Counselor Interview Series

As you may have noticed, we here at SA Counselors Networking Group headquarters like to support our fellow counselors with advice provided by other counselors.  Our motto probably should be something like “by counselors for counselors.”  One way to promote the viewpoints of our colleagues is to continue featuring interviews with people from all areas of the field.

Today we would like to share our interview with LPC-Intern Tamara Kiss.  Tamara recently moved to Texas from Florida. When I had the pleasure of meeting Tamara this year, she had yet to make many professional contacts here in San Antonio. In mere months, she has managed to gain provisional licensure in Texas, find a supervisor, gain employment, and become active in our networking group. Talk about a go-getter!

photo for Zeiders

Can you please share with the group your credentials and supervisor’s information?

My name is Tamara Kiss, I am an LPC Intern in Texas and Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern in Florida.  My supervisor is Sonia Dimas, PhD, LPC-S, NCC from Alba Wellness Center.

How far along are you in the licensure process?  When do you expect to be fully licensed?

I already completed 300 hundred face-to-face hours and 100 hours of admin time in FL, however I expect to be fully licensed in 18 months in Texas.

What is your preferred theoretical orientation? What is your preferred issues and populations?

My theoretical approach is eclectic.  I work with cognitive behavioral, cognitive processing, object relations, brief solution focused intervention techniques most of the time.  I am very open and excited to learn more about different approaches and techniques as I grow and advance as a mental health professional.  I enjoy working with adults the most. I counseled clients with anxiety, depression, bipolar and other mood disorders, schizophrenia, substance abuse related issues and various personality disorders.  I also have extensive experience in working with the military population.

Where do you currently work?

I work at a private practice called Alba Wellness Center.  At the practice counseling services are provided for: Anxiety, Depression, Relationship Difficulties, Loss & Grief, Family Conflict, Behavioral Problems, Self Esteem, Life Coaching, Military Life/Transition/Deployment, Anger Management, Coping Skills, Sexual Identity, Immigration/Psychiatric Evaluations.  The practice`s website is http://www.albawellness.net.  I am thrilled to learn from Dr. Dimas. In the near future I am planning on starting a Mood Disorder Support Group as my first endeavor at the practice.  I also have a part time government contracting job as a SECO Career and Education Counselor.

You have recently relocated to Texas, can you tell us a little about the challenges that came along with that experience?

Relocating from FL to TX as an intern was quiet challenging.  In Florida I was a Mental Health Counselor Registered Intern and I had my own case load at a private practice.  In TX I had to take the NCC in order to be able to obtain the LPC Intern license.  With the processing time of my application the relocation put me 6 months behind on my progress toward licensure.

What has been the most positive professional aspect of your relocation?

There are many positive professional aspects of relocating to San Antonio, but the most positive aspect is the abundance of CEU classes, certification programs and seminars that allow me to learn more about our profession.  In February I participated in the “Understanding the Gut Brain” seminar and I learned invaluable information about the connection between our food consumption and emotional well-being.  I really appreciate the educational opportunities this area has to offer.

What resources have you found to be most helpful for your professional development? 

Since I moved here the most helpful resources have been the SA Counselors Networking Group blog and Facebook page, as well as the monthly peer group meetings.  I found my supervisor through the Facebook page and I learned about other exciting employment and educational opportunities through the network.  As a member of the American Counseling Association I regularly read the Counseling Today magazine.  I often read the SAMSHA website/resources and do research on the web on professional matters and recent studies.

You used to work at a psychiatrist’s office, what did you learn about the roles of medication and counseling while there?

I believe that medication has it`s place in mental health care.  If a client is suffering from an organic problem, talk therapy by itself is probably not going to be efficient enough.  I believe in the combination of counseling and medication, if it is needed, in order for the client to get better.

What has been the most valuable and difficult lesson you have learned thus far in your career?

Always meet the client wherever they are at.  Create therapeutic goals with the client not for the client.

Most counselors are trying to build referral sources and stable clientele bases; do you have any ideas how we as a group may be able to support each other through that process?

I think it could be very beneficial to keep a database that can serve as referral system with a list of providers, if they are taking new clients or not, specialties, locations and availability.  Also, exchanging ideas on outreach opportunities can be very helpful as well. I strongly believe in the power of networking when it comes to business development.

We want to thank Tamara for participating in our interview. We hope you find it helpful.  Please feel free to give us suggestions for future interviews.

-Tiffany Frias, MA, LPC-Intern

Tiffanyfriascounseling.com / tiffanyfriascounseling.wordpress.com

 

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5 surefire ways to market yourself and your practice

marketing-roadmap

How many of you hate marketing? To tell you the truth, marketing is my least favorite thing to do. There are so many components to marketing that it makes a novice business person, like myself, struggle to grasp the least and most important concepts of marketing to pursue.

Also counseling does not prepare us for the business side of our profession. I often hear, “why didn’t we learn this in graduate school?”  I agree, why wasn’t this taught to us? Nonetheless, not learning this in graduate school has forced me to learn this on my own. This process has not only taught me how to market, but it has taught me about the guaranteed and total busts when marketing.

In an effort to help my fellow colleagues, I have put together a list of reliable ways to market yourself and private practice and reduce your time spent on ineffective marketing strategies. Below are 5 surefire ways to market yourself and practice:

1)      Create a website

Let’s face it most of our clients will find us online. Therefore, having a well designed and easy to navigate website is essential.

A website is an effective form of marketing. This is your online “elevator speech” as it allows your clients to learn more about you and your counseling practices.

If you do not already have a website, do not go another day without a website. If you are unsure how to create a website, click here to learn how.

2)      Brand your practice

Why is this important you ask? Well, our clients are surrounded by choices, so to set yourself apart from other counselors, you must brand yourself and your practice.

Branding is a great way to promote the recognition of your practice. This can be done by developing a niche. Since I am still in the process of developing my niche, I do not have all the answers on how to do this, so check out this article to learn more about developing a niche.

Another way to brand your practice is to create a logo. Having a logo will help with brand awareness.  An example of an effective branding company is Target. When you see the dog with a red bullseye you are aware of the company the brand represents, which is Target.

Not sure how to come up with a logo? Check out website, http://www.designcrowd.com/, to assist you in making a logo that fits your needs. Don’t forget to put your logo on all of your marketing swag—business cards, forms, website, email signage, and etc.

3)      Start a blog

If you are like me, you may think, “A blog is not for me. What would I have to share and or write about on a blog?” The answer is lots! A blog is a wonderful way to connect on a more personal level with your current and future clients. Blogs also provide a way to engage and help your clients as well as bring more traffic to your website.

If you want to start a blog, but are struggling with what content to write about, join Julie Hank’s blog challenge.  Julie comes up with the topics for you —what’s easier than that?  So are you in? I am. Check out my blog here.

4)      Join an online therapy directory

Online therapy directories are a widely used online marketing tool for therapists. These directories are easy to set up and helpful in attracting clients and creating an online presence. Some online directories that generate a lot of traffic and clients are Psychology Today and Good Therapy. If you are already on these directories and are looking for more online therapy directories, click here.

If you need help with writing your professional profile, check out our blog post here with helpful tips.

5)      Network

The single most effective way to get new clients is when they are recommended by others. Creating and keeping clients is all about developing and maintaining your business relationships. The better you nurture those relationships, the stronger your practice will become. What are you doing to better your business relationships? How often do you network with other counselors? This is important and can be done in several ways to include joining a networking group and or becoming a member of your local chamber of commerce.

If you have any other ideas or suggestions for other marketing strategies, please share them with us all by leaving a comment in the box below!

Happy Marketing!

Tracy Cooper, MA, LPC-Intern

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