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Episode 51: This is Me — Authenticity & Disclosure for Therapists [featuring Megan Kelly]
Episode 5118th September 2022 • All Things Private Practice Podcast • Patrick Casale
00:00:00 00:37:48

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"Authenticity" and "Disclosure" can feel taboo for therapists who want to put their names out to the world and see more clients, but what they often don't realize is that those two things are actually the greatest asset they have to get the attention of new clients and build report before ever talking on the phone.

In this episode, I talk with Megan Kelly, therapist and host of the Mental Status Podcast, about the role authenticity plays in private practice success and longevity, and how to show up as your authentic self in your private practice business while still being professional and ethical.

Mental Status Podcast Instagram Account (with links to episodes): @mentalstatuspod

Megan's Instagram: @antiworktherapist

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A Thanks to Our Sponsor!

I would also like to thank Diversion Center for sponsoring this episode.

If you are looking to tap into a cool niche that can take your private practice to 6 figures or more, check out my guy Derek Collins at courtmandatedtraining.com. He helps licensed therapists expand their practice by working with court-mandated clients. So if you are burned out, and tired of writing notes and dealing with insurance companies, I highly recommend that you check out what Derek has to offer.

He can show you how to get paid cash every day through court-mandated evaluations and classes like anger management, domestic violence, substance abuse, shoplifting and theft prevention, and more.

This niche could be the breakthrough that you have been looking for. Go to courtmandatedtraining.com and watch the free webinar to get started.

Transcripts

PATRICK CASALE: Hey everyone. If you are looking to tap into a cool new niche that you can take your private practice to six figures or more, check out my guide, Derek Collins at courtmandatedtraining.com.

He helps licensed therapists expand their practices by working with court-mandated clients. So, if you are burnt out, tired of writing notes, dealing with insurance companies, I highly recommend that you check out what Derek has to offer.

He can show you how to get paid cash every day through court-mandated evaluations and classes like anger management, domestic violence, substance use, shoplifting, theft prevention, and more. This niche can be a breakthrough that you have been looking for. Go to courtmandatedtraining.com and watch the free webinar to get started. Remember that is courtmandatedtraining.com

Hey everyone, this is the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I'm your host, Patrick Casale. I'm joined today by Meg Kelly out in Indiana. She is an LMHC, as I always forget all the acronyms and the host of the Mental Status Podcast. And I'm really happy to have you. We were just talking about our love for New Girl and how dreary it is outside. And that's kind of my goal, is podcast then New Girl today. So, Meg, thank you so much for coming on and making the time.

MEGAN KELLY: Absolutely, thanks for having me.

PATRICK CASALE: Meg and I were talking while I was on her podcast and talking about authenticity, and writing really shitty websites, and Psych Todays, and all the things that therapists get wrong, especially, when they don't know how to do these things, because grad school didn't really set us up to be business owners. So, I think we're going to talk about that today.

And I've had a couple of episodes about authenticity, and content creation, and disclosure. So, I'm excited to just kind of entrench myself into that. And I think it's a great topic. So, with everything you see and what you do, and I know you have a practice as well in Indiana, like, what do you typically come across and think about, like, the whole conversation about authenticity in practice ownership and just being a therapist in general.

MEGAN KELLY: Yeah, so a big part of what I've started doing, both in my practice and in some of the online spaces that I am in, is really trying to just be who I am, rather than putting on a show for anybody, and just presenting myself as I want to be not who I think I should be as a therapist. So, that means showing up with, like, piercings and tattoos, and sometimes, like, not having the super buttoned-up look.

And I found for myself that when I'm able to occupy that space, the work that I do feels… it feels better to me, and it feels like it flows more easily when I'm working with people.

And one of the things that I see a lot that, you know, I always say it's up to each individual therapist to decide what they want to do for themselves. But I see a lot of therapists putting on sort of like a professional costume, and not really being themselves. And it comes out in the way that they talk about themselves, and their profiles, and their websites, and social media. And it all seems great at face value until you really start to look into it and you're like, "I don't really understand what you're really here for, what you're passionate about, who you love to work with." And it just kind of leaves me at least feeling a little disconnected from those therapists.

So, I've tried to like, kind of step into a space of being more authentically myself. And I found that it's really served me well, in my practice.

PATRICK CASALE: What do you kind of attribute that to, you know, the buttoned up, blank slate robotic nature? I mean, I definitely think that grad school and community mental health jobs really kind of, like, send that message over and over, of like, this is how therapists have to move through the world, and this is how they have to show up, and this is what you don't do. What do you see on your end from all of your social media connection, and just, you know, in general?

MEGAN KELLY: Yeah, I mean, I think even before we get to grad school a lot of us have certain ideas about what therapists are. We have, obviously, a lot of media, movies, TV shows, blah, blah, blah, talking about and showing the therapist who is cool and detached, or like otherwise showing them doing some really unethical shit, which is just stupid.

But I think a lot of us come into grad school with the idea that we have to have that cool, detached, like distance, the professional distance, which, of course, there are times and places where we need to be able to create that space between ourselves and our clients. But a lot of us, I think, we take that as we can't have a personality, we can't have parts of ourselves that may influence the therapeutic relationship, which, for me, as I've grown as a clinician it hasn't really made sense. You know, like in the therapy room, we're supposed to, in some ways, emulate like a micro version of the client's macro world, right? This is a therapeutic relationship.

And so, if we're showing up as that blank slate, the client may not actually get a realistic picture of what it is like to have those reparative experiences with another, "Real human being." So, that's really what I try to bring to the space and being my authentic self.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that's really well said, and I think that's so important to remember because I think a lot of people, you know, when I talk about this stuff, get up in arms when they think, like, "Why don't just show up as my, you know, everyday self in therapy, and that would be inappropriate, and that's too much, 'Disclosure, and like, that's self-serving.'"

And I'm like, "No, that's not the point. Like, you're not showing up in the therapeutic space to just, like, kill yourself through the interaction, and you're certainly not just like, hey, shooting the shit. And, like, we're best friends." Even though some interactions can be more, like, laid back in nature.

But like, I think you're so right, when we're trying to reflect back this experience and really, there's real experience for clients, it's so much easier to gain and build rapport if you are your authentic self, and the likelihood of clients reaching out to you because of how you show up and how you kind of highlight your own personality is so much higher than just like the robotic resume writing that we see on profiles and websites that are, like, almost borderline, "I'm trying to prove how competent and skillful I am." Instead of like, I know what it's like to be a human being.

MEGAN KELLY: Yeah, yeah. And I see that a lot. And we're taught this, right? Like, it's important, the letters that you have after your name, their credentials, the certifications, whatever the case may be, and those things are important. And as much as they allow you to do the work that you do. But the vast majority of clients that I've encountered don't care, they do not care. They want to know that you can help them. And when you use those letters and those certifications to create this sense of like, well, this means that I know what it is to help you, and what it means, and what you need, rather than, hey, I've also experienced some of this stuff in my life and I have skills and training to allow me to do this work for you. It just creates a distance that, in my opinion, it's not therapeutic.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I agree 100%. And I think what happens when we're putting all the letters, certifications, modalities, every single piece of training, every single grad school course I've ever taken on my stuff I'm like trying to say like, I am the expert, I'm establishing this authority as the expert, because I need you to know how qualified I am to help you.

And what gets missed so often is like, what is the percentage of people who have master's degrees or PhDs in mental health? Like, it's not a large number, so we miss out on the fact that we are really not creating accessibility or access to care for clients who want it if they can't read the information about what you provide, and connect because we are in the business of relationship building and connection. And when that gets missed you are missing an opportunity to help someone who might really want your services because they're like, "I don't know what the fuck any of this means. Why would I call this person?"

MEGAN KELLY: What are they talking about? I have no idea what relational trauma is. All I know is my dad was an asshole. Yeah, and it's that language, right? Like, the way we present ourselves on our directory profiles, or our websites, where we have such a big opportunity to connect with people before they even speak to us.

And, you know, I have a bit of an advantage, because before coming to therapy I worked in marketing, and I worked in content creation. So, I have a bit of that background to know that people don't care about the jargon whatsoever. They do not care. They want to know what they're getting out of the deal. They want to know, basically, what's in it for them. How do I know that you're the person to help me?

So, we have such a great opportunity to showcase ourselves as people who can help, people who are able to walk people through these really difficult points in their lives. But we put up this wall of, "Well, I use cognitive behavioral therapy and EMDR to heal relational trauma." Like, you lost me, you lost me, so…

ost me if I'm like [CROSSTALK:

MEGAN KELLY: Yeah, yeah. And so, a lot of us are just missing big opportunities. You know, not only to just bring in the clients who we're really going to enjoy working with but allowing potential clients the opportunity to see, this person gets me, they understand to some degree what this feels like or what I'm going through. Because really, like, as somebody who's done a lot of searching for therapists in the past myself, when you're in the place where you're needing therapy, and you really need it, those web pages, those directory profiles, they can be overwhelming. You just want somebody who can help.

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely, it's really well said, and it's been the same in my experience when I've been looking for my own therapist. I want to get the sense that you kind of know what it's like to at least pick up the phone and be vulnerable enough to call someone for help. And that doesn't mean I need your entire life story in that paragraph. But I would love to know that you get the struggle.

And I think there's this disconnect there where it's like, well, I have a feeling people are going to email me about what I'm about to say.

MEGAN KELLY: All right, but get on.

PATRICK CASALE: I think there's a disconnect here, like, you worked in marketing, right? You get that although we are helpers, we're still selling a service and we're still marketing. And I think a lot of therapists really struggle to understand and conceptualize that both have to be there simultaneously. Like, if you are in private practice, you are selling a service, you are collecting a fee for payment, like, a fee for payment, a fee for service. Like, you are doing that. So, if you can't understand that you can do both things simultaneously that is a big thing that you're missing because at the end of the day you're not helping anyone by not being yourself and showing up authentically so that your clients can land on your pages, on your website, and say, "Oh, I want to work with Meg because Meg clearly gets it."

And I think that so many times the ethical police, like, statement goes out into the world where it's like, "Yeah, but if you're disclosing then you're being unethical, and like, this is going to, like, sway the relationship." And like blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, "No, it's going to make sure that the client really feels instantaneous rapport without ever fucking meeting you."

MEGAN KELLY: Yeah, yes, exactly. Like, I have had more than one client's when I get on the consultation call with them, when I get into that first session with them say to me, "I knew that I wanted to work with you before we even got on the call. I knew because I felt comfortable with what you were saying." Or, "I saw myself in your content. I saw you know, the values that you hold, that you describe on your page, and I wanted to work with you."

And what's the big thing that most of us are taught in grad school and beyond is that the therapeutic relationship is one of the biggest predictors of outcomes. So, if you can build that before you even get into the therapy room and have that trust, I guess I'm struggling to see the issue with that.

PATRICK CASALE: I struggle to see it too. And I think people kind of make these leaps into if you are being authentic, if you are disclosing, if you're writing content this way, you are, again, going back to that self-serving mentality or like you're disclosing too much.

And there are, obviously, limitations. Like, you're not going to like start describing, like, extensive sexual trauma or like some sort of chronic illness that has, like, overtaken you at points in time. Like, I'm just trying to use specific examples that have come up recently in my Facebook group. But like, ultimately, I talk a lot about this, and I'm okay with disclosure in general.

But, you know, I had a gambling addiction, I'm autistic, I'm ADHD. I will talk about the struggle because not only does it create relatability and on the flip side, it also offers this, like, light at the end of the tunnel and this glimmer of hope that I can struggle with this, and I can work through it, and like recover to some degree and still live a life that feels worth living when in so many instances as human beings we don't think that.

I can pinpoint examples in my addiction where I was like, yeah, this is never going to end well and I don't foresee myself making it out of my mid-20s. Like, I just didn't see that path. And the only reason that, well, not the only reason, a big part of that journey was finding a therapist who was open about their experiences. And I connected, and at least I felt like I can know that this can be different because this person has experienced something similar and is now sitting across from me having a master's degree and owning a business. Clearly, this doesn't have to be the rest of my life.

MEGAN KELLY: Right, exactly. Well, I mean, this specialty that I have in my practice right now is working with, specifically, mental health therapists, but helpers of all types who are burnt out. So, I mean, I specialize in burnout, compassion, fatigue, all that good stuff, not good stuff. But you know what I mean.

And, you know, I like to say, I'm just a couple of steps ahead of them, right? Like, I have experienced that. I talk about it on my own show pretty extensively. That is the theme of the Mental Status Podcast, is burnout for mental health clinicians, and people who come to work with me see that I have been able to walk through that, and that it didn't completely obliterate me, and that I'm here to help.

So, for somebody who is really going through something difficult like that, an addiction, or burnout, or a chronic illness, to know that the person sitting across from you, like you said, they've had that experience, and they also have the education, the skills, whatever letters they have after their name that makes them, you know, capable of helping you. That's super important. I mean, it's so vital for so many people.

PATRICK CASALE: It really is. And I imagine for you, you know, working with helpers who experience burnout, I just imagine that if some of these helpers could get out of their own way, and learn to embrace who they are as clinicians, therefore, attracting clients that really energize them instead of taking every single client that calls them.

MEGAN KELLY: Yes.

PATRICK CASALE: Things could be very different. And I know that that is going to create some emotion for people listening too, where it's like, I'm supposed to work with everybody that calls me though. Like, that's what the profession has taught me and told me to do.

MEGAN KELLY: And I would just ask why? Why is that your responsibility? If you really thrive when you're working with folks who experience chronic illness, why is it your responsibility to take on a client with, say, addiction, where you don't thrive in that space? You don't have the training or the passion for that. But let's say your colleague does, why is that your responsibility to take them when there's another clinician who loves working with addiction, who could serve them just as well as if not, dare I say, better than you?

I think that's why a lot of people do shy away from getting a niche or getting more specific with their ideal client. And this, again, like, it goes back to what we learned in grad school, it goes back to what we learned, probably, in our earliest career days at, you know, clinical mental health centers and nonprofits. You take the client, like, you don't really have a say.

And so, I think when people go into private practice they don't know what to do with that freedom. It's scary. It's scary to be able to be specific and know, like, I work really well with these particular types of people. And these other people, I'd probably do better referring them out. And just be really scary to have that realization.

PATRICK CASALE: Not only scary, but I think it brings up a lot of shamefulness for people when they think about, "Oh, I get to choose who I can work with and I can exclude people from that list?" And one, I want to say, absolutely, like, referring out to someone who does it better or referring out to someone who it's their passion, that is doing the client a service. If you're doing it the opposite, you're doing a disservice not only to yourself but to your client. And I've preached this before that you can't be the Applebee's of therapy. And I had my friend, Montoya McGowan, on here, when I first started the podcast, and she was talking about being a Jesus junior. But I would define that as, like, bleeding heart syndrome and being a martyr.

And if you're sacrificing yourself to help everybody else, of course, you feel burnt out. And this is not just, you know, synonymous with being a mental health professional. It's really all helping professions when we start to look at it, because it's like, the culture becomes so ingrained that I need to put everyone else before I put myself, and then, ultimately, that is when you start seeing 40-hour a week caseloads, and you know, this feeling of like I can never get out from under this, I want to change my profession, I no longer love this work. And that sucks because it is preventable.

MEGAN KELLY: Yeah, it's very preventable. And a lot of the conversations that I have in this realm around those types of things, it can be difficult because there are a lot of ways where clinicians feel like that is an individual burden that they need to solve. They feel like, "Well, if I don't do it who will?" I hear that so much. Like, with almost every helper that I work with that is one of the first things that comes out of their mouth, "I don't know who else will do this."

And it's two sides of the same coin, right? Like, we have all of this desire to help people and we know that given the system that we have, if we don't do it, there may not be somebody to do it, at least not right away. But at the same time, we cannot be held individually responsible for doing it all.

And a lot of us with that martyr syndrome, that Jesus junior, we will choose that first side. We will say, it doesn't matter if I burn out. Like, these people need me. And that could be a whole nother episode about how problematic that line of thinking is. But it doesn't really, ultimately, help anybody when we're coming to our work with that frame of mind. It feels icky to me, yeah.

PATRICK CASALE: It does to me, too. And you know, in my coaching programs, I work with a lot of therapists in startup. And it is very common that that is the mindset, right? Of like, "How can I exclude? How can I niche? How can I, like, turn people away?" And I think it's multifaceted. Like, I think there's some mentality of, "If I turn people away and refer out nobody will ever call me again." I think that's much more related to, like, impostor syndrome, though, of not understanding that we're in a mental health pandemic, there are plenty of people who need support. Like, you turning someone away because you don't work with 14-year old's is not going to prevent other people from calling it.

And then, there is the like, like we said, whatever term we want to use in terms of I have to help everyone. And I hate to use like a therapist analogy, right? But like, you can't pour from an empty cup. And if you're giving all of yourself away, how can you truly show up and do the work? And that I think is when we see a rise in substance use, that's when we see a rise in like boundary-pushing, and like maybe behavior that you wouldn't usually exhibit as a professional.

So, like, there's a lot of stuff that happens when we lose sight of ourselves, and we don't take care of ourselves. And I think it's just so crucial to do so. And I'm just thinking, I don't know why my mind keeps going back to what you said about, like, CBT, EMDR, etc. But the reason I keep thinking about that is, like, you and I were talking about my TikTok series of making fun of therapist's Psychology Today's, and one that I read the other day was like, I mean, there are some really bad ones out there, it's not hard to find bad ones. You just put your area up and it's like Today, and you will find 100 bad ones.

But one was like, "I practice TF CBT, I practice EMDR CBT, AACT, IFS, brain spotting." A, B, and C, like every single intervention I've ever heard of and I was just thinking, like, who is going to land on this, read this and think, "Yeah, this persons for me." I would think, like, I don't even know what 99% of that means, and...

l MEGAN KELLY: Like, what the fuck are you talking about?

PATRICK CASALE: I just don't get it. And, you know, again, it comes back to like, what grad school didn't teach us and we could have a whole episode on that. But I just think there are so many ways to prevent struggling within our businesses if we could just get out of our own ways and allow ourselves to understand that clinical jargon doesn't fly, especially, in marketing.

I've taught people how to write their content. If you're going to say like, we're focusing on anxiety, or depression, or trauma, to be able to write content that explains all of those things without using those terms, so that, like, it's already all experience-based, right? So, like, someone can land on your page and read it and be like, "Oh, this person's talking about me and my struggle." Because it's so much more relatable.

MEGAN KELLY: Yep, yeah. I mean, some of the language that I have on my, I think on my website, is literally using quotes that I have heard, like, a combination of things that I've heard my own clients say creating that as like the banner quote on one of my pages, "I can't do this anymore." People read that and they say, "You're right. I can't do this anymore." And it goes into explaining, like you said, what are they actually experiencing? When you look successful, you look like you have it all together, everything is going great outwardly, but you feel like you are dying inside and nobody gets that. You don't have anybody to talk to you about it, and you are falling apart.

Now, that describes the experience of being burnt out, being overwhelmed, super stressed, maybe there's depression going on. Whereas when you say, I am a CBT therapist who will help you overcome the signs and symptoms of depression. Like, no, no, I can't deal with that right now.

And I say all these things with love in my heart for other therapists. Like, I truly love the therapy world. I think a lot of us are just amazing people. But we don't know how to talk about ourselves, which is really like, it's weird because we're in the business of building relationships. We're in the business of, like, hopefully, being humans or like bearing witness to the human condition. And yet we freeze up when it comes to being human ourselves. I feel sad about that.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I feel sad about that too. And I think that also goes hand in hand with networking. I hear a lot of therapists don't want to do it or feel sleazy, or like it's too salesy. And I always viewed it as just relationship building and recognizing that we're kind of experts in that. And if you could just go into those situations, just being curious about the other person, and asking questions, you know, and just showing up without an agenda, I think it takes a lot of pressure off. And it also, again, like leads back to when client A, B, and C call that you don't really support, you send them to the person who you've met who does. And it's really that simple.

We can simplify a lot of the stuff if we can take a step back and just look at the dynamics behind it. And you're right, like, I love what you just said about your website, it's so perfectly put, and some clients that I've worked with in the past, like, you know they have intense anxiety, you name it, like, hey, I think you have really strong anxiety and you're like, "I've never had anxiety in my life." But if you start to break it down by actual experience they're like, "Oh, yeah, yeah. I have anxiety." Right? Like, it's just a different way of framing it.

MEGAN KELLY: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And that is the accessibility piece, that is giving people the opportunity to know without having to throw jargon at them. Like, giving them the opportunity to know that you can help them, that you are available to walk them through the struggles that they're having right now, to be a support, to give them skills, whatever the case may be.

And I always like to encourage therapists, like, be brave with it, like stop. But one thing that I just, hate is a strong word. Okay, that's a strong word, but I hate the infographics on social media. I think there's probably some people who find them useful, but they're so bland, they're so boring, they're not useful. They don't tell me who you are.

PATRICK CASALE: And they look the same.

MEGAN KELLY: They look the same. They're all like, you know, here are six self-care tips, drink water. Fantastic. This is great. Thank so much. And maybe, like, for you, and I, and other people in the field may be it feels that way because we're so inundated with that information already. But to some degree, it's like, it's not you, it's not like original, it doesn't show who you are as a clinician. I don't know, please post something other than pretty pictures for your perfect Instagram feed, because it's so boring, it's so boring.

PATRICK CASALE: I like to think that's so timely because I just made a series of TikTok videos today about that exact topic, about, like, just sharing other people's, like, quotes or, you know, a quote with just like some motivational speech, but like nothing behind it, or like, yeah, like you said, six tips for self-care and really ugly graphics that, like, don't elicit an emotional response, right? Because that's what we need to be doing is you need to be captivating. And I think there's nothing less captivating than just, like, posting other people's content or like just generic ideas. You were not recreating the wheel, right? Like, self-care tips exist, they're always going to exist, they're all basically the same fucking thing.

But if you could go on there and like, show some of your self-care tips or stuff that you've struggled with around self-care, or like, how you practice it, or you preach it, but don't always practice it as a therapist. Like, that is much more relatable than like, go on a hike, and drink some water, and like, do meditation, and someone who's reading it who's struggling is like, "What the fuck? Like, yeah, I know these things, but I can't do them right now."

MEGAN KELLY: Right, yeah, the thing you always hear is like, "Well, I have depression, and people told me to just exercise." Fantastic, like, great, that'll solve it. And, like, we all know that exercise can help. But it doesn't really help anybody in the long term to see an original shit circulated over and over that, honestly, like, if you have not looked up self-care tips on the internet and found the same thing, like, it's not helpful.

PATRICK CASALE: And you have to ask yourself, like, what's the purpose behind that? If you think you're going to post stuff like that, and then, all of a sudden, poof, clients appear at your door. Like, that's not what works and I just wonder if we just feel, like, okay, I have to put content out there, so I'm going to put these like generic graphics out there.

That's not doing you a service either. If you, you know, are doing things like that and you hate content creation, I mean, you might as well just not do it, because ultimately, that's not allowing you to stand out with your personality. I would much prefer you put short videos out there, you know, of yourself talking, if you feel comfortable with that, writing some vulnerable posts, and breaking them up into segments so that you can post them and they can be more relatable.

But there are a lot of ways that you don't have to do, like, what Meg is saying, which ultimately, you know, isn't going to lead to the click, the share, the comment, the engagement, the client. Like, none of that stuff is going to lead to any of that.

MEGAN KELLY: Yeah, or even if you do get a lot of shares because people think that the graphic is pretty, or it's an inspirational quote, shares and likes don't equate to clients in the door. Again, regardless of the strategy that you use, whether it's social media, YouTube, TikTok, your website, profile, like whatever it is, you're still building that sort of like pre-relationship, you're trying to build rapport, and provide a sense to potential clients that they want to work with you, they feel like you know them, they're not going to get a sense that you know them through graphics, so…

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that's very well said. And, you know, it's just about showing up as you. Do it within your value system. Like, if you are social justice-oriented, show up and talk about it. Like, if you are an advocate for something, show up and talk about it. Like, if you're following my stuff right now you know I've been talking a lot about autism. But I have a platform, and I feel privileged enough to do that without a lot of backlash in any way. And I recognize that.

But like, showing up and talking about my own struggle, my audience loves it, right? Like, they feel connected to me. I get emails all the time from people I've never met, and they're like, "I love your stuff, I follow all of it, it's so great." Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I appreciate that so much, but it's because I show up authentically, and that's become my brand. And I think if you can kind of give yourself permission to put yourself out there just a little bit, it does not have to be like full force, I'm going to just go all into this, but just a little bit. Just share something that you've struggled with. It could be really simple, it could be really minor.

But getting in that mindset of it's okay to be a human, and it is okay to put yourself out there, and it is okay to disclose that you have a hard time here and there, because otherwise, it feels really artificial. Because we all know that life is not easy and we all have struggles. So, if we can't name them and talk about them, how can we support our clients to do the same thing?

yeah, it gives [INDISCERNIBLE:

PATRICK CASALE: That's very well said. So, you know, if you take away anything from this conversation, I hope you give yourself permission to just try really hard to embrace some authenticity, curse on your website if that's how you interact. Like, there's nothing more misleading than, like, being a blank slate, then you get to the therapy office, and this person's like cursing up a storm, like, "Who did I just get?" Right? But like, my homepage of my group practice website says fuck multiple times. We reference media like we reference New Girl, and Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings, and all this other shit, but like, it creates relatability.

And actually, I'm about to jump into an interview when we get off here with a psychiatric PA who wants to come work for us, and she referenced like, "I love the fact that your website seems relatable, authentic, and I can actually work at a place that will align with my values of being a real human being." And I'm like, "Oh, my God, I'm so excited to interview this person."

But that's what good content creation can do, is it can draw people in and elicit an emotional response, and investment, and connection before even meeting. And I think that's really the goal here when it comes to small business ownership.

MEGAN KELLY: Absolutely. Yeah, and that also, like, coming from the realm of burnout, like we said earlier, if you can actually show up as yourself, you're not feeling like you're putting on a show every day, and you can just be you in the room, you know, to the degree that you are comfortable with it, and you're not crossing those boundaries that we're also worried about. If you just show up as yourself, at least for me, I found that makes my work so enjoyable. It makes it easier for me to be at ease, which makes my job easier. Like, I can pick up on things when I'm not so worried about, "Do I look okay? Am I professional enough? Is my hairstyle the right…?" Like, it's just fuck it, who cares? Like, show up in attire that is appropriate, be presentable, be yourself, and just allow yourself to be there with the other person.

PATRICK CASALE: I love that. And, you know, just real quick before we end, thinking about burnout again, being through COVID, and this pandemic and this new telehealth era was one of the first times that we probably were experiencing something our client was experiencing simultaneously. And there's all this unknown, we don't know what's happening, we're scared, we're frightened, we're overwhelmed. Like, some of us were just checked out. But it was happening at the same time.

And I think for a lot of people, I gave therapists, hopefully, some permission to be like, "I'm dropping the charade. Like, this is how I'm experiencing life too. Like, I'm also very worried about A, B, and C." And it was like, okay, we're human beings and the shit together, I can still be helpful to you, I can still discuss the struggle, and that's okay. It's just something to think about for everyone out there. You know, just being relatable is so huge, and your clients will really appreciate it. And it's not going to mean that you're being unethical by being a real human being. And, may I-

MEGAN KELLY: It was something that had to be said, but yes.

PATRICK CASALE: That's the message, that's the takeaway. It's not unethical to be a real human being. I want you to hear that over and over and over again before I get all this hate email saying that I crossed the line.

I just want to say thanks. And I appreciate you being here. And I'm glad that we've connected over the last couple of weeks and your stuff is great. And you're helping a lot of people out there. And I just hope that for everyone listening, especially, the therapists in the world, just embrace it. You know, there's a lot of people out there that are preaching this stuff, and just really try to follow and support the people who are, you know, bold enough to take that stand, and I really respect it. So, please tell the audience where they can find your podcast and anything else that you're offering.

MEGAN KELLY: Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, thank you so much for having me on this show. I've really enjoyed connecting as well. So, you can find me on the Mental Status Podcast, it's on all major platforms, Spotify, Apple Music, all that good stuff. You can also find me on Instagram as the antiworktherapist. That's all one word, antiworktherapist. That's a page where, honestly, I go a lot more in-depth with a lot of these types of topics here being a real human and a therapist at the same time. So yeah, say hi in either of those spaces. I always like it when people say hi.

PATRICK CASALE: Love it. So, that will all be in the show notes for everyone if you need it, and you'll have access to any of the cool stuff that Meg is doing right now. I want to thank everyone for listening. New episodes every single Sunday, like, download, subscribe and share, that's me being a real human, stumbling over my words right now because it's been a long day. Like, download, subscribe, and share, and follow the All Things Private Practice Podcast, and remember, doubt yourself, do it anyway. And we will see you next week.

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