What happens when sex, LGBTQ+, religion & marketing collide while opening a private practice in a conservative area? Tamara Powell shares her experience in starting Arya Therapy. In this episode, you’ll hear about how Tamara experienced pushback from the local community and established private practices due to her unorthodox marketing approach and the niche she specializes in. It’s quite the inspiring story & a therapist experience you don’t want to miss out on!
In This Episode, You’ll Learn:
- How niching makes everything (mostly) easier.
- Why you need to track everything — How clients find you, the costs to keep your lights on per month, and everything in between.
- How to respond when established private practices feel threatened by you and give you strong push-back against your practice’s approach.
Best Marketing Move for Business
- Knowing what her niche should be and jumping in with both feet. This allowed Tamara to be authentically herself in her branding, messaging, and marketing — and made it easy for people to know what she specializes in and who she works with.
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Recommended Book: Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin
- Optin Monster
- Tamara Powell’s Website
Weekly Website Tip
From Brighter Vision’s Will Portice:
When marketing yourself online email list can be extremely effective tool to send potential clients information on services and events that you’re offering. The trick however is collecting these email addresses. By utilizing a popup in coordination with an email marketing service such as MailChimp you are able to easily and effectively gather an email list. To create a popup itself we like to use OptinMonster.
We suggest OptinMonster because of its ease of use and quick integration with email marketing services. In addition, both OptinMonster and MailChimp integrate perfectly with a WordPress website building system. All Brighter Vision clients can have OptinMonster installed and customized for your needs at no extra cost.
Here are some examples of it in action (be sure to wait 15-30 seconds for the pop up to appear):
- Lourdes Viado – Las Vegas Therapist
- Amanda Patterson – Pembroke Pines Therapist
- April Forella – Child & Family Therapist in Jupiter Florida
Thanks for Listening!
Thank you so much for joining us this week. Do you have some feedback you’d like to share? Please leave a note in the comment section below!
And if you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of this post.
Also, please leave an honest review for The Therapist Experience on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely important to get this podcast in front of other therapists who could benefit from it. The ratings matter in how iTunes ranks the show, and I read each and every one of them.
And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.
Thanks to Tamara for joining me this week. Until next time!
TranscriptClick here to read the Transcript
Perry: In this episode of the therapist experience, I’m speaking with Tamara Powell from Arya Therapy. This is The Therapist Experience episode number six. Welcome to The Therapist Experience. The podcast where we interview successful therapists about what it’s really like growing a private practice. I’m Perry Rosenbloom, the founder of Brighter Vision, and I’m so excited to introduce our guest today Tamara Powell from Arya Therapy. Tamara, are you prepared to share your therapist experience?
Tamara: Absolutely. Can’t wait.
Perry: Alright, Tamara. We’re excited to have you here. Tamara holds a master’s degree in psychology and has extensive and detailed expertise in matters pertaining to spirituality and sexuality. Her clinical work, research and published articles span the continuum from traditional psychotherapy and faith based counseling to therapy that is outside the cultural norm appealing to a wide range of preferences. She has set herself apart as a knowledgeable advocate and clinician in the LGBTQ, polyamorous, and kink communities. Now in private practice she trains other clinicians in competences related to those populations. Tamara also works as a faculty adjunct professor and adjunct instructor in psychology for the university of West Florida and is often a favorite among students. Known for her quick wit and ‘tell it like it is’ approach. Her favorite clients are what she describes as the purple sheep. The rebels and visionaries struggling to connect with others and the divine without second-guessing or feeling like they’re losing a part of themselves. Tamara, that was a really awesome bio that you gave us there and I gave our audience a little overview. But why don’t you take a minute, fill in the gaps from that intro and tell us a little bit more about you personally and about Arya Therapy?
Tamara: Alright. So I am in my mid 30s. I feel like we’re on the singles ad here. I have two daughters that are 10 and 12, just about to hit puberty so that’s a new, exciting, and scary stage in our household.
Perry: Oh, gosh. I bet.
Tamara: Yeah. Every stage has it’s pros and cons. This one’s intense just like all of them. Let’s see. I’ve been in private practice just under two years and I’m absolutely loving it. It was always the dream and I’m looking forward where the next adventure takes us.
Perry: Fantastic. Well Tamara, two years and you’ve managed to grow so much and come so far in that amount of time to really building a thriving private practice, serving a very specific niche audience. And one thing we found really fascinating is exploring the why with therapists. So why did you choose a career in therapy and why did you choose a focus on the ‘purple sheep’, as you like to describe them?
Tamara: My mom likes to say, “Everyone has their favorite puzzle.” And mine just happens to be sex and religion. They’ve always been topics that I can’t get enough of. So the religiosity focus really came easy because I was born into pretty conservative, evangelical, penacostal, and military household. So we’ve moved around a ton which brought me to the opportunity to be exposed to a lot of different cultural and world views. And that brings with it the ability to get a sense of, like, wonder. I’m always in awe when I walk into a temple, or a synagogue, or a mosque, you name it, and see what brings people a sense of meaning and purpose.
Perry: Do you find that it varies based off of cultural areas and different places of worship that you go to?
Tamara: Yes and no. Isn’t that always the answer in psychology?
Perry: Of course, right?
Tamara: Haha. So yes in the fact that it’s the how. The how each culture tends to connect to something outside of itself certainly changes a bit. however the why doesn’t. I just think man is a spiritual creature by nature. Even if you’re agnostic or atheist, it doesn’t matter. There’s something beyond you that you want to connect with. Even if that’s just nature or other people. So for me trying to figure out what changes in the brain neurochemically, at the neurological level with that, was my favorite first inquest.
Perry: I love that Tamara. I love the how changes but the why doesn’t. That’s a great quote there. So you touched on the religion part. How about the sex part?
Tamara: With sexuality, most people don’t think of it this way but it details spirituality for me. From my conceptualization you cannot separate a man’s spiritual world of view from his sexual nature, or the behaviors, or what attracts him, what traumatizes him. That sort of thing. So way back before I even went back to grad school I worked in a church sometimes as a study group leader and I would hear story after story from women who either hadn’t had an orgasm yet, which shocked me, or perhaps they felt a sense of shame or concern around certain behaviors or requests from their husbands. And I came personally to look at it as they either weren’t fully understanding the context of the sacred text, The Bible or whatever. We’re talking about the Quran or the Torah. Or they grew up in the household or a culture that didn’t talk about it or provided a sense of shame, right? So I just felt like there had to be a better way. And that started my inquest and when I got into undergrad I learned that how one identifies sexually isn’t always consistent with what turns us on or what our sexual behaviors end up being. So that was like a further path for me to explore. And then when I got to grad school I had an experience that really shook me to the core. Our house psychology lab was conducting research. One of the studies was my own personal one during pride week down here in Pensacola which is relatively new but we now have over several hundred thousand that come during that week in June. That’s a great time. You’ve got your participants right there. So we were setup on the beach and to get there we had to go through, what I call now, the gauntlet. They were religious conservatives on both sides with these really hateful signs and screaming at people, calling for repentance. I remember feeling pulled to– Because that wasn’t part of my world view even as an evangelical. I felt really pulled to like protect my cohort members and my best friend who was gay. However, seeing that they were actually pulled to try and protect me because of my world view and not wanting me to have a sense of disillusionment at that time. So I now work with many LGBTQ+ individuals who have experienced a sense of stigma, or spiritual abuse, or trauma, and it’s something that I’m really passionate about. So the two really go hand in hand for me.
Perry: Do you find– You work out in Pensacola which is a fairly conservative area. It’s in the pan-handled Florida. My wife grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. I’m from New York and live in Colorado now and I remember when I went down and took my first family vacation with her family and they’re very, very liberal. More left leading as well. But when we went to on a vacation in this area of Georgia it was my first time really being exposed to that culture. Seeing conservative flags… It just shocked me. Do you feel any sort of push back from the community in Pensacola because you focus on helping LGBTQ+? Is there any sort of– What’s your interaction with your community down there?
Tamara: Yeah, definitely. That’s a great question and one I get asked a lot. So being a transplant here– I actually spent all of my formative years in the Boston, Newport, Rhode Island area. So the New England culture is definitely in my blood and it was a bit of a culture shock moving here for me as well. So even before I finished my grad studies I was already getting pushed back ironically on both sides. Although I will say from the LGBT community it’s more of a curiosity. There’s more of a fear of, “Okay, well if she says she offers counseling in spirituality is she going to judge us as well?”
Perry: Like are you trying to basically convince them to not be LGBTQ+?
Tamara: Right, and in actuality it’s the exact opposite and helping them find comfort with the divine however that ends up looking for them. In some cases that entails leaving the church or whatever world view they have completely, but other times it’s a reintegration just in a different way. So as my personal spiritual world view is broadened as well it just made it even more of a bigger deal for me to provide spiritually sensitive counseling because I think there needs to be a middle ground for people. So to answer the other part of your question. From the conservative side, yeah. Absolutely. In fact, some of the hardest days for me have been when, say I’m working with a team and the team has disclosed to me privately that they are questioning their sexuality, or their spirituality, or both. And this becomes a sacred space for them where they can feel safe. And then their parent who may not have fully done their research yet may go online and see that indeed I work with that population and then they pull them out of my care. Those nights I do leave a little bit of sleep over. Sometimes I’m able to work it and explain to them that, “Hey, I understand where you’re coming from as a parent. Trust me I have two little girls. So if I put myself in your shoes and I’m concerned about their ‘eternal soul’ as you would put it, who better to walk through that with them than someone that not only holds their world view as sacred and will honor that, or a clinician that’s going to try like reparative therapy and is going to end up probably making your child walk away completely and never want anything to do with your God?”
Perry: Wow, that’s fascinating there Tamara, and certainly a very unique experience from other therapists that we’ve spoken with both in niche community that you work with and in the niche community that you live in. Let’s stake a step back here though, anywhere from a few months to a few years. Well, I guess max of two years. Let’s go back to the point of your career as a therapist where you could have called it quits. Where you were as low as you could possibly be in your journey in private practice and you were just ready to throw in the towel because as an entrepreneur we all get there. I know I’ve had those moments as an entrepreneur. So share with us that moment and then share with us how you overcame that?
Tamara: The tough deep questions. Hah.
Perry: We like to ask the tough questions here.
Tamara: And I love that. Because If I’m going to do anything I want it to be raw and real and authentic, otherwise we’re just wasting our time. But that does bring up the shadowed side, right? That people tend to try and whitewash and hide. And I absolutely– The second you asked that question, my guts was like, “Yeah, I remember that moment.”
Perry: So tell us about it. Let’s dive into it.
Tamara: Yeah, I was about six months into private practice. So still very much feeling like the new little fish in a very big pond, even in Pensacola. And I was already starting to become aware that I was making waves in the communities. Perfect duck tail off your last questions. not only because I don’t have other areas in the country but it’s really rare apparently to go straight from grad school into private practice.
Perry: We’ve heard that more often.
Tamara: I know. I don’t know why. And even more so to be successful, and then even more so still talking about what I always talk about, which is sex and religion. So I ended up having a few run-ins with other clinicians who are not like-minded with my type of business model and who had, I suppose, understandable concerns if I put myself in their shoes.
Perry: By your type of business model do you mean–? Can you elaborate on that some more?
Tamara: Yeah, sure. So I certainly resonate with the transparent obviously, out of the box, use of disclosure at times. Very bold. You have to be if you’re going to be talking about what I talk about. And as opposed to more of a generalist, broad, not using social media… Yeah.
Perry: Okay, so you’re getting pushed back from that community, from the established private practices.
Tamara: Yes, like phone calls and a couple emails. And being a newbie that scared the crap out of me and I remember having this day where I wanted to just clear my entire schedule, go home, drown myself in a bubble bath with some bear, and not talk to anyone ever again and just say, “Screw it! I’m out.” And I actually remember talking to friends and my husband saying, “You know, this whole, what I call, white coat syndrome. I might just throw in and just become a life coach or a spiritual mentor. I don’t even know what, but I don’t know if I want to do this.”
Perry: So these private practices that were more established were intimidated by you and your approach to business, and then tried intimidating you specifically? Is that accurate?
Tamara: That’s what it felt like, but as a newbie it was hard for my mind to grasp that because hearing this little person in a hole in the wall down the road, why are they even paying attention to my social media?
Perry: People are scared. People are scared of change. People are scared of a new business coming in and shaking things up. That’s how you see things left and right. I have a friend of mine who’s an attorney, who his friend started an energy drink company and one of the major energy drink companies as opposed to just ignore them, they tried suing them into oblivion. You know, the small company, they couldn’t afford a big legal counsel so they just sued them left and right for every single step along the way. And it put them out of business. And granted, that’s on a much different scale than what you’re talking about but it seems like it’s a similar type of experience, where these other private practices were scared of the way you were doing business. And there was nothing wrong with the way you’re conducting your business but you were doing things differently and that scared them, and that intimidated them.
Tamara: Well, I think psychology as a whole is changing and what used to work, you could just have a group practice and just put an ad on the phone book and not have to talk about anything and you’d be fine. And I have respect for that. What I don’t understand is when there’s not a celebration of something different than that. And as long as we are crossing our T’s and dotting our T’s as far as the code of ethics goes, and my type A personality I made sure that I was, then I think we should be left alone to do it how we want to but it scared the crap out of me. So to answer the second part of your question, I ended up licking my wounds and processing with some other mentors who were like-minded on my side of the boat. And they very gently and lovingly reminded me to go back to why I got into it in the first place. Look at all the clients that are sending their loved ones and their friends as referrals. They’re happy and that’s what matters the most. And look at the success stories, the cards that we get. So that helped but the second piece of it for me was really taking a look at this critical feedback even if it’s of the wall for me and misguided and hurtful, there still can be profit in that for me and you can be like a gold miner, right? Sifting through the dirt to try and find the treasure, and the treasure for me in this case with feedback is sometimes it just further lights your passion and helps you really get clear on, is this something that I’m willing to stake my career on, stake my license on? If so, then great. You’ve done me a favor. If not, maybe I do want to tweak something.
Perry: And we hear that so often in the interviews that we’ve done so far of entrepreneurs like yourself getting pushed back, hitting a wall, and having to dig deep inside themselves and really search like, “Hey, do I want to be doing this?” And, “Yes I do.” So pulling that inner strength out and just plowing through the adversity to get to a point and grow your practice and help others. Tamara, you mentioned something before about a traditional practice back in the day. You could just throw an ad in the newspaper and that was all you got to do for marketing. But times have changed since then and you seem to really be on the forefront here, to be able to grow a practice from zero to what you have today in two years, you’re doing a lot of things right. So I’d love to hear and I’m sure audience would love to hear what’s the single best marketing move that you’ve made for your practice and why do you feel that it’s worked so well?
Tamara: It was actually advice that I got from Bill Baren. And if you haven’t heard of him I recommend him greatly. He’s like a heart-centered entrepreneur to heart-centered entrepreneurs, right? He helps you figure out the marketing. And he had said continually that the riches are in the niches and so as scared as I can be at times to talk about especially in my area, what I do, it was that you have to not only get really clear and pursue that with kind of like abandoning clarity. But also be okay with detracting people and that I think to newbies or any entrepreneur is really scary, especially in psychology. Because counselors, we want to be able to market to everybody, and attract everybody, and treat everything. But there’s a failure of a paradox in that because when you have a problem you don’t want to go to a generalist. That’s not who’s going to catch your eye. You want to find a person that eats, breathes, and sleeps your problem and can convey that to you that they really understand it and can walk you through it. So obviously for me it wasn’t about figuring out my passions. I mean that is hard for some of the newbies that I work with, but more of the, “Okay, how in the hell am I going to get my ego to pipe down and be okay with the push-back and repelling people.” Some people are going to come to my website and be like, “What in the hell is this?”
Perry: But people that come to your website and relate with it and say, “Oh my goodness. Yes! Tamara is speaking to me. She can serve me, she can help me.” Those are the ones you want to work with anyway so it’s okay to repel people. And it’s such a challenging thing to do. I remember when we got started with Brighter Vision we were doing websites for anyone and everyone. And the problem was we never got good at that. And it wasn’t until we really noticed that mental health professionals were really attracted to the work we were doing. That we said, “Okay, let’s cut everything else out and just focus on mental health professionals.” And it made it so much easier to build a great product and a great service. So if you’re out there right now as a generalist and seeing everyone and anyone start thinking about maybe who you want to work with? What have been some transformative moments in your life? Who do you get the most joy out of working with? And take baby steps if you’re scared to take a giant leap. Take baby steps in that direction to focus exclusively on that clientele. And I think you’re going to see a lot more happiness, and growth, and success from your private practice. Would you agree Tamara?
Tamara: Oh, hell yeah. All of the above. So when I was working with Brighter Vision, right? And drawing the design, everything from the logo to the website, content, and the design. That’s what I did. We sat and I sat in meditation and visualized those great moments and what attracts me personally. Because most counselors will be like working with people who are like us. Then the opposite. Who am I okay with, who do I tend to struggle to relate to and to not feel fulfilled after those sessions. And then really visualize letting go of the need for their approval. So everything that goes on the website I am writing directly to that person. I have them in my head.
Perry: And that makes it so much easier to write as well, doesn’t it?
Tamara: Oh, yes. And that paradox that you– I just wanted to touch on one of the– Paradox that you mentioned. It’s so true. When I stay in that mode and I am writing to that favorite client the numbers have always been the highest. That’s when you’re most authentic and that’s what people are looking to connect to.
Perry: Doing the numbers as in social media shares after you write a blog post or what do you mean by that?
Tamara: Yes, and the bottom line numbers. That’s when I have the most sessions and all of that which helped to get over that wound from previously when they were like, “I don’t know why you’re doing it this way. That seems unethical or whatever.” Well, okay, but it’s clearly resonating so…
Perry: Something you were doing was working and I’m so glad you stuck with it and powered through that adversity and really dug into that niche and focused on it. Because you’re probably providing so much better care to the LGBTQ+ community and your purple–
Tamara: My purple sheep.
Perry: Purple sheep. There we go.
Tamara: Spiritual seekers.
Perry: Then you could to anyone and everyone under the sun. So Tamara, one thing we love finding out when we interview people is learning more about your business strategies. So when you went to school you went to school to become a therapist, not to get your MBA. But somewhere along the way here you decided to open your own private practice. What’s the one thing that you wish you would have learned in school about starting your own business but that they didn’t teach you?
Tamara: Number one, that it’s possible. Like, seriously. I hear so many times from students, either my own students that I’m teaching or the newbies who find me and call me, saying that everyone tells them it can’t be done. That don’t even bother looking. And that there are resources so go ahead and start looking for things that resonate with you. That’s how I found other heart-centered entrepreneurs who are out of the box and using disclosure. So even before you graduate start looking around to find people to connect with and the resources like podcasts, Jerry Xenos, right? Practice of Practice is awesome. And like I said, Bill Baren. Get the marketing advice. Don’t just look to other therapists because there are so few, and this is changing. Thank God. But there are so few therapists who really do have a mind for business, and understand that at the end of the day you are still a business. Yes you’re a counselor but it’s just you. So getting really clear on the numbers side of it is so important. And I don’t know about other graduate programs but UWF as awesome as it was didn’t really talk about the business side.
Perry: Very few to it seems. So you mentioned knowing your numbers. What kind of numbers do you recommend people to actually know?
Tamara: You need to know, number one, what’s your bottom line. How much does it cost you per month to keep the lights on, advertise, and that type of thing. So few counselors, and I’m surprised at this, don’t have a spreadsheet. I’m a little OCPD in that I guess. Like, if I were going to be diagnosed with anything it will probably be that. But my spreadsheets are spreadsheets and they’re all color-coded. You don’t have to go that far, but–
Perry: I can certainly relate with that.
Tamara: Haha. I keep track of where my clients are finding me. Are you finding me on Facebook, Instagram, Psychology Today? So that way when I go to figure out where should I move next I can tell you’d be on the center of the job with a vast majority of my clients are between the ages 25 and 40. They tend to be women or their partners. And they’re probably not completely straight. But if you don’t have your numbers then you don’t know that. So you need to know how much are you making, how much is a cost you need to stay open, and where are they finding you? At least the minimum of those three things.
Perry: Those three numbers right there will at least paint a picture of your business for you.
Perry: And then you can make educated decisions in terms of what you want to do and how you want to market yourself.
Perry: So you mentioned how much you’re making. One thing we want to explore with therapists is finding out what your hourly rate is because we find so many therapists actually struggle in the early days with pricing themselves well. So can you share with our audience what your current hourly rate is to see clients and your overall journey to that rate?
Tamara: Yes, because that has changed probably five or six times in the last two years. And it’s about to change again as I reach full license around April. So I currently charge private pay only 75 dollars for individual and 90 dollars for couples. That’s during the day. I charge an extra 15 for nights and weekends. And then–
Perry: I never heard that before. That’s really smart of you to do.
Tamara: Yeah, because if I’m going to be away from my family I’ll make it worth my while. So I’m here one night a week and I’m here Saturday mornings until 12, which is great because by then my pubescent teens are just starting to wake up. So it works out well. And then I charge an extra 25 dollars for any polyamorous sessions. So sometimes I work with triads, or quadrads, or whatever how many people are coming in the room. Because you are doing extra work. You’re having to pay attention to more than one person.
Perry: That makes sense.
Tamara: That model has worked very well because still when I tell client about half the going rate of what mental health in Pensacola is worth, it’s about 1.50. You know, you’re getting quite the bargain but yet that still– I feel good about it at that price point. And getting here, again you need to know the numbers. So I took a look at what was being offered to master’s level new graduates and it was honestly so gross. 12 to 18 dollars an hour at one of our larger–
Perry: Oh my God. And that’s with the graduate degree?
Tamara: Yeah. And with 80,000 dollars in student loans and two daughters that wasn’t going to cut it. So with that in mind like failure wasn’t an option. That helped with the passion too. I started out seeing students for 20 bucks. I’m like, 20 dollars an hour is still well beyond anything that I was going to get paid up elsewhere. That was still competitive with the growing group weight of our larger facilities here. And I was subleasing space so I didn’t have a ton of overhead. So that’s what got me started and I probably doubled that in a couple months. And I offered a sliding scale because I was passionate about that, especially when I’m working like with transgender clients who are often under-employed. So once in a while I think people are afraid to go full rate. Well you can always climb back down. Hello? And if you meet a client that really does have a struggle once in a while, I will work something out. If it’s something that I’m passionate about and it’s a really good fit then you can do that too. So I was in the black the first month and then doubled it–
Perry: Congratulations.Tamara: Thank you. That was great.
Perry: The first month of business you was in the black?
Perry: Wow. That’s amazing.
Tamara: Thank you. Haha.
Perry: How did you get enough clients to get into the black right away?
Tamara: I don’t know. But I did, I had 15 clients at the end of my second week.
Perry: Oh my God.
Tamara: I know. It’s what I keep hearing but I don’t know anything different, so…
Perry: That’s unbelievable Tamara. Wow, I’m speechless. That’s so fantastic.
Tamara: So my goal this year is to break six figures.
Perry: And are you the only person working in your practice or have you brought on another clinician to see patients as well?
Tamara: I have someone who subleases from me and then I just, just hired a independent contractor who’s in my old office.
Perry: Oh, cool. So you essentially have– You’re a three person show right now?
Tamara: Yes, and I just hired a virtual assistant.
Perry: Four person show? Where did you find your virtual assistant?
Tamara: It was a friend referral. My friend has a friend who is already in the business.
Perry: And what kind of work are they doing for you?
Tamara: So they– I have rerouted all of my phone lines through Grasshopper so she answers my phone, and she sets up my schedule, and she starts all my charts since I use an electronic– I’m EHR.
Perry: Perfect. Well, Tamara that was such great advice and such a great story there. We’re going to take a quick break there for our weekly. website tip from one of Brighter Vision’s lead developers and when we get back we’ll move into our lightning round here. So Tamara, hang on one second. Listeners, here comes our weekly tip.
This week’s website tip comes from Will Portice. A lead developer at Brighter Vision, a worldwide leader in custom therapist website design. To learn more go to www.brightervision.com.
Will: Hey, everyone. Will Portice here. When marketing yourself online email list can be extremely effective tool to send potential clients information on services and events that you’re offering. The trick however is collecting these email addresses. By utilizing a popup in coordination with an email marketing service such as MailChimp you are able to easily and effectively gather an email list. To create a popup itself we like to use OptinMonster. We suggest OptinMonster because of its ease of use and quick integration with email marketing services. In addition, both OptinMonster and MailChimp integrate perfectly with a WordPress website building system. All Brighter Vision clients can have OptinMonster installed and customized for your needs at no extra cost. To see examples of it in action, go to the show notes at brightevision.com/session6.
And now back to our conversation with Perry and Tamara.
Perry: Okay, Tamara. Now we’re going to move into the final part of our interview. The part we like to refer to as brighter insights, where we can really distill down your experience and your advice into little sound bites and quick answers that therapists can use to inspire, motivate, and excite them in growing their private practice. Are you ready?
Tamara: I am so ready.
Perry: Alright. What or whom inspired you to become a mental health professional?
Tamara: This is such a goofy answer but it was Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Hahahahaha.
Perry: Hahahahaha. How did that happen?
Tamara: I’m a geek by heart. Just growing up watching her and seeing that she was a counselor and she was an empath. And I just thought that’s so cool. I want to do that. Then a little older, a little wiser, maybe still wacky though, it was Dr. Ruth because the fact that she was both a jewess and a sex therapist. I was like, “Ah. I get you. That’s cool.”
Perry: Love that. Tamara what do you do to clear your head and get a fresh start in your day?
Tamara: Take a walk outside. If I end my sessions on time then I have just enough time to run to the restroom, run the car, take a quick note, and do a quick body scan and breathing exercise. And then if it’s a really bad day, call a friend and vent.
Perry: That’s always important to do. What are some tools you’ve used to leverage the power of technology in your private practice so that technology is no longer a hurdle but instead an asset?
Tamara: Trying to make everything electronic and thanks to my awesome website developer that’s been very easy. So intake forms are electronic, automated emails…
Perry: What do you use for intake forms? Oh, you use us as well. Haha.
Tamara: Yes I do.
Perry: What about your emails? Tell us more about that?
Tamara: So I have an email that’s like already setup. You can just plugin the clients name and hour. It’s got the directions here and ask them to go online and fill out that intake form if they haven’t done so already. So my virtual assistant can send that rate to them the second that they book. It’s just awesome.
Perry: And is that just like an email template that you have like on a word document that they can copy and paste in or do you use another tool to help you with that?
Tamara: Currently it’s copy and paste. However I’m considering converting over to– We now use Practice Fusion but to Therasoft or Therapy Nest that will do it automatically. But I also use a lot through MailChimp and that helps too.
Perry: Great. So Tamara, can you share with us a quote that you hold near and dear? Something that has helped formulate your perspective on life or has helped inspire, motivate, or provide a guidance?
Tamara: I have so many because I’m an avid reader but I will tell you that one of my favorites is Jeanette Berson who said, “Don’t drink at the water’s edge. Throw yourself in. Become the water. Only then will your heart be quenched.”
Perry: Oh, that’s powerful.
Tamara: Yeah, that to me speaks of that passion and that sheer unadulterated drive that we need and it comes even before the skills and knowledge and details. We want those but those don’t always come right away. You just kind of go where it’s warm. Follow that thirst. And it’s the authenticity. If you follow that spark the fulfillment comes.
Perry: Most certainly. And as an entrepreneur you have to dive into the lake or the river and just be swallowed up and learn to swim or to sink. That’s such a great quote for mental health and for entrepreneurship there.
Perry: Tamara, so you’re an avid reader. Can you recommend one book to our audience and why would you recommend that one book?
Tamara: My current girl crush, one of them is Lissa Rankin. She’s an OBGYN and her book Mind Over Medicine is something that I give to both colleagues and clients weekly, seriously. So, she’s got free PDFs that go with the book. So I can send them as handouts to clients. And the basic premise is that something we already know but Lisa does such a great job of talking about it, is that things like loneliness, depression, lack of sexual fulfillment really changed the body’s physiology. But there are very practical ways that you can look at all of your different levels of being and turn the body’s healing centers back on. So she has seen spontaneous remissions for everything like cancer to infertility and it’s not just her talking about it. These are things that are in the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Academy of Medicine as well. So love, love. Mind Over Medicine.
Perry: And of course everybody, that will be in the show notes today. You can find it at brightervision.com/session6. Alright, Tamara. Last question and it’s by far my absolute favorite. If you moved to a new city tomorrow, knew nobody and all you had was your computer and 100 bucks to start a new private practice, what would you do on your first day?
Tamara: That’s daunting as hell so I’ll have to my friends on speed dial, but other than that I would definitely be using social media because it’s free until you want to get into the heavier marketing. And that’s where clients are going to get a flavor for who you are. And other clinicians in the area. So can’t go without free. And then I would probably do the usual– You know, run off 500 business cards for 10 bucks. Make a schnazzy little flyer that talks about you, not your CV, not your resume. Nobody wants to hear that. But how you can help not only other clinicians but also the clients that you’re wanting to see. And I would run those puppies off at every single spa, gym, or whatever I thought my perfect client or colleague hung out at including their office, and talk to them about them. You want to build relationship, especially if you have no money. So get excited about that.
Perry: People do business with those that they know, like, and trust. And you don’t want to speak about yourself, you want to learn about them and get to know them so that way they can get to know you.
Perry: Any parting advice for our listeners Tamara?
Tamara: Do you. be authentic.
Perry: Love it. Well, thank you so much Tamara for all your time. Where can our listeners find you to connect and learn more about you?
Tamara: I’m all over the place but obviously aryatherapy.com. I’m also on Facebook under Arya Therapy Services and I just started Instagram. I held out forever but I’m on there as well. I’ve given in and pictures–
Perry: One of the few. But I bet that works really well for your niche market.
Perry: Great, well thank you so much Tamara for all of your time and the great resources you’ve mentioned. As always you can find these resources and learn more about Tamara at brightervision.com/session6. Tamara, again thank you so much for being generous with your time, your expertise, and your knowledge. We appreciate all the great advice that you provided and the therapist experience you have shared. Thank you again.
Tamara: Thank you.
Perry: Thank you so much for tuning in today. If you have a question for us you can email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you’re interested in launching a website, don’t hesitate to reach out for us. Brighter Vision is the worldwide leader in custom therapist website design. For just 59 dollars a month you get a website that’s as unique as your practice. Unlimited tech support and complementary SEO so people can actually find you online. To learn more you can email us at email@example.com or just head on over to brightervision.com and drop us a line through one of our contact forms. That does it for today. Thank you again for listening and we will catch you next week.