In this episode, Jenni and Josh share best practices for navigating the death of a pet and the resulting grief, paying particularly close attention to the needs of grieving children. For more information, visit 10 Tips for Dealing with Pet Loss.
We are in yet another time of transition in our lives as winter begins to give way to spring. The sun is rising earlier and setting later. Those birds outside my bedroom window are getting chirpier each morning. I am feeling less guilty when my boys walk out of the house in shorts (in case you didn’t know - pants are apparently a torture device for boys over the age of 8). The headache-inducing sounds of basketball (shoes squeaking on courts, countless balls being dribbled simultaneously and multiple whistles being blown) are starting to be replaced by the early sights and sounds of another sport. Cleats are getting tried on, bats are being sized up with practice swings and athletic cups are starting to reappear on my dining room table. Yes, baseball season is near.
As I was listening to my sons tell me all about their impromptu practice session at the field the other day, critiquing each other’s stance, swing and follow through, I realized that life is a lot like getting up to bat in baseball.
Think about it.
Behind you are your friends. They are the people in the crowd who are there for you and want you to do your best. They know when you need to be cheered on and when you need them to be quiet. They get you.
Fans of the other team
Behind you may also be some people who are not your friends. They wouldn’t mind seeing you strike out because they are there to root for someone else.
People only there for the snacks
Then there are the people that are just acquaintances. They are the people behind you who are totally uninterested in what you are doing - they are taking selfies on their phones and carrying on about something totally unrelated to your at-bat. Even though they are neutral, you still might not want to make an error in front of them.
Then there are your role models. They are your coaches. You look to them for guidance and advice. They motivate and push you.
Let’s not forget about the authority figures in your life. Perhaps they are bosses or others who are quick to judge you. They are the Umps, ready to call you “out.”
But, as you make your way to the plate, you also feel the presence of your team. Your success is their success. Your failure will also be felt by them. Maybe they are cheering you on, chanting your name, reminding you that they believe in you.
Then there is the other team - waiting in the outfield, watching your every move. Willing you to strike out and send them a nice pop fly.
Does any of that seem a bit like how real life goes?
It does for me.
I can identify people in each of those roles: fans for my team, fans for the other team, neutral acquaintances, people quick to judge or point out my errors and also my team who has my back.
Once you are in the batter’s box, all that other stuff fades away as you face off with the pitcher.
What if you swing and miss?
What if the pitcher throws a crazy ball and you get hit?
What if you get hurt?
What if you completely strike out?
What if you let yourself down?
Worse yet, what if you let your team down?
I have seen countless batters step into that box throughout my years as a baseball mom. One single bad experience can set some kids into an incredible slump. Great hitters suddenly freeze, afraid to swing the bat. Some confident batters suddenly find themselves jumping out of the box because they have grown afraid of being hit by a ball again. Others lose their focus and can no longer seem to make contact with the ball.
I have spent many seasons cheering on my sons, hearing coaches remind them that baseball is in large part about confidence, focus and staying in the box.
Look around. What is it like in your batter’s box of life now?
As you start to transition out of winter and into spring, notice all of the children who are taking to the fields with their gloves, bats and balls. Let those images be a reminder to you to take some time to reflect on your life and what it is like in your batter’s box.
How can you regain your confidence, drown out the negative noise behind you, lean in, keep your eye on the ball and smash it out of the park?
For more blog articles on changing your perspective and taking care of yourself, visit the links below:
We are excited to launch our new podcast: "The Changing Perspectives Podcast." Join Jenni and Josh, married high school sweethearts turned healthcare and human services professionals, as they explore a wide variety of topics including grief, parenting, health and wellness, and relationships.
In this first episode, Jenni and Josh discuss their inspiration for The Changing Perspectives Podcast, their personal and professional backgrounds, and their plans for upcoming episodes.
Find episodes on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, YouTube or wherever else you get your Podcasts.
In this episode, Jenni and Josh share best practices for talking to children and teens about wakes and funerals.
If you are a therapist, counselor or psychotherapist thinking about starting your own private practice, your head is probably filled with many questions:
All of these questions can be overwhelming, leaving many clinicians terrified about taking their first step.
Take a deep breath, you've come to the right place!
In this article, the first in a series of articles about starting your private practice, I will outline for you the top 9 steps to take to make your dream of operating your own private practice a reality.
Step 1: Identify your niche
This step may be the most difficult for many clinicians. We are trained to be open to helping and supporting everyone and our instinct may be to cast a very wide net.
However, you should think about it from the perspective of the client. Imagine a client searching for a new therapist. Would they rather select a clinician who will see anyone or a clinician who specializes in the area in which they need support?
Think back to your training and your professional work experiences. Where has most of your work centered? What types of clients and work bring you the most fulfillment and make you feel the most confident? Start with what you know!
Remember, you can always change your specialties and niche at a later date.
Step 2: Choose your space
When you are first starting out, you may think that any office space that is affordable is a good option for you. While this might be good for your wallet, it may not be the best for your overall success.
Here are some things to consider when choosing your space:
Think about the town or city in which you live. Do you want an office in the same location? If so, what is your plan for when you run into your clients and patients at the community library, supermarket or at your children's school? Would you rather set up your space somewhere outside of your town so that you reduce the chances of these interactions or are you comfortable with living and providing clinical services within the same town?
How easily accessible is your potential office space for clients? Is it located near highways? Is there ample parking? Is it accessible for individuals with mobility needs? Where can clients wait for their session?
Would you rather operate in your own space completely or rent space where other clinicians are also providing therapy? How much value is there for you to be able to see and engage with other clinicians during your work day? Although I operate my own private practice, I have elected to rent space in a large suite with other mental health clinicians. This choice has proven to be great for me as it allows me increased connections for networking, provides limitless referral opportunities and has yielded some new friendships.
Subletting vs. Leasing
How many days per week do you want to see clients? When I first started my private practice, I chose to sublet an office space for two days each week but knew there would be a potential to rent a full-time office in the same suite in the future. It was important to me to have opportunities to expand my days with clients without having to completely relocate. Consider your future goals as well.
Step 3: Choose and register your name
Clinicians can get bogged down by this step, scared that their decision has to be perfect. Remember, you can certainly change the name of your practice in the future.
Do you want to use a creative name for your business? Do you want to eventually bring other clinicians in to work under you? Do you want to utilize your name as your business? Any option can be a good option, but it can help to think a bit about your future goals before deciding on a name.
Once you have selected your name, it is time to register that name with the government. I always recommend that people register for an Employee Identification Number (EIN) for tax purposes rather than their social security number as it helps to keep personal and professional finances separate. Click here to apply for your own EIN.
The IRS has some good resources for individuals beginning their own business. Click here to read through some of their information and tips.
In addition to registering your business name with the IRS, you will also need to register your business name with the town or city in which you will be providing services. This process is commonly referred to as a Doing Business As Form or DBA Form. Click here and search "file a DBA in (your state)" to find state specific information for how to file a DBA form.
Step 4: Advertising
Once you have determined what type of services you will provide in your private practice, where you will provide them and registered your private practice name, it is time to start advertising your services.
By far, the most lucrative advertising service for me has been to register with Psychology Today. Psychology Today, the #1 source of online referrals for therapists, allows each private practice clinician to create their own profile which will appear in search engines like Google. Once you create your profile, Psychology Today does the work for you!
Get 6 months free with Psychology Today when you use this link.
Another great way to advertise your business is to create a website that tells about your background, areas of specialty, practice approach and location. Your website can be as simple or as detailed as you would like it to be and you do not need to have any background in website design. I have been using Weebly for over 3 years now and have found their interface to be extremely simple.
Use this link to save 10% on your first paid subscription with Weebly for your website.
Lastly, don't forget about social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can all be effective ways to get your business name and services out there in the public eye. I strongly suggest having any social media profile you create for your business be completely separate from any personal social media accounts you may have.
Step 5: Protect yourself
We insure almost everything these days from cars to homes to apartments to our health. Your private practice is no exception. Contact a variety of insurance companies to obtain quotes on insurance coverage options for your small business. In addition, research options for professional liability insurance. Often your credentialing or licensing authority can recommend a few companies for you that will provide you with protection should a client or patient ever bring legal action against you. Many clinical social workers, including myself have found wonderful liability insurance with NASW Assurance Services. Don't put everything you've worked so hard to build at risk by skipping this step!
Step 6: Pursue credentialing with insurance companies or Employee Assistance Programs
By far the easiest income method when in private practice is through patients and clients who pay privately out of pocket. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult for individuals to afford to pay full cost without some assistance from insurance. It's best to not put all your eggs in one basket. So, while you should certainly try to bring in a client base that will pay privately, it is also a good idea to become credentialed with at least one insurance company or employee assistance program. Perform a search of health insurance companies in your state and then review their behavioral health credentialing process. Many insurance companies are now utilizing a central credentialing process with CAQH ProView. CAQH can be a great first place to go when interested in pursuing insurance credentialing.
Step 7: Determine payment methods
How will your patients and clients pay you? Are you going to require cash only? What about checks? Are you open to clients and patients using credit cards via programs like Square or PayPal? What about even newer methods of payment like Venmo? I can tell you that the more options you offer, the more likely it is that your patients and clients will be able to pay you at the time of their session, cutting down on the amount of time you will spend chasing down unpaid bills. My client base is a complete mixture of payment via all of the previous methods and they appreciate the option to pay in whatever method works best for them.
If you are interested in learning more about Square to process credit card payment, use this link to receive free processing on up to $1000 in sales with Square.
Step 8: Develop record keeping and billing
One of the most important aspects of your work will be to maintain HIPAA Compliance with your record keeping. To do this, I have eliminated all paper records. The only paper files I have for my clients is a file folder with their first name, a tracking sheet of their appointment dates and some notes about their homework for the week. Everything else is tracked electronically.
While there are a wide variety of programs to choose from for electronic record keeping and billing, my first choice is Simple Practice.. Simple Practice allows you to easily manage everything from appointment scheduling to documentation of sessions to billing and even communication with your clients via HIPAA compliant messaging. With tons of session note templates, treatment plan resources and private practice form templates, Simple Practice is everything it says it is - simple. Use this link to save $50 on a paid Simple Practice account.
Step 9: Create your forms
The final step before you start seeing your new clients and patients is to make sure you have all of your paperwork in order. You will want to make sure that you have, at a minimum, the following forms ready for your clients to review and complete:
Creating these forms can take some time. If you don't want to recreate the wheel, take advantage of pre-made forms. Click here to view forms for purchase. These are forms that I use in my own practice. When you purchase one of more of these forms, the work is done for you! A Word document version of the form will be emailed to you within 24 hours of purchase and all you need to do is add in your own practice information, change any details you wish to change and maybe add your logo.
By following these 9 steps, you can quickly start your private practice and get on the road to meeting your goals!
Why wait any longer?
Stay tuned for more articles and resources to help you build your private practice. If you are in need of more support right now, click here and I would be happy to build a customized support plan for you
Article by Mark Tyrrell of Hypnosis Downloads.com.
7 Public Speaking Survival Tips
I used to be terrified of public speaking - now it's natural and fun.
Dry mouth, fast heart, sweaty palms, blank mind - yeah I've been there! It's easy to fear public speaking. But I was never just content with overcoming fear. I wanted to be a great speaker. What I needed was a way of calming down and applying simple techniques and strategies to talk like a pro.
When I'd learned to relax (more of that later) I learned and applied the following four steps.
How do you become confident enough to apply the four steps?
Here's some tips some of which are practical some of which are to do with the way you think about your public presentations and also how you can start to change the way you feel about them.
Breath your way to calm. When you breath out you relax that's why people sigh when they're stressed.
Breathing in without breathing out causes hyperventilation and worsens anxiety. Just before your speech take five minutes breathing in to the count of seven and out to the count of eleven (quick count-not seconds!). On the out breath hold it a second before breathing in again. This will produce quick and lasting calm. Remember extending the out breath calms you down.
You have a responsibility as the presenter but relax you don't carry all the responsibility. Presenting is a team effort. Audiences are responsible for politeness, extending their attention and attempting to learn. It's not all you-it's a meeting of two halves. Never mind how they judge you. How do you judge them?
Use metaphor and stories. We all experience life metaphorically. The most technical logical person spends at least two hours a night dreaming! Talk detail if necessary but present patterns with metaphors. Folk from 4 to 104 love stories. Use em.
Captivate attention by using words that evoke all the senses. Describe how things look, sound, feel, smell and taste. Paint pictures and sensations in their minds with your words.
Vary your voice tonality and speed of delivery. Keep them alert and engaged. Convey energy when need be and slow down when you need to 'draw them in close.' You are the conductor to their orchestra. And pepper your talk with humour. Your willingness to be funny shows personal confidence and confidence is contagious.
Tell them what they are going to get. What they are currently getting and then what they have got from you. Sell your sizzle!
Watch and learn from other great speakers until compelling, relaxed speaking is a part of you.
Rehearse positively. You need to rehearse how your going to feel as well as what you are going to present. Don't think about your forthcoming presentation whilst feeling nervous as this creates an instinctive association between fear and presenting. This natural negative self-hypnosis is very common with nervous speakers.
Hypnotically rehearse your speech whilst feeling relaxed. This produces the right 'blueprint' in your mind. In fact when you do this enough times it actually becomes hard to be nervous!
All great speakers know how to use great self-hypnotic rehearsal. Hypnosis changes attitudes and can bring emotion under control. I used hypnosis, to change my instincts around public speaking. Now I just can't get nervous whether it's 50 or 500 people. The world needs great communicators. Go for it!
Cure your fear of public speaking at HypnosisDownloads.com
Article by Mark Tyrrell of Hypnosis Downloads.com.
About Changing Perspectives
I often find myself encouraging people to consider changing their perspective or reframe the way in which they view things. This blog is an extension of that practice and is also an opportunity for me to write from a number of different perspectives including clinician, educator, mother, friend and supervisor. Blog topics are also quite varied and changeable. Topics explored include, but are certainly not limited to, grief, parenting, health and wellness and relationships. Join me and explore a number of changing perspectives!