All Things Private Practice Podcast

Episode 26: Therapists Are Risk-Averse — Let's Change That [Featuring Jo Muirhead]

May 08, 2022 Patrick Casale Season 3 Episode 6
All Things Private Practice Podcast
Episode 26: Therapists Are Risk-Averse — Let's Change That [Featuring Jo Muirhead]
Show Notes Transcript

Therapists being Risk-Averse isn't anything new. We're taught to play it safe, not to take risks, and not to stand out.  Jo and I would argue that this keeps you small, safe, and decreases accessibility for your clients.

As a therapist, do you think that you have to show up a certain way, sacrificing your sense of self, personality, or desire to work differently?

In this episode we talk about:

  • How to embrace your authenticity and permission to step into your personality
  • How to market your services so that your clients can find you
  • How being able to connect with you through your marketing, content, and copywriting actually creates accessibility
  • Business mistakes that therapists often make
  • Therapy and trust: why it's so important to create it with your content and marketing
  • Jo and my own terrible medical experiences and why they could have been different


Jo Muirhead is an Australian private practice and business coach, acclaimed author, speaker, and cricket and coffee connoisseur.


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A Thanks to Our Sponsor!


I would also like to thank Embark EMR for sponsoring this episode.

Embark EMR is a superb software solution for solo practitioners, as well as group practices. Embark was designed by therapists to be simple and intuitive without all the extra stuff that you don't need so you don't feel like you're being nickel and dimed. Embark enables scheduling with automatic appointment reminders, a note organization system with multiple pre-built templates, and an automated invoice and superbill generation to make it easier on your clients.

There's even a patient portal where your clients can access notes, documents, and generate their own invoices and superbills. Embark EMR is setting a new precedent in EMR functionality and affordability. Embark’s simple one-tier system is $20 a month per therapist, and there are never any extra fees. Try Embark EMR today with a free trial at embarkemr.com.

You can also use code ATPP at checkout for 20% off an entire year of Embark.

PATRICK CASALE: This episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast is brought to you by Embark EMR. Embark is a superb software solution for the solo practitioner as well as group practices. Embark was designed by therapists to be simple and intuitive without all the extra stuff that you don't need, so you don't feel like you're being nickel and dimed. 

Embark enables scheduling with automatic appointment reminders, a note organization system with multiple pre-built templates, and an automatic invoice and superbill generation to make it easier on your clients. There's even a patient portal where your clients can access notes, documents and generate their own invoices and superbills. 

Embark EMR is setting a new precedent in EMR functionality and affordability. Embark’s simple one-tier system is $20 a month per therapist and are never any extra fees. Try Embark EMR today with a free trial at embarkemr.com. You can also use code ATPP for 20% off an entire year of Embark.

Hey everyone, you are listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast coming to you live today from Asheville, North Carolina. And I am joined today by good friend and colleague, Jo Muirhead, out in Australia where it is like 8 am, 9 am, I can't do the math. It's 6 pm in Eastern Time. So, that's the kind of day it's been for me. Jo is just starting her day. She's got her like Drink Good Coffee Before You Start The Day shirt on which I love. And Jo is a Counselor in Australia, a Business Coach, an Author, a Speaker, a cricket fan extraordinaire, a good coffee snob which I love too. And I'm just really happy to have you here. 

JO MUIRHEAD: Thank you, Patrick. The coffee snob is possibly the thing that needs to go first on my list, yeah.

PATRICK CASALE: We could just have an episode about why you should drink good coffee and support small business, and we can just mix all the other conversation, and I'd be totally happy with that. 

JO MUIRHEAD: I think it's an important conversation, because how many times in Facebook therapist communities do we see the question, “What coffee machine?” Or, “Should I even have a coffee machine in my waiting area?” So, I actually feel like it's irrelevant. 

PATRICK CASALE: I think it's irrelevant as hell. And I think also, I don't want to go down this rabbit hole because I will, but when it's like Starbucks, Starbucks, Starbucks, and I'm not trying to knock any Starbucks fans out there that are listening, but like if you own a small business you should probably try to support small business. That's just my plug right there. And anyway, we have no topic scheduled for today. We're just going to see where this goes because Jo has such a wonderful personality and story. 

And Jo, you told me the last time we connected where you were like, “I'm kind of a fan of yours.” And that made me, one, unbelievably uncomfortable, and bashful, and like, I just was like, “Holy shit, that feels amazing.” Because I follow all of your stuff, and I never thought that we would have a friendship, let alone like being able to sit here and record a podcast together. And that just means a lot to me. 

JO MUIRHEAD: Oh, thank you, and I am. So, some history to that, Patrick, is that I feel like the last couple of years have been a bit strange, and I had the opportunity to sit back and observe behavior more than participate in the world. And one of the things I noticed over the last couple of years was every five minutes or basically every time I opened Facebook, it felt like there was more people claiming to be the next best business coach, the best professional starting out. And having done this work now, I mean, to my 12th year, I've seen the rise of both tides before and some people last a day, some people last a week, some people last couple of years, and I'm starting to get like, hey, picking where energy is going to flow. 

And I remember looking at your stuff and going, “Ah, there's something different here.” And started watching what you were doing, and how you were serving the people, and I’m like, “He gets it. He actually gets what's going on, and how health professionals need to be supported.” And then I've just watched you go from strength to strength. So, there's quite a [INDISCERNIBLE 00:03:59] like on the Patrick bandwagon [INDISCERNIBLE 00:04:02].

And the other reason for that too is we need to pass the baton on. I've been doing this for a while. I worked out this week that I have been in my profession for 30 years. I seriously have become that person where I go, “Oh my god, I'm old.” Like, “I have a lot of wisdom. That's why my hair is white.” And we need to be passing the baton on to people who have new ideas,  new energy, a new way of thinking, because people of my generation we've gotten us this far and we actually need people with new ideas, new ways of thinking to take that baton and help add to the body of knowledge, and that is a really big part of my messaging is, I am so freaking sick and tired of us talking about theory and methods of doing things that date back to World War 1. 

So, as an example, I'm a Rehabilitation Counselor. Rehabilitation counseling was a profession that was developed after World War 1 because we had returning service personnel coming back, not dead, but incredibly maimed. And they needed some pathway to reintegrate back into life. We are still using the same biopsychosocial model of rehabilitation and community integration that was developed in World War 1. No, and I'm not saying it's bad, maybe it's the most wholesome thing that we won’t ever find, the greatest of all time, we won't ever find another thing. But wouldn't it be nice if we as the profession had the time, energy and financial resources to sit down and actually explore whether there might be something better now? [INDISCERNIBLE 00:05:30].

PATRICK CASALE: That's a hell of a good idea. I feel like I'm going to have a hard time controlling my laughter during this episode, so everyone listening, this is just a real conversation, and that's what I want this to be. So one, I want to just say thank you, because I really appreciate that. And maybe one day I will also get on the Patrick bandwagon. But right now, that's still a work in progress.

But that's such a good point because I feel so archaic, right? Like, not only like you're saying, we need new faces, we need new energy coming into the field, not just of mental health, and private practice care, and therapy, but in entrepreneurialship, and coaching, because I think we either evolve or we kind of stay stagnant. And that doesn't serve us as we change and as our culture changes. And you're right, like a modality or a mentality from World War 1, right? That's so interesting to take in, and realizing like that was 80 fucking years ago. Like, that was a very long time ago and we haven't really shifted.

We have a situation in the United States that's developing with counselors trying to unify, so that we can work across state lines with clients who maybe they go home for college, maybe they just move out of state, but we have a rapport and the fact that we're not licensed in those areas that's really damaging to therapeutic alliance and relationship. And we still have people combating the notion that that should happen, because it's not fair to them being licensed in one state, not going to go down that road right now. But that's my newest gripe, looking at that at my Facebook group right now. 

But you kind of are one of those pioneers, Jo, and one of the people who really started to work on this like entrepreneurial mindset coaching, especially with therapists. And I was amazed that most of this started in United States, right? You didn't really start this in Australia? 

JO MUIRHEAD: No, no, I didn't. So, to give people some context, the population of Australia is less than the population of California, okay? So, we need to have that there as well. So, in Australia, we have a much more socialized public health service than you do in the U.S.. It is not evil, it is not bad, just putting that out there. And so we similarly, to the U.S., we have private, we have public, and then we have this thing where we try and do both at the same time. Not that one isn't better than the other, we all have privilege, I'm not here to denote that.

What I find interesting though is in the USA your nation was founded by people wanting to leave the regulations of Great Britain and come and start a new world. So, it was all about personal choice. It was all about entrepreneurial spirit. We're going somewhere to start that something new, to create the life that we want to live, that we can't have here in Great Britain because… Oh, actually came in and thankfully financed, does that surprise anybody? But let's face it, if you've spent any time in London, it rains a lot. You think you’d get [INDISCERNIBLE 00:08:08] infected disorder in parts of the U.S.? I think in London's probably got the 10 out of 10 on that. 

So, your nation was founded, and yeah, there's been horrible things happen there, but your nation was founded, and you know that’s the spirit of how it was started and created. Here in Australia, my people came from Great Britain on convict ships, quite literally, that is where my genealogy goes. I had family come out on either the first or the second [PH 00:08:33] slate. We can't tell because nobody kept records on prisoners who were dying in those convict ships. 

We do understand there was a lot of [INDISCERNIBLE 00:08:38] involved. How that got passed down the line, I don't know. So here in Australia, I didn't have the population of people to start with, so I'm quite opinionated. And those opinions are generally founded on me having done the thinking, done the work. I'm always more than happy to have somebody disagree with me, just do it kindly and politely. 

So here in Australia, I didn't quite have that same voice, because I was starting to take things like private practice has a very real place in our healthcare and people were like, “Shut up. No, you can't say that. Private practice is all about people who just want to make money off sick people.” And I’m like, “Private practice has a genuine place in reducing the burden of the public health system.” And I believe that with every fiber of my being. Private practice just works. It works for the clinician who wants to do this type of work, it works for the clients who can accept this type of work, and it works for our government-funded services because then we're removing the burden of, so in Australia 27 million people all needing treatment by, you know, a handful of people in our health services.

Like, here in Australia at the moment to access community care people are waiting 9,12,18 months, so if you can picture yourself in pain, so if you've got a really bad back, and your back is so, so [INDISCERNIBLE 00:09:57], if you've lived with chronic pain for any length time you know that, that's debilitating. And you've been told you don't need surgery, but you need physical therapy, so you go, “Right.” So, you limp on down to the physical therapy department and put your name on a waiting list. And they say, “We have a waiting list of about 18 months, we'll let you know when you're close to the top.” Right, you can go, “Excellent. Who do I know, who knows a physical therapist in my local community who is known to get this pain resolved?” 

Yeah. So, I'd say the same thing for mental health professionals. They’re used to a physical exam. I think with mental health professionals, we get so used to hearing ourselves in these stories that they lose some of their impact. 

But I know anyone who's lived through pain, we just don't think about putting our hands in our pocket to go and get that pain resolved. So, the same thing is happening with mental health services. It hurts my heart that somebody has finally gone, “I need help. I now understand what anxiety is, out of control, I'm about to lose my job, I can't stay at home anymore, I'm sick of not being able to sleep. Could somebody please help me.” And the automated response they get from a health service is, “It’s now on our list, somebody will be in touch.”

So for me starting this coaching, it was about giving health professional some respect and dignity, because I think that was sorely missing for me, but it was also understanding that we can bridge a really big need. And private practice isn’t for everyone. I've never said that it was, but it certainly is an important part of our health system. So, for me being able to speak like that in Australia wasn't well received. 

So, I was working with a coach, I got to meet Kelly and Miranda from zynnme. I didn't know that this health coaching thing was even at thing. So, here I am meeting these other two people who are trying to do the same thing I was doing. And we were like, “Sponges, oh my god.” And it was just exciting, and they were incredibly generous, and I've enjoyed watching the way they have developed their service biz and what they’re offering, their gifts to the therapist community in the USA. And they asked me to come and speak at a conference called The Most Awesome Conference. And seriously, to this day, it is still the most awesome conference I've ever been to. And it was there that I got to speak what I thought to be true, and it was just well-received. And that was back in 2015. 

And so, I'd been doing work for a while back in 2015, and from then the people in the U.S. are like, “Jo, you're a straight shooter, you tell it how it is, you're not going to play smart, but you're also smart, and can help me work out why I'm getting in my own way, and what are the things I need to do to fix that.” So, that's how my entry into the USA came about. Pretty yeah, history lesson in the making. 

PATRICK CASALE: That's a pretty remarkable story and starting point, and also such a good way to reframe it too. I think when we use the examples of physical pain it's a lot easier to conceptualize, right? Because there's still that shame and stigma that comes up with mental health support. 

And then culturally, as a profession, there's a shame and stigma that comes up when we think about charging clients for mental health support. So, big cultural shift happening in the States right now with a new era of psychotherapy and more of the realization that like, it's absolutely okay to make money and help people simultaneously and both things can be done. And you're still going to get those reactions where it's like, “No, that's being greedy, you're taking advantage of people.” And that's okay for those people who think that way. Maybe you're in private practice, and you have your own model, and that works for you, or you're going to stay in community mental health, and that works for you. And that is okay. 

However, I want to challenge the notion, right? That exists of, you can't do both. And I think most of the time it is mindset-based where it's like, one, I don't know how to own a business because grad school didn't fucking teach us anything, two, I don't understand why I'm getting in my own way. Why these feelings? Why these emotions are surfacing when I'm starting to do these things like impostor syndrome, insecurity, comparison mindset stuff, right? I see you post about comparison mindset all the time. And that is really real, like on the outside, looking in everything’s shiny, everything's perfect, everything's glamorous. And on the other side of being an entrepreneur, it's fucking messy. And there's a lot of heartache, and there's a lot of pain. 

JO MUIRHEAD: Yeah, and you're absolutely right. Being a clinician and being an entrepreneur almost diametrically oppose to each other in terms of mindset. So in my book, I have a model, where I actually explored the difference between entrepreneurial thinking and clinical thinking,  and you can actually see this visually in front of you, and this is so eye-opening to so many people because as health professionals we are risk-averse. It's a first thing that I come up with all the time. We are always looking for a safe way for somebody to take a risk. That's what we're doing with clients. We want to make it safe for you to step outside to your front door, we want to make it safe for you to feel confident to have that uncomfortable conversation, we want you to feel safe enough to practice your breathing, or go to an EMDR session, or talk about the fact that you've had nightmares for 20 years. So, we're always looking to help people manage risk. 

Again, on top of that, we have all this compliance-driven risk management, what life [INDISCERNIBLE 00:14:58] got? Where can you practice? Don't cross state lines. Make sure you're not doing anything other than your scope of practice. Don't call yourself a coach if you're going to do therapy. Don't call yourself a therapist if you're going to be doing coaching. Which insurance do you have? Which bank account do you have? Like, seriously, and then we throw words around, like, that's unethical, that's unprofessional. The latest one I'm saying is, that’s immoral. And we throw this stuff around, so we risk-averse. We don't want to go first, because nobody's done it before. My peers are going to crucify me if I do something a little different, if I try something new that hasn't been tested, and they've no randomized controlled trial over the last 20 years, perfect segue. If you're waiting for a 20-year randomized controlled trial, your ideas are now outdated. 

PATRICK CASALE: Yes, yes.

JO MUIRHEAD: Okay. Yes, coming back, I know enough about research to know that that's truth. So, we're risk-averse in our therapeutic approach. But as an entrepreneur, we have to be risk credit. You have to understand your tolerance to risk as well. But you have to be risk ready, you have to be ready to go, “I'm going to put myself out there, and I'm going to do everything within my power to make sure that the right people find me so that I can provide them the right service that at the right time. But there's no guarantee.” 

The other thing that we are awesome at doing as health professionals, and this comes in from our training, but it also is a part of what makes up the health professional in the first place is we are here to serve, we are here to serve. Nobody decides to go to grad school, or in my case to university to become a health professional because their first thought is it's going to make me rich.

PATRICK CASALE: There's an almost running joke in grad school and university that it's the exact opposite, that you don't get into this profession to make money. 

JO MUIRHEAD: Yeah, and then there are schools, social work schools that I have had arguments with that are actually teaching newly graduate, newly minted social workers that if a person is in need, if they can't afford to pay, you provide them services anyway. But you basically need to martyr yourself. And that’s really-

PATRICK CASALE: And that just further conditions and just reinforces that belief of, I have to give all of myself away to be in this profession. And the way that I'm paying myself back is the currency of emotional labor. And in reality, you can't pay your fucking bills with emotional labor, and you can't keep the lights on in your office with that, and you can't prevent yourself from burning out by taking on every single person that calls you. It's just not humanly possible. 

JO MUIRHEAD: It is not humanly possible. So, we cannot continue. I don't care where you're employed, private practice, social health care, community mental health, we can no longer tolerate being [INDISCERNIBLE 00:17:36]. 

So, coming back to the mindset shift that we need to make, we are taught that money is evil, and a lot of us come from a pseudo-Christian or a Judeo Christian background where, you know, unfortunately, that concept has been [INDISCERNIBLE 00:17:49]  but we are taught that money is evil, where entrepreneurs know that money is a resource. It allows me to do more things, to help more people. It allows me to look after myself in such a way that I can be helping more people, it allows me to plan for my future, for my retirement, it allows me so that I am not a burden so that I have the choice that I want to have. Like, any other profession in the world talks about this except health, especially mental health. So, it excites me now when I have people coming to me going, “Jo, I need to get prepared for my retirement.”

Now, I would prefer people started doing this when they were 30, not when they are 65. But we need to start somewhere. So, we can start putting together a way of working that allows you to stay the course, lock the distance, feel good about your doing, but know that your future is secure. Because I think if anything else in the last couple of years, even if you've got a full-time permanent job with a large organization, there was no security in employment, none.

PATRICK CASALE: None, and no expectation that that would change in a matter of a week or a day, and so many people scrambling to figure it out. 

JO MUIRHEAD: Yeah, and I wasn't around when the Spanish flu was around, so I never lived through a global pandemic before, so I was learning on the run like everyone else because I ended up being such a poor fit for employment. I thought that that was all I could do. I grew up in a household where my father was self-employed. I've watched him have a heart attack at age 37 due to the stress of that, right?

So, my mind shifts or minds that was self-employment makes you sick, self-employment gives you a heart attack. I was never going to do that. But into my career I was managing and leading organizations and burning out. I was doing lots of really good clinical work and I was burning out. And it wasn't until I took control of my work life that I was able to go, private practice is the best way for me to look after myself. Now, that doesn't happen from day one, that's a process, and I wouldn't exchange it for anything. If I couldn't be a health professional anymore, I would find another way of being employed or generating income without having to be employed somewhere. I'm just not a good fit for it. So, there are a couple of differences between clinical thinking and entrepreneurial thinking. 

PATRICK CASALE: Agreed, wouldn't even try to say it better myself and I'm laughing right now because you're mentioning not being able to be employed. And I was talking with someone earlier about I was never manageable. Like, once I realized that there was too much bullshit involved with like a punch the clock nine to five situation, right? Like, if I get my job done in three days, why do I have to be here these other two days? Like, I don't understand. Make it make sense for me. And I was always in middle management and leadership, and I'm sure people above me hated that. 

I was like, “I don't understand why we can't do things this way or work this way.” So, I think for me, I could never go back to that lifestyle either. And I want to circle back to something you mentioned that really struck a chord with me, like the realization of you can do this work, and you can help so many people by preventing yourself from burning out. So, for me no longer working as a therapist, I have about three or four clients left, and that's about all I'll ever take again, when I'm doing my practice building programs with eight to 10 therapists from all over the country, helping them build their businesses, helping them work for themselves, then they get to help those 25 to 30 people on their caseload, and that trickles down, and that trickles down, and that helps the community at large. 

So, if we start to realize like, once we get out of the one-on-one therapy world, if we want to, you can still help massive amounts of human beings by doing different types of work, because our skills are so applicable as mental health professionals in so many different ways if we can just understand how often they can be used in entrepreneurialship, in leadership roles, etc., and it doesn't have to look a certain way.

JO MUIRHEAD: Agreed, and it doesn't mean that everybody who has had a private practice for 20 minutes should become a practice building coach because this type of work comes with its own challenges. And you'll get caught out if you haven't invested in doing your own work, in terms of addressing your own mindset, and becoming skilled in things like markets, everybody needs to learn how to market. Or you know, you don't want to call yourself a marketing coach, but you end up talking to people about marketing. 

But it's bigger than that. It really is this mindset piece, and I have never tried to sell my services on mindset, because people often don't want to buy mindset, they want to buy the result. So, my process is let me help you transform your business so you're working in a way that nourishes you, and to the body of knowledge where you're earning the type of income that you want to earn, and the way I do that, actually is irrelevant. But, you know what? I'm going to do it by working on your mindset, but I'm not going to tell you that, because you won't want to work with me.

PATRICK CASALE: Right, because the misconception is going to be that Jo is a life coach, and no offense to any good life coaches out there, but there's a big stigma, and understandably so. But if you're selling mindset, right, which is always when I come back to, what do I actually do? Because it's so much bigger than just like, I'll help you start a practice step-by-step. Like anybody can Google how to get a fucking employee identification number and like set up a bank account.

But at the same time, it's not about the setup process. It's the fear, the anxiety, the insecurity of the, I don't know what I don't know, and that terrifies me. And then of concern of can I really make this a successful venture if I'm doubting myself so often? And how do I put that into words, though? How do I sell that, right? And that exactly, like you're saying, is just packaging it differently, but understanding we're going to get to your desired result because it is mindset shifting and mindset work. 

And I think good coaching is all about someone who has done the work, like you said, like you have to be able to show up, and get into the thick of it, and know what it's like to have struggled, and doubted yourself, and you know, question your abilities, because otherwise how can you show up authentically for someone who's doing the same thing?

JO MUIRHEAD: Health professionals are smart. They see right through it, that if you are not genuine, if you do not have a genuine solution to a genuine problem, you will get caught out.  And because we're smart, and we're skeptical, because we are always looking for… the true currency of our work is trust. It is not the exchange of income, it is trust. Before a person opens themselves up to you as a clinician they trust you. 

I had this consultation with an eye surgeon this week, and he met me, he was in a rush, because he’s always in a rush, and he was walking in the room. As he was inviting me in the room he pointed to a chair, and he sat on the chair, and as I was sitting on the chair he was walking in my personal [INDISCERNIBLE 00:24:30] right? I actually put my hands up like a big stop sign and said, “Before you get closer, please explain to me what you're about to do.”

So, he was so caught up in his process he’d forgotten. So, how do I doubt that he’s an excellent surgeon? I cannot remember why I started to talk about that. Anywho, coming back, help me re-orientate my thought. Patrick, what were we talking about [CROSSTALK 00:24:52].

PATRICK CASALE: Well, we were talking about [INDISCERNIBLE 00:24:52] and trust.

JO MUIRHEAD: Trust, so I didn't trust him. I did not trust him even though I've seen him before, even though he's got all these [INDISCERNIBLE 00:24:59] after his name. It took me eight months to get in to see this guy, so all the things were telling me he was an expert, never try and sell me on your expertise, I don't really care. But he invited me, sorry. He invited me and trust got broken. 

So, if you're wanting to work as a coach, or a consultant, or a mentor, it's not about the imposter syndrome, because that's a whole different thing but if you genuinely don't have anything to offer, please don't do it, because you're going to get caught out. There you go. That's a simple thing. And you don't all have to… if you want to get into this work, right, because we need you, but get into it not because you're so sick of therapy or as a way of getting over dateline, because to me you don't even understand the nature of the issue, if that is your whole reason for getting into coaching. 

But yeah, trying to work out how do I make this decision in a way that doesn't make me want to vomit, in a way that puts food on the table, in a way that I've got some peace of mind that knowing in three month’s time when my cash reserves run out that I'm going to be okay. That's why people need you and I, and I'm not here just to go pat you on the back, “Patrick, it's all going to be okay. It’ll all be okay if you just believe it, if you affirm it, if you do three hours of meditation every morning, go for your job, then do some yoga, and write it down 1000 times that you are successful” You actually need to have people like Patrick or myself in your life that are actually asking the difficult questions, which is, “What are you doing to attract the types of clients that you want to work with?” “I'm saying my affirmations.” “What are you doing to attract the type…” “I have a Psychology Today profile?” “Fantastic. Can we have a look at it?” “Sure. I am a therapist. I work in Florida. I charge $250 per session.” If you don't have a Psychology Today profile... Okay, you're laughing, so, I need to shut up now [CROSSTALK 00:27:01].

PATRICK CASALE: …because you are so spot on. I'm laughing because everything you're saying is so spot on, and I'm sorry, I'm not trying to make you stop talking, because I think what you're saying is so valuable. I am thinking of a legitimate, the person right now because I taught a course on how to market and attract your clients, and be authentic, and write your content, and all the shit. But I was using profiles on Psychology Today from therapists in Florida, because I was in-

JO MUIRHEAD: Florida?

PATRICK CASALE: ...Florida at the time, and then was so fucking bad. Like, I was just randomly Googling ‘therapists near me in St. Pete.’ and I clicked on the first one in front of the group of therapists who was taking my stuff, and we're implementing what we're talking about, right? And I clicked on the first one, and I start laughing because it is so bad. Like, the picture is so off-putting, the verbiage is so bad. It's all about proving your competency. It's like a resume, as if I'm trying to sell the client on how many years, how many licenses, how many trainings I've gone to, and the client is like, “Who the fuck is this person talking to? I know it's not me.” And it was just such a great example of what not to do. 

But again, a Psych Today page is just one small piece of the puzzle. And like you have to be putting these things in place, and it's not just simply like manifesting it. It is actually understanding the strategy behind it because psychology and marketing go hand in hand. And if you can't conceptualize that, or make sense of that, maybe you don't need to be a business owner, because you have to understand how to market and network. And most often in my programs people, I'm sure you experienced this too, you talk about marketing and networking, and the instinct and the reaction is like, “Oh, that's sleazy. That's gross. That makes me feel like a used car salesperson.” And it's like, “No, we know how to build relationships. That's what we do. Use your fucking skills so that people know that you exist.” 

JO MUIRHEAD: Oh, yeah. So then Patrick, what gets in the way of that? Because it's not a skills development problem, we already have the skills. What gets in the way? I don't like it. I don't want to feel like a used car salesman. What if people reject me? What if this doesn't work? What if I fail? And for me, the sense of failure very quickly goes, “I fail, everybody leaves me, I am completely alone and abandoned, and I have no way of supporting myself.” Like, that conversation happens in my head instantaneously. And yes, I do use quite flamboyant language, because I need people to wake up, right?

PATRICK CASALE: Yes.

JO MUIRHEAD: Okay, so I don't even have those words, so I've just had to learn how to backtrack through that whole division because when I have to put myself out there and do something new, I get nervous. I'm like, “Who's going to reject me now? What sort of hate am I going to get now? Who’s going to accuse me of doing something bad now?” I am more scared of my peers than I am with my potential clients, and it's Gordon who said that first, and he is 100% right, but we’re not marketing to our peers. And if we are genuine in our desire to help, most of us went into health professional schools to learn how to help people, but we're happy to help them when they've already found their way into our room. That is selfish and it breaks all of the rules and intent of what we profess to be about, which is accessibility. If people cannot find you, they don't know you can help them. That is your first role as a therapist or a health professional, and yet, I'm cranking up, got my angry mum voice on. 

PATRICK CASALE: If I wasn't enjoying this conversation so much, I would just be like, “That's it, that's all we need to know because that is so true and so spot on.” And if they can't find you, they can't access you. If they can't access you, you can't help them. If they can't access you, and you can't help them, you can't survive as a business owner. Like, it all goes round and round and it's all okay to coexist together and be synchronistic. 

And you made so many good points, I'm trying to think about what to start with. I have done so much of my own therapy around my insecurities as an entrepreneur and my inability to feel like I can be successful at it because you have a bad client interaction, all of a sudden, I'm no longer a good therapist, nobody's ever going to call me again, the phone's never going to ring, I have to reduce my fees from 150 to $28 an hour, otherwise, nobody will ever, ever contact me. So, it's just like, it happens that quickly, and it's like, “Whoa, take a breath. Like, it is just about rapport and trust. And if it wasn't there, the relationship wasn't going to work in the first place.” And that is really important to remember when you're starting to second guess yourself or doubt yourself as a mental health clinician or a health professional.

I'm thinking about your eye doctor experience, because that's really like bringing something out  from it. You and I have talked about like this throat issue that I got diagnosed with, and I remember sitting with the expert in Appalachia in western North Carolina, which doesn't have a lot of specialists. And he just kept talking about how many failed experiences he's had. If I want someone smarter, I should call this doctor two and a half hours away. She's way better than he is. But he's made so many mistakes that he knows what he's doing now, but it may not work. And the way he was talking about himself so arrogantly, the only thing I could do, I dissociated, first of all, and all I could think about was please remember this doctor's name in Winston Salem, so as soon as you leave this office you can call her and make an appointment. 

And she did not tell me anything differently than he did, but her delivery, and her bedside manner made me trust her. And now I drive three hours away every couple of months to go see her. And it's just creating that rapport and trust is so crucial in the work that we do, not just as health coaches and business coaches, but as clinicians and therapists too. And I think we often lose sight of that. That is what this is all about.

JO MUIRHEAD: Our skillset, particularly, mental health care, and I don't care if you're a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, speech pathologist, you're dealing with people's mental health all the time, right? Your execution might be through mobilization of joint, but you actually have to treat a person who is in pain, and you can't separate the fact that they have feelings about their pain, so let's just put that out there. 

Okay, so the skills that we learned in terms of recall building, in terms of how to have a conversation, in terms of social and emotional intelligence, bringing it back to that point, we are using that every time we write a letter, every time we greet somebody at the door, every time we [INDISCERNIBLE 00:33:00], every time we have an interaction with staff, every time we go to a community event, every time we pass through a drive-through and place an order for a burger. Like, these are skills that we take for granted that we're using every day. 

Unfortunately, health professionals put themselves in a box that goes, “This my clinical work and [INDISCERNIBLE 00:33:19] time I would present myself as a clinician.” and then we put on our clinical work face, and everything changes. We go back through stages of report development, tick box one, you may proceed to box two. That's not how you have a conversation. 

But Patrick and I, we didn't even have a formula to what we were doing here today. I just had to suck it up and go, “On trust and fake, trust.” So if nothing else, that understanding that trust is the currency, so what are you doing to build trust? And it's not about just I have the right pieces of paper and the right disclosures, it's like how do you help me to make sure that I can trust you with my most vulnerable part of myself right now, whatever that is for me? 

So, on Monday for me, two days ago for me it was my eye. Please don't come at me with that sharp implement until I know what you're going to do with it. But I get that you're busy, I get that you've kept me waiting 90 minutes, I will wait another 90 minutes if you need to go have a toilet, right? Or a break, just so I can trust you, right?

One of the pieces of feedback I get, I have a couple of communities, so I have a mastermind group called the [INDISCERNIBLE 00:34:25] how cool is that? And then I have a group coaching community called You, The Entrepreneurial Clinician, and I am so fierce about protecting those community that people just don't say shit about each other in them. You just don't do that around me. And if you do, we're going to have word. You can test me out on it, but I can guarantee that the community will kick you out before I have to, and that is because I have learned how to create an environment with trust is the currency. I couldn't teach you how to do that Patrick. Like, I haven't codified that yet. 

But people will say, “I cannot believe that I talk about the things I talk about here.” And I'm like, “Yeah, but these are the things that are keeping you stuck, right?” So, I had somebody turn up this week, “I can't get my course completed, I just every time…” But then she tells me, “I have a neurodivergent husband, two adult children who are neurodivergent, I work with neurodivergent children. I’m doing lots of assessments, I'm booked out six weeks in advance. I’ve just been diagnosed with this other thing, and today I have a migraine.” 

I'm like, “How totally primitive course.” Like, can we get some other things sorted out first?” But that's what people need, people like Patrick, and Jo, because I know creating a course is exciting about, I'm not going to have to sit in a chair and see another client, you don't understand the work that goes into that. And if you don't have the time, and if you don't have the energy, more importantly, nothing ain't going to be finished. I have seen-

PATRICK CASALE: No. Certainly, more great points.

JO MUIRHEAD: There are many therapists who have burnt out in the chair, or what I call the chair, come to me going, “I am so burnt out, I need to create a course.” And I'm like, “It's not the right time. I need to help you recover from your burnout before we build a course, and I know you need to do that without losing income. So, we've got some work to do.” And it's possible, it's what I do. But I can't give you a formula for it, because I treat every person like they're unique, and they're an individual. It's not a seven-step system. We got to work out what's right for you.

PATRICK CASALE: That's so, so powerful. And I agree. I mean, that's the way I approach coaching is, it's got to be individualized. And maybe that person who's so burnt out needs to do some rate increases, change their populations, right? Attract clients that energize them again, like there's so many things to go into that, because so many people throw the word passive income around as if it's like very easy to do. That's one of my buzzwords right now, that really makes me cringe. And people don't see the behind the scenes effort and energy that goes into that piece as well. 

Yeah, I mean, you just made so many good points, I just really think that even with your group, and the thing that you said, I don't know how to codify, it's you, right? It's like you're the person setting the tone, you're creating the culture, it's the way you show up, it's the way that you will show up authentically and boldly. And I think that's really important, because I ask myself the why me question a lot. Why are people attracted to me? Why does my Facebook group maybe feel different than some others that exist? But it's got to be the way that you show up for the people that are in your communities, because not only are those people important to you, but those people are going to tell people about you, recommend you, et cetera, and you want good recommendations from people that you've helped and supported, because their success is my success, at least that's my opinion. And I will be fiercely loyal to the people that I support and vice versa, and also to the profession, you know, and I just really respect that you just said all of that. 

This has been fun. I want to keep going, but I also know you're starting your day. So, you know, one thing I want to say is Jo and I would not be sitting here if not for networking and the ability to put myself out there or vice versa, because I messaged you a year and a half ago, “Hey, do you ever want to do like a Zoom chat?” I had no ulterior motives. I think sometimes when we're bigger and we have more reputability we get a lot of those asks, so it's hard to discern through which have like different intentions. And I've met so many people that are so wonderful, because I just put myself out there and was like, “Hey, I just want to learn about you and meet you.”

I think our first conversation was about coffee and you trying to explain the game of cricket to me, which I still don't understand.

JO MUIRHEAD: It’s okay. We did not have enough time for me to help you understand cricket right, yeah.

PATRICK CASALE: We don't, but that's been my entire experience as an entrepreneur and as a human is just to be curious, and to ask, and sometimes people are going to say, “No, I have no desire to meet you or I don't have time.” And that's okay, that's not a reflection of you. But just, if you are going to put yourself out there and you're struggling to make these connections, just do so with genuine intentionality and just be genuine about it. It doesn't have to be salesy or sleazy, it doesn't have to be you saying, “Can you help me with this.” It's just, “I want to get to know you as a human being.” Because then I am much more invested in your personal success and your business success. And that, for me, is the epitome of connection. And I just really appreciate the fact that we've become friends even though we've never met each other in person.

JO MUIRHEAD: But Hawaii is changing that in the middle of the year, which is pretty cool. Can I just say that when you connected with me, because you're right, I do get a lot of requests, and I try my best to respond to them with praise, even on days when it's just like, “Oh, please not again.” And then that's not anyone who's listening, what I want you to listen to is the way Patrick went about reaching out to me, which was, I have no ulterior motive here. I respect you. I like you. He’d learned things about me, so coffee and cricket. And the fact that you asked me questions about cricket was probably the clincher, because I was like I could have this conversation forever and nobody from the U.S., well actually, that's not true. I have two clients who will talk to me about the cricket, but nobody else. They just don't even know what to think. 

Too many people got [INDISCERNIBLE 00:39:55] baseball and like [INDISCERNIBLE 00:39:57] can we stop saying that? But the fact that you worked out that I like my coffee, that is not Starbucks, and I'm pretty militant about that, and that we could have a conversation about cricket made me go, “I want to know this diamond.” And really that's the simplicity of building connection, which I think we really need to replace the word marketing with connection. 

PATRICK CASALE: Yes. 

JO MUIRHEAD: How are we connecting with the people who need us that we can serve? How are we connecting with them? If we're going to use a big collect social media, how are we connecting with them? Because drawing out a graphic that's got to find a print, that people are trying to read on their mobile phones is not going to cut it.

PATRICK CASALE: Spot on. We can talk all day about all this stuff. We could talk all day about the things therapists do wrong, maybe we'll do another episode about that. But in all seriousness, this was really fun. And I'm really looking forward to seeing you in Hawaii in August. And honestly, I'd love to get to Australia sometime too to meet you in that country, because I've never been, and I really want to go, and that's even more incentive for me to meet you, and your husband, and Smudge.

JO MUIRHEAD: Smudge is my dog, in case anybody went, “What the hell is that?” [INDISCERNIBLE 00:41:00] my very first speaking engagement in the U.S. speaking in front of a room full of Americans, and here in Australia, we have this phrase, and we go bush, “I'm going bush for the weekend.” So, I would talk about people just going bush and everybody did what you're doing right now at a conference where I was speaking at the front of the room, and they all laughed, I had no clue. So, I kept saying it, “Going bush. We're going bush. We're not going bush.” What's going on? And it took a lovely couple of women after… because in the end they have no idea what you're laughing at, no idea why they’re funny, but I really do need to move on. And then they interpreted it for me and I blushed for about a week. So, for us that means we're going to go into the forest and enjoy being in trees, and nature. 

So, with all of these people doing amazing things with retreats, and conferences, and experiences, and stuff, we can come to Australia and do that too. I just don't have the energy at the moment to be able to put one on. So, if somebody wants to put their hand up and say I'll put it on if you can help me organize it, hey, I'm your girl. Oh, apparently that roll’s already been taken and Patrick’s going to make that happen. We just need to wait for the Australian Government to open up audit, to let you in.

PATRICK CASALE: That sounds magical, and I will happily volunteer my time to do it as I want to get to New Zealand to check out all my nerdy Lord of the Rings shit anyway. So, it's been a pleasure. And please just tell everyone where they can find you, because I'm sure people listening are going to want to work with someone like you.

JO MUIRHEAD: Excellent. Well, I have a website. It’s jomuirhead.com. It's a great example of what not to do. So, there you go. And I've done that quite deliberately, and I do that quite deliberately. It has a law degree, it’s the old juice, though, so we're not going to change it anyway, or put up another conversation. 

I am on Facebook, Jo Muirhead, I am on Instagram. I'm also on LinkedIn, but I don't like visiting LinkedIn. The best way to connect with me at the moment is probably through Facebook, because that's where I spend quite a lot of my time every Friday my time, Thursday, your time. I'm doing an Ask Me Anything live on Facebook, where I genuinely answering questions that people ask me and once a month I’m running [INDISCERNIBLE 00:43:21] master class expanding on some of those points. I have a group coaching. You, The Entrepreneurial Clinician is a group coaching community. There’s space in that if you want to come along and be supported to implement, you know, just get new information. I turn up to that community live three times a month. It's-

PATRICK CASALE: [CROSSTALK 00:43:41].

JO MUIRHEAD: …time, and my commitment is to help people implement what they learn because we're all full of head knowledge that is just, you know, sitting on dusty bookshelves in our brain and that's unhelpful. So, I created the group because people needed a more cost-effective way of accessing coaching, and this works, most of it. So, it's pretty cool called, You, The Entrepreneurial Clinician.

PATRICK CASALE: Perfect, and we will have the links to all of that in the show notes. So, if anyone needs that information, you'll have it, and again, I just want to thank you for coming on and making time, and it's just been a pleasure, and I'm really looking forward to continuing to connect.

For everyone listening, new episodes of the All Things Private Practice Podcast every Monday on all major platforms. Like, download, subscribe, share, and new motto is, doubt yourself, do it anyway. We’ll see you next Monday. Thanks, Jo.