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Colleague Down the Hall

Colleague Down the Hall

Author: Jeanene Wolfe, LCSW

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More of us than ever are practicing in solo or online psychotherapy practices and we all need colleagues to process cases with, commiserate with on those really hard days and also to celebrate our successes with. The Colleague Down the Hall podcast is a place where we’ll discuss fictionalized cases and ways to practice sustainably. I'll also bring you insights about trends and changes in our field, and sit down with amazing therapists who are doing amazing work.
58 Episodes
In this episode, I explore the significance of aligning personal values in private practice. Drawing from my own experiences and discussions with colleagues, I highlight the pivotal role that values play in shaping decisions regarding policies, client interactions, niche selection, and self-care.   "Values act as a compass guiding us in how we show up in the world and in our work."   Key Points: Examining personal values is essential for creating a private practice that aligns with individual identity. Values serve as a reference point for making practice decisions regarding policies, fees, and client interactions. Assessing one's passion and effectiveness, along with needs of self, helps prevent burnout and ensures optimal client care. Decisions regarding client work and self-care should prioritize both the client's needs and the personal well-being of the therapist.  Integrating values into daily practice involves assessing actions and decisions to ensure alignment with your authentic self as a human who is also a therapist .  Building a values-driven practice fosters authenticity, clarity, and satisfaction for both therapists and clients. Reflecting on and integrating personal values helps create a practice that resonates authentically with oneself as well as allows clients and colleagues to know what to expect from you.    Get your free worksheet for applying your values in private practice here:   Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LinkedIn:
If you're intrigued by the intersection of psychology, therapy techniques, and professional development, you're in for a treat. In this new episode of the Colleague Down the Hall Podcast, Audrey Schoen and Jenny Hughes join me for an insightful discussion where we discuss the use of EMDR, Brainspotting, and ART. We touch on the foundational aspects of these therapeutic approaches, including their development, application, and the unique benefits they offer to both therapists and clients. We explore the nuances of each technique, share personal experiences and insights, and discuss the significance of adaptability and intuition in therapy. This episode emphasizes the significance of these therapeutic techniques in processing trauma, the necessity of adapting therapy to individual client needs, and the important role of the therapist's insight and adaptability in the therapeutic process.   “A lot of times I'll tell clients, Brainspotting, is something you get better at as you get to know it. And that's something that there's a learning curve with Brainspotting, if that's not naturally how your brain works. And as a highly cognitive processor, who likes to dissociate from my emotions, it's been even hard for me to make that shift. But it's also really cool, because that's almost one of the benefits of the approach is that it forces me to get out of my cognitive in a way that I can access later. Whereas with the more structured approach of ART, it's so structured that the client doesn't have to think, or they're checking in with their body, but it's very, like, ‘okay, now we're doing this, now we're doing that’. They don't have to wonder what they're doing. And whereas with Brainspotting, I find that it helps me drop out of my cognitive even outside of doing it as a therapy.”- Audrey   Key highlights to dig into: Foundation of EMDR: Developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro, is foundational to the understanding and application of both Brainspotting and ART. It involves bilateral eye movements to help process traumatic memories and stressors more efficiently by engaging different parts of the brain and the body, aiding in trauma processing and healing. Introduction of Brainspotting: Discovered by David Grande in 2003, Brainspotting builds upon the principles of EMDR. It focuses on the idea that "where you look affects how you feel," utilizing the discovery of brain spots and specific eye positions related to emotional states to access and process trauma stored in the midbrain and nervous system. Overview of ART (Accelerated Resolution Therapy): Similar to EMDR in its use of bilateral eye movements, ART is distinct in its structured, protocol-driven approach. It is highly focused on imagery and the reprocessing of painful memories, often achieving significant processing of traumatic events in a single session. Therapeutic Flexibility and Personalization: Each technique has unique elements that may resonate differently with both therapists and clients. For example, Brainspotting offers more flexibility and encourages therapists to rely on intuition and client-led processes, while ART is highly structured. EMDR falls somewhere in between, offering a balance of structured protocol and therapeutic flexibility. Visual Processing Considerations: The discussion touches on the importance of being mindful of clients' visual processing capabilities, including conditions like aphantasia, and adapting techniques accordingly to ensure inclusivity and effectiveness. Therapist Experience and Intuition: The therapists discuss their personal journeys with these techniques, emphasizing the value of experience, intuition, and the therapist-client relationship in guiding therapy and adapting techniques to meet individual needs. Neurodiversity and Adaptation: There's an acknowledgment of the need for therapists to be aware of and accommodate neurodivergent clients, adapting techniques to suit their processing styles and experiences. Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LinkedIn:
In today’s episode of the Colleague Down the Hall podcast, I celebrate my first year of podcasting. This episode is a reflection of the key insights and themes that have emerged over the past year. I talk about the importance of fostering a supportive, inclusive, and collaborative community within the psychotherapy profession. I reflect on the past year's achievements in aligning with these virtues and set forth a vision for continuing to address the complexities of the profession through shared learning, ongoing professional development, and embracing diversity. This episode is all about celebrating our shared contributions to the psychotherapy community.   “I'd like to further highlight these important virtues which will continue to be guiding posts for all the ways we can support other therapists and the ways I will personally continue showing up over and over. Kindness has emerged as more than just a nicety. It's a powerful force that enables us to create a supportive atmosphere within the circles where our colleagues gather. It's a shared language that moves beyond professional boundaries, reminding us that though our client approaches and client populations may vary, we share a desire to help.”   Key Takeaways and Goals for Year 2: The podcast has consistently emphasized kindness, collaboration, learning, embracing diversity, and the importance of supportive, constructive feedback. These virtues are presented not just as professional niceties but as essential pillars for both personal and professional well-being. Addressing the complexities of the psychotherapy profession and the need for a balance between empathy, experience, and expertise.  We all benefit when we embrace shared learning and support to address the challenges and inadequacies within our profession. Affirming the limitations of graduate studies in preparing therapists fully for doing this work as a human being in the real world with all of its challenges. Addressing the intersection of personal life with professional responsibilities: I embrace the importance of acknowledging and normalizing the challenges therapists face, such as burnout, impostor syndrome, and the emotional impact of our work on each of us personally.. A commitment to continue promoting inclusivity and learning from a wide range of voices and experiences within our field will remain a key focus in the coming year. Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LinkedIn:
In today’s episode of the Colleague Down the Hall podcast, Steffeny Feld joins me to explore the concept and benefits of therapy intensives. This is an alternative therapeutic approach that allows for deep, focused work over a condensed period, rather than traditional weekly sessions. We touch on the flexibility of intensives across different treatment modalities and client populations, the challenges of insurance billing, and the importance of aligning practice decisions with personal values and lifestyle needs. This episode emphasizes the transformative impact of therapy intensives for both therapists and clients, highlighting the possibilities for flexibility, creativity, and a commitment to personal and professional well-being.   “A lot of people who come into the Facebook group or into the Intensive Design Lab, just assume it's only EMDR, or it's only trauma, which I'd say for the most part, you know, that's a group or presenting concern that has really taken off with intensives recently, but that's not the only issue or presenting concern or modality or whatever, that can work. Some other ones, I think couples work is really, really good for intensives. So you think about couples who are in difficult times of life or conflicts, and maybe they're getting into something into a session and then they have to go back to life and it's not quite resolved yet. So a couple of intensives can be really powerful.” -Steffeny Feld   Here are some highlights to explore: Benefits for Therapists and Clients: For therapists, intensives can reduce burnout by focusing deeply on one client at a time rather than juggling multiple clients with diverse needs each day. For clients, intensives offer the possibility of making significant progress in a shorter period of time. Adaptability Across Modalities: While often associated with trauma work and EMDR, therapy intensives can be adapted to various treatment modalities such as Brainspotting, CBT, IFS, etc, as well as a variety of client needs, including couples therapy, grief work, anxiety, emotional blocks, sports performance issues, etc. Challenges with Insurance: Navigating insurance reimbursement for intensives can be complex. Some therapists opt for a private pay model for intensives to simplify billing and ensure compensation reflects the intensive nature of the work. However insurance-based therapists can also benefit from intensives. Personalization and Flexibility: Therapists can creatively design intensives to suit their strengths and preferences as well as the specific needs of their clients. This might include integrating different therapeutic techniques, offering sessions in unique settings, or collaborating with other professionals to provide a holistic experience. Impact on Therapist Well-being and Practice Management: Offering intensives can be a way for therapists to manage their own energy and prevent burnout. It allows for a more sustainable practice model, where therapists can work less but maintain or even increase their income. Exploration and Experimentation: Therapists interested in intensives can choose to start small, experimenting with slightly longer sessions or single-day intensives to gauge what works best for them and their clients before fully committing to this model. About the Guest:   Steffeny Feld is a Certified EMDR Therapist & Consultant in St Louis, MO.  She created the Intensive Design Lab to support therapists to launch intensives in their practice so they can work less and earn more, while helping clients heal.  The Intensive Design Lab offers workshops, courses, coaching cohorts, and templates to help therapists launch intensives swiftly and simply, so they can stay focused on the deep therapeutic work they love.   Connect with Steffeny:   Facebook: Website: Youtube:   Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LinkedIn:
For this episode of the Colleague Down the Hall podcast, a group of colleagues join me to discuss  a complex case involving a client who is dealing with grief and depression following the death of a childhood friend in a car accident. We delve into the consequences of a therapist's decision to research a client's background information without their consent, the implications of this action for trust and disclosure within the therapeutic setting, and how to handle the resulting ethical dilemma and personal internal conflict.The discussion revolves around how to address the ethical implications, manage countertransference, and whether to disclose the unauthorized research to the client, all while considering the potential impact on their therapeutic relationship and exploring avenues for professional consultation and personal reflection to navigate these challenges.   “I think I feel like Jeanene, I'm on the same page as you is that I try to be as authentic and transparent as possible. And I feel like it would be really hard for me to be able to have that information and not share it and not be able to be fully present. I'm there to help support my client if they didn't know that I knew that information, I mean I just feel like that, for me, it's kind of like an ethical thing of being able to be open and honest and say, ‘Hey, I messed up, I made a mistake’, you know, and I just feel like as a clinician we’re the instrument, it could come out in nonverbals, or a way of like, that you're judging that you don't realize is coming out in your face or your body language or something like that. And that's, I think that's what I would have a hard time with.”-Beth Maples   Here are the key takeaways: Importance of Professional Boundaries and Ethics: The situation underscores the ethical dilemma of researching clients outside of the therapeutic setting without their consent. It raises questions about privacy, trust, and the potential impact on the therapeutic relationship. Dealing with Countertransference: The therapist's personal history with a similar situation creates internal conflict and countertransference, highlighting the need for therapists to be aware of their personal feelings and biases that may affect their work. Client Disclosure and Trust: The case illustrates the complexities of client disclosure. Clients may withhold information for various reasons, including shame, fear, or not being ready to confront certain aspects of their experience. It points to the need for building a strong therapeutic alliance where clients feel safe to share sensitive information. Impact of Therapist Actions on the Therapeutic Relationship: The therapist's action of researching the client's history without consent poses a risk to the therapeutic relationship, potentially leading to loss of trust and affecting the client's willingness to open up. It serves as a cautionary tale about the repercussions of crossing ethical boundaries. Transparency and Repairing the Relationship: The discussion about whether and how to disclose the therapist's actions to the client touch on the principles of transparency, honesty, and accountability in therapy. It explores the potential benefits and risks of such disclosure for the therapeutic process. Decision-Making in Gray Areas: The case illustrates the complexity of decision-making in therapy, especially in situations where there's no clear right or wrong answer. It highlights the need for therapists to carefully consider the ethical, legal, and clinical implications of their decisions. Self-Compassion and Human Error: Finally, the conversation emphasizes the importance of self-compassion and acknowledging human error within the practice of therapy. It encourages professionals to learn from mistakes and use them as opportunities for growth, rather than sources of shame. Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LinkedIn:
In this episode of the Colleague Down the Hall, Jeanene discusses the dynamics of therapist Facebook groups; the positive aspects and challenges associated with participating in these online communities for therapists. This episode is a guide on how to participate constructively and ethically in therapist Facebook groups by addressing the benefits for professional development and support, the potential pitfalls that often occur, and solutions for more positive and productive engagement.   “Facebook groups are a great way to be a part of this diversity. When you disagree with the perspective or approach shared in the group, it's important to offer your feedback in a way that is constructive and enriching. This means framing your response in a manner that provides an alternative viewpoint without negating the original posters, experience or advice or comments by other posters. Constructive feedback is solution-oriented, aimed at building understanding and offering new perspectives rather than tearing down or diminishing other's contributions.”   Key Points: Value of Online Communities: Therapist Facebook groups provide a valuable community for sharing resources, business advice, and connecting with peers, which can be especially beneficial for combating feelings of isolation among solo practitioners or those in remote areas. Challenges of Online Professionalism: Despite their benefits, these groups can also lead to lapses in professionalism, with issues such as sharing client information for online case consultation, or making judgmental or shaming comments. Diversity and Inclusion: The diversity within these groups is highlighted as a strength, encouraging therapists to embrace and support differences in culture, values, and identities, which enriches the professional experience and supports client care. Privacy and Confidentiality: A reminder of the ethical obligation to protect client privacy and confidentiality in online discussions. Therapists are advised to generalize information when seeking advice and to be mindful of the semi-public nature of these groups. Supportive Engagement: Jeanene advocates for supportive and helpful responses, including asking clarifying questions, sharing resources, suggesting professional referrals, and recommending relevant training. Avoidance of Negative Behaviors: The importance of steering clear of public shaming, jumping to conclusions, or criticizing colleagues online to maintain a supportive and respectful environment. Seeking Private Consultation: For specific clinical support or guidance, therapists are encouraged to seek consultation privately rather than sharing cases online, respecting confidentiality while still getting needed support. Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LinkedIn:
In this episode of the Colleague Down the Hall podcast, I delve into the realm of impostor syndrome, exploring the pervasive feeling of self-doubt that significantly affects individuals in various areas. This is something that therapists don’t often talk about yet is a common and persistent challenge that fluctuates in intensity throughout one’s career. I talk about the types of situations where the impostor syndrome shows up and how to handle such situations within the therapy profession. I touch on the importance of identifying personal cues for burnout and seeking validation from colleagues in managing impostor syndrome. This episode aims to empower you as therapists by raising your awareness and equipping you with strategies to overcome this pervasive issue within our profession.   “You want to allow the feelings that you experience with impostor syndrome to flow. Okay, as you experience the doubts that are typical with imposter syndrome, make sure you are allowing internal validation into the equation; most likely you're well within your bounds of experience and skill sets. But it's good for you to do that assessment, if you're within your scope of practice, getting support from colleagues who can probably see things a little more objectively than you can see for yourself. And so that leads right into seeking validation externally. There's nothing more powerful than having a colleague affirm how awesome you are at what you do. It's also powerful to consult on someone else's case to remind you of this as well. So having a colleague not only affirm that ‘yes, this is a difficult case and let's see if we can figure out why this is’ but also affirm that ‘wow, this is a hard case I can see why you're struggling’.”   Insights you’ll gain: Imposter Syndrome is Common and Persistent: Imposter syndrome is a widespread issue among therapists and professionals in general, not just a fleeting concern. It tends to fluctuate in intensity throughout one's caree. Situations Triggering Imposter Syndrome: The context outlines six specific situations where therapists might experience heightened feelings of imposter syndrome, including working at the edge of one's scope of practice, dealing with atypical clients, learning new modalities, facing professional fatigue, reaching new levels of growth, and overriding personal intuition about client fit. Seeking Support is Crucial: Emphasis is placed on the importance of peer consultation and support to navigate through imposter syndrome. Engaging with a clinical consultation group or a trusted colleague can provide the necessary perspective and validation to manage these feelings effectively. Skill Assessment and Referral Ethics: Therapists are encouraged to critically assess their skills and the specific demands of each case, considering whether referral is the best course of action for the client. Understanding ethical and professional guidelines for referring out clients is essential for ensuring client needs are adequately met. Addressing Fatigue and Burnout: Recognizing and dealing with professional fatigue and burnout is crucial, as these factors can exacerbate feelings of imposter syndrome. Validation and Self-Care: Allowing oneself to feel and validate the emotions associated is beneficial. Self-care and setting boundaries are also emphasized as key strategies in managing professional challenges sustainably. Normalization and Education: It’s  important that we normalize discussions around imposter syndrome within the professional community and recognize the lack of preparation for dealing with such issues in our education. Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LinkedIn:
In this episode of the Colleague Down the Hall podcast, I talk about the challenges that private practice therapists face when personal emergencies or unexpected life events intersect with their professional duties. I share insights from my personal experiences of managing work-life balance while dealing with personal hardships. I discuss some criteria for making these difficult decisions and recognize the human aspect of therapists and the inevitability of facing personal emergencies that might seem to conflict with professional responsibilities. Despite our commitment to our clients, we must sometimes prioritize our own well-being or family emergencies over client sessions. My goal is to help therapists maintain professional integrity, ensure their own well-being, and ultimately continue to support their clients effectively.   “We are humans who happen to also be therapists. And there are going to be times that we have to make the decision that's best for us, that may not be ideal for our clients. But we still need to do that in the case of an unexpected death or an unexpected need to be with a family member, needing to go out of town at the last minute to help care for somebody, those things are going to arise. And I would encourage you to create your own list of criteria. Think about the things that have come up in the past, the times that you've been faced with these types of decisions. What were the factors? What did you decide? And what did you learn from that experience? Because for myself, if I can feel like I have a good procedure in place for managing these decisions, then I'm also going to be more confident in that decision.”   What you’ll learn: Acknowledgment of Personal Hardships: While therapists often encounter individuals with significant struggles, they themselves are not immune to personal hardships and the shared human experience of dealing with difficult situations. Financial Considerations in Private Practice: A significant challenge for those in private practice is the financial impact of canceling sessions. It is important to have a financial safety net or fund to mitigate income loss during times when work must be unexpectedly missed, whether due to personal emergencies, illness, or other factors. Decision-Making Process for Canceling Sessions: It is helpful to have a process for deciding whether to cancel or reschedule client sessions. This involves assessing one's capacity to work, considering the needs and circumstances of scheduled clients, and evaluating the potential financial impact. The decision-making process also includes self-awareness regarding the therapist's ability to maintain professional boundaries and effectiveness, especially when dealing with personal issues similar to those of their clients. Flexibility and Self-Compassion: The discussion emphasizes the importance of flexibility and self-compassion in decision-making. Recognizing that situations can change and allowing oneself to adjust decisions accordingly is crucial for maintaining both personal well-being and professional integrity. Empathy and Humanization of Therapists: This episode humanizes therapists by acknowledging that they, too, face personal challenges and must make difficult decisions at times. It highlights the importance of setting realistic expectations for oneself and recognizing that being a therapist does not exempt one from the complexities of life.   Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LinkedIn:
In today’s episode of the Colleague Down the Hall podcast, Kym Tolson and I delve into the innovative integration of telehealth practices within the therapy profession, particularly through the perspective of a traveling therapist. Unsurprisingly, many therapists are working remotely, with the pandemic providing newfound freedom to work from anywhere, as long as licensure and regulations are in order. This episode encourages therapists to pursue passions and live fulfilling lifestyles, considering the creation of multiple income streams, and the benefits of building a private practice that aligns with personal values.    “You can have whatever kind of private practice you want to have. I'm an insurance based private practice, Owner, solo private practice, that works from anywhere, you know, because that's, that's my dream. That's what I want to do. So figure out who you want to be. And then build your practice around that instead of, you know, like, we were saying, following these grad school rules, that you have to have a brick and mortar and you can't see people telehealth, and you have to take all the insurances, and you have to be poor, like, do not have to do that. Think of who you want to be and then build it around that. And go from there.”- Kym Tolson   What you’ll learn: Adaptability and Lifestyle Changes: Kym shares her story of moving from a brick-and-mortar office to traveling and working remotely. She discussed the need for adaptability with this lifestyle which for her meant making substantial lifestyle changes, such as selling her possessions and moving to different locations in order to maximize pursuing her personal and professional aspirations. Navigational Challenges of Remote Work: The discussion highlights various challenges associated with remote work and traveling, including dealing with time zones, maintaining consistent internet access, managing licensure across different states and countries, and adjusting to new environments. Ways of Traveling as a Therapist: We discuss the variety of options for being a traveling therapist that don’t require the initial full-time commitment Kym took in her own journey.  Resourcefulness and Planning: We explore the importance of being resourceful and planning ahead, such as dealing with the logistics of travel, managing a remote practice, and utilizing tools like AI to enhance efficiency and cope with the demands of a traveling therapist lifestyle. Regulatory Considerations: This episode emphasizes the importance of understanding and complying with licensure laws and insurance policies when practicing telehealth from various locations, highlighting the need for thorough research and compliance to practice ethically and legally.   About the Guest:   Kym Tolson, the founder of The Traveling Therapist, is a business owner, therapist, and an entrepreneur. She developed multiple income streams that allow her to live an amazing life while she travels the world living in Airbnb's. She helps therapists create and maintain prosperous private practices while traveling the world through courses, memberships, and free support communities.    Connect with Kym:   Website: Website: Instagram: @thetravelingtherapist_Kym The Experts' Guide to Becoming a Traveling Therapist Link:   Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LinkedIn:
In today’s episode of the Colleague Down the Hall podcast, Gabriel Valdez with NerdAlert Solutions,  joins me to talk about the importance of having a strong online presence and an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy for therapists in private practice. A lack of technical knowledge and feelings of overwhelm around creating a website can be challenging for therapists. Gabriel highlights how professional assistance in web development and SEO can significantly help therapists attract more clients, grow their practice, and navigate online marketing. This episode addresses the importance of having an online presence, assessing the cost vs benefits of professional services, and understanding basic elements of SEO to enhance visibility and success in online marketing.   “So it's very, very important to have SEO. And that's basically what it is;  getting found to show up on the top of Google (searches). Even your Google business profile that shows up, where there's usually three businesses, if you click ‘more’, you see the other businesses. But when you show up there, your conversion rate goes up tremendously. And now you're getting found, and you're able to fill up your intakes, your schedule, and if you have a group practice, it's even greater, because now you're not only filling up your schedule, you're filling up other therapists and clinicians. So it's very powerful.”- Gabriel Valdez   The key takeaways are: Importance of SEO in Private Practice: The role of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in marketing for private practices. SEO helps in getting a practice's website found by potential clients searching for therapy services. The Challenge of Website Development and Marketing for Therapists: Many therapists are not tech-savvy and find the idea of creating a website and starting marketing very daunting. This episode addresses the difficulties therapists face in marketing themselves and building a visible online presence. Professional Assistance with Website and SEO: The conversation with Gabriel addresses the value of professional web development and SEO services. Gabriel's approach includes creating effective websites, managing them, and providing SEO services tailored to therapists' needs. Cost-Effective Solutions for Therapists: Despite financial constraints, there are affordable solutions available for therapists to develop their online presence and improve their SEO. Learn how investing in such services can be a good business decision, leading to growth in your online presence and a stable caseload. Content Creation and SEO Strategies: The discussion covers strategies for improving SEO, such as creating fresh content, optimizing website images, and having a Google Business Profile. It emphasizes the importance of consistent content creation and proper website structuring for better search engine rankings.   About the Guest: Gabriel Valdez has 13 years of web design and development experience with 7+ years of experience working with health practitioners with web design and SEO. He understands HIPAA Compliance and ADA compliance. His main goals are to provide a professional service that does not break the bank and to help his clients’ businesses grow.   Connect with Gabriel:   Website: Website: Linkedin: Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Join a clinical consultation group: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LInkedIn:
In this episode of Colleague Down the Hall, a group of my colleagues discuss the complexities and ethical considerations in adolescent therapy, particularly in a case involving cultural factors, parental skepticism towards mental health treatment, and the issue of confidentiality regarding a client's substance use. We delve into the importance of understanding family dynamics, addressing cultural aspects, and navigating the delicate balance between maintaining client confidentiality and ensuring the client's well-being, especially when substance use is involved. This case presents the challenges therapists face in making informed decisions that respect the client's autonomy while considering the broader context of their family and cultural background.   “I think also in here is the inherent systemic racism that dad has experienced his whole life and wants his son to do really well in a society where you're constantly swimming upstream, no matter how hard you work. So I wonder how much is just pure concern and love for his son, that they really want, that's really important to help them have every opportunity. Because I mean, we all want that for our children. But when you're in a society that you recognize puts limits, just by virtue of your skin color, that I think that would be, I mean, I can only speak as an outsider, but I could see how that could really drive you to drive your kid. Because you really want them to have that opportunity and to be able to achieve”- Lise   Key points from this episode:   Challenges of Therapy with Adolescents: The case of 16-year-old Paul highlights the complexities of working with adolescents in therapy, especially when there is parental skepticism towards mental health treatment. Cultural Considerations: Paul's identity as an African American male is relevant, influencing both the therapist's approach and the parents' perception of therapy. There is an emphasis on understanding and addressing cultural factors in therapy. Parental Attitudes and Family Dynamics: Paul's parents' views on mental health and therapy, along with their high expectations and perceived judgment, significantly impact Paul's situation and his progress in therapy. Confidentiality and Ethical Dilemmas: The therapist faces a dilemma regarding whether to disclose Paul's marijuana use to his parents, weighing the importance of confidentiality against the potential risks of substance use. Therapeutic Progress and Skills: Paul has shown progress in managing his anxiety through various therapeutic techniques, such as mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Consultation and Peer Support: The therapist seeks advice from colleagues, demonstrating the value of professional consultation and peer support in navigating complex cases. Documentation Practices: The importance of careful and thoughtful documentation in therapy is discussed, considering legal and ethical implications.   Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Join a clinical consultation group: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LInkedIn:
47. Practice Slumps

47. Practice Slumps


In this episode of Colleague Down the Hall, I address the reality of practice slumps, those periods when your caseload dips and new client inquiries slow down. I talk about how to recognize and address the challenges that therapists face during practice slumps, as well as how having an understanding of the reasons behind them helps you find practical strategies to navigate through these periods.   I discuss the importance of proactive planning, self-care and professional growth to navigate these times. Practice slumps are temporary and should be viewed as an opportunity to reflect, learn and adapt. I also address the supportive role of peer consultation groups and engagement with colleagues in helping therapists thrive in their private practices.   “Another reason that we get slumps is an economic downturn or periods of financial strain leading clients to prioritize other expenses over therapy, be sure to address this with clients who are struggling with deductibles and copays. And see if you can figure out a compromise, maybe meet less frequently for a bit, you might also consider discussing the long term value of mental health. And if you know that's mainly going to be for your private pay folks but if it's between groceries and therapy, food is going to win out every time. So planning ahead financially to deal with these times is probably a better way to manage the economic factors that impact us.”   Key points from this episode: Understanding Causes: Identifying and understanding the reasons behind practice slumps, such as seasonal fluctuations and financial challenges. Proactive Strategies: Offering practical strategies to therapists for proactive planning and response to practice slumps, including adjusting your schedule, addressing financial considerations, and exploring new avenues for collaboration and income. Self-Care and Professional Growth: Encouraging therapists to prioritize self-care during slower periods, and utilize the time for professional growth, continuing education, and reflection on their practice trajectory. Peer Support: Highlighting the importance of seeking support from peer connections and fostering a sense of community among fellow therapists to share experiences and strategies. Turning Challenges into Opportunities: Framing practice slumps not just as challenges but as temporary opportunities for therapists to enhance their skills, refine their niche, and strengthen their overall practice. Holistic Approach: Recognizing the interconnectedness of various factors, including financial preparedness, marketing strategies, and personal well-being, in navigating the ups and downs of private practice. Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Join a clinical consultation group: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LInkedIn:
AI continues to make its way into many more aspects of our lives, including psychotherapy. Listen as a panel of mental health colleagues discuss the ways it can be used in private practice, the pros and cons of its use in various clinical ways, and how once again tech is preceding regulations so we need to do our due diligence when considering its use. We also get into the relational and ethical implications of utilizing AI for the clinical aspects of therapy work.   “There's this standard already of professional competencies. If you go into a new modality or you're using a different medium like with telehealth, you need to be proficient and have professional competency in what you are utilizing, whether that's a modality or mode of communication. And this fits into that as well. Might you need to be informed and equipped with the knowledge to be able to make informed decisions that are going to have the best possible outcomes in terms of client care as well.” - Liath Dalton   What you’ll learn: AI can be a timesaver, especially for those who are burned out and behind on progress notes and other types of clinical documentation. There are some important considerations to ensure PHI is not being used or that the platforms being used are HIPAA and GDPR compliant. AI can be used for so much more than progress notes and treatment plans in private practice including many non-clinical ways. AI lacks the humanness to assess and interpret information. This can have implications for using it for clinical documentation in terms of making sure notes are factually correct, and also with possible implications on the client/therapeutic relationship. It’s important to realize using AI is a whole new skill so clinicians need to learn how to use it ethically and appropriately, and that documents are factually correct. There are considerations for having the use of AI included in the private practice informed consent to make sure clients understand how it’s being used and to maintain a good therapeutic relationship with clients. Panelists: Liath Dalton Liath is the director of Person Centered Tech, home of the PCT Way -- a system for optimizing your practice and covering your HIPAA bases in just 5 steps. Liath cares deeply about PCT's purpose of 'helping the helpers' through providing direct support, CE training, and resources to mental health practitioners in service of establishing robust and effective practices that meet the needs of your clients and you. Liath is especially passionate about supporting and equipping practice owners in navigating the security compliance process and identifying the specific solutions and processes that meet the particular needs of their practices. Connect with Liath & Person Centered Tech's support and resources for mental health professionals at   Kym Tolson Kym Tolson, aka The Traveling Therapist, is an LCSW and a coach for therapists who still want to see their clients and travel the world. She has a passion for helping fellow therapists design their private practices centered around the life they want to live.  With the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its increasing role in various aspects of private practice, Kym recognized the potential of AI tools, to revolutionize the way therapists work. As she learned to use AI in her practice, she saw the opportunity to help fellow professionals navigate the world of AI and make the most of these cutting-edge tools all while specifically addressing potential ethical issues. Driven by her passion for empowering therapists and her belief in the positive impact AI can have on clinical documentation, Kym created the course "Revolutionize Your Practice with AI". This comprehensive course aims to equip therapists with the knowledge and skills they need to effectively integrate AI into their practice, streamline their documentation processes, and enhance client care. Kym's experience as a clinician, her understanding of the unique challenges therapists face, and her commitment to promoting responsible AI use make her an ideal guide for therapists who want to stay at the forefront of their field and harness the power of AI in their practice.  Grab the course here -   Tamara Howell Tamara is an online therapist in private practice, course creator, paperwork geek, workshop leader, membership coach, bundle host and mastermind facilitator. She describes herself as a tech enthusiast and light AI user, and is both curious and cautious about the future of AI.   Jenny Hughes Jenny Hughes is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. In addition to her clinical work, Jenny supports helpers and healers through the common experience of vicarious trauma. As the founder of The BRAVE Trauma Therapist Collective, Jenny helps trauma therapists become more aware of how to identify and overcome vicarious trauma, allowing them to thrive in their professional and personal lives. Connect with Jenny:  Grab your FREE Vicarious Trauma Tracker and bonus mini-course at Find Jenny on Social media: Instagram: Facebook: TikTok: Dear Therapist, Do your "oh crap" cases keep you up at night? You know the ones that involve gray areas or have high risk elements? I hear from therapists ALL THE TIME that they were never trained in a specific way to assess cases which are complicated and/or involve the many gray areas in our work. I am hosting a training series for exactly those types of cases and will include a 4 step process for assessment. These will be held between May 11 and 23. I have added additional training dates so we can get more thoroughly into the documentation process using a decision tree to capture the many steps we take to ensure we are doing our due diligence. In this free training series, you will: decrease your fear or insecurity around assessment of high risk & complex cases learn a 4-step process to cover all the bases learn important aspects of documentation that often get overlooked practice assessing and documenting a fictionalized case participate in a facilitated, judgement-free space Be sure to RSVP so you will get the training links and the limited-time replay info. You only have to RSVP once to get all the links. Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind Video Mini Course: Connect with Jeanene: Listen to more episodes of the podcast: Learn more about clinical consultation groups: Join my free therapist Facebook group: Follow me on Instagram: Connect on LInkedIn:
As I reflected on the way I approached the last few new years, I realized I needed to try something different for 2024. Instead of planning out my entire year, setting long-term goals, making resolutions and getting swept up in the hustle culture, that urge to do more, be more and achieve more, I want to be more intentional to allow for the natural ebbs and flows that come with life. In this new episode of the Colleague Down the Hall podcast, I talk about some specific tasks and steps to start your year without compromising your work/life balance. I delve into the trap of hustle culture prevalent in our society and focus instead on the importance of prioritizing your well-being alongside your professional goals and responsibilities. Let's approach the new year with a mindset of balance, self-care and flexibility, and plan ways to minimize the toll that therapy work can take on us as humans who are also therapists.   In this episode, we’ll delve into: Setting realistic and achievable goals for shorter periods to allow for flexibility when life happens.  Schedule time for administrative tasks, automating or delegating where possible, and considering the use of AI tools like ChatGPT for practice management. Examining the critical need to prioritize our mental and physical health through regular self-care activities and regular breaks. Establishing clear work-life boundaries, communicating them to clients, and avoiding the temptation to overextend ourselves. Determine a manageable client load by taking note of the emotional impact of sessions, and making adjustments to maintain a healthy balance. The importance of networking with fellow therapists for mutual support and learning through peer consultation groups or regular meetups. The significance of scheduling regular breaks and vacations throughout the year to prevent burnout and maintain a healthy work/life balance.   “Begin with reflection. Look back at last year, what worked well in your practice in your personal life, what didn't. Use these insights to set realistic and achievable goals for just the next month or six weeks. What are one or two things you want to focus on in your business and your personal life during that time. If last year was about building a client base, maybe this month, you can focus on deepening your expertise in a specific area of therapy.”   Connect with Jeanene: *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Join a clinical consultation group: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LInkedIn:
Joining me today in this delicious depth discussion is Alex Castro Croy, a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Addictions counselor. He shares how important it is to savor and appreciate the delicious moments in life as it provides inspiration, motivation and a sense of purpose. And how acknowledging the humanness of both clients and therapists can help pave the way for an open and honest therapeutic relationship with the client. “But I think it's super important to also celebrate and share the delicious moments, because those are the peaks. Those are the moments where, you know, maybe I'm going through a valley right now and your delicious share is going to eat and resonate with what I need to what I need to hear right now. I really encourage this a lot with clinicians and professionals, coaches, when we get together with our soul tribe with those individuals that we trust, and we can be open and vulnerable with. Let's have some delicious time.” - Alex Castro-Croy What you’ll learn from this episode: The concept of delicious depth discussions Sharing delicious moments with your soul tribe where you can be open and vulnerable can reignite the spark and your passion. The wounds and vulnerabilities we have experienced can become a source of insight and connection with clients. Embracing the pain and discomfort associated with healing allows for personal and professional development. Alex Castro-Croy is a  Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Addictions Counselor (LAC). He is also a bilingual EMDR certified-trauma informed therapist and is currently working on his Ph.D. in Depth Psychology. Mr. Castro-Croy is the Clinical Director and president of Life Recovery Center in Northglenn and Denver, Colorado. Mr. Castro-Croy has over 15 years combined experience as a Drug Court Probation Officer, EMDR certified therapist, and as an addiction treatment provider (ATP). He is known for training in the State of Colorado, the United States, and internationally on topics of trauma, addiction, self-care and implementation of Jungian psychology in the addiction/trauma field. He also currently works as an Adjunct professor at Metropolitan State University (Graduate and undergraduate) in the Human Services department. Connect with Alex: Connect with Jeanene: Listen to more episodes of the podcast: Learn more about clinical consultation groups: Join my free therapist Facebook group: Connect on LInkedIn:
In this episode of the 'Colleague Down The Hall' podcast, host Jeanene Wolfe talks with guest Tamara Howell, a therapist based in Paris, to discuss the importance of having a clinical or professional will for your private practice. They explore various situations, both temporary and permanent, expected and unexpected, necessitating a clinical will. Ensuring this document is in place is not only a responsibility to the mental health practice itself, but to clients and family members too, who should not be burdened with administrative tasks during times of grief or sudden emergencies. Tamara stresses the importance of choosing an appropriate person to manage the practice in your absence and the significance of confidentiality rules and country-specific privacy regulations. The podcast concludes with practical advice for clinicians, such as regular updates, having all information systematically organized, and ensuring clients are aware of these potential circumstances. “I think that's often the reason why people don't get all the information written down. Because people feel very stuck about who they're going to choose. And also being asked to be someone's clinical executor can feel like a massive privilege, such an honor to be trusted, but also so much responsibility. So that's kind of scary, that process, but I think it stops people from putting all the information down on paper. And so what I always say is just get everything written down, collect all your information in one place. So that even if you don't ask somebody, by the time something happens, at least, then your partner will be able to say, here's all the information can one of you help me”- Tamara Howell   Key Points from the Episode: Definition and Purpose of a Clinical Will: Tamara explains the purpose of a clinical will, also known as a professional will, as a directive prepared by therapists to ensure their practice is appropriately managed in case of emergency or unexpected absence.   Different Scenarios for Using a Clinical Will: The discussion categorizes the use of a clinical will into four types: temporary and permanent absences, and expected and unexpected absences. This  categorization underscores the will's versatility and necessity for all private practice owners.   Protecting Clients and Family: A key reason for a clinical will is to prevent the burden of practice management from falling on grieving families. It's a way to ensure clients are cared for and family members are relieved from the responsibility of managing professional obligations during difficult times.   Ethical and Professional Considerations: The conversation highlights ethical guidelines from various licensing boards and regulatory bodies including continuity in terms of professionalism and confidentiality.   Financial and Administrative Aspects: Learn about  the importance of financial planning in creating a clinical will. This includes setting aside funds to pay the designated clinical executor and ensuring all aspects of the practice, such as billing and administrative tasks.   Practical Steps in Developing a Clinical Will: The episode covers practical steps like maintaining a monthly client list, gathering all administrative information in one place, and considering contingencies like parental leave or sudden emergencies. It also touches on the importance of including information about the clinical will in the informed consent process with clients. About the guest:   Tamara is the host of TheraBundle and a UK qualified psychotherapist with an online practice based near Paris, France. She creates courses, offers coaching groups for therapists, a mastermind for therapreneurs and Facebook communities. Tamara is all about collaborating and would much rather show off her friends’ projects than her own, which is how TheraBundle was created! Connect with Tamara Howell: - click courses for info about clinical wills - find some great freebies Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Join a clinical consultation group: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LInkedIn:
The end of the year is fast approaching. As we approach the new year, it is the best time to reflect on our professional growth and prepare for the future of your private practice. In this new episode of the Colleague Down the Hall podcast, I share the end-of-year best practices for therapists to ensure your business is as healthy and prosperous as the service you provide. This episode promotes a reflective and proactive mindset as therapists prepare for the new year.   Key Areas Covered: Client Progress Review Updating Client Documentation Insurance and Billing Management Collecting Client Feedback Tax Preparation and Savings Continuing Education Business Strategy Review Professional Insurance Updates Refreshing Your Office Environment Networking and Peer Support Mental Health and Self-Care   Free Client Evaluation Form:   Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Join a clinical consultation group: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LInkedIn:
“Any note is better than no note.” In today’s episode of the Colleague Down the Hall podcast, Dr. Maelisa McCaffrey joins me to talk about her expertise; clinical documentation in therapy work. She discusses the challenges therapists face when it comes to writing treatment plans and progress notes. She delves into issues such as getting behind on progress notes, lack of confidence in note-writing and not understanding the implications of certain documentation choices. She provides practical tips for therapists to improve their documentation, including the key components of a progress note and the need for customization based on individual needs and legal considerations. She also touches on the use of AI in private practice.   The goal of this episode is to normalize the challenges therapists face with clinical documentation, review the basics that need to be in every progress note, provide guidance on common mistakes, encourage therapists to approach documentation with confidence and practical strategies, and explore the use of AI in private practice   “If you're going to have a private practice and do this stuff on your own, you have to be willing to take a little bit of that extra step. A little extra time to review those things and make sure that it is personalized to you and same with note templates. I see so many people who are like, you'll hear people say, you know, I thought I was supposed to put this in a note, and I thought I was supposed to put this in a note, and someone told me this or when I worked at this agency or this group practice, we had to write our notes this way. 99% of those are arbitrary guidelines. There are very few guidelines around what goes into note and so it does require a little critical thinking about one - what should go in and out for you based on your clients in your profession, but also two - what's helpful, what's useful.”- Dr. Maelisa McCaffrey The key highlights: The importance of understanding the "why" behind documentation recommendations and thinking outside the box while maintaining ethical standards. The impact of the pandemic on increasing the number of therapists seeking support for documentation issues. Addressing the common struggle of therapists feeling unprepared due to a lack of training in documentation during graduate school. The stigma and stress surrounding documentation issues, creating a cycle of shame in the profession. Therapists often feel hesitant to seek help or admit their struggles with documentation due to fear of judgment. The common mistakes therapists make, including being behind on paperwork and lacking confidence in their notes. The lack of specific guidelines for documenting and decision-making in the gray areas of therapy work. Specific tips for more efficient and effective progress note writing. The insights on AI adoption in private practice.   About the guest:   Dr. Maelisa McCaffrey is a licensed psychologist, nail design enthusiast, and multi-passionate entrepreneur. Through her business QA Prep, she empowers therapists with trainings and consultation on clinical documentation. Maelisa focuses on the “why” behind the usual recommendations and encourages clinicians to think outside the box, while also keeping their ethics intact. As someone with ADHD who’s had to figure out what works through trial and error, Maelisa aims to make sure her trainings are practical, while also allowing for plenty of laughter and fun.   Connect with Dr. McCaffrey:   QA Prep website: (Sign up for the FREE Private Practice Paperwork Crash Course) YouTube:   Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Join a clinical consultation group: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LInkedIn:
Grief is a universal experience and therapists are not immune to it. In today’s episode of the Colleague Down the Hall podcast, I talk about the ways to manage grief during the holidays, both for us as therapists dealing with personal loss and in our work with clients who are navigating their own grief. I share 10 tips on how to manage our personal grief during the holiday season and 10 tips on how to help our clients who are experiencing the same thing.This episode underscores the importance of acknowledging the universal nature of grief, setting healthy boundaries, seeking support, and fostering a sense of hope and healing for both therapists and clients in the face of loss.   “Sharing your grief journey with trusted individuals can provide perspective, comfort and validation. Lean on family, friends or professional support groups; sharing your experiences with others can provide comfort and understanding. For example, participate in a peer support group where therapists share their experiences of loss and coping strategies. Seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness, and we know this as therapists. It's a common and necessary part of the grieving process, and also crucial to the work we do”   Let’s dig deeper into: Therapists may face a dual role during the holiday season — managing their personal grief while providing support to clients navigating their own grief. Private practice therapists face challenges in decision-making, such as canceling sessions or managing caseloads, especially when dealing with personal grief. Rule of Thumb: if questioning whether to cancel sessions due to personal reasons, it's an indication to do so, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and honoring one's grief. Tips for therapists' grief management Tips for therapists supporting clients.   Connect with Jeanene:   *Get your free Four Keys to Private Practice Peace of Mind workbook: *Join a clinical consultation group: *Learn more about clinical consultation groups: *Join my free therapist Facebook group: *Connect on LInkedIn:
From the Archive Episode:   Today, we'll discuss how to practice therapy while staying true to who we are as individuals. We learned a lot in graduate school that, in theory, is significant and serves as excellent advice for making moral and ethical judgments. While we are instructed to enter the therapeutic relationship as a therapist as a blank slate, there are actually a ton of areas in our work that make this difficult. I believe what we are taught in school is a solid foundation on which to build, yet in reality, we all have our own values and ideals, which manifest in the therapy session; how you handle those things is just as crucial.   Learn More About: We need to normalize that imposter syndrome and burnout in our field are a real thing, and both are incredibly impactful on us as human beings doing this work. You can ethically refer someone out as long as you give them advance notice and provide at least three referrals (according to most best practice guidelines). There are many benefits to working with specific client populations. Work for yourself or with a group practice that supports working with clients who are a good fit for your skillset and experience. Think about the clients that you do your best work with and those that drain you and with whom you never feel like you have a good session when figuring this out. Therapists can choose between private pay, accepting insurance and hybrid payment models. Don’t buy into guilt or unrealistic expectations which are created by a broken insurance system when determining the practice model that allows you to pay yourself, pay off student debt and save for retirement. It is up to the individual to decide how to structure their private practice.   “These are things that we really don't discuss when we're talking to other therapists. There's a lot of shame about these areas. And we were afraid to bring them up because there are so many areas where, like I said earlier, you are going to face shame and judgment. And that's another reason why I really want to encourage you all to be in a clinical consultation group that is supportive, and that you trust with therapists that you can be vulnerable with, that you can talk to about the issues that you're facing, and who can help normalize some of the things you're experiencing.” Connect with Jeanene:   Listen to more episodes of the podcast: https:// Learn more about clinical consultation groups: Join my free therapist Facebook group: Follow me on Instagram:
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