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Selling the Couch with Melvin Varghese, Ph.D.

Selling the Couch is the podcast for aspiring and current mental health private practitioners. Psychologist Melvin Varghese interviews successful therapists about the business side of private practice (e.g., how they get referrals, their best advice for other practitioners, their daily habits, etc.) as well as the world's top business, marketing, and social media experts to help you become a better business owner. What you get are bite sized, practical and no nonsense tips and advice to guide your private practice and entrepreneurial journey.
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Selling the Couch with Melvin Varghese, Ph.D.
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Now displaying: 2018
Nov 1, 2018

Where do your ideal clients hang out? Who are the people and organizations that are serving them? These are questions you should answer as you consider narrowing your focus and attracting your ideal clients. Today’s show dives into the practical steps you can take to accomplish these important goals.

Keri Nola is a dear friend who has been on the show before. Keri has branched out of her psychotherapy background to mentor, awaken, and support healers of all kinds through her newly established practice in San Diego. She has a lot of answers to the questions we might ask about attracting ideal clients. She explains why it’s best to focus on the ideal client, how to find those ideal clients, and why those ideal clients need the services you offer.

This will be the final episode of 2018, as I take some time to focus on my new responsibility as a father and enjoy the holidays with my family. I hope you’ll plan to join us for more great conversations in 2019!

You can read the full show notes at: Session177

Oct 25, 2018

If you heard Episode 175, then you know that we are continuing the discussion about peer supervision groups. We discussed how to structure the group, who should be included, and what you should cover when you meet. Today’s discussion goes a step further, and we discuss the pros and cons for charging for the group, how often your group should meet, and the logistics of where the group should meet.

Jill Kaufman, MSW, LCSW, has a private practice in Princeton, NJ. She has experienced the challenges of starting a peer supervision group and has great words of wisdom to share about what she has figured out. Join us for the second part of this series to learn more!

You can read the full show notes at: Session176

Oct 18, 2018

Have you thought about starting a peer supervision group? It’s a great way to get feedback from colleagues, combat the isolation of a private practice, and even gain cross-referrals. Where do you start? How do you structure the group? What do you cover in the group? Who needs to be in the group? You can see that this topic gives way to many questions about making it work. Today’s show dives into the nuts and bolts of a peer supervision group. Now’s your chance to learn more!

Jill Kaufman, MSW, LCSW, has a private practice in Princeton, NJ. She’s here to talk about how to start and build the format for a peer supervision group. We’ll discuss how to know what topics to cover, how many members you should have, common formats and structures, and the pros and cons of a topic-based group. Today’s episode is the first in a two-part series with Jill on this topic, so don’t miss Episodes 175 and 176!

You can read the full show notes at: Session175

Oct 11, 2018

As business owners, we want freedom and flexibility, but as we evolve, we encounter the difficulties of life. Sometimes we find ourselves out of balance with what’s really important and we are obligated and overextended in ways we didn’t envision. Today’s show is all about respecting the life seasons in which we find ourselves and giving ourselves permission to say YES or NO to the demands on our time.

Naphtali Roberts, LMFT, is based in Montrose, CA. She is a busy private practice therapist, wife, and mother. She shares how her life and her business have looked when she has respected--and NOT respected--the seasons of life. Additionally, she helps us take an honest look at pace, structure, and scheduling to help us realize that those tools do not equal lazy and unintentional.

You can read the full show notes at: Session174

Oct 4, 2018

How do the worlds of immigration and LCSW intersect? It may not be a connection that you think of, but the need is there for immigration evaluations to be done, and this is where my guest today has stepped in and found her niche.

Cecilia Racine, LCSW, has a private practice in Fairfax, Virginia. Even though she didn’t start out in the immigration field, she came upon this niche through specific circumstances. Today she shares how she got started with her first client and what the immigration evaluation process looks like. She also explains how she sets fees and the systems and processes that she uses most. We will learn how she markets her practice and how you can get started if you’re interested in making immigration evaluations a part of your therapy practice.

You can read the full show notes at : Session173

Sep 27, 2018

With the growth of the telemedicine industry in recent years, have you considered using this technology in your private practice? If your curiosity is piqued, then you might wonder about the differences in marketing online counseling vs. a traditional private practice. Join us to learn more about this intriguing concept.

Shelly Smith, LMFT, shares a private practice with her business partner, Jennifer. They have ventured into online counseling with their practice, United Counseling Wellness, based in Minneapolis and Milwaukee. Shelly will share what she has learned in this endeavor and how the therapy field is changing. She will also answer a few listener questions about online counseling, liabilities, and client screening.

You can read the full show notes at: Session172

Sep 20, 2018

How do you succeed in marketing your practice when you tend toward introversion? So many clinicians are not extroverts and don’t feel comfortable with the traditional networking that is required in marketing. There are challenges to face, and fortunately, there are non-traditional forms of marketing that can be done. This show will give you some valuable information and practical insights about marketing for non-extroverts.

Patricia Young, LCSW, is based in California, but also offers teletherapy sessions for her clients. Her practice focuses on helping HSP’s (highly sensitive people) experience more ease and peace and thrive with less overwhelm and fatigue. In today’s show, Patricia discusses marketing and the fears around it, along with how we can honor who we really are and still present our business in authentic ways. She shares with us three non-traditional marketing methods that have worked well for her that might be just what you’re looking for!

You can read the full show notes at : Session171

Sep 13, 2018

No doubt you’ve heard questions---and experienced some confusion about how to get credentialed and get on insurance panels. We have had many questions about this topic in the STC community, so today’s show seeks to dispel some of the mystery surrounding this process.

Jeremy Zug, from Practice Solutions, works with clinicians with insurance billing issues. He handles your insurance billing problems so you can focus on providing superior care for your patients. In today’s conversation, we learn what “getting credentialed and paneled” means, we break down terms that can be confusing, and Jeremy walks us through the major steps in the process and the top mistakes that clinicians make.

 You can read the full show notes at : Session170

Sep 6, 2018

Grief, mourning, and loss---they aren’t topics we usually enjoy discussing, but whether we like it or not, they are processes that we all have to go through at some point in life. For a therapist, how do you build your private practice while dealing with these intense feelings, and what would prompt you to find your niche within this realm? Today’s guest answers these questions and more as we delve into this topic to begin a new season of STC.

Nikki Sewell, LCSW, has tackled building a private practice through the loss of a loved one. She and her husband, Andrew, built a private practice together with his psychiatry work and her social work. Shortly after establishing the practice, he had complications following an extensive surgery and passed away unexpectedly. Nikki was only 30 years old when she became a widow and had to endure grief, loss, and the practical steps involved in moving forward. In today’s conversation, Nikki shares candidly about what inspired them to form a joint practice, how she felt the strength and resolve to keep going, and how her vision for the practice has changed. She also shares how her personal experiences with grief and loss have factored into the niche she has chosen for her practice.

You can read the full show notes at : Session169

Jul 26, 2018

When it comes to your business, how much is ENOUGH? How do you even know what enough is? These are questions we can all use some clarity about, along with evaluating the success of our business.

Today’s show is a solo episode and the last one before I take the month of August off for a time of self-care and refreshment before returning with new shows in September. I’ve begun doing this a few times each year and have seen great benefit in the downtime. This particular break has added meaning, as we prepare to welcome our first baby in just a few weeks. I know that this transition to parenthood will mean changes in my personal life and in my business, so it’s a very fitting time to take a reflective look at this concept of ENOUGH.

You can read the full show notes at: Session168

Jul 19, 2018

Have you ever neglected your own needs to work with your clients? Have you sacrificed time for personal self-care to squeeze in “one more client”? Most clinicians are probably guilty of this behavior, called Sacrificial Helping Syndrome. I know what it is because I have lived it, as most other clinicians have done also. Let’s address this common problem in today’s conversation.

My guest is Katie Vernoy, LMFT, in Torrance, CA. Many clinicians struggle with giving so much of themselves because they see overexerting themselves and taking on too much as a badge of honor. They also see it as a measure of competence and success. Katie sheds insight on this common problem and how we can see it in ourselves and be honest in addressing it. We also discuss how to maintain the balance of being a helper and a healer with a kind heart and being a business owner at the same time.

You can read the full show notes at: Session167

Jul 12, 2018

How can a clinician deal with chronic illness? Is it possible to continue running your business and furthering your career? This is a topic I’ve wanted to dive into because I know many of my private practice colleagues are dealing with some form of chronic illness or chronic pain. We all know that life and your business don’t stop when illness strikes, so let’s jump into this discussion.

Daniela Paolone, MS, LMFT, is a counselor in Westlake Village, CA. She’s here to discuss her journey with chronic illness while maintaining her private practice and to teach us what she’s learned. There are some good pearls of wisdom in our conversation around having self-compassion and not falling prey to comparisons.

You can read the full show notes at: Session166

Jul 5, 2018

What are your “money stories”? This is a topic many of us struggle with related to the stories we tell ourselves about money. Our money beliefs affect everything about our practice, our work as business owners, and how we view and work with our clients. Let’s dig in and address the issues around our money beliefs so that we can better serve our clients and ourselves.

Deb Lyman, LCSW, has a private practice in Oakland, CA. She does a lot of work with clinicians, helping them work through their money stories to charge what they are worth. In today’s conversation, Deb explains why we need to understand our money stories and how to set private practice fees in order to honor our stories and our emotions. She shares an interesting conceptualization of money in the personal, business, and clinical realms. We wrap up today’s show with Deb’s helpful tips about money. Join us!

You can read the full show notes at: Session165

Jun 28, 2018

When you’ve talked with as many people as I have, you tend to learn a lot of lessons and gain great insights into what it takes to build a successful private practice. Today’s show is a solo episode inspired by a presentation I did recently. We are focusing on three lessons I’ve learned, along with key takeaways and the biggest mistake for each lesson.

www.sellingthecouch.com/session164

Jun 21, 2018

Every once in a while, you’ll hear the success story of someone who breaks the mold and goes against the norms. Today’s show highlights the story of a therapist who bucks the trend of everything we normally learn on the podcast and is the direct opposite of what the experts say about building a private practice.

Katie Zimmerman, LMFT, practices in Arroyo Grande, CA. She endured some crazy circumstances that led to her leaving one job and having to quickly figure out how to create and open her private practice---in about two weeks! She found office space that was appropriately perfect, established a name for her practice, and got it going with some foundational clients. It may sound impossible, but it speaks to the importance of intentionality and relationships. Katie shares reflections on the reasons for her success, the narratives we struggle with about what we can accomplish, and the importance of certain training modalities. Join us!

You can read the full show notes at: Session163

Jun 14, 2018

What safety measures do you have in place? As clinicians, we may not think about personal safety as a concern, and we certainly hope it’s never an issue, but we should be proactive and prepared. We’ve never had safety issues as a podcast topic before, but there have been many conversations about this in the STC Facebook Community.

Adriana Alejandre is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Porter Ranch, CA. She has learned some practical things related to safety, so she’s here to share about screening clients and staying present around safety concerns. She has also had conversations with law enforcement officials and gotten some great tips about using apps and technology to help with this very important topic. Join us!

www.sellingthecouch.com/session162

Jun 7, 2018

Have you considered online counseling? As clinicians, we all have questions and fears around this endeavor and how it works. We have discussed the practical aspects of online counseling on the show before, but today’s conversation focuses more on the day-to-day aspects of the therapeutic relationship.

Shelley Smith and Jennifer Labanowski are LMFT’s who have a wealth of knowledge about online counseling. They worked in the same practice until moves to different places separated them in the workplace. This is when they first considered, researched, and implemented their online counseling practice. Today’s conversation with Shelley and Jen covers how to build rapport, the initial consult, questions to ask, and how to handle emergency psychosis situations---all through the medium of online counseling. Join us to learn more from Shelley and Jen!

www.sellingthecouch.com/session161

May 31, 2018

Do you “have it all together” when it comes to your business finances? My hat’s off to you if you do, but for most of us, the painful truth is that any business journey comes with its own set of challenges and lessons, some of which must be learned the hard way. Like many of you, I like to pretend that I have it all together, but today’s show is all about transparency and baring it all---the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Every few weeks I like to a solo session to share with you what I’m learning along with my business journey because I believe my experiences--the good AND the bad--can help others. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, and I’m willing to share those lessons with you with humility. Let’s talk about the money pitfalls that come with business success.

www.sellingthecouch.com/session160

May 24, 2018

Have you found yourself intimidated, but still curious, about using Google AdWords? Maybe you’ve wondered how it really works and if it would be helpful for you as a clinician. I’m in this category also, as I’ve wanted to know more and learn the ins and outs from a knowledgeable person. Today is the day! Join us to learn more!

John Sanders is an expert in the field of Google AdWords, as he has been in the field for many years and helped healthcare providers use wise marketing dollars to increase web traffic and convert those clicks into clients. On an interesting side note, his significant other, Laura, and I were in grad school together. Since she is a therapist in private practice, John has a handle on the nuances of how this concept applies to clinicians, and I’m excited to hear what he can teach us.

www.sellingthecouch.com/session159

May 17, 2018

How do clinicians hone in on a particular niche? Is it important to focus on a specific ideal client? Our conversation today is one that’s needed in today’s world because it’s a focus on developing a niche in supporting gender-questioning or transgender clients. There aren’t a lot of therapists who focus solely on helping with these issues.

Dara Hoffman-Fox, LPC, is located in Colorado Springs, CO. Dara works exclusively with people in the LGBTQI population. We’re discussing Dara's journey and what they learned along the way. Dara shares the importance of languaging in dealing with marginalized communities, even down to the questions on your intake paperwork. Dara's background in videography and communications has allowed them to utilize YouTube videos in a big way to market their practice. We talk about Dara's website and how the words and images are used in a practical way. This episode is helpful for all clinicians, and not just those focused on gender issues.

www.sellingthecouch.com/session158

Today’s Awesome Sponsor:

TheraNest helps behavioral health professionals manage their practice with ease and efficiency.

Get 21 days free trial and 20% off the monthly fee for the first 3 months: TheraNest

May 10, 2018

What are the nuances to consider if you want to make the transition from therapy to coaching? It’s something that many therapists think about and wonder if it would work for them and their practice. We cover the ins and outs in today’s episode!

Mary Bicknell, LCSW, moved to Portland and wanted to start a coaching practice. As she made the move, she thought a coaching practice would be more family-friendly and match up better with what she wanted to accomplish. We’re discussing how she made the decision and transitioned from a therapy model to a coaching model. We go deep into pricing and marketing, and why pricing is a monumental struggle for so many in this field. Mary helps us with some “out-of-the-box” thinking that may help other clinicians and business owners. Join us!

www.sellingthecouch.com/session157

Today’s Awesome Sponsor:

TheraNest helps behavioral health professionals manage their practice with ease and efficiency.

Get 21 days free trial and 20% off the monthly fee for the first 3 months: TheraNest

May 3, 2018

What happens if you receive a serious diagnosis or injury that puts you out of work? It’s obviously something that we don’t want to think about, but the reality is that any of us could face this situation and be forced to step away from our regular income. What happens to your family? How do you deal with the sudden loss of income for your business? We’re discussing these topics and more in today’s show, focusing on disability insurance.

www.sellingthecouch.com/session156
Mar 29, 2018

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a millionaire? Most of us have probably spent some time dreaming about how we would use that kind of wealth, but you might be surprised to learn that millionaires don’t live and spend the way we think they do.

The show will take a short break for the month of April. This is because I like to practice what I preach about self-care; to stay at my optimal health, I’ll take this break and then return with more shows in May. Today’s show centers around topics presented in a book I read recently, The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy, by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. Let’s dive into the best takeaways from this book!

www.sellingthecouch.com/session155

Mar 22, 2018

Niching, SEO, blog and website design----these are concepts we need to be familiar with as clinicians, but don’t they tend to be confusing? How do they fit together—or do they? Today’s show will break down the terminology and answer your questions about how these aspects of your practice can work in your favor. We’re talking all about niching and how it connects with our website and how everything factors into search engine optimization.

My guest is Paul Steinke, LPC in Colorado, and the owner of the Karibuni Center. If you know Swahili, then you know that “karibuni” means “welcome.” Paul has created a private practice where he works with people and their relationships around marriage and couple issues. Interestingly, Paul is a former wedding photographer who transitioned into the therapist’s chair, and his former career taught him a lot about marketing, web design, and visual images. Now Paul is all about helping couples in crisis, especially through affair recovery and divorce. Don’t miss my amazing conversation with Paul!

www.sellingthecouch.com/session154

Mar 15, 2018

What are the essential elements in creating a successful private practice? We all know the list of things to consider and plan goes on and on and on! Everywhere we turn, there are new challenges to meet and new details to handle. Today’s show features a clinician who has navigated this journey, faced the ups and downs, and created a beautiful practice that focuses on relationships.

Shirani M. Pathak, LCSW, practices in the Bay area of the Silicon Valley of California. She has created a successful private practice that focuses on helping women who struggle in relationships. We discuss how she intentionally chose the phrasing on her website, how she took a step back to learn to “speak her clients’ language,” and the lessons she has learned in her practice-building journey. Shirani explains how she uses her mission statement and email newsletter for a deeper purpose beyond the walls of her practice.

www.sellingthecouch.com/session153

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