All Things Private Practice Podcast for Therapists

Episode 22: Authenticity Is Courageous. Authenticity is Bold. [Featuring Katie Keates May]

Show Notes

In order to attract your "people," you need to be able to be BOLD and discuss the hard shit, not just glamorize the successes. It takes courage to be AUTHENTIC and to truly show up in your community.

During this episode of The All Things Private Practice Podcast, I speak with Katie Keates May about the power of authenticity and being vulnerable.

Katie is the owner and founder of Creative Healing, a group therapy practice focusing on DBT and supporting adolescents in the Philadelphia area, and Become A Group Guru, a business that helps mental health therapists successfully run and fill groups within their practices so they can make more $$ while working fewer hours.

Katie and I share something in common in that we have never shied away from talking about our mental health or addiction struggles. We each believe that by being authentic we honor the values that are most important to us, as well as destigmatize mental health and substance use struggles.
Being authentic isn't always easy. Our people-pleasing parts tend to show up and try and protect us from vulnerability, or suffering the slings and arrows so to speak, especially when we become more open to external judgment and criticism.

Authenticity sometimes leads to losing people in your life. Those that you thought were in your corner can sometimes distance themselves or remove themselves because you're speaking your mind and showing up the way that matters most.
"Everything will line up perfectly when knowing and living the truth becomes more important than looking good." – Alan Cohen


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A Thanks to Our Sponsor!

I would also like to thank CPH & Associates for sponsoring this episode.

This episode of the all things private practice podcast is being brought to you by CPH & Associates. CPH & Associates is a leading provider of malpractice insurance for outpatient mental health practices throughout the United States. With up-to-date legal resources and competitive rates, CPH can ensure your private practice against board complaints and malpractice lawsuits.

CPH offers both individual and business entity coverage, which can protect your LLC or corporation. A business policy with CPH is tailored to meet the needs of your practice, providing options to add general liability to your office, business and personal property coverage, and cyber liability for data breach coverage. Policyholders, who also have access to our attorney helpline, are provided two hours of consultation with a malpractice attorney for situations with a client that could result in a claim or lawsuit.

CPH has committed to providing exceptional customer service and superior coverage to mental health professionals. Protect your career and find peace of mind with CPH. Get a quote and apply at



PATRICK CASALE: This episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast is being brought to you by CPH & Associates. CPH & Associates is a leading provider of malpractice insurance for outpatient mental health practices throughout the United States. With up-to-date legal resources and competitive rates, CPH can insure your private practice against board complaints and malpractice lawsuits. CPH offers both individual and business entity coverage which can protect your LLC or corporation.

The business policy with CPH is tailored to meet the needs of your practice providing options to add general liability to your office, business, and personal property coverage, and cyber liability for data breach coverage.

Policyholders who also have access to our attorney helpline providing two hours of consultation with a malpractice attorney for situations with a client that could result in a claim or lawsuit. CPH is committed to providing exceptional customer service and superior coverage to mental health professionals. Protect your career and find peace of mind with CPH. Get a quote and apply online at things, things.

Hey everyone, you are listening to the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I am your host Patrick Casale here in Asheville, North Carolina. I am joined today by a friend and colleague and just fucking rock star in the industry, Katie Keates May. She has an LPC up in the Philadelphia area and owns a group practice, and becoming a group guru teaching therapists how to start groups and their practices wildly successful, just an awesome human being, very authentic, the type of people we like to have on here. So, Katie, thank you so much for making time today and just being a guest on the podcast.

KATIE KEATES MAY: Yeah, thank you for having me. I'm excited to dig into whatever we're going to talk about today.

PATRICK CASALE: That's the nature of the podcast. So far, everyone that's listening is like, I don't have a structure, we kind of figure it out as we go. And that sometimes applies to our business models, too, of like, figuring out what works and what doesn't, and just putting it out there and then getting feedback. And that's been probably a big part of my success in small business ownership. And Katie, it seems like for you, with everything that you're working on creating, you're so influential in the industry right now. And just really, the reason I've always been drawn to you is your authenticity. And we talk about authenticity and disclosure in this podcast a lot. Do you mind just kind of starting off with like your story of how you've gotten to where you've gotten, and you know, some of the struggles behind it too?

KATIE KEATES MAY: It’s such a big ask. Yes, I can, and it's like thinking about where do I start in this story? So, I'll start somewhere, but guide me along if I need to be somewhere else, all right?

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely. 

KATIE KEATES MAY: Okay, so I guess I will start with that I went back to grad school to become a therapist when I was 26. I was a single mom. I had a son who was a year and a half at that time. I have an undergraduate degree in English and journalism, which I actually think has served me really well in all of the things that I do right now, in my writing, I'm writing a book, all of these other things that are going on in my life. 

So, that was my starting point. And I had originally thought I was going back to school for drug and alcohol counseling based on my history and how I had coped with a traumatic childhood was a lot of years of using substances. And so, I had this internship where I was working in like an after school or after work substance abuse IOP. And I was like, “I hate this.” Like, every day is spent talking about all the things that you can't do in your life. And it feels really, you know, restricting, and confining, and actually pretty negative, and it's a major downer, so I don't want to do this anymore.

So, that was my starting point. And then upon graduation, I got connected to a partial hospital program. I had an opportunity, a job interview through, actually, my son's father connected me there. So, it was nice to have. You know, you get your job through connections. And it was working with kids and teens, which I never thought that I wanted to or could do, because of my own history. Again, I describe my home growing up was like a war zone. Like, it was rough. And so I thought, “Oh my god, I'm so highly sensitive. And, you know, my level of empathy, this is going to be so hard for me.”

But what I found was that, actually, my life experiences allowed me to connect with teenagers in particular in a way that was really authentic, that brought out in them what needed to come out in order for them to start the healing process. And so, I knew going into that job that eventually I wanted to be in private practice. I consider myself unpossible. I don't do well with other people telling me what to do. 

And so four years in a partial hospital program I recognized some gaps in the outpatient community services because part of my job as a social worker there was to like refer to the community services once they were done in the program. And all of the teenagers would say, “I wish there was a group like the groups that we have here out in the community, so I could continue with these kinds of connections and learning alongside my peers.” And so, in my entrepreneurial brain I was like, “Okay, I'm going to be the one to do this.” And so that was the starting point of growing my practice. 

Where do you want me to go in there in terms of like, there was a lot of struggle. It wasn't like that easy and linear. But tell me what you think feels important to move forward with?

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I think that's really a great point and representation of you noticed, you had this light bulb moment, your entrepreneurial brain went off, like, “Oh, there's a need, I enjoy this, and I can fill this need, and I can create something to help this community of people that I really enjoy working with.” And that's so important, right? Because relatability is important with teenagers, rapport building is crucial. So, I imagine being able to reflect your own difficult childhood, it was a lot easier to join these kiddos, and like, have them trust you, and know that you are a safe person for them. And really moving into saying like, this is my niche, right? Because that's what you specialize in. It sounds like your group practice specializes in teens through DBT work and really supporting the family system too.

KATIE KEATES MAY: Yeah, so I would say that it is my niche, but also I feel like it's my calling, like, my heart feels drawn and connected to this work that I'm doing. So yeah, my group practice has three locations, and I call us a teen support center. And that's really what we do with DBT and some other, like, ESRP and trauma work as well. 

So yeah, and I don't know, I'm just going to riff on this, but like thinking about my own history, and what I do now, and I like to think about like, I'm practicing from, how do I say this? Like, from a scar and not from a wound, right? Like, I've gone through all of my own work unlike a shit ton of therapists, and like a lot of self-reflection. 

And I guess, like, when I got pregnant I had just graduated with my bachelor's degree. And I had, like, you know, a part-time job, I think, as a receptionist somewhere, and I got laid off. And because of that, it gave me the opportunity to really sit and reflect on, like, what is it that I want in my life? And I think that was the first time I actually stopped to think about it, because if like, looking at my history, it was like home life. And then it was like young adult, which was all, like I said, substances, partying, like reckless. So, there was no thinking there. It was all like impulses and acting. And then I got pregnant, and it was like, “Well, I can't do all the things I was doing before.”

And so I just had to sit with myself. And that was like nine months of figuring out who the fuck I am, what I want out of life, what's bigger than me because everything up until that point was running away from the pain inside me. And I was like, “This can't be anymore. I need to figure out what comes next.”

And so I say all that to say like when I'm treating teens now or when I'm working with teens now it is from a place of not like my own… I always forget if it's transference or countertransference, but not my own shit, whatever that is. But it's with perspective and distance of like, I've been through this, and I'm here now. But I'm going to use that experience to say like, “Oh, it sounds like you could feel really hopeless right now, right? I imagine that you might feel kind of lonely in this experience.”

But I'm not saying like, “I was there, I get it, right?” Like using myself in a way that’s kind of like a cheap trick to try and build rapport. And I noticed that now when I'm training up interns that we really have to create that, like, yeah, you've been through this experience, but like, this is not about you. It's about them now. And so, I feel like that's an important distinction. It's not like a ruinous empathy that's driving at this point. It's like a mission to shorten the struggle for other people. 

PATRICK CASALE: I love that, and you just made so many good points that stand out to me. The first one is, the scar not a wound because that's working through your shit, right? And like working through your trauma, and really addressing why we are using substances to escape because that certainly makes sense. 

And then ultimately, the thing that stands out to me the most, and the thing that draws me to you, and what you do the most is exactly what you just said about using experience empathetically, but not using it to self-serve, so to speak. And I see that with a lot of therapists where they maybe get into this field to heal their own wounds through the work that they do. And although they have the best of intentions, they don't have great boundaries around how they disclose and maybe the purpose of the disclosure is more for them, or to at least validate their own experiences. 

I hear what you're saying to be very different of, “I'm using my experiences to let these teens know through my healing, through my learning that they can be okay, that there is hope that things can be different, that they can heal as well. And I think that is so fucking powerful. And I talk about that a lot with my own addiction history. I had a gambling addiction for almost 15 years, major childhood trauma stuff, now recently diagnosed with autism. It's challenging, but being authentic, writing about it, sharing it with the world for the purpose of showing that there's a light at the end of the tunnel, that it doesn't have to be pain and suffering all the fucking time.

KATIE KEATES MAY: I agree so much and I think there's a part of it that's just being rather than doing, right? Like, in addition to the work I do with teenagers, and now with parents and teenagers as well. I feel like every time I post on social media I want to vomit a little bit. Like, I share, like, really deeply personal things that feel super vulnerable, and they scare the shit out of me to post, but I do it and I'm shaking as I'm pushing post because I know that if I'm experiencing this, or I went through this, or I'm thinking this, that someone else is too.

So, I've shared about, like, you know, my family abandoned and stuff, my suicidal thoughts, like, all of these other things, and it's scary as hell, but I get these DMs and these messages that are like, “Me too. I've been through this too. I don't have the courage to share with this voice or I would never tell anyone that, but thank you for saying what I needed to say.” And I'm not sharing this with you to like gas myself up, but just say like being and having a voice in some of these processes I think is an important part of it. 

Like, I feel like I will always be healing. I'm not necessarily doing therapy with clients of the parts of myself that still need to heal. But I'm sharing those parts of myself after I feel like I've been through that process. And I see you doing that too, just like authentically sharing your journey. And that's so important for the community of humans, right? Like, whoever we are just seeing each other go through this real process and not just like the filtered feed.

PATRICK CASALE: That's so like beautifully put because that's the human experience. And I have the exact same experience when I'm writing about this stuff, and I'm like about to post and I'm nervous, and I'm like, then I have this internal dialogue like, “Are you posting to validate your own experience or are you posting because this is your experience, and this can help other people normalize the fact that we all fucking struggle.” And it's always the ladder of like, and DMs, messages, stuff like that, like, “Hey, thank you for posting that, because I feel the same way, but I don't feel comfortable posting that and putting out to the world.”


PATRICK CASALE: And that's something I've always done, and I've had people, including my family members say like, “Why do you share? Why do you disclose so much? Like, this is private.” And I think that reinforces the stigma and shame that comes with struggling with mental health and substance use. So, I think that being able to be open about it not just normalizes the human experience, like you said, but it's really powerful for people and empowering too.

KATIE KEATES MAY: I agree. I don't know about you, but I can't deal with, like, unspoken truths that are just sitting in the room. And I think it's because of my upbringing, and like the toxicity, and the, you know, narcissism, and all these other things that I grew up with where it was like, everything was pushed under the rug, and nobody could talk about anything. 

And part of my story that some people know is like, my mom left when I was 10. And I lived with my dad as a single dad, and nobody ever talked about my mom. We weren't allowed to talk about my mom, where we would be punished. And so, there was just this like, big, like throbbing pain that was in the room all the time that nobody could talk about. 

And so now when there's like something there that, like, I need to put words to this experience, and I'm going to talk about it. And I had to unfollow the little family that is left that talks to me at this point, they're not my social media friends, because I have to feel like it's my place, it's my love letter to myself and to the people who have experiences like me. And so yeah, I share because it's a force to share, and to not share is just inauthentic to who I am.

PATRICK CASALE: It feels really disingenuous when we have to walk on eggshells, or we have to kind of go through life always considering how our emotions, our feelings are going to impact other people. And I agree with that wholeheartedly. I have a hard time with that. So, I appreciate you sharing that, I appreciate the vulnerability even just in this room right now.

KATIE KEATES MAY: I like innately who I am, so again, like, you know, growing up my strength was in my… I have like 12 journals from my teenage years. Up until I started using I was depressed, cutting, like all of those things. And so my strength was in my writing, and in processing, and honestly in my like intelligence and academic ability, and so I always thrived even in the midst of all of that struggle through learning, growing, writing, processing. It's just part of who I am. 

And so I think that if I'm being honest, my initial drive for success was not for me. It was proving that I was good enough, it was proving that I was capable, it was all of those things. You know, I think I've joked with lots of people, like, it's no secret that I constantly strive to be good enough [INDISCERNIBLE 00:14:21] I had a dad who told me that I never was, right? Like, that's something that I've made jokes about to my friends, but at this point, it’s not that anymore. It was somewhere along the way that it shifted, and it became less about proving something to someone else, and it became about being who I am and deciding what I want, and what that looks like for me. 

And so, I think the short answer is the drive came from running away from something, but now the drive exists in being something and looking towards something that I want.

PATRICK CASALE: Sounds like it goes from having to prove your self-worth to transitioning through healing work and to self-love and acceptance. And I think a lot of overachievers feel that way, right? Like, that perfectionism, that drive of like, I'm going to prove myself, I'm going to prove to the people who didn't tell me I was good enough. And then ultimately, through healing work, it's like, okay, I'm starting to believe that I am worthy and that I am good enough. And then it's a very different way of moving through life. And it sounds like that was a huge motivating force for you, though. 

And it's really incredible to see all of the things that you've created like your Group Guru situation. Tell us about how that became a passion project for you to help other therapists start groups within their practices, because I see a lot of people try those things, and fail pretty miserably, even though they have the best of intentions. 

KATIE KEATES MAY: Yeah, so I started Group Guru alongside my practice. So, about seven years ago, I started both of them, and the reason that I started it, well, it was two things. One is that my son started kindergarten, which was full-day kindergarten. I was like, “What the fuck am I going to do for six to eight hours a day?” Because now, like, there's only so many like workouts and friend lunches I can have before I'm like, I'm bored, I need to do something. And also, I started thinking about that, and I'm like, “Well, like, what gifts do I have that I can share with other therapists? Where are my successes, and where are the gaps in what they need.”

And so because I had built my practice on this premise of groups, right? Like, from the partial hospital I started my groups, and then they just exploded. I had seven groups at that time. So my thinking was, I can teach other therapists how to market, fill and run groups. And so that's what I did. And I just started talking about it again on social media. You know, I had success in my practice, I shared it on social media, and I think that there are a couple of things that made me successful in terms of my ability to keep going. 

Number one is my low information and low input diet, which is like, I don't really listen to a lot of other people. I have a hard time listening to podcasts, I'm not really interested in what other people are doing or saying most of the time, because my own brain is thinking so many thoughts all the time, that it's just, I have no space for that. So, if other people weren't liking, if other people were, you know, giving, you know, negative feedback, I wasn't really noticing it, because I was already on to the next thing and doing and sharing. So, I think that consistent action and consistent showing up and not being shaped out of wanting to share because other people weren't giving me enough reinforcement, in the beginning, was really what helped me to grow. 

And then I always just think about it as like, how am I adding value to the world? And so, I wasn't getting caught up, and like I have it, you know, I think my first course launch I made $400. And I was like, “Yes, I made money for sharing something that I'm so excited to talk about.” So, that was the other side was like, I'm my own best cheerleader all the time, and so, I don't need other people's reinforcement to keep going. And so, I think those things are what led to me just, you know, I continue to have successes in my practice, I continue to share. And that's still what I do now. Like, it's just a natural extension of being excited about what worked and then wanting to give back, and share it, and give value to my community, which is the therapist community.

PATRICK CASALE: Wow, that's pretty well said. And that sounds like good motivation and values around why you do what you do, and what kind of feels exciting for you. And it's, you know, the Group Guru thing has been wildly successful. And it came all from an idea and a partial hospitalization program. But I just want to highlight that for people that we don't always know where things are going to go when we start to have ideas about what can work and what can't work. 

And I think a lot of therapists kind of cut themselves off at the knees with like the creativity that they have inside of them in terms of being an entrepreneur because a lot of us just didn't have business training or experience. So, taking that leap of faith to start your practice and leave this hospitalization program, can you talk about was there any fearfulness there or did the thought ever come up like, is this ever going to work or be successful?

KATIE KEATES MAY: So, there was a lot of fear because my partial hospital job was my first real job because it was like the first place I learned to be an adult, to talk to other adults, all of those things. And it was stability. I had a salary, I had health benefits. My husband is also a business owner now. But he wasn't at that point. He had moved home from New York. I'll do a short detour. We went to high school together but didn't talk in high school, reconnected on Facebook, had like a distance online relationship, and then he moved home, and we have been married for I think 10 years. 

But anyway, so he had just moved home. He was living with his parents. I was living with my dad and my son was there as well. And so, like there was all of this fear, and there was honestly a lack of support, especially my husband saying, like, “We're trying to like move out and get married, and you want to leave this salary and these health benefits? Like, what are you doing?” And so it really took, actually, I'll shout out Tanya Oladipo. She's another therapist. And she had known my husband through a business course that they went through together and he was like, “Why don't you talk to Tanya. Like, she has a group practice. She's doing it.”

And so, I remember being in this back room and talking to Tanya on the phone, and being like, “Can I do this?” And she was like, “Yeah, you can do this.” And that was it. Like, I just needed one person to tell me that I could do it. I was like, “Okay, I'm doing it.”

And so, I left, but I worked 40 hours at the partial hospital, and then I built up my days in, you know, outpatient, and I was working two full-time jobs by the time I really felt the comfort to leave. And even at that point, I had asked them if I could go part-time, and they were like, “No, full-time or nothing.” So eventually, I just had to make a choice. And I made the right choice. I mean, I think, we're here, right? 

But it was really scary, and there was a lack of support. And now just to, you know, circle back anytime I have this big, scary decision, Adam, my husband will be like, “Yeah, I trust you. Every time you make a decision it turns out.” So like that fear isn't there for either of us anymore.

PATRICK CASALE: That's great. And it's funny how just one person saying like, “Yeah, you can be successful.” can kind of allow us to believe that. And it's funny that you asked to go part-time even though you created like a full-time practice because I think we do try to fall back on that security in case it doesn't work with that self-doubt. 

And I think that fearfulness is really important because I think that's there for a reason. We definitely want to question things. We want to examine things and not just dive headfirst. But following that fear, stepping into it leads to growth, right? And that's what we teach our clients all the time, and we don't always practice what we preach. So, that's really amazing and that's good for people to hear, right? Like, fearfulness is real. I want to normalize that on this podcast all the time. But also, surrounding yourself with people who believe in you, who can tell you like, “Yes, you can do this, and it's okay to be scared.”

And now you own, is it, you have a group practice, but you have three locations, right? And I know that you've purchased properties to create these really wonderful spaces. I mean, I'm always envious when I see the pictures of the buildings that you're like redoing and remodeling. So, tell us about like transition from, okay, outpatient practice, it's going well, now I want to expand into group practice.

KATIE KEATES MAY: Yeah, so I was renting out like an office share community, and because of my specialty, and working with high-risk teens, and my DBT training and that was something I invested heavily in, I had way more referrals than I knew what to do with, but part of my like belief, and again, my heart was like, I don't want to send this team to the general therapist down the street who's going to tell them they’re attention-seeking, who's going to do all the wrong things, in my opinion, my judgments, but like all the wrong things that will get them to this healing path. 

And so at that point, it was about the impact for me, like, how do I train more people up to do what I do so that we can make a greater impact on this teenage community. And so, I took things one step at a time. Where I was, it was this office share that was in like a condo association. And there was a sign at the front entrance that said Office Space Available. So, I was like, “Let me just call and see what's available.” And they were like, “Actually, we have this four office suite, it will probably be good for you.” And so I'm like, “Let me just go look at it and see if it's something that I want.”

And then I went to look at it, and I came home and I was like, “Adam, I have a problem, I need to have that space.” And that's just how I am. Like, once I visualize it, I need to have it. And so again, it was one of those moments of like, “I trust you, we can make this work. It's really fucking scary. But like, you know, what's the alternative staying where you are.” And you know, I need to keep growing and keep going is basically my MO. 

And so, I did it, and I hired… my first therapist was actually the person who took my job at the partial hospital program. She was like, “Hey, what are you up to?” And so then she came aboard, and then she brought a friend, and then I had another hire who's now one of my site supervisors. And I remember like Adam and my son were putting together furniture in this front office, there was no furniture in the back office yet, and I was like, we're going to have to sit on the floor and do this interview. And she was like, “Yeah, cool.”

And so like, it was just like, very, you know, take it for what it is, here's where we are. And so from there, we just kept growing and going, and two years in, we were bursting at the seams in this small office, and I decided to take my profits and reinvest them. And that's when I bought my first building, which was in that same condo association. So, I went from one office and a share, to a four office suite, to then buying my own building all within like a triangle in the same parking lot. And then a year later, I bought another building, because again, I just reinvested my profits. And I think that's a part of it, is like, you know, intentionally growing and reinvesting. 

So, now I own two of my buildings, and I lease a third, but part of my five-year plan is to own that third building as well. And I always wanted three, and so that's the end journey of this part of my business.

PATRICK CASALE: Wow. I just want people that are listening to hear that, one office, to four offices, to a group practice, to owning two buildings, potentially owning the third in a couple of years. Just think about that journey when you're starting out and you don't even know how to start your own practice, and you're questioning yourself, and your abilities, because if you have the drive, if you have the intentional vision like Katie is saying, I think that everyone can start to make their own success in that way. That's impressive. How many therapists do you have right now with these three buildings?

KATIE KEATES MAY: I have 17 right now. I had 18. We had a lot of turnover in the great resignation or whatever you want to call it, but I feel like, honestly, it was weeding the garden so that we could grow and bloom. So, the team that I have right now, it's all the right people, in the right seats, and everyone who's really committed to what we're doing, the mission, the vision. And so, my intention is to hire one more to, again, get us back to 18, and fill all the office spaces that I have. But we're a great team. 

And I also want to highlight like, I didn't know what I was doing either. I had no idea how to do any of these things. And so, a really important part of all of this was all the therapist communities online. Like, you know, the courses, the Facebook groups, what you're doing. A big part of what got me here was asking for what I needed and learning and getting support.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I want to echo that, so everyone listening, ask for what you need, use the resources that you have available. And one thing that's impressive to me that I try to do as well is I know that you treat your staff very, very well. I've seen you talk about that, I've seen job postings, like you try to make sure that they're paid well for the work that they do because it is important work, and it's hard work. 

And I think that also allows for people to get behind the mission, be really good at their jobs, and also be more invested in the overarching goal, too, and be probably more loyal in terms of how do they show up to work because you're treating them well and appreciating them. And I think we can all relate to bosses who did the opposite. So, I think that shows a lot about character as well.

KATIE KEATES MAY: Thank you. I agree, it was always important to me, you know. You work in hospital settings or community mental health, and you feel like you're a number, and you're easily replaceable. And so feeling like that, I wanted to make sure that I was never conveying that to anyone on my team. And so, I really have a motto that we do what we love with people we love, we're highly compensated for our work, and we have time for other passions. And so, I think that that's really important to me is that, you know, I consider my team co-creating the future of creative healing with me.

I have this vision, and I share it, and I'm clear on it, and I'm clear on my expectations and my boundaries. But I want people to feel invested in our success because it's their success, too.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely. That's a great way to think about abundance mindset when people are thinking about your success breeds my success, if I can build you up, you can build me up, and I think that leads to longevity in the career and also prevents burnout so that people can pursue other passion projects, people can have time away from clinical work because we can't be in it all the time. And it's just too hard of a job to be absorbing energy 40 hours a week. So, I appreciate group owners like yourself and others out there that are doing things that way and have realistic expectations for their staff. 

So, group practice ownership, writing a book, you have courses, what else is Katie doing these days? Like, what else are you working on creating? Because I know that you're similar to myself where it's like, okay, I've created this it's successful. Now what?

KATIE KEATES MAY: Okay, let me think about it for a second. So, group practice, which actually I'm working on, I don't want to say stepping away from, but really fostering a self-managing company that doesn't need me in order to sustain and to thrive. So, I would say like that's in the works there. 

My big project this year is writing my book, I'll be 40 in January. I'm writing a book. My dad always said there was no manual for parenting teens like me, and I was like, “Well, I'm fucking writing that manual.” And so, it's a book that interweaves my personal story with how to parent teens with big emotions, which is, again, like personal, professional passion for me. 

I have my podcast, the Group Work podcast, I have my course, the Fill Your Group Fast workshop. I'm speaking in Nashville at Ernesto’s conference. So, I'll be working on that. And I do some coaching in like group practice leadership, and that's very choosy, I would say. It has to be like very specific to what lights me up. I get requests for certain things. And I'm like, if I don't feel it, then I'm not going to do it. But if it's, you know, something that feels good and feels aligned in terms of helping practice owners who have hit the ceiling, who are like, this is a fucking mess, I grew so fast, and I don't know what to do with this now. That's kind of what I went through, and so I like to help other people in that. 

But outside of that, this is the year of me. This is like, I have a home gym, I work out regularly with my husband. That's like our couple's time. My son is 13 and so I'm trying to get in some mom time before he hates me. I’m kidding, he probably won't. And I'm pretty low key like, I like to travel, but COVID’s put a little bit of a damper on that. Other than that I'm a homebody. I like my Netflix. I like to walk my dog, I'm writing all the time, I'm creating all the time. It's just a matter of what bucket that creating goes into, whether it's like personal, Group Guru, Creative Healing, or who knows what else will come from that. But right now that's kind of the summary of what I'm up to.

PATRICK CASALE: That is so impressive. I want everyone to hear that. You know, I want to highlight that because I hope you feel really proud of yourself too from your journey to where you are now and can take it in because that's just major resiliency in terms of working through a lot of hard things and painful experiences to helping the community at large, and not just the clients that you help, but the therapists that you help too. I think that is a really majorly impactful thing. So, I think that's really impressive. 

Any advice for therapists who are starting out in terms of aligning with those values or pursuing these passions and these big ideas? 

KATIE KEATES MAY: Yeah, I would say, have a bias for action and take it one step at a time. I think that we can get too bogged down and trying to perfect it in our minds before we take action on it. But think about maybe I'll just call and see if that building's available, maybe I'll just walk through and see what happens, and put one foot in front of the other without worrying about having all the ducks in a row and just see where the path takes you and trust yourself in that process.

PATRICK CASALE: That’s great advice, and we talk about imperfect action on this podcast a lot, and trying to break away from that perfectionism mindset of I have to have it all built before I can put it out to the world. And in reality, I think it's the opposite of like, I just need to have the idea and then put it out to the world. And then I will build around that as it comes, and as we work through that fearfulness, because I think we can prevent ourselves from putting ideas out there or even pursuing them, because we feel like we're not the expert, we haven't perfected it, we have major impostor syndrome, it's never going to be good enough, nobody's ever going to like it. 

And I think all of my success that I've experienced has come from feeling that fearfulness, working through that impostor syndrome and perfectionism, and then just putting it out there and then figuring it out. And it's not always successful. I mean, sometimes things crash and burn. And that's okay, and like, learning from those experiences too so that the next time goes a little bit smoother.

KATIE KEATES MAY: Yeah. And I think what's important about what you said is like, it's not that there are some people that aren't afraid. It's just that people are afraid, and they do it anyway. And so like, it's not easy, it's just doing it.

PATRICK CASALE: It's not easy, it's just doing it. I like that. I have a lot of quotes from you today that highlights your creative writing ability. And I think that's really important because your content is great. And what I hope people are hearing too is authenticity sells. I mean, authenticity is relatable, authenticity is what attracts and repels, right? And we can't make everybody happy with what we want to put out to the world, but you will attract the people who are in alignment and who feel connected to you, because you are willing to lead by example, and be vulnerable and normalize the human experience. So, I really appreciate that about you, and I think that's really powerful. 

Can you tell everyone where they can find more of you, so when people want to start groups, find therapists in Philadelphia who are doing DBT work, do coaching, any of the things that you're doing?

KATIE KEATES MAY: Yeah, so if you are a therapist, and you're looking for support and marketing, filling, running your groups, you can find me at, and you'll find links there to my course, my podcast, and my Facebook group, which is Happen, and you should be a part of it. And if you are looking for a therapist for a teen, and/or parent of a teen in the Philadelphia area, you can find me and my team at

PATRICK CASALE: Fantastic, and we'll provide the links in the template for the podcast so people can share, and people can see, people can find more information about Katie, and all the things that she's doing in the world that are helping the community and therapists at large. 

Katie, I really appreciate having you on today and talking about this, and I really appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable and just talk about some of your story, too. 

KATIE KEATES MAY: Thank you. It was fun. 

PATRICK CASALE: Thank you. And for everyone listening download, subscribe, share, and please check out Katie's information. If you want to find more of me, my coaching, my courses, my podcast, my retreats,, and the All Things Private Practice Facebook group. Thanks for listening and we will see you next Monday.


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