Therapists Blogging For Business: 15 Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Sep
18
2014

If you are a therapist who is blogging for your business, you are likely ahead of your peers who are not. Image of Oops There’s really nothing else that equals the speed and breadth of blogging when it comes to building your reputation as a mental health professional. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t polish up the blogging that you are already doing . . . .

I’m gearing up to teach another 4-week series of BlogStart for Therapists next month and thought I might share some of the common mistakes all bloggers make when first starting out.

  1. Calling the articles on your blog “blogs.”  (My personal pet peeve.) They aren’t “blogs.”  They are “posts.”
  2. Not adding images to your posts.  Research shows that adding appropriate images to each post increases the number of folks who stop by to read your blog, increases the length of time they hang out there, and increases how often your posts get shared online.
  3. Only linking to your own posts.  Internal linking is a really smart thing to do but so is external linking i.e. linking to sites other than your own.
  4. Failing to tag and categorize your posts.  Tags and categories make your site more user-friendly by allowing readers (and search engines) to search more easily for the precise information they are looking for.
  5. Not inviting other bloggers in to guest post on your blog.  By hosting other bloggers on your website, you are give the appearance of being generous, confident, and collaborative  as well as being able to share a greater depth of information and perspectives with your readers.
  6. Preventing readers from commenting.  No one want you to simply push information out there to them.  They want to engage, be seen, and be heard.
  7. Ignoring the comments you receive.  Blogging for business is about building relationships.  If your readers are talking to you, it’s rude to not talk back.
  8. Not commenting on other bloggers’ blogs.  This is the equivalent of hanging out your tiny shingle on a busy road (without any other effort on your part) and expecting the masses of clients to find and choose you.  It’s not going to happen.  Commenting on other blogs is how you build your visibility, how you build your online community, and how you get seen.
  9. Waiting for the perfect . . . [You fill in the blank.]  I’ve mentioned before that perfect is the enemy of good enough.  Waiting for the perfect time to blog, the perfect title, the perfect content, etc. is just fear in disguise.  Just do it.  If it’s not good enough, it will get better (and quicker) as you do it more often.
  10. Publishing too often.  There’s no need to publish a new post every day.  You’ll just overwhelm your audience.  If you are brand new to blogging, aim initially for once / month.  Then, as you are able, increase the frequency to twice / month.  For an optimum balance (between being remembered and being forgotten), aim for once or twice weekly.
  11. Copying content, images, video, or podcasts onto your blog.  The same copy right laws apply online as they do in print.  If you didn’t create it, you don’t own it and you do not have permission to use it . . . Unless you obtain (written) permission to do so.  Bottom line is, if you don’t own it, you need to ask permission to use it.
  12. Being too general in your focus.  No one will follow your blog if you are writing a great generalist’s psychotherapy blog.  Not one of your colleagues has ever asked for a recommendation for a generalist’s blog.  Instead, they are asking for a great blog on suicide or psychodrama or surrogacy.
  13. Making it difficult (or nearly impossible!) for your readers to share your posts elsewhere.  There are a lot of plugins for blogs that allow your readers to Tweet your posts, share them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +, and pin them on Pinterest.  Do your homework.  Find a plugin for sharing and encourage your readers to use it.
  14. Using too many words (and not enough white space).  We read differently online than we read in print.  If your posts are too long and the breaks in your text are too infrequent, your readers will drop by briefly and move on rather than think of your site as a destination to hang out in.
  15. Outsourcing your content.  Yes, I know I’ve talked with you about my fabulous Virtual Assistant, Mindy, but this is different.  Outsourcing your blog content is like outsourcing your relationship with your family.  Having someone else take care of their physical and emotional needs is certainly dangerous to your blog (and your business) and might well be fatal.  You are responsible for your relationships . . . with your family, with your clients, and with your readers.  If you aren’t interested in (or up for) the job, then don’t do it.

Care to share the mistakes you’ve made as a new blogger?  Or whatever advice you might have for those who are interested in learning to blog?

Do you want to improve the quality of the blogs you are already reading?  Share this post now so that other therapists can learn how to do it better.

 

(And, if you are interested in learning how to blog effectively to get seen, get known, and get clients while hanging out in your pajamas, you can sign up for BlogStart for Therapists right now!  We start our next round on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.  Would love to have you join me!)

 

 

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What Makes Therapy With You Any Different?

Sep
16
2014

Or . . . Why Should I Drive an Extra 10 Minutes to Work with You?

That’s what potential clients want to know.What Makes Therapy with You Any Different?

That’s why they are picking up the phone and calling you.

They want you to tell them (or else they have to figure it out for themselves) . . . .

What’s so special about you?

Do you know the answer?

Can you tell them in just a sentence or two?

Here’s the deal . . . .

EMDR trained therapists are a dime a dozen.

Everybody touts using CBT to work with depression.

Virtually all child therapists work with sand.

So what?

All licensed mental health professionals perform at a basic minimum standard of practice.

Do you offer anything more?

Anything different?

No?

Not really?

Not sure?

Then that’s exactly what your next step is in growing your private practice!

Figure it out!

And, if you need help, hire me!

Or, if you want to tackle this chore on your own, go for it!

But if that’s the case, then give yourself a deadline.

Put that deadline in your calendar.

Bookmark this post.

And, come back to it on your deadline.

If you’ve figured out by then what makes working with you different than working with one of your colleagues, drop back in (below) and let me know what that difference is.

If you haven’t figured it out, then do something different . . . . Hire ME! 

I can help you figure out what makes you so special!

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4 Simple Steps To A Great Clinical Assessment

Sep
9
2014

You guys probably know that I’m always on the lookout for great niches and side hustles for mental health professionals.  So when Licensed Psychologist Maelisa Hall introduced herself  to me via email, she noted that she teaches “therapists how to create rock solid documentation so they can spend more time with their clients and less time on paperwork.”

I knew right then that I wanted to introduce you to her work for two reasons.  First, she has created a niche  that leverages her teaching skills and clinical knowledge into consulting with agencies and individual practitioners.  And, second, she is sharing a simple way to insure that your assessments are complete.  It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Dr. Maelisa Hall.

(If you are interested in writing a guest post, check out the guidelines here.)

____________________

A Guest Post by Maelisa Hall, Psy.D.

Using FIDO in Your Assessment4 Steps to a Great Assessment

Have you ever spent time with a client and felt like you had a really good connection and idea about their needs, only to realize later on you have no idea how to fit those thoughts into a diagnosis or clear picture for treatment?

Maybe as you start to write up an assessment, the previously clear picture of your client is suddenly blurry on paper. I know this has happened to me.  I also know the reason why!  I forgot to make sure FIDO was in the assessment.

Regardless of how you feel about DSM-5, DSM-IV or diagnoses in general, every therapist needs the skills to document a clear picture of the client’s presentation and needs.

However, it’s easy to get side-tracked or distracted when talking with our clients. FIDO is an easy-to-remember acronym that covers all the bases when assessing client behaviors and needs and makes it very easy to write a clear picture of the client’s presentation. Here’s what FIDO stands for . . . .

Frequency

I’ll admit, this one can be hard for clients but it really helps to give the therapist a good picture and a great foundation for treatment planning.

Clients tend to say things like “I’m depressed all the time” or “He always does that” or “She never pays attention to me.”

This is a golden opportunity to use your skills and help clients define what they mean.

I like helping clients break up their day. For example, “How many times do you think she ignores you school . . . after school but before dinner . . . before bed?”

It helps the client (or parent) to really reflect on their statements and experience of the problem.

Intensity

We often hear vague descriptors or exaggerations such as “all the time” or “really bad.”

Intensity is also subjective as in “really bad” for one client might be “pretty good” for another.

The idea is to get a baseline and compare that to the current behaviors to determine the client’s subjective experience.

Having a clear picture of the intensity at intake is also a great way to measure progress during treatment.

Using a scale of 1-10 is an easily understandable way to do this i.e. “On a scale of 1-10 how anxious do you feel on a given day at work?”

And “Now, on a scale of 1-10 how anxious do you feel when you have to give a presentation at work?”

Duration

With duration we are trying to understand the length of the behaviors when they occur.

Does the client feel intense anger in short bursts (about 20 minutes), for about two hours, or feel angry all day when they are triggered?

Knowing these key differences will significantly impact your treatment modalities.

Ask for details and use timelines and calendars to assist the client in reflecting.

Onset

For an accurate picture of the client’s story it is important to know when the behaviors began.

This is usually the easiest area for the client to identify and often relates to the reason for seeking treatment at this time.

Perhaps the client started feeling depressed after the loss of a significant relationship or had been feeling depressed for some time and then a minor incident was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” and triggered thoughts of self-harm.

Documenting Your Assessment

Documenting a good assessment is like painting a picture of the client.

It is brief, descriptive and allows us to feel what the client is feeling in that moment.

It allows us to hone in on our focus for treatment and gives us an accurate picture of progress throughout treatment.

For clinicians who bill to insurance, it is the basis for which you will be paid and authorized to provide treatment (see a related post about providing diagnoses to insurance).

Assessment is truly the foundation by which we work as clinicians and a skill that requires perfecting over time.

Once you’ve mastered the art of FIDO, the act of writing out an assessment is a cinch!

With clear information your words will flow easily and start drawing that picture.

I recommend mastering FIDO first but also talk with your colleagues to see what tools they use for gathering information.

We are our best resource for each other.

Leave a comment below sharing the tools that you use for gathering information or what you find most helpful in considering the use of FIDO for your assessments.

__________________

  Maelisa Hall, Ph.D.

About the Author: Dr. Maelisa Hall is a Licensed Psychologist and owner of QA Prep.  She loves helping therapists learn to make paperwork simple and easy. 

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