I've taken two different versions of April Steele's Developing a Secure Self course. Each time I learned more about creating good, strong, attachment experiences in clients with unfortunate childhoods. (Most of my caseload!) April teaches assessment, therapeutic stance, and has scripted protocols for bringing clients' loving adult attention to their infant and toddler selves. Clients can take home Cd's of the soothing protocols to enhance their experience of loving containment. Most of my attachment disordered clients loved them. A few, with phobias of their smaller selves, hated them, until we did enough trauma work that they could accept all parts. No matter what kind of therapy you do, April's training manual and scripted Cd's are very helpful.
April just came out with a distant learning course, complete with DVDs of lecture, power-point, and wonderful client videos. Because she's "practicing for retirement", she's no longer doing in person training. Here's what she says about it:
"Imaginal Nurturing, Ego States, and Attachment:An Integrated Approach to Early Deficits is the most up-to-date material on the Developing a Secure Self approach. It is not simply a video of a workshop you were unable to attend, but rather was created specifically for distance learning. In it, you will have the opportunity to "sit in on" segments of numerous sessions with a client who generously allowed some of her therapy to be videotaped to foster the learning of other therapists in the Developing a Secure Self approach. Many other clinical examples are given throughout the training. There are also two experiential segments so you have some personal experience of what you will be asking clients to do.
The 12-hour program consists of 6 DVDs, 2 CDs, and a comprehensive 53-page manual. It requires only a DVD player and CD player. More information is available at http://april-steele.ca/training-information.php or you can contact April directly at firstname.lastname@example.org."
It's $200 and for a bit more you can get 12 CE's for taking the post-test. I think everyone should have this training. If you need consultation after the training, April is available by Skype or phone from her home on Gabriola Island in British Colombia.
The Washington State Coalition of Mental Health Professionals and Consumers put on a workshop for practitioners in Seattle this morning. First, Brian O'Neill, the CEO of Office Ally spoke about his free online billing and practice management services. I've been using Office Ally for billing for 3 years. It's easy, completely confidential and safe, and has wonderful 24-hour patient customer support who will walk you through the set up and answer as many ignorant questions as you can ask. I haven't mailed a bill in years. And it is absolutely free. I'm going to look into the Practice Mate services. I'll let you know how it works.
Then, Heidi Wasch, Jay Gelzer, Robert Odell and and I spoke about frugal practice. I went first and spoke about starting and marketing a private practice. I said,
Get your professional and state and city business licenses in order.
Sublet an office, if you're starting out, where there are other therapists for support and potential referrals.
Make or download forms to make charting easier, or use good practice management software (see Practice Mate, above).
Get on every insurance panel you can, that pays a decent fee. Robert Odell added that if you can't get on the panels, get on the EAP lists. He and audience members added that you can sleuth out people who have fallen off the panels, by calling them to see if they're still in practice. Then tell the insurance company that they're not actually full since these 10 people are no longer operating in your zip code. You can also get physicians or mentors to write letters for you saying that they want you on the list to send referrals to you.
Market yourself: Tell everyone you know. Do that by developing an expertise that is something you know about, are good at, and love to do.
Get a website. If you don't want clients under 35, you may not need it. People find services on the internet. GET A WEBSITE if you want clients and professionals to find you. Make sure there's a picture on it. Look at other people's to see what works.
Establish yourself as an expert by writing a blog or doing twitter. Use your blog or twitter account to give useful information to professionals and/or clients. Don't "friend" clients on Facebook. Don't share personal information on your professional blog or twitter account. We don't care what you had for breakfast or that you're in love. We want to know how to do what we do better. Always give credit to others. Never badmouth anyone in your professional blog. The net is forever.
Go to networking groups and speak up.
Give workshops, write books, be known.
Get on referral services, either general (Psychology Today) or specific (EMDRIA).
Never stop learning. Become a workshop junkie. Never settle on just one kind of therapy. If you do, you won't be able to help many who come to you. Keep the work fresh by bringing new eyes to it.
Get great consultation. To save money, network, and get more hours of consult that you can afford yourself, join a consult group. Create or join a free peer consultation group. It's best not to be the most senior or knowledgeable person in the group: you're there to learn. Do not stay with a mean or unsupportive consultant. This work is hard; find someone who has expertise and can support you through the tough clients.
Jay Gelzer (who btw wants you to know that she loves to work with "gifted" people of all ages) gave great handouts. She suggests converting your business land line to a cell phone, and sharing office space. And she talked about looking closely at your revenue and expenditures: know what your real expenses are and your real revenue. Know what you're actually taking home as spendable income. She said that in this recession, or as a new practitioner, it might be necessary to support your practice, until it supports you. And market yourself (see above).
Robert Odell and Heidi Wasch took questions. Odell suggested a web-based fax service: faxaway.com and a web-host: Aplus.com. Someone else suggested blogspot.com Heidi suggested swapping offices one day a week with someone in another location. It works for her and has expanded her client base.
It was a very nice 3 hours with a nice turnout for a sunny Saturday, about 35 people.
The new website is up now at www.emdrsolutions.com. The old one was out of date and I didn't have the expertise to modify it so I paid a site-building company to help me. Here are the questions we tried to answer. Click on the colored links to see the pages.
Who is it for? I wanted to be easy to find and easy to contact on line by any potential client, consultee or trainee, old school friend, conference planner or people interested in my books.
What's it for? The above and providing information to people before they talk to me or who might want to link to other information sources. I want people to find out who I am, what I do, that I have this blog, and something about the books. I wanted them to have an easy way to sign up for my infrequent newsletter.
How does it work? I have a small home page that has links to everything I do. The main links show at the top of every page so it's easy to navigate. Most links go to pages on the website. Some go to other sites. I'm on the EMDR-Humanitarian Assistance Program board and I link to them. There is a whole page of links to trauma websites and organizational sites. There are links on the book page for people to buy the books.
Why go through all this? The entire culture is moving to the web. If you want to be found, you'll move there too. Many people don't use phone books anymore, they type names and hit "search". People who teach, or work with other professionals, or who offer services like psychotherapy need to get their faces into the marketplace. Authors who have web pages support their books by creating easy online access to them.
My father was a business owner, selling industrial supplies. He sold everything from nuts and bolts to forklifts. From the ages of 8 to 16, I pasted hand-typed mailing labels and stamps on his catalogs to let other businesses know what he was selling. I'm doing something similar. By having a website, I'm letting people know that I'm here, what I'm selling, and how to get in touch. If you want to promote your practice, you may want to do the same.
My website was built by CHS Internet Development. I paid them $2000, met once in person, provided all the content, and had many phone calls, discussion, and some conflict. It is possible to do a simple website by yourself. Mine is a hybrid, developed by CHS, but I can modify it myself, as my professional life changes.