All Things Private Practice Podcast for Therapists

Episode 20: If You Build It, They Will Come [Featuring Kathryn Esquer]

Show Notes

During this episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast, I talk about networking, connection, and the importance of ongoing consultation.

So often, as private practice and small business owners, we don't talk to anyone but our clients day in and day out. By the time the day is over, we don't have the capacity to think straight, let alone connect with friends, loved ones, or colleagues.

Connection is so incredibly important as a small business owner. Especially during this new era of online entrepreneurship. Without it, we end up feeling isolated, lonely, and disconnected.

"Networking is not about just connecting people. It's about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities." -- Michele Jennae

I talk with Kathryn Esquer, the owner of the Teletherapist Network. Kathryn is a Psychologist and MBA in rural Pennsylvania, and she created this online platform for therapists during COVID to combat her feelings of isolation and disconnection.

The Teletherapist Network is not only a place to find connection and network with other therapists; it also offers case consultation for different topics throughout the mental health industry.

I've been lucky enough to be a guest in several of the online training that Kathryn has hosted on business building, and she's truly developed something really extraordinary.

You can join the Teletherapist Network and receive 50% off your first subscription (monthly, 3 months, or annual!) with code CASALE.
https://teletherapistnetwork.com/

 


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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.


 

Transcript

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 nickeled and dimed. 

Embark enables scheduling with automatic appointment reminders, a note organization system with multiple pre-built templates and an automatic invoice and super bill 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 super bills. 

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. I'm your host Patrick Casale coming here from Asheville, North Carolina. I am joined by a good friend and colleague of mine, Kathryn Esquer. She is in Pennsylvania. She is the founder of the Teletherapist Network and has a major, major Instagram presence. You've probably seen her. She has a platform that is really helping therapists stay connected virtually, offers trainings, and meetings, and networking events, and lots of good resources on there, Psychologist MBA and we're going to be talking about therapist burnout, isolation, probably a good topic with everything going on in the world today. 

Kathryn, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate you making the time.

KATHRYN ESQUER: Patrick, it's wonderful to be here to finally repay you for all of your master classes you hosted for us on the network. Thank you for inviting me.

PATRICK CASALE: You're welcome. Yeah, those were always fun. I appreciate what you're doing for the therapist community. And you know, I think that it really feels useful and transitions into the topic we're going to talk about today because I think you told me that's the goal of Teletherapist Network, is like have some community and make sure people don't feel isolated and alone in private practice ownership.

KATHRYN ESQUER: Yeah, it really came out of my own need. I'm a extremely social person. Anyone who has known me throughout my years knows I am absolutely the stereotypical extrovert. I like my alone time, but I get so energized when I'm with others and even though I welcomed to the work from home aspect and the telehealth aspect, I've been offering telehealth since before COVID, I was really surprised by how my burnout just escalated by doing similar work that I had been doing. I was working similar hours, of course, the caseload was a little bit more intense, because we were having collective trauma, but it was the lack of having people to consult with and the lack of camaraderie or having my peers, and my friends, my colleagues down the hall who I could lean on in time to support, or personally and professionally, so the network came out of my need. I couldn't find anything else out there like it that really connected therapists, specifically, on a personal level. It's been a whirlwind of a journey.

PATRICK CASALE: It's really cool to see it kind of grow and your presence start to expand. And I think that happens when we're offering a service that's really needed, and we're passionate about what we're doing. And it's very clear that you're very passionate about getting people connected. And you're in Pennsylvania, right? And you're like, correct me if I'm wrong, you're in a town that's not close to many things?

KATHRYN ESQUER: Yes, that is correct. I'm in very rural Pennsylvania.

PATRICK CASALE: So, the need for connection is amplified, right?

KATHRYN ESQUER: Yeah.

PATRICK CASALE: Because, like you said, COVID, pandemic, we're working from home, you're a parent, you're a partner, like, you have all these roles, but it's all within the four walls of your house. And I think that can start to make you feel like the walls are closing in sometimes, too.

KATHRYN ESQUER: Oh, absolutely. And, you know, to give it even more context, I am in the area I actually grew up in. So, I have a ton of contacts. My family is a couple of minutes down the road, I have high school friends still around. I grew up here, so I know a lot of people, but we are a mental health throughout area, and so I don't have a lot of colleagues to consult with. 

And so, I think I was a little blind to the necessity of it in my own self-care and my own clinical practice for, I hate to say it, but first two to three years I was working here. I moved back, and I worked , and I consulted with… I'm in a primary care organization, I consulted with my fabulous physician colleagues, and nurses, and they were really fulfilling me professionally in terms of consultation. But when I shut down and had to work out of my house I lost that daily contact and I realized, “Hold on, wait a minute! I have psychologist friends, but I don't have anyone doing what I'm doing that I can consult with right now. This is a problem. How did I not recognize it sooner?”

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, well said and it sounds like for most entrepreneurs it is about realizing there is a problem and how can I solve it or how can I create something that fills those gaps? So, tell us a little bit about what the Teletherapist Network is, how it came to fruition, like, I really like the mission, and I've been on there a couple of times. And it seems like such a great resource for support and education too.

KATHRYN ESQUER: Thanks, so I'm a member of all the professional organizations I could get my hands on at the beginning of COVID. And they were a wonderful resource of advice, of scripts, of, you know, shared resources and documents, of research, of recommendations, but they weren't necessarily a good peer social support. When I say social support, I really mean being able to know each other on a personal level, which makes clinical consultations all that deeper and all that more beneficial. 

So, while my inbox was completely flooded with all of these listservs, and I had so much information, I didn't really know any, right, on these professional organizations. I certainly connected with people via email, but we were all just trying to survive, and it was difficult to set up those Zoom calls. 

So, I initially just kind of started the Teletherapist Network out of, you know, this, “Hey, let's get together for live events. Let's all join. If you're looking for a community that can connect on a deeper level, deeper than, you know, asynchronous forums, or Facebook groups, then let's get on this together, high quality over quantity of members.” And it really kind of took off from there. 

We've grown starting from just social hours once a month to, I mean, we have like four consultation groups this week alone. We have dozens a month, and they're all open to all members. So, people can jump in and jump out and get what they need. 

I liken it and this is not the best comparison, so forgive me, but I liken it to the structure of Alcoholics Anonymous or NA, where, you know, people who are active in the AA or NA communities or any of these communities tops up communities, they have access to all of these different meanings anywhere they go, right? If they have a really tough day, and they need extra support, they can pop into any of these meetings in their area. 

But they have a home group that they tend to go to or two groups that they tend to go to on a regular basis where they know everyone, where people drop in and out, but it's more consistent. That's the way the network is run in terms of consultation groups. We all have a few of our favorite consultation groups, whether it's by day or time, or by specialty like EMDR, or child and adolescent, or couples. We have our home consultation groups that we tend to prioritize and go to on a monthly or bi-weekly basis. 

But if we need that extra support, like I was hosting one last night, and if we need that extra support, you know, we just got done with a tough client, we can drop into that. We can drop into that and get the support that we need from our colleagues, while still, you know, making it work for our schedule and our needs. 

So, it's really grown tremendously. I think that there's not enough conversations out there about not only social support for self-care, but also social support for clinical care, for our clinical skills, for our clinical judgment. We're all trained and it's part of all of our ethics codes, no matter what your license is. It's in your ethics code that you need to consult. 

But, you know, where are these outlets where we can find these consultation groups, especially as we become more and more isolated in our private practice, in our solopreneurs, in our telehealth offices, in our homes, or this is my closet, in my closet, you know? Where can we find those, and that's the need that Teletherapist Network is really trying to meet, social support for self-care, but also social support for clinical skills and clinical competencies.

PATRICK CASALE: That's so fantastic, and I hope for anyone listening that you now realize that there are these channels for you to get that support clinically and socially. Because I think so often in being an entrepreneur and a practice owner you're seeing clients, you're seeing clients, you leave your office at the end of the day. You maybe haven't talked to anyone else who isn't one of your clients on your caseload, and you can't go home and talk to your partner or your friends about what you've talked about all day, and you're holding a lot of space and vicarious traumas happening. And right now, during this fucking shit show of the last two years, like we are all experiencing what our clients are experiencing simultaneously. And I think it's really leading to an increase level in burnout and therapists saying like, “I want to leave the profession because I can't even take care of myself anymore.”

KATHRYN ESQUER: Yeah, and I think that we really do need to make a conscious effort and an investment into that social support, whether that become active at a leadership level of your state organization, maybe you're able to actually connect with people if you dive into those forums, or whether it be your graduate school class, you know, everyone in private practice get together and make your own console group where you know each other and you make a commitment, but we really do need to be making an investment. 

I think self-care is getting a lot of buzz and I love it. It's awesome. Social for self-care, absolutely, 100%, but I'm more about the buzz about, you know, social support and consultation for clinical care, because not only are we burning out, but we're doing poor work, and we don't know what we don't know. And like you said, there's not many people we can talk to ethically about what we don't know unless you have that special relationship in a consultation group.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, and you know, I always see posts in local chapters of social media and even in the group that I run, like, “Looking for a consultation group, looking for a way to connect with other therapists.” And the cool thing is, I think with COVID, like so many entrepreneurs are just like, “I'm going to start one, right? Like, I see a need for it, I'm going to start it.” And it sounds like that's what led to you creating this. And it's so crucial, because you're right, we do poor work when we're feeling burnt out. And that's not fair to the client, it's not fair to us. 

We preach self-care, we don't practice it as a profession a lot of the time. We feel like we have to overextend, and help everyone, and we have to give all of our self away. And I just don't think that's healthy behavior in our profession whatsoever. But it's pretty rampant.

KATHRYN ESQUER: Yeah, I've been seeing it not only among therapists, but a lot of health professionals. I think that what I'm trying to do with the Teletherapist Network, and you know, again, I'm in a primary care organization, I see the need for primary care providers, or nurses on the front line. I see this need everywhere, and I think as a society we all love the digital age and being able to connect with people around the world. And I think we've been focusing on the quantity of connections, right? The quantity of followers on social media, or likes, or posts, or comments, or whatnot, and I do those, I love those, right?

But I think we're going to see a shift here in the quality of connection, and being able to recognize that, sure, while social media meets some needs, it doesn't meet all of our social needs, and we really need to be thoughtful about how and when we connect and focus on the quality of relationships that fulfill us and fulfill others as opposed to the quantity. I'm really thinking that's going to be a paradigm shift here in the near future.

PATRICK CASALE: I hope that it is because I think so many of us rely on external validation and reinforcement of like, likes, follow, shares, friendships, and in reality, it's like, feels very empty, it feels very hollow. And I think you feel like you're being left without actual true authentic connection. But I do think in the world of COVID, and the pandemic era, so many people have been able to connect virtually who never would have met one another, like you and I would not be sitting here had it not been for COVID. And I think about that with a lot of my guests on here, and just relationships that I've built, and just like really realizing, like you said, the quality of the connection is way more important than the quantity of connections that you make. 

And I think a lot of therapists fall into the comparison trap of like, “Hey, I'm seeing all of these people doing these cool things and I'm not doing them. What's wrong with me?” And that further increases that level of insecurity, burnout and frustration within the profession.

KATHRYN ESQUER: Yeah, I think that shiny object syndrome, I'm 100% guilty of it, where you want to try all the things and you want to make all the connections, but at what expense? Usually at the expense of doing something quality, of producing quality work, or a quality marketing campaign, or offering quality relationships, right? We’re trying to do all the things, where does that leave us? 

And the relationships, especially, as therapists, a lot of us tend to be relationally oriented, right? And so often I get done with the end of the day, and I've talked to a bunch of different people, I'm exhausted, I don't want to talk. But it's important for me to fill my cup with quality relationships in my life. And I think what you said about the pandemic sparkiness was so true, especially, for myself. I saw a lot of my peripheral friendships or acquaintances when lockdown happened, and we were all just trying to survive. It really came down to, you know, I really focused on my core group that we really fed each other and kept each other alive socially, right? And so I hope that sticks around, I hope that, that pressure we put on ourselves to keep up with all the relationships, and natural cycle of relationships that some, you know, increase in depth at different points in our life and decrease as we move on. And maybe they get deeper later on. I hope that, that becomes more of an accepted mode, because I think the pandemic kind of spurred on, it was a catalyst for myself falling away of some friendships, and also deepening some friendships as well. 

And also, you know, I can't help but note that I never would have FaceTimed some of my distant relatives before but now that it was the only option for an entire year, it's become a more regular thing, and so we're actually having deeper relationships, given distances that we never would have had if it wouldn't have been for the paradigm shift of Zoom and the pandemic.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely. That's a great couple of points there. And I think that, ultimately, you're right about the shiny object syndrome, right? I am guilty of that. I try to do too much. I'm like, I want to get my hands on this, I want to do this, I want to meet this person. And I'm like, got to slow down, got to be more intentional with relationships, and the things that we're trying to pursue, because I don't think we can do it all well if we're pursuing nine different ventures and trying to overextend pretty regularly. 

And also just recognizing that the way we interact is very different right now. And I think that you're right, like we're all in this together. So, you see relationships strengthen too because you are really invested in that core group of like, I want to make sure these people are okay, and they're checking on you. And I think that's really a beautiful thing right now is we're all going through something unprecedented. 

In the Teletherapist Network, have you seen those relationships evolve from like starting point to right now like with all these things going on, and all these groups, and all these consultations, like how do you see that?

KATHRYN ESQUER: I mean, I'm going to get teared up on this one. I never in a million years thought I'd meet some of my closest friends on the Teletherapist Network and I have. I can speak personally that I met these people, we were all just looking for community, and over the past, coming up on two years, we've been around, you know, these have become some of my most trusted friends and colleagues. 

It started on a professional level, obviously. We're a professional organization. But, you know, I'm not going to give a couple shout outs, because I'll sit here all day, but we started consulting, and then it transitioned over, you know. It's really easy to make a post, an asynchronous post, like a Facebook post, or an email. But it feels so much different when you're sitting on a Zoom call with colleagues, and you're discussing some pretty vulnerable cases, and you're seeing others model sharing vulnerable cases, or vulnerable questions they have about their own clinical skills. It expedites the relationship, I would definitely say that. 

And so what started off as professional consultations, I mean, these people have become some of my close friends where we exchange Christmas cards, and we get birth announcements. And you know, we're texting on a daily basis, and we know what's going on in each other's families. 

I personally saw it. And then, I also know that there's others who I'm not as close with but they have found their own group of people that really support them. Sometimes it tends to be more geographical or even just phase of life, right? 

I'm in the phase of life where I have two toddlers and I'm building a business and I'm still working clinically. And so, that really fits what I'm looking for. And others perhaps are mid-career or late career, and they're finding their own little group within the network where they're making contacts. And so, it's been really, really wild, and like my dreams are coming true of being able to be a catalyst in other people helping themselves find relationships.

I don't see the network as the end all be all for anyone, it is just the starting point, it is your opportunity, members opportunity to come in, and open up, and make these relationships. And so, we're hearing about how member in various geographical regions have gotten together for, you know, happy hours, or coffee dates, and knowing that they're actually meeting in person, and it has nothing to do with me or nothing to do with the network, it's just the catalyst that brought them together has been absolutely like a dream come true. 

I am such a connector in how I think, and how I work that, you know, having these connections breed connections further on past me is just like, so like, I'm just glowing. I love that. 

But it takes time. And it takes investment. Like I said earlier, you know, there's a lot of people who join the network and love the resources, and join the consult groups, but maybe they aren’t looking for that group, and that's okay. Like, they get their other needs met. But if you really want, your question about those deeper relationships, it takes putting yourself out there and making consistent. And also, you might meet a couple of people and you're like, “I like you, but I don't love you. You know, I trust your clinical judgment, or I like that we can talk about this, but you're not the person I feel like I can go to.” Or that maybe you want to go to me for certain things. So, it's about putting yourself there, and trying, and recognizing that not all relationships are going to be for you.

PATRICK CASALE: I love that, and I can see how passionate you get as you start talking about that. And it sounds like a big component of this is the vulnerability piece of like putting yourself out there and being willing to be vulnerable and potentially having some critique and positive criticism too about like, “No, we wouldn't do that clinically.” Or like, “I think this would be a better modality.” I think that you're saying too, like lives get intertwined and interwoven when you spend two years together handling really challenging things and going through some shit together through life and really being able to support one another, and sounds like this is not only supporting people clinically, but also supporting people on a personal social level and being able to combine the two of those things.

KATHRYN ESQUER: Yeah, I don't think you can separate them at some aspects. I think that in order to do really good clinical consultation, you know, think about your supervisor relationship, totally different relationship than a consultant relationship or a consultation group. But it really takes that level of trust and vulnerability to get that good developmental platform to be able to grow and challenge yourself. That's what we're really trying to foster. It's, you know, one of the reasons, you know, I'm not anti-Facebook, but I'm definitely for a more secure and private platform. That's why we're not on Facebook, right? We weren't trying to make another Facebook group, we were trying to make a really quality over quantity, and I think that's what our whole conversation today comes back to, like this idea of quality over quantity of relationships and being very thoughtful and purposeful about where you invest your time and energy in relationships both professionally and clinically, and not get that shiny object syndrome as I do that with people too, right? Like, I want to connect with you, and I want to meet with you, and then at the end of the day, I'm burnt out and not filling my own cup, because it's a quantity over quality.

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely. I hope everyone listening can hear that quality over quantity way, and we're living in a virtual era. And you're seeing all these things, all these accomplishments, all these travel photos, all these things that people are saying they're doing. There's a lot of work behind the scenes too that goes on that a lot of people don't see. And I think that it can be really depleting. I know that for myself I do a lot, I have a lot of output, people will come to me and say, “Oh, look how quickly you've taken off.” And I'm like, “Yeah, there's a fucking cost to this.” Like, I am so exhausted 99% of the time, so filling our cup is really important with the things that really feel energizing and being able to step away too.

I'm curious, and I'm sure other people may be thinking this while you're talking about is consultation. How do you protect confidentiality in these groups? Or do you have BAAs or like, what does that look like?

KATHRYN ESQUER: Yeah, everything's, you know, up to the standard of HIPAA compliance in terms of our platforms and how we connect, but obviously, with any consultation, you know, the recommendation is that you disclose least amount of PHI,  protected health information as possible. So, you know, each consultation group is hosted by a particular member, trusted and vetted by me, and they run their consultation groups as they see fit. But the one thing that is standard is keeping the secrecy of the consultation group and respecting the amount of information that is disclosed. 

So, on the tech end, of course, we're HIPAA compliant, and we're all good on that. But it really comes down to that personal, you know, checks and balances of knowing what is too much, and what is not enough. And, you know, it's something we have discussions on not only, you know, at the beginning of each consultation, but on an ongoing basis. So, it's really a judgment call, like so much of what we do in our work on what is necessary, and what is not necessary to disclose.

PATRICK CASALE: I'm glad to hear that. And that sounds like a really intentional answer too about how you have these groups shifting and molding and evolving. And I was going to ask you about how you chose members to run these groups, because I can't imagine that you're doing it all. And maybe you were doing it all at first, you know, as this grows this and evolves.

KATHRYN ESQUER: So speaking of shiny object syndrome, I tried to do it all at first. I was like, “Oh, a couple’s consultation group would be great, and child, and adolescent consultation group will be great.” And I recognized that I don't do couples counseling, I don't do child and adolescent. Like, I wouldn't even want to be in these groups if I had them. 

So, I had to pull back and I did what really energize me. So, I was actually very intentional about where I invested my energy on the network and tried to pull back from that shiny object syndrome of doing it all. I said, I'm just going to keep showing up and doing it well. 

My family reminded me, I would say, for the first entire year there were times where I was like, I had too much energy, too much effort, like, I'm just going to walk away, and my husband, and my sister just kept saying, “Just keep showing up.”

And, I did, and I was thoughtful, and purposeful about where I put my energy. And, I hopefully, and I think that that shone through and that what I was offering, when I was hosting on the network I was passionate about. 

I host a clinician as coach consultation group, because I was actually trained in my side dmda as a clinician and a coach. So, I've been doing it for years, and I never recognized that this was a skill that people want to learn, and people need consultation around. And I'm passionate about it. 

And so as we grew, numbers came to me, you know? After they've been around, and they tried it out and are like, “Hey, you know, I was thinking that, you know, I could really use X group…” Just like, you know, when I first joined, I was like, I could really use a coach consultation group. So, I made one. And when these members comes to me, and they say I could really use an EMDR consultation group. We meet… well, one, I've known them for a little bit now. I'm super active on the network. And I try and get to know everyone who joins just because, again, I'm an extrovert, I love this stuff. And we meet, and we discuss the goals, and when we discuss the standards of running it, and if they're on board, and I'm on board, we make it happen. 

So, I would say almost all, I would say 99% of what we do on the network is member led, and member inspired, right? They're the ones saying I need this and we say, “Okay, let's make it happen.” We just started something I never would have thought of, a monthly planning party, where members were like, “Yeah, I love using my planner, I want to sit down, I want to like spend time with other people discussing our upcoming months.” And I'm like, “This might not be something I would use but let's make it happen for you. Let's do it.”

It's about the collective power, and the collective resources, and needs of this group that really makes it special. It's not about me. It's one thing I was very purposeful from the get go is that the Teletherapist Network is not about me. It might have met my needs at the beginning, but it is not me. I am not the guru. I do not hold all the answers or the keys. It is about coming together with a quality peers that can come together and support each other in each other's goals. 

So, I would say, to answer your question about how to select them, I think they self-select. And I think that's the beauty of it. You know, I've not asked anyone to do things on the network. Everyone kind of steps up and gets their needs met by chipping in, and saying I need this and I'm going to run it and let's do it. 

PATRICK CASALE: That's fantastic, and it sounds like that also empowers people to step out there as leaders and really start to run things that they're passionate about and want to connect with other professionals over. So, sounds like your goals are definitely coming true here with what you're trying to create, and I hope you're really proud of that. I mean it's really a fantastic, fantastic resource, and-

KATHRYN ESQUER: Oh, Patrick. 

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I'm actually really excited to like go into my Facebook group, and talk to my group practice, and share this stuff, because it's just such a necessary part of the work that we do, and one that gets often overlooked because of scheduling, or we don't have the time, or we just don't prioritize. If we're having consultation, right, and we're preventing burnout, and we are able to work with our clients in a more effective way that's going to support them on their journeys, it is going to create more income, it is going to create more longevity in the career path too.

KATHRYN ESQUER: And I don't have to say also the networking, right? I now know clinicians in almost every 50 states and their expertise and their rates. And so, when I have a client moving out of state, I have a real warm handoff to a clinician I trust and who’s getting these referrals. So, I think you're right. In that bottom line, sure, yes, it does help us produce income.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, and I think we overlook those things when it's like this hour isn't directly bringing in revenue right now. But in reality, the return on investment is there and being able to say that this is helping me in a lot of different ways in my life and my practice, ultimately, that's going to help us in our career paths as professionals. And also, it's going to help us expand in terms of how much energy we have in terms of, like you said, filling our cups, and really being able to practice that self-care, especially when we're not feeling like we're alone in this, we're burnt out, we don't know how to handle situations. Like, I don't know who to consult with after my licensure hours are done, and that just means that you do have that network of support. And I think that's really crucial for this profession right now especially.

KATHRYN ESQUER: Yeah, well, I think it's been crucial. Yes, right now, especially, but always. I'm flabbergasted when I recognized that I need a consultation group and I couldn't find one. And I'm a very social like connector person. I’m like, if I can’t find one, like if I'm having difficulty with this, what are people having? I was flabbergasted that this wasn't something that other professional organizations offer, such a gap in our fields, in many fields, like I said before, like the medical fields as well and other fields, that there's just so much energy, and power, and inspiration coming from these groups. 

If you think back to graduate school, like how inspiring and energizing it was to go through the classes with the same cohort, right? And oh, gosh, don't even get me started on the poor graduate students now who are doing everything remote. But I liken it back to that type of camaraderie and support. 

PATRICK CASALE: I love that, you know, it really is a good way to be in consistent connection and communication with people who you never would have met before. And I love that you're saying like people are meeting together and getting together outside of this, and just building friendships, and it just goes a long way. And I think a lot of therapists are very introverted, really seem to struggle with networking and connection. And I always think about that, I'm like, but our skill set is about developing relationships? You know, it's hard to apply it elsewhere for a lot of people and recognize, like,  oh, these skill sets are transferable, not only personally, but professionally, and just the ability to connect without having to have an agenda other than like, we're supporting one another in what we're doing professionally and socially.

KATHRYN ESQUER: That's actually a very huge part that maybe I don't think I recognized until you just set it there. Everyone on the network, we don't have agendas. Like, we're not selling things. Like, we are just there to support, console, share our own experiences and resources, like there are no marketing agendas. And, you know, I guess, you know, obviously, that was a goal front. But I haven't really had to spend a lot of time and energy regulating that at all, I think because of the quality of members that self-select into the network.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, and I think we set the tone as, you know, leaders and moderators of certain platforms. I know in my Facebook group I try to be very involved, and invested, and build relationships, so it's growing exponentially. And it's a bit harder these days, but like, I want quality, I don't want quantity. I'm happy that we have 5000 members, but I want that to be a very intentional space for people to get the support that they need around practice building and startup, because there are so many outlets or so many social media groups and therapists can be quite shaming in Facebook groups too. 

So, I have unfollowed 99% of them except for mine, and I think it's like find the place where you feel comfortable, where you feel like you're getting the support that you need, and just put that energy there, because otherwise you're spreading yourself thin, and that can get really overwhelming with screen fatigue and social media, just fatigue in general too.

KATHRYN ESQUER: Yeah, and I would say also be purposeful [INDISCERNIBLE 00:29:37] you continue to stay, but also be purposeful about your time. I know that one of the reasons we're not on Facebook, but I think it's an easy workaround would be, you know, when you're on, and you're scrolling, okay, you get a post from one of your favorite Facebook groups, but then you get like your mother-in-law's, so one thing I think you can be purposeful about is, you know, when you get on, I think, to get the professional and social support goal to that group, go to that website, put the timer on your watch or on your phone like 15 minutes, I'm going to spend 15 minutes engaging in this group, but then I'm going to get out. I'm not going to integrate my participation in this group or this social networking with everything else that's going on in my life and my family and my friends. 

I think newsfeeds, don't get me started on news feeds, I think they're supposed to be shiny object syndrome, right? They’re supposed to be pulling you in a thousand different directions, including ads, so we can get on set a certain amount of time, even Instagram, I'm very active on Instagram, certain amount of time, don't scroll, be very purposeful about what accounts you want to engage in, what posts you want to engage in, then get off. Don't use it as a time waster, or a time suck, or get distracted to other things. 

I think that, you know, so often, what's the phrase? We lose so much time or so much focus every time we switch tasks, well, think about every time you read a new post on Facebook or Instagram. Like, we're just losing cognitive power right there and energy, so be very purposeful about when and where and how you get that social support.

PATRICK CASALE: That is fantastic advice, and advice that I often need to take as well. But I do agree with that 100%, so if you’re feeling like I don’t want to be on social media, but I need to have a business presence, just focus on the groups that are going to have a return on investment, where you can have intentionality, and spend some time, you know, 15, 20 minutes and then get off of there, and make sure that you’re doing things that feel good for you and energizing for you instead of doing scrolling through social media, and then an hour later you’re like, “What the fuck have I been doing for the last hour?” Great advice, Kathryn.

As we’re wrapping up, can you tell the audience a little bit about where they can find the Teletherapist Network, how they can join, any of that information would be great. And I will put that in the graphics, in the posting when this episode is released for everyone to also find as well. 

KATHRYN ESQUER: Absolutely, thank you, Patrick. Yeah, you can find us at teletherapistnetwork.com. We have all of our offerings on there. You can get a little sneak peak, behind the scenes of what master classes. We’ve over 30 master classes available with new ones, multiple new ones coming out each month, you can see a list of all of our consultation groups, so you can see all the different things, media, opportunities, everything we do, you can get a little taste of on teletherapistnetwork.com and if you want to follow us on Instagram, it is @teletherapist.network. We do a lot of therapist inspiration, and if you’re looking for some quick community, we do a lot of polls, and question and answer sessions there, so definitely, connect with us on Instagram. 

PATRICK CASALE: Love it. Everyone try to check that out and the more Kathryn’s talked about it, this episode, the more I realize how needed this service is and I just want to say congrats on creating it and I’m really excited to see where this goes over the next year or two.

For everyone listening, we release podcast episodes every Monday. I appreciate you downloading, subscribing, and sharing. If you feel like this has been a helpful series for you, you can find more of me at allthingsprivatepractice.com. I offer one-on-one coaching, group coaching, cohorts for practice building, retreats for business building and entrepreneur’s and the podcast, obviously. You can also find the podcast at All Things Private Practice and my awesome group, All Things Private Practice, and we will see you next Monday.

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