give a clear indication of the nature of your material, but they're also good for the search engines because your titles are your keywords. Not every one of your boards must be directly related to the field; it's good to diversify and show your followers that you're a multi-dimensional person. For example, you might have a board of humorous memes.

4) Follow Others in Your Niche

And finally, we come to the social part of the social media of Pinterest. Follow other relevant users. Look at the categories and boards of those who re-pin your stuff and see if they are similar to yours. Engage in Pinterest not just for yourself, but use it as a way to learn more and continue to be inspired. Check out other people's pins as well. And yes, follow to be followed (among other reasons).

So there's some tips to get you started or help you more with using Pinterest. It can be a useful tool to engage with the online community, invite more visitors to your website, as well as build your own professional online presence.

What's your experience using Pinterest for your practice?

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The Power of Online Presence: Social Media Tips from Top Podcaster Joseph R. Sanock, LPC


Discover how some very successful mental health professionals use blogging, social media, and other technologies as powerful tools for their therapy practices.  

This is the second post in our new series "The Power of Online Presence." Today's featured therapist is Joseph R. Sanock, an MA, LLP, LPC, NCC who owns "Mental Wellness Counseling" and also works as a private practice consultant with "Practice of the Practice."

When and how did you first start putting time and effort into maintaining a strong online presence

In early 2012, I launched and relaunched Through my private practice, Mental Wellness Counseling, I began blogging and building a stronger network. Within 6 weeks, I grew my page rank from the bottom of page 3 to the middle of page 1 in my area.

Please describe what social platforms you currently use.  

I use a wide variety of social media platforms. I have a blog, a podcast, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and StumbleUpon. That's a lot!

I have found that Pinterest has actually been my leading referral for both my private practice and my consulting business. I think this is because Pinterest users are the most purchase-minded (Gary Vaynerchuck talks about this in his book, "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook."). People who go on Pinterest are dreaming about having a new life. It could be a new hair style, a new dress, or a renovation. They are in a mindset of change. As counselors, we fit perfectly into that mindset.

Facebook has also been a great tool to engage with an audience, but it has not driven clear traffic to my websites. I view Facebook as more of a platform to build a foundation of being known within my community. I think that it then creates clear channels to set up appointments and engage with me, especially for future consulting clients.

About how much time do you devote to your online presence? How do you balance it with your other work responsibilities?  

I work a 40-hour work week and then also run my private practice, podcast, and consulting business. My wife is a play-at-home mom, so I'm the only income earner. This means I have to be highly focused. When I write blog posts, I use Google's Keyword Planner (here is a walk through article on it) so I can get the most organic searches for articles. I want to know whether "depression" or "anxiety" is searched more before I spend time on the article. Overall, I spend about 2 hours a week emailing clients and readers, 2 hours a week writing blog posts, 1 hour a week on creating content for social media, and 3 hours a week on creating and promoting my podcasts.

I'm careful to balance my time between work and my family.  I don't look at email or social media on Saturdays because I want to be fully present with my three-year-old daughter and wife. We plan fun adventures together, and it reminds me why I work hard: to be able to have more family time.

What kind of things do you use to inspire your content creation; what do you write about?  

There are three ways that I am inspired:

1. Reading books outside our industry                                                                      

2. Finding local issues and adding a psychology spin to them                                    

3. Recurring questions  

I mostly read business, marketing, and passive income books. I listen to business podcasts on my way to and from work, and I'm always inspired to think of ways to apply what I'm learning to my practice.  

I also try to "trendjack." When something is erupting on social media in my town, I write a blog post about that issue. For example, we recently had a huge festival in Traverse City. There was trash everywhere and pictures of it all over Facebook. People were really mad! I wrote an article called Pure Michigan Litter: The Psychology of Trash and sent it to a local radio station. They later invited me on air to discuss my piece. It was an amazing way to get free exposure by writing about a hot topic.

Lastly, when I have clients or readers that keep asking the same question, I write a blog post about it. Over and over, I was teaching consulting clients how to do keyword research. Finally I wrote an article to point them to; it saves me time and builds my perceived worth!

How do you best balance personal and professional in your online activities? Please give examples. 

One thing I do to make things easier and cut down on time is streamline how I work. For example, my StumbleUpon account automatically posts what I like to my Twitter feed. Also, if I video something locally that I like, I'll post it to my Mental Wellness Counseling page to make it more fun and engaging. I brought on a social media intern to help with my content creation. And I make a point to leave work at work; when I'm playing with my daughter, I leave my phone across the room so I don't get distracted.

What is some tangible evidence that your online presence has grown your business?

I work around 10 hours per week on my business. Every month, I post my month income for my audience to read (Joe's Monthly Income Reports). Here are some stats:

  • Since Jan 2012, I have gone from being a solo practitioner to having 3 additional counselors. I am adding 2 more in the coming months.
  • Moved from a 300 square foot single office to a 1,002 office with a corner view of the water.
  • In September 2012, I made $1,361.60. In June 2014, I made $8,486.38.
  • In June 2012, my consulting website ( had 793 sessions with 1,849 page views. In June 2014, I had 2,992 sessions and 6,398 page views.
  • I have the #1 podcast for counselors in private practice on iTunes!

Besides attracting clients, what other ways has your strong online presence helped you?

I've met and collaborated with therapists whom I never would have known otherwise. I've found that networking online with professionals in the field creates less of a sense of loneliness since we are connecting with one other. I've also gained national exposure and been able to reach a larger audience.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered creating and maintaining your online presence

The hardest thing for me is to not take on more than what I can do really well. It's easy to get overwhelmed with social media: blogging, websites, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, email lists, podcast, etc. But just like we teach our clients, we need to take a small step in the right direction. I took on too much at the beginning and had to learn to focus my time on what I could do well and what helped me create more income. Looking at the analytics helped me narrow down my efforts.

What tips or resources can you recommend to help therapists who are new to the online world of blogging, social media, SEO, etc.?

The book "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook" by Gary Veynerchuck


power of online presence

Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC

Website: Blog: Facebook: Pinterest: Listen to Joe's Podcast on iTunes Get practice tips and blog updates in your inbox. Sign up for the Private Practice Toolbox Newsletter here.

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Need help blogging? Join my ongoing therapist blog challenge!

Therapist Blog Challenge #13: Mental Health and Parenting

Therapist Blog Challenge #13

The therapist blog challenge is back! I'm making it easy to blog regularly as a practice building strategy.

Rather than start a new challenge, I've decided to pick up where we left off last year -- with challenge #13. If you are new to the challenge, you can start with challenge #1 or you can start with this current challenge. The goal of the challenge is to make it easier for you to blog regularly on your private practice website. Blogging can boost SEO, provide valuable information on your specialty areas, lets potential clients get to know you better, and establishes you as an expert. These factors can lead to more clients choosing your practice.

A good way to select a blog topic is to break down broad topics into smaller chunks. For example, mental health is an enormous subject, so focus and expand an aspect of it for one blog post. You can also turn this broad topic into a series of posts. For this example, we'll choose how mental health affects parenting.

[Headline] Here are three title suggestions that you may use or come up with a clear and catchy blog post title

4 Ways to Boost Your Mental Health and Improve Your Parenting 

The Mental Health and Parenting Connection

Mind Your Mental Health: Your Children Will Thank You

[Strong intro] You can start with the paragraph below or customize it.

Like all other aspects of health, mental health can affect your parenting. For example, parents who suffer from Bipolar Disorder are 10 times more likely to overreact, which can lead to inappropriate punishments. Parents who are dealing with depression are often less responsive to their child's emotional cues. Here are some ways to mitigate the effect of mental health problems with regards to parenting:

[Scanable content] Make your content easy to quickly scan and find the main points.

1) Physical self-care

Write a paragraph about the importance of self-care for mental health treatment and prevention. You may want to include meditation, nutrition, rest, exercise.  Emphasize the connection between physical health, mental health, and relationships. Self-care is critical prevention for parenting "meltdowns."

2) Remain calm

Write a paragraph about a skill parents can use to calm themselves when their child's behavior is difficult. You may want to share counting to 10, putting yourself in "time out", the importance of modeling emotional regulation skills for the child. When parents remain calm, children will become less emotionally reactive.

3) Treatment compliance

Write a paragraph about the importance of remaining in treatment and of following recommendations. This might include medication compliance, group therapy, family therapy, bibliotherapy, etc.

4) Playtime

Write a paragraph about the importance of play and recreation (re-creation) with their child, how play promotes positive attachment, and the mental health benefits of play for adults.

Add as many additional suggestions on how parents can take care of their mental health in ways that support successful parenting.

[Strong ending paragraph] Final paragraph can include a summary of important points, additional resources, and a call to action like "Make an appointment with Julie today!"

That's it! Read on for tips on sharing your blog article.

Additional reminders about the blog challenge:

  • Write and post your blog article in the next 2 weeks. If you miss the deadline or you read this article months later, that’s OK too.
  • Post a link for this blog challenge in the comment section of this blog post.
  • Read, comment, and share other therapist’s articles.
  • Tweet your post using hashtag #therapistblog and tag @julie_hanks so I can retweet it.
  • Pin it on the challenge Pinterest Board. I’ve invited everyone who posted a comment on the initial blog challenge post as collaborators so you can pin onto the group board.
  • Spread the word and invite mental health colleagues to join the challenge. Articles can be added anytime throughout the year.
  • Write no more than 600 words, make it easy to read, use a conversational tone, and gear your articles toward your ideal client (not other professionals).
  • The goal of a professional blog is to provide value to your website visitors, help them get to know your professional perspective, increase traffic to your private practice website, and build your practice.

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?


Images courtesy of (csp19322927 and csp14656419)