Brighter Spotlight with Mike Bricker
Introducing June’s inspiring Brighter Spotlight, Mike Bricker.
Mike is a nationally recognized consultant, clinician, and trainer in dual recovery from substance use and mental disorders. He specializes in interweaving western evidence-based practices with wisdom healing traditions and frequently presents on his treatment methodology at regional, state, national, and tribal behavioral health conferences.
Sit back and relax as Mike walks us through his Brighter Vision experience.
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Q: Tell us a little bit about you and your practice – where are you located, what do you specialize in, how often do you see clients, etc.
A: My involvement with Brighter Vision is a little different – the STEMSS® Institute specializes in training for mental health/substance use Clinicians and consulting for Behavioral Health organizations, state and Tribal governments, not direct service.
STEMSS stands for Support Together for Emotional and Mental Serenity & Sobriety, and our clinical specialty is training for “dual recovery” from both mental health and substance use disorders.
We are headquartered in beautiful Eugene Oregon, but we travel throughout the US and Canada. We have been providing trainings and workshops at national, state, regional, and Tribal BH conferences since 1990, and we are now expanding into on-line training as well.
As a NAADAC Approved Education Provider for over 10 years, our trainings are accepted by state & Tribal Certification Boards and most State Licensure Boards for continuing education requirements.
Q: Why did you become a counselor?
A: I became an addiction counselor out of my own lived experience of recovery. I know first-hand the desperate hopelessness that accompanies substance use disorders. But my real passion is working with persons in “dual recovery” from both mental health and addictive disorders – I’ve been working in that field since developing the STEMSS Supported Self-Help Model™ in 1984. Back then, we didn’t even know what to call these folks – we had “CAMIs” and “MICAs” and the revolving door between MH and addiction providers that dumped the “dual diagnosis” client back on the street. The STEMSS® Model was among the first to recognize the importance of “treating the disorders separately together.” So that’s the reason I went on to graduate school to become a Licensed Professional Counselor as well. As a clinician, I’ve loved the challenge of “bringing hope, health, and healing to the doubly troubled” ever since!
Now, the challenge is bringing those years of experience in trauma-responsive care to enrich the training of treatment programs and clinicians.
Q: What is the biggest reason you’re glad you became a counselor?
A: It’s an honor and sacred trust to work with patients. But most of all – every once in a while I’m privileged to be in the room at the moment my patient “gets it”! Nothing can compare with that.
And for over 30 years, I’ve been able to bring that excitement to other clinicians through training and consultation with treatment programs.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not working?
A: I love spending time with my wife, our grandkids, and our 2 dogs.
I’m a classically trained vocal musician, so I sing in several community choral and theatre groups. I’m also a conductor and composer, particularly of liturgical music.
My other passion is scuba diving – I’m a member of our County Sheriff Dive Rescue Team.
Q: When did you become a Brighter Vision client, and why?
A: I contracted with BV in 2020, after learning about them through NAADAC.
I’ve been doing webinars with NAADAC for years, and really impressed with their tech services. So… here I am! As I mentioned, BV was happy to re-tool their web services to promote training, rather than private therapy practice… and I’m thrilled with the result! Everyone has been responsive and easy to work with.
Q: What methods were you using to attract new clients before you had your BV website?
A: Before starting with BV, most of my referrals for training came from word-of-mouth, repeat business, and contacts from training workshops.
Q: How did your process of attracting and attaining new clients change after your BV website went live?
A: We’ve only been live for a little over a month, and already I’m seeing an increase in traffic. Now I want to scale up into SEO, email marketing, and accepting payment through the site – truly one-stop shopping!
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Q: What is your favorite part of your BV website? How does it represent you and your practice?
A: I was really impressed with how rapidly – and effectively – BV was able to re-tool their standard product to meet my needs! They were able to incorporate my logo and branding into the site and helped me set up social media posts.
Q: What is something you now know about marketing your practice, or making a private practice website, that you have learned from your experience with BV?
A: I didn’t have a clue about Search Engine Optimization or Social Media Marketing. I’m not a “digital native” – not even a “digital immigrant”. Their tech folks are simply awesome… and patient with a “digital Neanderthal”!
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Q: How do you keep organized and on-schedule in your day-to-day life?
A: Besides the Institute, I’m also a full-time Clinician with Strong Integrated BH in Eugene, specializing in MH/SUD clients, trauma-responsive care, and chronic pain. So time management is a real challenge. Last year I went to a four-day week at Strong, so I could devote one full day to the Institute.
Q: How do you make time for self-care with your busy schedule?
A: Time management is always a challenge – during the year I’m usually rehearsing with a choral group 2 evenings a week, and Dive Rescue a couple of days a month. I have to make time for those and my family as a priority, but sometimes it isn’t easy.
Q: What other tools or services do you use to help boost your business?
Q: What have you found to be the most important piece of advice someone has given you about being a private business owner?
A: I have to remember that as a trainer, I’m not here to impart knowledge – I’m here to help you solve your problem! Whether it’s the need for training on evidence-based practices, trauma-responsive care, staff development & team-building, or anything else – I’m eager to help meet your need!
Q: Do you have any pieces of advice for someone just starting their own private practice journey?
A: Follow your passion – if it isn’t fun, do something else!
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