Interview with Pamela Milam, LPC

Medium Logo 3 Sepia Headshots 7 4 2011 016Today, we interview Pamela Milam, LPC. She is a member of the New York Chapter of the WNBA, is a reader, author, and therapist living part-time in Dallas and New York.  Represented by Jim Levine at the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, she is the author of a new book, What Your Therapist Really Thinks About You, which takes a closer look at what happens inside the therapy office and is the author of “Premarital Counseling for Gays & Lesbians: Case Studies and Helpful Questions.”

Can you describe what a normal day looks like for you as you do your job?

Yes, I live in Dallas and New York – live half-time in both cities, so my life is different depending on where I am.

When I’m in Dallas: I wake up, get ready for work, and leave for a ten-minute drive to my private practice counseling office. When I get there, I open my laptop and begin to review my charting from the sessions in the prior week.  I make a quick set of notes for the sessions on my calendar that day – reminding myself to ask….for instance….”John” how his dad’s surgery went or “Suzie” whether she completed her homework assignment or “Helen” what her mom said after she confessed that she was planning to marry a woman.  I get an overview of where each client is in his or her process and then wait for the first session.

After that, the first client arrives and I do counseling.  I see clients one after another, scheduling them – usually – twenty-five minutes apart.  I do not usher one person in immediately as the other is leaving.  I have a “Couch Cooling Period,” if you will.  I don’t like for one client to sit down on the couch and experience sitting in the warm spot left by the last client’s behind.  If that happens, then I’m running sessions too close together. I make time in between each appointment to think about what happened in session, to document it, and – if needed – to go to the bathroom or get a sip of club soda.

At the end of the day, I make sure I’ve done all of my charting and billing, and I go home.

When I’m in NYC:  It’s different.  I’ve been doing distance counseling with my clients in Texas, which means I schedule the occasional phone session, but now with the new HIPAA/HITECH rules, I’m implementing a new system using www.counsol.com –and I’m not ready to use it yet.  Therefore, when I’m in NYC, I focus on my writing and teaching.  I write articles for http://www.rewireme.com/author/pamela-milam/ and I create continuing education courses (CEU classes) on www.mentalhealthclasses.com. I enjoy doing all of this work immensely – counseling, writing, and teaching.

What theory (or theories) inform your practice and why?

I think of myself as an existential counselor.  I don’t use a fixed structure or set of absolute rules for how I conduct counseling, but I do rest on certain principles. I believe in both freedom and responsibility.

Existential counseling utilizes the uniqueness of the individual along with the universality of specific life problems. This approach reminds the client that freedom, choice, and responsibility play a large role in most conflicts. Through the use of existential thought and exploration, the client will discover areas of greater strength, control, and resolve.

However, our counseling sessions are guided by the client, not by my philosophies or ideologies. I ask questions to make the client think more deeply about his or her place in the world – We talk about the larger life questions, “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose?” “What is happiness?” and from there we move toward the specifics and find ways to address the client’s presenting problem.

Reflect on how you determine when you need to seek consultation or supervision. Can you provide me with a specific example of each?

When I was still under ongoing supervision, I regularly called on my supervisor for guidance.  Now that I’m a seasoned professional, there’s a fair amount of give and take. Colleagues call on me for support and I call on them.  We always de-identify the case if we need to talk about a question regarding a client.

Recently, when I had a client who was having trouble making progress, I went to my peer group and sought consultation.  I have a group of 6-10 therapists who meet once or twice a month to provide each other with encouragement, consultation, and support.  It is very helpful in regard to getting constructive feedback, creative ideas, and it’s also great for networking.

What do you do to maintain self-care and wellness?

At the beginning of my career, I wasn’t so great at this part.  I worked long hours, skipped meals, and kept my phone on all of the time.  I was perpetually available, frequently working, and I got tired.  That’s when I realized that all of the training about self-care (during grad school) was no joke.  It was serious business.

I lightened my caseload, joined a peer group, took on a couple of new hobbies that recharged me, and I made more time for fun things like hiking, reading, theater-going, and spending time with my spouse.

My life is balanced and I feel like I’m offered a more centered approach to my counseling practice.

What are the most significant personal development issues you face as a counselor? How have you addressed personal and professional growth and development?

One of the ways I have grown is by realizing that I cannot help every client. I remember being cavalier and thinking that I could shoot from the hip and figure things out as I went.  Not true.  Training is important.  There is a reason for those required continuing education classes. It was a relief, in a way, when it hit me that there really some clients with issues outside my area of expertise.

I can grow by taking classes and training programs to gain those skills, or I can grow by knowing my own limits and being willing to refer clients to the appropriate counselor.

I have grown personally and professionally by trying new things.  I wrote a book, taught a class, traveled to Russia and Estonia, and recently, I attended a theatre workshop just to learn more about the inner workings of the acting and directing community.  If I have clients who are performers, I’ll be ahead of the game, understanding more about what they experience.

It’s important not to stagnate – not to sit inside the counseling office only listening to stories of how other people live their lives and neglecting to live my own life.  I want to live and experience life and to hear more about the lives of other people of all kinds. Curiosity is the best way to cure inertia and spark ongoing growth.

There are so many aspects of beginning a counseling career that can feel confusing and overwhelming. What would you say should be the top 3 priorities for a beginning counselor?

  • Get a system in place for handling billing and tracking your income.  (you don’t want to get your taxes into a mess)
  • Find a network of colleagues for support, encouragement and guidance
  • Know your specialty areas – do not stray into doing counseling without proper training.

What are your thoughts and feelings regarding the difficulty we (young professionals) have with job placement, the flooded counselor market, and underpaid positions.  This job is wonderful and difficult and it feels like we cannot get paid well or find positive supportive working conditions.

I’m not sure what the answer is.  It is tough.  I’ve made the comment before that the social services profession tends to be highly rewarding in many ways, but less so in regard to financial security.

With that said, I believe that counselors who are motivated and determined can find good jobs and establish financial security.  Networking helps immensely.  Professional friendships make all the difference.

What resource (book, person, website, and or blog) helped you the most when establishing your private practice?

I don’t remember reading a book to help with that.  What helped the most for me back then was that I made a decision to build a private practice and I pressed forward to make it happen.  I was surprised at how easy it was to get help building a website.  Then, I took phone calls from potential clients and set up appointments. There was that “Field of Dreams” feeling about it back then.  “If you build it, they will come…” and they did.  I was delighted by that.  My practice built to the point that I had too many clients and started referring them out to my colleagues.  I don’t know if that’s how it works these days.

From what source do you receive the majority of your referrals? 

First, my website.  Second, “word of mouth” –former clients who tell people about my practice.

What led you to the decision to create a premarital CEU course? 

I thought it was only fair for lesbian and gay couples to have premarital counseling too – and I wanted to customize the sessions in particular for the LGB community.  I’m leaving off the “T,” because I believe there’s an entire book waiting to be written for the Transgendered Community.  They will have issues particular to their lives and there should be a book to address those issues.

Tell us about your books… 

ASD Publishing guided me through the process of publishing my book Premarital Counseling for Gays & Lesbians: Case Studies and Helpful Questions. It’s a simple handbook for couples and for counselors – a quick 100 pages looking at issues specific to gay couples and issues common to all couples. The link is here: http://www.amazon.com/Premarital-Counseling-Lesbians-Pamela-Milam/dp/0983604959/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1331474255&sr=8-2

I have a second book represented by the Levine Greenberg Agency.  It’s called What Your Therapist Really Thinks About You.  It explores the therapeutic relationship between counselor and client, common pitfalls, and thorny situations, offering an inside look at what happens in therapy.  The literary agency is here: http://www.levinegreenberg.com/

My e-article is on Amazon:  Ten Rules for Successful Coping During the Divorce Process. It provides tips and insight for managing life before, during, and after a divorce.  The link is here: http://www.amazon.com/Successful-Coping-Divorce-Process-ebook/dp/B006FL9VAS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331474255&sr=8-1

Where can we purchase your books?

My book and e-article are both available on Amazon.com or you can buy them through my publisher’s website: http://asdpublishing.com/counselors-corner.htm

Networking Event-Chronic Pain Presentation Success

We had another successful presentation/networking event! Thanks to everyone who attended today’s event and a big thanks to Desirae Ysasi for her insightful presentation on chronic pain. Her presentation taught us how to address resistance with clients as well as helpful relaxation techniques and interventions used to assist clients with chronic pain.

Today’s proceeds were given to Desirae whom decided to donate the proceeds to the Out of Darkness Walk. This walk is dedicated to suicide awareness and prevention.

If you were unable to make this event, we hope to see you at our next event.

Tiffany, Tracy & Virginia

Presentation: Chronic Pain

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Join us on October 5th from 10am-12pm  for an opportunity to hear Desirae Ysasi, LPC, present on chronic pain.

This event will be held at Novian Counseling and Neuroeducation Center. Cost is $15 per person.  You can register for this event by leaving a comment below. Advance payment is required (see the paypal “Buy Now” link below). Space is limited to 10 people so register early!

After the presentation, there will be an opportunity to mingle and network. Don’t miss out on this chance to learn about chronic pain, connect with others, and build your name in the counseling field!

Buy Now - Presentation

Networking Event

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We are pleased to announce our next networking event!

This event will focus on brief therapy approaches as previously decided by our members. We are hoping to get a turnout of 10 members to this event. The format of this event will be a discussion group. This means that each person attending should be prepared to contribute their thoughts and experience regarding brief therapy approaches.

These events are designed to provide both support and opportunities to network yourself in our field. Don’t miss out on this chance to connect with others, increase your support system, and build your name in the counseling field!

This event will be held on Saturday 6/22/13 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM at Novian Counseling & Neuroeducation Center.  Please email us at SACounselors@gmail.com to register for this event.

(photo found here)

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

 

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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Interview with Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC

IMG_6852Today I’m interviewing  Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC. He  is the owner of Mental Wellness Counseling in Traverse City, MI. He also helps counselors in private practice to grow their practice through his website www.PracticeofthePractice.com. He is the author of  Practice of the Practice | A start-up guide to launching a private practice and Mental Wellness Parenting | A remarkably simple approach to making parenting easier. Lastly, He loves sailing and has a 22-month-old daughter that he has so much fun with!

Joe, tell us about your practice

Tracy, thank you so much for allowing me to do this interview. I’m really excited about it. I started Mental Wellness Counseling in 2009 in Traverse City, MI. I had been in private practice as a 1099 and then moved to Traverse City.

I’m really glad that I filed as a PLLC while I was at the other practice, because it made opening my own practice much easier.

At Mental Wellness Counseling our tag line is, “We help angry kids, frustrated parents, and distant couples…and just about everyone else.” For me, I try to de-stigmatize counseling when I can. The average people understand what an “angry kid” is, they don’t care as much about clinical labels.

I want my practice to reflect my style, which I hope is to be very approachable, while also on the cutting edge of research and practice.

There are so many aspects of beginning a counseling career that can feel confusing and overwhelming. What would you say should be the top 3 priorities for a beginning counselor?

I actually have several chapters in my book Practice of the Practice | A start-up guide to launching a private practice that goes really in-depth with this question. Tracy, I’ll do my best to cover the basics.

First I think a counselor needs to think about their long-term goals. For example, I always knew I wanted to open my own private practice. I couldn’t do that right out of grad school. I needed some experience.

My daughter is almost two years old. Parents of teens will say to me, “How can you teach about parenting when you only have a two year old?” Because i took time to gain experience I can let them know my experiences in working foster care, residential facilities, as an outdoor counselor, in schools, and in home-based settings. Gaining a diverse experience will almost always help in the long run.

Secondly, if a counselor is moving toward private practice every counselor should work toward developing a niche. In my very first podcast Practice of the Practice with Joe Sanok (available on iTunes) I spoke extensively about why this is vital. In developing a niche, you’re known for something.

Lastly, building a public image is something few counselors will do. This can be done through writing for the local paper, speaking, and networking. Creating a dynamic website with blog content is the next essential step for counselors. Clients want to feel like they know you before they commit. If a counselor can have a fresh looking website and blog, it can also help with SEO. I have an article that can help counselors do that themselves that your readers would find helpful: http://www.practiceofthepractice.com/resources/resources-for-building-your-own-website/

What was your most difficult and valuable lesson you learned as an LPC-Intern?

That’s a very easy question to answer, it is an example I use with every intern I supervise. I inherited a client from another intern that was leaving. I assumed that they had discussed confidentiality with the client and the limits of it.

I was wrong.

The client disclosed that they had been abusing their child. I explained that I was mandated to report it and that I wanted to call together so that they could hear what I said. The man yelled at me, said something about how counseling was supposed to be a place to vent, and stormed out of the session.

Needless to say, I have never forgot to go over confidentiality since, not once.

How did you find your counseling specialty?

What a great question, Tracy! When I was in my undergraduate program I thought to myself, “I want to work with angry kids.” Maybe I saw too many after-school specials or got picked on too much and wanted to stop future bullies. Either way, I figured that I should probably work with that population before I went on for a full Masters or Doctorate.

I got a job at a runaway shelter and absolutely loved the population! They were fun, edgy, and once you had their trust, they really wanted your opinion. The transformations were remarkable. From there, I got into issues around parenting, because these kids would go back home and nothing had changed. They had a glimpse of a different life and then they went back to the old lifestyle.

So I started building my experience in teaching parents.

Lastly, as couples had kid issues and parenting issues they often had marriage issues. So I started learning about how to help couples. So that’s how I started working with “angry kids, frustrated parents, and distant couples.”

If your current self could give one piece of advice to the version of you that started your career, what would that be?

Don’t disregard older counselors just because they are not young or hip or know the most current research. When someone has stuck with such a tough field for so long, there is something deep within their soul that is worth exploring.

What resource (book, person, website, and or blog) helped you the most when establishing your private practice?

For me there have been a few amazing resources. I actually require new counselors in my practice and interns to read most of them:

The Start-up Guide to Guerrilla Marketing

Why Johnny Can’t Brand

Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Blog www.smartpassiveincome.com

My blog aimed at helping counselors in private practice www.PracticeofthePractice.com, especially my member newsletter that helps counselors go from having no private practice to launching and growing one over 52 weeks. Here’s a link for your readers, they’ll get a free copy of my ebook as part of signing up! Link for the Member’s E-newsletter, with free book! I’ve focused on putting together content that I wish I had in my first year of private practice, it’s meant to save time, frustration, and mistakes.

From what source do you receive the majority of your referrals?

A year ago it used to be doctors and referrals sources that I had developed relationships with. About this time last year, I redesigned my website and learned a lot about SEO. I went from the bottom of page three in Google for the search term “counseling Traverse City” to the top of page one in six weeks. Now I get most referrals from web searches or from Psychology Today’s website.

How long did it take before you had a steady flow of clients on a regular basis?

This is hard to answer, Tracy. I am very open about how I still have a full time job with our local community college. My wife stays home with our daughter, so the health insurance, steady income, and retirement make the mixture perfect for where we are at. With that said, my practice has so many clients coming in that I brought on one clinician and I’m bringing on two more in the coming months. If I wanted to be full time in private practice, I have no doubt that I could do it.

I have now opened practices in two cities. Each time it took about three months to get my first client. I spent that time networking and getting speaking and writing gigs. Then both times it was about another month before I got another client. Then around the six month mark a flood of clients started coming.

One reason that I launched the 52-week Private Practice Creation E-newsletter was because I learned a lot over that time that I think made me waste time, money, and made me want to quit. There are some very simple tips that can get clients in the door, without the headaches that we give ourselves.

What is your opinion of sliding scale fees?

I love them, when done correctly. I would say that of the counselors that hire me to consult with them and review their marketing approaches, 95% of them are undercharging their clients. When I first started in Traverse City, the market rate for private pay counseling was $80. I charged $70. Then, about a year and half in I raised my rates to $100. Now I am at $150.

I actually started posting my monthly income reports on my blog starting last September to inspire other counselors and for accountability in showing that my principles actually work to help me make more money and work less. http://www.practiceofthepractice.com/category/business/cash/

What’s great about figuring out how to optimize income is that you can give away whatever you want. I now make almost twice the market rate and people pay it! I could give away a free session for every session that I have at full price.

I have a business consultant friend who told me, “People would rather get a discount, so even if you charge $150 and tell everyone that you will charge $120, they emotionally will feel better about it.”

As we explore business and counseling topics, each counselor has to think about what they feel comfortable with. We can’t all do that, but we should explore how we can charge a fair rate, while also helping needy clients.

Our clients don’t blink at paying computer people or auto mechanics these rates and we’re dealing with their lives.

We appreciate you sharing what you have learned about business via your website, podcast, and e-book, Practice of the Practice. What business information have you found to be the most and least beneficial to your practice?

These would actually be the same as the ones I listed earlier:

The Start-up Guide to Guerrilla Marketing

Why Johnny Can’t Brand

Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Blog www.smartpassiveincome.com

My blog aimed at helping counselors in private practice www.PracticeofthePractice.com, especially my member newsletter that helps counselors go from having no private practice to launching and growing one over 52 weeks. Here’s a link for your readers, they’ll get a free copy of my ebook as part of signing up! Link for the Member’s E-newsletter, with free book! I’ve focused on putting together content that I wish I had in my first year of private practice, it’s meant to save time, frustration, and mistakes.

Tell us about your books…

Tracy, thanks for asking about the books. My first book Practice of the Practice | A start-up guide to launching a private practice has really been my notes and ideas of what it takes to get a private practice off the ground. There’s something about taking all these lessons and helping other counselors to experience less pain and grief that is very satisfying. My hope is that it will help guide counselors in a step-by-step manner through the stages of a private practice.

My second book, Mental Wellness Parenting | A remarkably simple approach to making parenting easier came out of something different. I was on this call-in show every other week for a while called “The Mary in the Morning Show.” Every time I was on the show she said, “Joe, you have to write a book. I interview people all the time and you are so much better than them!” It was really inspiring for me. I didn’t do it right away, I had to outline, think, and plan. Then one day it hit me that I had to do it, I took all my notes and wrote, edited, and completed it within a few months.

I’m currently working on a book, the working title (it may change) is The Ten-minute Toddler Turnaround | Transforming Your Toddler from Battles to Bedtime in 10 minutes. In talking with our friends, we have realized that what is common knowledge to counselors and many parents, actually is not. There are really simple techniques that help parent’s lives to significantly easier. They feel like “magic secrets” but once parents learn these concepts they really change everything. I’ll be announcing the release on our Facebook group www.facebook.com/mentalwellnessparenting.

What led you to the decision to write a book on how to launch a counseling private practice?

You’re just full of great questions, Tracy! It actually all started out of a presentation I gave in a graduate class. I was invited to speak about private practice issues and marketing. Maybe you’ve heard of the stages of professional development: you don’t know what you don’t know, you know what you don’t know, you don’t know what you know, and then you know what you know.

It was one of those moments where I didn’t realize how much I knew and how valuable it was to new counselors. The students overwhelmingly said to me, “I can’t believe this stuff isn’t being taught in grad school!”

It was inspiring to hear from students, new counselors, and even those who had been in the field for a while. I started by launching my blog, www.PracticeofthePractice.com. I figured that launching a book with no audience would make all the hard work for nothing. So from April of 2012 through August 2012, I really focused on writing great content, building an audience, and developing my skills. My first version of the book was ready in the summer. I wrote it in a format that looked more like a magazine and sold it through my website.

I got some great feedback on what people liked and what they didn’t like. The most important feedback was how it was not very easy to read on the Kindle and iPad. That’s when I decided to launch it on Amazon. I found out that my “cool” formatting looked really crazy on most devices when purchased through Amazon, so I spent a month going through and reformatting the book. I looked at it page-by-page on every device to make sure it looked good and didn’t format funny.

I then relaunched it.

What I love about having it on Amazon, is that as I learn new things or find out about additional resources, I can upload a new version and folks can download it immediately.

I’ve been amazed at the response from people. I did a free giveaway for listeners on my podcast and people that follow my blog/twitter/facebook. It was great, 164 people downloaded it in one day!

What led you to the decision to write a book for parents?

I sort of touched on that earlier, but I’ll tell you a bit more.

Hearing from people that liked what i was saying was definitely really encouraging. But what made it significantly easier was that I had kept my typed notes for every radio show, presentation, and article I had written.

As a result, the outline was really easy to put together. When you hear that people are connecting with your teachings, it makes it hard to not use those gifts and talents with the world. It feels kind of selfish. I don’t feel like I am some brilliant parenting guru, but people seem to be learning and connecting with what I’m saying.

There’s also a secondary benefit to writing. When you write articles and books, people seem to value your private practice more. As a result, I attract an audience that can help me continue to do the work I love. I can grow to help more people, increase my overall financial health, and have opportunities to speak and share at a level that I couldn’t, hard I not written a few books.

Where can we purchase your books?

They are both available on Amazon. Here are a few resources I recommend:

My books:

Practice of the Practice | A start-up guide to launching a private practice

Mental Wellness Parenting | A remarkably simple approach to making parenting easier

My podcast The Practice of the Practice Podcast with Joe Sanok available on iTunes.

The online community for parents, counselors, and educators: www.facebook.com/mentalwellnessparenting

Twitter: Parenting Issues www.twitter.com/JosephSanok Private Practice Issues: www.twitter.com/OfThePractice

Member’s Newsletter for Building and growing a counseling private practice

Joe’s consulting-blog-resource website www.PracticeofthePractice.com