And here we are folks, another week, another article. Self promotion is the topic of this week's article, written by Michael Angelo, LPC. He points out the hesitancies that we all face when being honest about ourselves and our abilities Think about yourself and your "brand" as you read through this week's article. Anything that you feel you should stand with more confidence? Here is what Michael has to say:

I read an interesting article online recently about whether therapists should brand themselves. Some therapists might recoil in horror (or assume a fetal position under the bed) at the thought of “branding” their practices, the article said. "We are, after all, healers and mental health professionals, not hawkers of cosmetics and cornflakes," according to the article. And yet, is it so wrong to let people know what we specialize in, and why?

I appreciate what Joe Bavonese—author of the Psychotherapy Networker article “What’s in a Brand?”—advises. He said to take a breath and consider what branding really means.

“First, if you think that what you do as a therapist is helpful, worthwhile, and maybe even unique (after all, you are the unique person doing it), it’s a short step to believing you have a duty to let people know these things,” Bavonese writes. “How else are all the people who would benefit from your services going to get help unless they know where and from whom to get it?”

I am an anxiety specialist. No one would know that unless I promoted myself as such on the Heritage website. I received special and extensive training in this area. Why would I want to be sheepish about my expertise when so many individuals suffer from anxiety, and know first hand the debilitating effects it can have on their lives?

I've seen anxiety put people in the hospital, their worries were so great. It has also ripped marriages apart, the stress of their own anxious thinking causing them to be so irritable and unfocused that their spouse could get nowhere with them. Many therapists advertise themselves as specializing in anxiety for individuals or couples. But are they really equipped to deal with the collateral damage that anxiety brings?

"In a soundbite-saturated world of information overload, having a brand that stands out is probably the only way you’ll have a chance of capturing the attention of potential clients," Bavonese said. "In fact, you may be surprised to learn that you probably already have a brand."

As a therapist, my brand is my invisible identity, perhaps built without my realizing it, based on how people see me. My intent is to have clients view me as a professional who can get at the heart of their anxiety issue, using advanced strategies and skills.

As a result, I want them to refer friends to me based on my excellent anxiety work with them. But they might mention other things, as well. For example, they might notice how quickly I return phone calls, my availability between sessions, how I tend to "zero in" while they're talking, the length of my sessions, the way my voicemail message sounds, or the comfortable couch in my office.

In a way, I'm not just promoting myself: I'm doing a service by letting my light shine brightly so the people who need me can easily find me. While that may sound straightforward enough, it can take a long time and an impressive number of mistakes for some therapists to understand that they need a brand--and from there to figure out what their brand is, and then to hone it, sharpen it, and promote it to the public.

Is that narcissistic? Only if you define narcissism as feeing ashamed or somehow guilty for having a particular specialty, a unique way of working, a particular focus or interest, a record of success with certain kinds of clinical populations, as well as a reputation in the professional community and among former clients for doing genuinely helpful, caring therapeutic work.

Simon, R. (2014). Psychotherapy Networker. "How do you brand yourself as a therapist?" Retrieved June 8, 2014, from http://daily.psychotherapynetworker.org/daily/professional-development/how-do-you-brand-yourself-as-a-therapist/


by Michael Angelo, LPC