All Things Private Practice Podcast for Therapists

Episode 64: Therapist Content Marketing & Tech Startup Consulting [featuring Michael Fulwiler]

Show Notes

Do you ever feel frustrated that you are available to take clients and tons of people are looking for therapists, but you hardly ever get the calls?

Have you made a Psyc Today profile, but after months of being “visible” online, nothing has really improved for your private practice?

Have you started to wonder if you should consider using those therapy tech startups, but question if they are ethical and if you can even make a livable income through them?

Well, this episode is for you.

In this episode, I talk with Michael Fulwiler, a marketing professional specializing in mental health spaces (including the Gottman Institute) and a consultant for mental health startups.

Top 3 reasons to listen to the entire episode:

  1. Understand the best ways to approach content marketing for therapists.
  2. Learn what alternatives there are to using social media and how to find the right marketing outlets for you.
  3. Learn what therapists can do to ensure they don’t get taken advantage of by the sketchy tech startups (because not all are created equal), as well as how they can play a part in improving the quality of care for clients and therapists through consulting with those tech startups.

So, if you are looking to find ways to connect with your ideal clients and get your caseload filled, this episode will give you the basics to get started. 

Content marketing can feel intimidating sometimes, so it’s important to position yourself in the way that best aligns with your preferences and time. And if you love or hate something, there is still a way to make marketing work for you, so listen in to hear more about what paths you can take and find the best one for you.

More about Michael:

Michael operates at the intersection of marketing and mental health. He leads brand marketing at Heard, a venture-backed startup that helps therapists with their bookkeeping, taxes, payroll, and related services. He is also the founder of Fulwiler Media, a marketing consultancy for mental health companies, and the author of Therapy Marketer, a popular weekly newsletter for therapists. He is the former Chief Marketing Officer of the Gottman Institute.

Michael's Website & Newsletter:

Michael's Twitter: @MichaelFulwiler


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A Thanks to Our Sponsor!

I would also like to thank The Receptionist for iPad for sponsoring this episode.

Chances are you've paid special attention to making sure your clients feel welcomed and at ease from the moment they walk into your practice's space. Make sure you don't overlook one very important step, their check-in experience.

The Receptionist for iPad is the highest-rated digital check-in software for therapy offices and behavioral health clinics, used by thousands of practitioners across the country.

The Receptionist for iPad is a simple, inexpensive way to allow your clients to discreetly check in, notify providers of a patient’s arrival, and ensure your front lobby is stress-free.

The software sends an immediate notification to the therapist when a client checks in, and can even ask if any patient information has changed since their last visit.

Sign up for a 14-day free trial of The Receptionist for iPad by going to, and when you do, you’ll also receive a $25 Amazon gift card.



PATRICK CASALE: Hey everyone, you are listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I'm your host, Patrick Casale, joined today by Michael Fulwiler. He is in… just butchered his name, Michael Fulwiler.


PATRICK CASALE: Good start so far, it's one of those days on a Monday. He is a marketing professional. He works with Heard. And he's been in a lot of different mental health spaces, including The Gottman Institute for some time, a couple of jobs back, and we are going to talk a little bit about content marketing, which is a passion of his and also a specialty, growing an audience, but also, the types of questions that you as therapists, as helping professionals need to be asking some of these tech startups if you're going to be working for them, or working with them, or consulting with them because there are a lot of questions right now that are coming up, just with the whole tech startup boom in the mental health field. 

So, Michael, I'm really happy to have you on and just want to have you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you're doing.

MICHAEL FULWILER: Yeah, thank you, Patrick, for having me on. I've been part of your Facebook group for quite a while now. And when I saw that you were launching this podcast, I definitely wanted the opportunity to come on. So, really appreciate you having me.

PATRICK CASALE: Not a problem. So, tell us a little bit about what you're doing currently because I'm still not as familiar with Heard, some of the other companies, definitely, there's so many new ones coming into the space all the time, it's sometimes hard to keep track of who does what and who's really doing the good quality work that we want to align ourselves with.

MICHAEL FULWILER: Yeah, so I've worked as a marketing professional in the mental health space for the last 10 years, first eight and a half years at The Gottman Institute, and then I run my own business for the last two years consulting with mental health professionals, you know, on their marketing, as well as with mental health startups.

And the types of startups that I really enjoy working with are startups who empower mental health professionals as entrepreneurs to, you know, help them to be successful in private practice, instead of just employing them as a 1099 contractor, and, you know, leveraging them, you know, as workers in their company. 

And so, Heard is a company that I started actually working with as a consultant and then came on as a full-time employee in the last few months. And Heard is building the financial back office for mental health professionals. And what that means is we handle bookkeeping, payroll, and tax filing services for therapists. 

They actually started as a therapist matchmaking platform, kind of helping therapy seekers match with therapists who are a good fit. And what they found through hundreds of interviews with mental health professionals is that therapists really struggle with the financial side of their practice, right? Like, when you go into private practice, that's probably like the last thing that you want to do, is your own bookkeeping and taxes. And so, really uncovered that as a pain point for therapists. And we're excited to be, you know, working on a solution.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, it's definitely a pain point. I can say with a surety that there is not a lot of training that goes into running a business for mental health professionals. So, the ability to have some of the things done for you or supported really makes a big difference. 

Now, I like that you've been a part of a bunch of different institutions that are really trying to help therapists in one capacity or another because there are a lot of companies out there right now that are kind of taking advantage of therapists and their lack of know-how or their lack of understanding of marketing or their lack of understanding of how to build a business. So, it sounds like that's really been more aligned within your values in terms of who you've decided to partner with or who you've decided to work for.

MICHAEL FULWILER: Yeah, absolutely. You know, when you look at the mental health space, there's been a huge boom in demand for mental health services, right? Which for an investor is extremely attractive. What that means, though, is that these companies, you know, are contracting with therapists, and, you know, offering affordable therapy by underpaying therapists, right? So, the money has to come from somewhere. And unfortunately, it's at the expense of therapists.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, and I think a lot of therapists have a hard time understanding that that could be true. And thinking like, "Oh, this is just a quick way to get clients and bring money in the door." Which is not untrue. However, I think that it's often overlooked. Like, you'll see a lot of people who will say, "Yeah, this platform is so great because the clients get access to services so easily and it's affordable."

And it's like, well, it's affordable for who, right? Because the client is paying the fee, you're just not seeing it. And that doesn't mean that you're doing yourself any sort of service. And, you know, the clients tend to suffer in a lot of those environments too, unfortunately, with companies that I cannot name on the air, but don't need cease and desist letters coming to me tomorrow. 

MICHAEL FULWILER: Yeah. Well, I will just say they're two, that, you know, I don't blame the therapists who work for these companies, either. You know, I think it's comparable to someone, you know, driving for Uber or Lyft, you know? Sometimes you just need the extra money. And you need to like pick up, you know, a shift or two in the evening. And that's okay. Like, I totally empathize with that situation, you know? What, just like, really gets me going is the companies that, you know, exploit their labor. And I think like, that's where the attention needs to be. It is becoming more so in the spotlight, kind of, in the last few months,

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, yep, there's a lot of stuff that's coming to the forefront. And we're seeing a lot of shifts for sure, for those of you who are working in the internet and online spaces. So, you mentioned before that, you know, your specialty is content marketing, kind of a passion of yours. You worked for Gottman Institute for a while doing a lot of their marketing too. Their reputation kind of speaks for itself now. And I feel like it's, you know, a place that couple's therapists aim to be or get trained from. 

Now, tell us about content marketing, in general, for therapists because I think that is a place that a lot of therapists do struggle with because of the lack of know-how or understanding of what has to go into content marketing in general.

MICHAEL FULWILER: I think there's a misconception that marketing is selling yourself, you're promoting yourself. And a lot of therapists really don't like that idea. And so, when they hear the word marketing it brings up a lot of those feelings. 

And the way that I explain content marketing to therapists is really that content marketing is a value exchange, right? And so, as a therapist, you're providing value to your audience, to your ideal client through content. And that can be written content, can be blog posts, can be audio content, can be a podcast like this, can be video content, through social media, can be graphic content, right? There's all of these different types of content as ways to provide value to your target audience, which builds relationship, it builds trust, and sort of the other side of that value exchange, right? If you're providing value, then you can receive value in exchange. And that kind of the other side of that value exchange is payment for your services. 

And so, we think about content marketing as a way of providing real value that helps people, then marketing becomes, you know, a lot less intimidating, you know, maybe it becomes more interesting and more fun for folks. 

PATRICK CASALE: It's a good point. So, I do think you're right, the first instinct that people tend to have when they talk about marketing is salesy, sleazy, I don't know how, I don't want to, etc. And the thing I run into a lot in the therapist's world with the coaching clients I have, or just the comments I see are, "I'm not getting enough clients in the door." Or I'm not getting the right clients in the door. What do I need to be doing differently? I've got a Psych Today page up."

And I always try to talk to them or talk about the fact that you need to do so much more, right? It's more about how you show up in a certain space. And that you don't necessarily have to show up in every space. And that oftentimes is not really a strategy that's useful. But you do need to decide what kind of content do you enjoy creating and make content. And it can just be storytelling. It doesn't have to be, you know, the typical therapist memes that circulate or graphics that circulate that everyone just presses share. And then, like, you know, here's five self-care tips written by someone, but it's been recirculated and… can't speak today, redistributed like thousands of times, but it's not your idea, right? So, it's not really showing, or highlighting your personality, or your take on something. 

So, I think a lot of therapists get lost in that in terms of just feeling really intimidated by what to do, and how to start, and honestly, even some action steps that could be like, how do I get my story out there? How do I get my brand, my name, my thoughts out there in a coherent way that is actually going to attract people coming in the door?

MICHAEL FULWILER: Yeah, and I think the way that you do that is by providing content that's valuable to them, right? Like, I was talking to a therapist recently who they were explaining to me that they weren't getting any engagement on social media. And you know, we pulled up their Instagram, their Facebook, and every post was promotional. It was as a promotional, like an ad for an event, or a workshop, or a course that they were doing, or a webinar.

I explained to them, like, what is the value that someone is getting from this piece of content? Right? Like, maybe it's making them aware of an offering, which is inherently valuable. But if they don't know who you are, or you don't have that relationship with them, they're probably not going to click on it and, you know, sign up for your course or for your offering. 

And so, really, going back to, okay, who am I trying to reach? That has to be step one, right? I've heard you talk on this podcast a lot about getting clear on your ideal client because that really drives everything, right? Like, if your ideal client is a college student, the way that you market, the way that you show up, the type of content you create, is going to be totally different than if your client is say, a high-performing executive, right? Like, and so, really getting clarity on who you're trying to reach with your content is step one, and I find often like, that's where the work needs to be done when therapists are struggling with their marketing.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I think you're right. I think that's usually when you see too broad of a picture trying to be painted. As I always say, you can't be the Applebee's of therapy. So, you really can't speak to everybody. And you really do have to be kind of specific and have some good clarity and sense into who you're trying to connect with. 

Now, one thing I hear a lot of the time is, I'm not really great on social media, I don't know where to spend my energy. Is it Instagram? Is it TikTok? Is it Facebook? Is it Twitter? Is it LinkedIn? 

And I do think it depends on the client you're trying to reach. But in order to start building an audience, if, you know, for those who are listening, some good steps for them, I mean, you don't have to be creating really beautiful graphics at first. It really just has to be, there has to be clear messaging, right? Like, there just has to be value in what you're trying to put out into the world.

MICHAEL FULWILER: Yeah, yeah, totally. And I would say like, less is more. When it comes to social media, I think that folks think they have to be on every channel. And you know, I encourage people to choose one, just choose one, and be really good at it. Like, it's better to be really good at Instagram and nowhere else than to be on six different channels and have average content. 

I also think that it's super important to be authentic. You know, I like to say that I think I've heard you say something similar that, you know, marketing is most impactful when it's authentic. And so, you know, you should really only be creating content that you feel comfortable doing. You know, if you hate the idea of your own voice then, you know, a podcast probably isn't a great channel for you, if you don't like to create videos, you know, Instagram or TikTok like probably isn't the right channel for you. But if you like to write, then Twitter, or a newsletter, or LinkedIn may be a better channel for you. 

Personally, like, I focus on Twitter, and that's just like where I hang out online. I've been able to build like an engaged community there. And it's been really great for my business. It's allowed me to grow a newsletter that now I sell sponsorships for and able to monetize. But it's just only one channel. Like, I don't create content for TikTok, for Instagram, and just because, like for me showing up on Twitter is where I feel like I can be the most authentic and where my humor can come through writing.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that's a really good point for anyone listening is really to just find one outlet because I think we get caught up in the mindset of I have to do everything, and I have to be everywhere. And I was actually talking to someone about this today. 

And, like Michael said, if you don't like making videos, TikTok is probably not going to be the place for you. You know, I always think about colleagues of mine who have really big Instagram followings and they do really well on Instagram. And I'm like, "Man, I kind of hate Instagram. Every time I post something I don't really get the engagement I want."

All of my engagement has come from a Facebook group that I've started, and nurtured, and fostered, and grown. You know, that may not be for you either, where in order to do so you really have to be involved in it. You have to be setting the tone, you have to be involved in the culture and the creation. So, it really is important to figure out where would you like to spend your time? 

And if your answer immediately is like nowhere? Well, that's something to think about because as a small business owner, you do have to have some social media presence. Would you agree with that?

MICHAEL FULWILER: It's an interesting one. I think my personal opinion on that is that it depends, and I think that's just a way of me getting out of answering the question, but I think at the minimum having some, you know, social footprint is helpful because if someone, you know, a potential client looks you up, like, just the fact that you exist online is good. 

With that said, it really depends on your goals. Like, if your goal is to fill your private practice with 20 to 25 clients per week, you don't need to be on social media to do that. Like, you can do that through SEO, writing good content, through referrals. If you're not, like, I know therapists who aren't on social media and they have a full practice. 

Now, if you, at some point want to sell info products, like a course, if you want to write a book, you know, if you want to do speaking, if you want to diversify your income as a therapist, I think having a social media following is a great launching pad, right? Like, if you hadn't built that Facebook group and you started this podcast with no audience, it would be very hard to promote it, right? But you have this baked-in audience now that you have built relationships with and that allows you to do other things, right? You have your coaching, I know you have your retreats, like you're able to do all of these things and really grow your business because of the audience that you've built for yourself. So, I think that it can only help you. 

PATRICK CASALE: Sure, yeah, absolutely. I think it can only help you. And I do think you're right, if your goal is I want to have a 20 to 25-person caseload private practice, you probably don't need social media. I still would argue that it doesn't hurt to have a social media presence, given that the markets are so saturated with therapists at this point in time. And so many people connect virtually now that it's just useful, especially, for those of you who are not in small villages, or towns, or rural communities, where you are competing for business. 

And I was doing this exercise with someone the other day here in Asheville. Even though we're a city of 90,000 people, we have, I mean, I can't even count how many private practice clinicians, got to be in the hundreds, and they're just on Psych Today, alone. I believe there are 35 pages of therapists on there. And you just have to be able to connect with other clinicians, and therapists, and professionals. And maybe that doesn't have to come through social media. But networking is really crucial in this too. And I think I would add that to the mix as well.

MICHAEL FULWILER: Yeah, absolutely. And I think when therapists think about social media, they think about connecting with potential clients, right? But social media is also a great way to connect with other therapists. I think Facebook groups are great for that, you know, you're a great example. I've been able to connect with a lot of therapists on Twitter, and there's like, a lot of, you know, kind of good conversation that happens there. And so, you know, thinking about, like, how can I leverage social media, not just to build my practice and get clients, but to connect with other therapists and build my referral network?

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, building the referral network is probably one of the best usages of your time when you're starting a business and you don't have a lot of clients coming in the door because you have free time. And a lot of therapists, you know, you should be writing content, and connecting with other people in the community, I believe, wholeheartedly, that networking is a crucial component of having that successful business structure, especially, for someone, you know, if you're in a community where you refer out and refer in, I think, as human beings, psychologically, we're more inclined to refer to people we've met, or connected with, or talked to, instead of just like a cold call email or a Google search in terms of like, if I have to send a client somewhere that I can't support, I want to know they're getting a good landing spot. 

Is that always a possibility? No. But do I think it's really, really important? In terms of relationship building I really, really do. And I think there are so many things that people can do to get their businesses off the ground that are low cost or, you know, within their wheelhouse and are just being missed a lot of the time.

MICHAEL FULWILER: Absolutely. You know, the demand for therapy exceeds the number of therapists, right? And there's a lot of therapists who've been in private practice for a long time, who have built up their referral network, they've built up their reputation, they have a full caseload, they have a long waitlist, right? 

And so, when they get clients reaching out to them, they go to their referral list, right? And make the referral. I talk to therapists all the time who if they don't have kind of an active referral list, or if they don't know kind of who in their area, or who on that list is currently, you know, has availability, they'll go to Psychology Today themselves, right? And they'll look through profiles, and try to find a therapist who's a good fit. 

So, I think I agree with you. I think the best thing you can do, especially, when you're first starting out in private practice is to build a referral network. And I think the most important thing about building your referral network is, again, having a very clear ideal client, right? Because if I know who you specialize in working with when that client profile, you know, contacts me, you're the first thing that I think like, "Oh, this is like, a perfect client for Patrick, let me make that referral. But if you're a generalist, you know, if you kind of see everybody, I may not think of you to refer clients to.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And you know, like you said, that well-defined niche, that well-defined ideal client population, that you know how to speak about pretty confidently, that does play a role into your content creation, too, and to your content marketing. 

So, writing your web pages, making social media content, blog posts, all the things that come with that, it's really hard to do when you're just kind of writing generally, if you're not kind of addressing some pain points, or some specific topics, or issues it gets really challenging. It can feel really much more like a chore or something you have to do instead of something that feels useful.

MICHAEL FULWILER: Yeah, it's really interesting how your marketing gets so much easier when you have clarity on who you're marketing to, right? Like, inherently, it's more effective because if you're trying to market to everyone, you're not really marketing to anyone. But it also becomes easier because when you have a clearly defined ideal client, you probably have a pretty good idea of the things that they're struggling with, you know, the types of questions that they have. And then you can write website copy and you can create content around those topics. 

Like, that's why, for us at Heard, the fact that, you know, we're not just an accounting software company, we're an accounting software company for mental health professionals, it gives a lot of clarity on the types of content and the topics, you know, of content to create.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, so that's like a niche within a niche, right? So, we're a accounting company or software company, but we're then specifically for mental health professionals. So, that for me is like someone who says, I work with men struggling with anxiety. It's like, okay, well, that's fine. And then, once you niche down into that, it's like, well, I work with high achieving men who are in the, you know, or high achieving professionals and their workplace anxiety. Like, then you can start to get more and more specific. 

And the more specific you can become the better the storyteller you can be through your content creation. And I think that sets yourself up nicely to become an expert in whatever the population is. 

And I think that's a big misconception, too, is, you know, in order to be an expert in A, B, and C, I need to have 25 years of training in these topics. And for some things, yes, don't get me wrong, that's very important. But for others, no, not so much. It really is just about the way that you capture the pain points and get what the client is looking for. 

MICHAEL FULWILER: Yes, pushback I hear around focusing is that I don't want to go too narrow, right? Like, I don't want to pigeonhole myself. So, I'm curious, how do you respond when therapists express that concern?

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, it's a good question that comes up a lot. You know, if I niche in, then I'm going to lose all of these clients who might need support. And in reality, you know, it's not true. You've got to be able to learn how to content create in a way where you are capturing your client's pain points, but you're writing in a way where people can read what you've written, and one statement resonates. And like, if we can write that way, you're actually not casting a small net. You can actually still pick up other clients when they read one or two things that you've written, and they're like, "Oh, yeah, I deal with that." Or, "Yeah, I've experienced that." 

Because, like, if you're not writing with clinical terminology and jargon all the time and sound like a walking DSM-5, you know, which the majority of people don't talk like, anyway, you know, they're reading what you've written, and they're like, "Oh, yeah, this is relatable, I want to call this person." And if you can do so in a way that doesn't sound like every other therapist out there, you know, writing the same things, it makes an even bigger difference. 

So, what I like to do in exercises is have my coaching clients read some Psych Today profiles that some of my other coaching clients have created and ask them if they can guess who they're talking to. And 99% of the time they do guess it correctly, but it could also be talking to persons struggling with this or something like with this person with this issue going on. It doesn't have to be so finally narrowed in that it's like, these are the only people who are allowed to call me. 

So, I think there are lots of ways if you can get into a content creation process, where if you are really being descriptive without using clinical terminology, you're actually able to capture quite a bit. 

And the good news is, at least if you're able to tap into your personality, and the pain points, and the experiences, you probably won't get calls from people who don't identify with who you're looking to write to. And that's a big part of this too.

MICHAEL FULWILER: I think also, it can be helpful to look at kind of your goals as a therapist too, right? Like, if you're trying to fill a private practice with 20 to 25 clients, like, we're not talking about getting thousands of customers, right? And so, there's likely 20 to 25 client's kind of any niche or specialization in any given area, right? Like, it's more likely in the, you know, hundreds or thousands of potential clients. And so, I think that can be helpful, sort of as a reframe of like, yes, this is really narrow and specific. But there's probably a lot of people who actually fit this profile and to your point, like, I think that I've been personally, you know, I can't speak for others, but I've been surprised at how it kind of, like, universal, the general human experience is, I think, you know, like a lot of people struggle, you know, with the same things, you know, whether they or not they fit into a specific, you know, client profile.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, for sure. It's a really good point, you know, for those of you who are thinking, "I want to start a private pay practice and I need to get 25 to 30 clients." Like, that's a relatively small number in the scheme of things. And it really does just mean that your content creation has to work pretty well and you have to be consistent. 

And it also just doesn't happen overnight. I think there's a lot of people who can kind of fall into that comparison mindset of, "I saw so and so post in this Facebook group, and they were full in three days, and they've already made $300,000 this year." Don't fall into that, you know, headspace. It's not going to serve anyone well, depending on what your goals are.

Transitioning to a different topic because you and I were talking about this before you jumped on here if therapists want to work with a company, a tech startup company, questions they should be asking, things they should be looking out for?

MICHAEL FULWILER: Yeah, it's a great question. So, I think, as a therapist, if you're evaluating whether or not to work with a tech company to deliver therapy services, I think, getting clear on compensation, how much do they pay? You know, are there terms around that level of compensation? Asking about benefits? You know, is this a W-2 full-time job? Is this a 1099 job? Like, are there certain cut-offs for number of hours? Do they pay per session or per client? Or do they pay per hour? Just really understanding kind of how they pay is super important so you don't get into a situation where you're, you know, underpaid as a therapist.

I think really understanding any sort of non-compete agreements, you know, that before you sign a contract, definitely read it over. But you know, if you're able to have a lawyer look at it, just to make sure you're not signing anything that would limit your ability to create income. I know, in some states, like, non-competes are now illegal, but always something to be mindful of. 

And then, also, just asking around, like, because it's a tech company, you know, they're likely collecting data on both you as the provider as well as the client. And so, what are they doing with that data? Are they selling it? You know, like, what are they doing it to keep it secure, just to make sure that, you know, everything is the stain compliant.

And with some of these companies, they're just acting as the platform, you know? They're not delivering the service, you're delivering the service. And so, making sure that you understand kind of your role in that system, and like you have the appropriate insurance and all that.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, the big one that stands out for me is the client data piece that a lot of clinicians are just not, they don't know off the top of their head or at the forefront when they're accepting this job that this is what's happening with client data. Or why would this be happening with client data? 

And to realize that a lot of these companies are tech and marketing companies, not necessarily, you know, starting this platform for therapeutic care or mental health support, so it is just a platform, something to really remember and try really hard to be getting as transparent as you can in terms of communication when you feel like I really need to know what's happening behind the scenes here. And that will also be a good tell for you depending on how that question is answered.

Now, you were mentioning too, now we're talking about working for a platform where you can do clinical work. What about a platform where you can do consulting work? I know that's something that you've kind of mentioned before, too.

MICHAEL FULWILER: Yeah, so I've operated as a marketing consultant with mental health startups. And I know therapists and I've actually helped coach therapists to consult with mental health startups really, not to deliver clinical services, but to really serve as a subject matter expert. And so, that can sort of play out in different ways. 

The biggest one I see is therapist consulting around content, say, for a mental health startup, who is creating content, having a clinician involved in the process, just to make sure that, you know, the content is accurate. 

I've also seen, you know, clinicians consult around, you know, how to work with therapists. And so, kind of on the operational side. 

Also, you know, as a therapist, you can consult not just with mental health startups, but also with larger organizations around kind of employee mental health. And I think there's a lot of opportunity to do that work, you know, if you're looking for kind of a change or to kind of take a, not necessarily take a break, but you know, just do a kind of a different type of work than clinical work.

PATRICK CASALE: I'm really glad you named that last part because I talk about that a lot with some of my guests who, you know, are consultants in the therapeutic community or in the mental health world space. And there are just so many ways to use your therapeutic skill sets that don't just translate into 60-minute increments of clinical time in your office and be able to help with employee mental health culture, or organizations, and leadership, development and communication, and all of the things that go into running a successful company. I mean, mental health is at the forefront. So, lots of ways to get involved if you know where to look and how to start looking for other opportunities that exist. So, I'm really happy that you mentioned that.

MICHAEL FULWILER: Yeah, and I think this is, again, where having a specialization, having a niche can be valuable in terms of, you know, where can you leverage your expertise in other ways, you know? 

I know, a therapist who specializes in disordered eating. And there's an app recently that received some funding to kind of help people around eating disorders. And so, I was able to introduce her and now she's consulting with them and sort of working with them on not just kind of the content side of things, but just on sort of the whole strategy and sort of their business plan. And so, there's definitely an opportunity to get involved and have a seat at the table, which I think is important. Like, I don't think that, you know, we should be building these mental health tech companies without a mental health professional involved. 

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that's really well said. I think that's perfectly put. And, you know, a lot of these companies, they have great ideas, but maybe they don't have the implementation or really, you know, the actual work experience, or training, or education. And that's where you come in. So, really trying hard to figure out who your specialty is or what your specialty areas are and just doing more of it and more of it, and really trying to become the expert in that arena because it can lead to so many different avenues for you financially and professionally. 

Michael mentioned writing books before, that could be an area, coaching programs, training programs, you know, podcasts, all the things, so, lots of things that you can do with your degree, especially if you're starting to feel like I'm getting either bored or burnt out which or maybe both, which we're seeing more and more of anyway, as it is. So, there are lots of things to do so that you can take care of yourself and also take care of your passion as well.

MICHAEL FULWILER: Yeah, and if you're listening, and that feels overwhelming, you know, you don't need to be doing those things. Like, if all you want to do is do really great clinical work and see clients, and, you know, check out at five o'clock, that's great. You know, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. 

I think, you know, the message that I want to deliver is that there is an opportunity, and I think that we're talking about mental health more than we ever have. I think it's become part of a conversation coming, you know, from the pandemic and kind of this mental health crisis that existed previously but I think has become, you know, de-stigmatized. People are talking more openly about going to therapy, of fleets and, you know, celebrities doing so. And so, I think it's a really great time to be a therapist, and there's so many opportunities for you as an entrepreneur if that is something that you're interested in exploring,

PATRICK CASALE: Yep, I couldn't say it better myself. And I like that every time I said something that felt kind of black or white, Michael decided to jump in and make it more ambiguous, great. But that's a good point because none of this is binary. And I think the good takeaway here too, is that your career doesn't have to look one sort of way. And it may look like something today, and you may expect this to be the finish line and five years from now be doing something completely different. And that's okay. And you may be a therapist in private practice for the rest of your life. And that is absolutely okay. And I think that's the beauty of small business ownership, is that it's very individualized and things can change day by day, hell, minute by minute sometimes. 

So, I hope everyone got a lot out of this and follow Michael on Twitter. I've actually never been on Twitter in my life, so I can't follow. If I was on Twitter, I would do it and- 


PATRICK CASALE: [CROSSTALK 00:36:03] his newsletter, too. And tell the audience where they can find you though, for those of them who are interested.

MICHAEL FULWILER: Yeah, so yeah, as I mentioned, I'm, excuse me, most active these days on Twitter and my handle is just my name, Michael Fulwiler. If you're interested in reading the newsletter that I write weekly it's called Therapy Marketer, and the website is It's free to sign up.

PATRICK CASALE: Thank you so much. And that will be in the show notes for everyone listening, including how to spell Michael's last name, which I mispronounced when we started. But thank you for everyone listening out there and supporting, and if you want to find more of me, you can go to for retreats, podcast episodes, coaching programs, upcoming events, the All Things Private Practice Facebook group, and the All Things Private Practice Podcast is on all major platforms. Like, download, subscribe, and share. New episodes out every Sunday morning. And doubt yourself, do it anyway. And we will see you next week. Michael, thank you so much for being on here. I appreciate your time. 

MICHAEL FULWILER: Thanks, Patrick.


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