All Things Private Practice Podcast for Therapists

Episode 76: Social Media Simplified for Therapists in Private Practice [featuring Kelly Mckenna]

Show Notes

The idea of posting on social media can sometimes feel uncomfortable for therapists in private practice who are trying to market their businesses, but it is no doubt an effective way to network, establish yourself and create know, like, and trust in the mental health community, and connect with new clients... if done well.

But how do you know what works and doesn't when it comes to managing social media for therapists in private practice?

And how can you make the process of posting and growing a following not feel like a stressful, time-consuming chore that leaves you riddled with impostor syndrome and battling perfectionism in a very public, online space?

If you have been thinking about using social media to grow your business and leave an impact on the mental health community but feel stuck or intimidated, this episode is for you.

In this episode, I talk with Kelly Mckenna, a therapist, and social media and business coach for therapists.

Top 3 reasons to listen to the entire episode:

  1. Learn how to use social media to grow your private practice without getting overwhelmed with perfection paralysis.
  2. Understand the benefit of reaching therapists through social media and how that can lead to clients.
  3. Identify the exact content types and structures that are most effective to grow a following on social media and how to simplify the creation process.

If you learn to use social media effectively, it can be one of the most powerful marketing tools around to network and grow your clientele for your private practice. Take this opportunity to hear more about Kelly's experience and decide for yourself.

More about Kelly:

Kelly McKenna is a licensed therapist and business coach for therapists. Kelly built her private practice totally on Instagram @sitwithkelly. By providing educational and relatable content and Reels about anxiety, she's been able to help millions of anxious women. Kelly also coaches other therapists, helping them to find their voice online and grow thriving private practices.

Kelly's Website:

Apply for coaching with Kelly here.

Check out Kelly's Reels Membership for fresh social media ideas for your private practice.


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A Thanks to Our 2 Sponsors: The Receptionist for iPad & Owl Practice!

The Receptionist for iPad:

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

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Owl Practice:

I would also like to thank Owl Practice for sponsoring this episode.

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PATRICK CASALE: Hey everyone, you're listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I'm your host, Patrick Casale, joined today by Kelly McKenna. She is an LCSW in Jersey City and also a business coach who helps therapists and entrepreneurs just get more comfortable with social media, and monetize social media, learn how to create reels, learn how to create presence, and just really get yourself out there. 

So, Kelly, thanks so much for making the time and coming on here right now and having this conversation.

KELLY McKENNA: Of course, I'm so excited to join you. Therapists and social media is like my favorite thing. So, happy to be here.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that's a good starting point. So, why is therapists and social media your favorite thing? Like, I've followed your social media, I've seen your success, like, really getting out there, getting published in some Newsweek articles, I think, and that's really cool, congrats. And I imagine you had to work through a lot of the emotional side of small business ownership to start developing that presence too.

KELLY McKENNA: Yeah, I think social media just like totally changed the, like, track of my career and my practice, to be honest. And so, I'm super excited about helping other therapists do the same. 

So, kind of before going into private practice, I worked in nonprofit management, and I was feeling like really burnt out and missed doing clinical work. And so, I decided to start working at a group practice in the evening. And then COVID hit. And so, I was like working virtually, and was like, "Why am I doing this? Like, I could be doing this myself."

And I just really, really loved doing the clinical work with clients again. And I kept on thinking like, I would really be excited to hop on a Zoom after my nine to five and do therapy with clients. And it was, like, the part of my day that I really look forward to when I kind of started to dread the nine-to-five work. 

And so, I really started to dream about like, what if I did private practice full-time? What if I quit my job and really made this a thing? And at that point was that I decided to take a risk and start a social media page. And this was in October 2020. 

And things just, like, really turned around for me from there. With 1000 followers, I got my first, like, cash pay client, they paid me premium rate, 250 a session. Four months later, I was totally full of like private pay clients, I was able to quit my full-time job. And I just had like 4000 followers at the time. So, it wasn't like this huge big number that I have today. And I think that it's just so cool how you can use social media to build your entire business and like this freeway that's relatively low effort, low hanging fruit by putting yourself out there. 

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, love that. And I think a lot of people can relate, you know, to having that nine-to-five that they are just burnt out from and wanting something different. But then like, struggling with the when do I take the risk? When do I take the leap? Is it going to work out? There's a lot of imposter syndrome, a lot of insecurity that kind of starts to surface and understandably so, and then, once you do the realization of like, "Oh, fuck, I can work so much less, make so much more money, be so much less stressed out."

And when I'm talking to therapists, whether it's in my Facebook group or in coaching, a lot of them are so scared of social media for a variety of reasons, like, and I can list them, but I'm sure you've heard them all. And we'll talk about them for the audience. But just for reference point, like you said, from 1000 to 4000, what is your social media following at this point in time? 

KELLY McKENNA: Like 55,000. 

PATRICK CASALE: Congrats, yeah, and that's-

KELLY McKENNA: Thank you.

PATRICK CASALE: …about two years. So…


PATRICK CASALE: …something you're doing is working and it's leading to monetization. It's also allowing you to help more people. But it's also allowing you to really expand your reach in terms of your reputation, and it has that ripple effect, because each person you help gain exposure then therefore can help their businesses, can help more clients and their community. And I think that it's such an untapped resource for many people resource for so for a variety of reasons. 

So, what do you feel like is like, the biggest holdup for people right now when they're thinking, "Okay, I need to get on social media but…" Then the immediate thought is like, "What?"

KELLY McKENNA: So, I think it's like finding the perfect thing to say. And I think for some reason, posting on social media feels like so permanent. I remember I was making… my first post was either about perfectionism or boundaries. And this is something that, you know, I've struggled with myself, I talk with my friends about all the time, I was accepting insurance in the group practice and was talking with those clients about it all the time. And I spent hours putting this post together, reading like 15 different blog posts about like, you know, how do you set a boundary? Like, tweaking everything? It was like a two-sentence post, but it felt so scary to put myself out there and say, like, these are the words that I'm choosing. 

And I think that that really got in the way for so long. And the only way to, you know kind of work through that feeling is to do it, right? And to see nothing horrible is going to happen, nobody's going to start screaming at you, because you've had to set boundaries on social media, right? Like, it's going to be okay. And the more that you do it, the less, like high stakes, every single word that you put on the internet feels, right? It starts to feel easier over time, it starts to feel like less of a big deal, so it's just a way that you're expressing yourself and talking about things that you are absolutely an expert in, right? Like, you know how to talk about this stuff. It's just about figuring out how to, like, package it for social media.

PATRICK CASALE: I love that. And I think that's so true. Like, it is that imposter syndrome, perfectionism that comes up of like, and there is vulnerability, right? And like putting yourself out to the world.

KELLY McKENNA: Oh, for sure.

PATRICK CASALE: And that is a real thing. And I don't want to, like, minimize or dismiss that. But I think so much of it is exactly what you just said, like, that perfectionism process of everything has to be perfect, the video has to be very, like, specific to these requirements. Like, every single word I say must be captivating. And what if I'm not the expert? Like, can I really put this out to the world? 

Like, all of those irrational fucking thoughts that start showing up for you and really keeping you stuck instead of just doing it and realizing like, "Oh, yeah, okay, that wasn't so bad." And even in reality, like, maybe your first post nobody looks at it, nobody likes it, nobody [CROSSTALK 00:07:16].


PATRICK CASALE: But who cares? Like, it does give you that sigh of relief almost of like, oh, okay, I can do this. And then it starts to get easier. And then you start to figure out your flow. And then you start to figure out like, this is what I want it to look like, this is what I want it to sound like. 

And I personally believe, like, the most authentic content is the most relatable. The more scripted you make your content, the more you sit in front, and just like this has to look a certain way or be a certain way, the more likely it's going to come off as robotic, not personable, not relatable. And it's probably not going to get a ton of engagement.

KELLY McKENNA: Yeah, I think one of the things that is really helpful for me is kind of thinking about, like, people want to feel like they're on FaceTime with a friend or something, right? Or even on FaceTime with a therapist. Like, show up the same way that you show up with your clients in session, use animation, like in your face, right? Smile, use your hand, talk, laugh, make jokes, curse, if that's your thing. Like, be yourself and the right people are going to be attracted to it. And the ones that aren't were never going to book a therapy session with you anyways, and you were going to dread meeting with them for 45 minutes each week, right? Like, find your people.

PATRICK CASALE: That's the more important piece is that second component is like, even if they did book with you, they're probably not going to stick around, right? Because like, just not a good fit on one side or the other. And that doesn't make you a bad therapist, and it doesn't make them a bad client, it just means that it wasn't the right fit for them, and it wasn't the right fit for you. 

And social media can really help with that when you're starting to put your authentic voice out there and show a little bit of your personality, because so oftentimes, like, the therapists I work with think they have to be like robotic sounding boards who can't express themselves and can't speak a certain way, you know, can't talk about certain subjects. And in reality, it's like, this is what people are drawn to, it's that relatability. They want a little bit of an inside glimpse of what it would be like to work with you before they contact you. And it makes that guard go down, that wall goes down when it's like, "Oh, I can reach out to this person. I see them on social media talking about this all the time. Like, this feels really comfortable for me."

KELLY McKENNA: And I think that's such a big piece, especially, if you're a therapist that's trying to go private pay is people really need to make that transition from like, "I just want to find any therapist who accepts my insurance and will actually answer me when I send them a message via Psychology Today." To like, "Oh, my gosh, this person understands exactly what I'm going through. I'm going to, like, deal with the hassle of going out of network, because I want to work with them." 

And I think that that's why social media is such a cool way to do that, because people get to know you over time, and they get a feel for like what it would be like to work with you. And that makes them that much more motivated to figure that out versus it can be kind of hard to attract private pay clients in directories. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, it certainly does. But you're going to have a much better time if you can build that relationship with somebody over time and kind of be that consistent force that they see in their feed every day, every week, whatever that looks like.

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely, couldn't say it better myself. I think that, you know, so often I get in touch with therapists who want coaching on creating content, or writing their copy, or why are people not calling me? And I review their Psych Today's or their websites and they all sound the same, "I'm a trauma-informed therapist who will walk alongside you, I have pictures of stacked rocks on my website, I only talk in clinical jargon like the DSM and I do not ever share anything about myself." 

And I'm like, "Well, this is why, it's like this is the issue here." But in reality, like you just said, you're creating that know, like, and trust factor with putting out content. 

And that doesn't just mean sharing what someone else created like a graphic, a static graphic of like three ways for mindfulness shared, you know, a million times by the same person. It's like, share the graphic, put your own spin on it, put your own voice to it, do a little bit of a video about some of these tips and strategies, highlight some of the things you can do. We don't have to reinvent the wheel here. And I think that also keeps people paralyzed is like, I have to create unique content that has never been talked about before. And like that's just not a thing. Like, 99% of this content is recycled with a different voice behind it.

KELLY McKENNA: Totally and I think, especially, like, as therapists, you probably follow a lot of other therapists on social media, you probably listen to some therapy podcasts, maybe you read some self-help books, right? Like, you are inundated with this stuff 24/7, because it's your job. But for most therapy seekers, it's not their job. And so, they may not be following any therapists or maybe just a handful online, they're probably not reading tons of self-help books, they're probably not listening to tons of, like, podcasts, all this stuff. And so, stuff that feels basic and elementary to you is new information to them. It's like a new perspective, it's a new way of thinking about things. And it can really make a difference for them to hear it. 

And so, I think, kind of like letting go of that idea of needing to say something brand new is so helpful, it's probably going to be brand new for your audience. And that's really important.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, exactly. Like, you're not out there trying to attract other therapists, for the most part, like who are looking for these things. And I think it's so important to understand that if we have this idea that the only source of referrals are people on your Psych Today, people on your website, people doing Google searches. Like, that's just a small component here, that's a small piece of the puzzle. Like, there's such a wide, vast audience of people seeking help, and support, and understanding, and who want therapy. But if they don't know that you exist, and you don't have a presence, it's really hard to stand out. 

And like you said, not only just attract self-pay clients, but initially, get clients coming in the door off the bat, because kind of in this massive internet search you're losing out to all the people who have better SEO, and who have better-created websites, and whatever. And all of a sudden, it's like, "My phone is just not fucking ringing and I don't know what I'm doing."

KELLY McKENNA: And that's one of the reasons why I love reels so much is because they are such, like, a fast, easy way to get your content in front of more people, right? So, Instagram has announced like, time and time again, that they're prioritizing reels in the algorithm. If you scroll your own Instagram page, you will notice there are many, many reels from people who you don't follow, right? And so, there's this really big opportunity to get in front of new people. And they're actually like a really low-effort way to create content if you have a plan, and you know what you're doing, right? Like, it doesn't take as much time as making a post in Canva. You don't need to do like all these fancy transitions and stuff. You're not trying to build a career as a content creator, you're trying to get people to see the value of therapy, and why it would be good to work with you. 

And so, I think that with that in mind, creating reels can be such, like, an easy way to get your content in front of more people, even if it's directing those same people to your website, right? So, it's not that your website, your Psychology Today, and stuff doesn't matter, but how can we get more eyes on it, especially, if your practice is new, your SEO is new, and there's not going to be tons of traffic to your website on its own, right? So, social media can be kind of a boost to get more people to that place to take the next step.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely. So, just and really keeping it short and simple. Like, keeping reels short and simple, a couple of tips, a couple of strategies, something simple and quick. And then a call to action, right? Like, can you walk us through like a basic reel strategy for people who are like, I don't even know what the hell that means or how to do that?

KELLY McKENNA: Yes, so, my kind of formula for reels is always to start with a hook, provide some value, and then end in call to action. And what I mean by that is a hook is basically in the first two seconds of the video, you want the person to know what the video is going to be about, and that it's for them, right? 

So, instead of saying, here's three mindfulness tips, which is a hook, we want to be even more specific and say for who, right? So, like three mindfulness tips for new moms, three mindfulness tips for when you're having a panic attack, right? Three ways mindfulness can help you get out of a depressive slump, right? Like, we want to speak directly to that person, and what their struggles are and their pain point. 

Then we want to provide our three tips, right, and we want to end with a call to action which might be follow for more, comment if you can relate, schedule an intro call if you're looking for a therapist in New Jersey, right? Like, we want to tell people that next step that they're going to take. 

And there's so many different styles for how you can package the same information. And I encourage therapists to experiment with all of them, right? So, like, you can literally do a talking head style reel where you speak directly to the camera and you say those things that we just talked about, right? You can do a little pointing reel inside an audio that has, like, you know, three things, and you can point ting, ting, ting to each one, you can put together kind of like a little vlog type thing together, right? Put a video of you making your coffee in the morning and just put text on top of it that says, you know, these three things. There's lots of different ways that we can create the reels. It's just kind of about experimenting and seeing what content feels most authentic to you, what feels, like, least effort, and what is actually performing well for like your specific audience.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, love that. And that is super simple, for those of you listening, to start doing immediately. Like, really takes less than 10 minutes of your time to do a couple of these and get more and more comfortable. 

And like you just said, Kelly, like, when you see what's performing well, double down on that. Like, make more of that, make responses to people who are commenting, or questions, or things that are happening in the engagement. The engagement is really important, too. 

And I like to try to think about, like, what would you be more apt to click on or pursue more information on like, some helpful videos or some videos of someone's personality who you really enjoy, or static like, web search on Google of just like name after name, after name, or Psychology Today, where it's kind of like of looking for a therapist. You're just like, calling everyone that looks like someone you could talk to and whoever calls you back first is who's going to be your therapist, it might not even be a good fit. 

But like, it's just a great way to introduce yourself to a community and have access to people who you may not reach when you're just using the website presence when you're just using your Psych Today presence. It's just really helping expand your audience in so many different ways. And it really helps you get through that kind of imposter syndrome, like perfectionism process of everything has to be perfect before I can publish my website, everything has to be perfect before I can put this information out to my social media community. It's just like, just do the thing and then it will get more and more natural over time.

KELLY McKENNA: For sure. And I think one of the most, like, underrated pieces of Instagram too, is like the professional network that you can build. So, I hear so many therapists that I work with, they're, like, concerned, you know, the only people that are commenting on my reels are other therapists. Like, how do I actually get my content in front of clients? And that is important, right? And it'll happen with time. 

But I think that it's important to think about that it's like kind of two things. One, it's good that Instagram understands your content is for therapists, and it's putting it in front of other people, right? That means that the algorithm understands what your content is about and it will eventually work its way to regular people, non-therapists that struggle with anxiety, depression, trauma, whatever it is that your niche is. 

And then the second piece of that it's a really good opportunity to build strong referral relationships with other providers. Like, rather than just cold calling people and scheduling, you know, a 20-minute coffee date on Zoom, and then you never talk to the person again, with social media you're also in front of this other professional day after day, week after week, and you're providing more value, you're showing up as yourself. And when that professional needs to refer out for something, you're going to be the first person that comes to their mind, because they know you, they feel like they like you, they feel like they trust you and they can feel confident sending, you know, their client to you for a couple of therapy, or an inquiry, or their brother, whoever, right, because they have a good idea of who you are. And so, I think that that's like really, really underrated when it comes to social media.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, that's a great point. I mean, you really are developing a professional networking relationship with so many different people. Like, you know, this is a good example, right? Like, I reached out to you on your Instagram, asked you if you wanted to come on the podcast. And that was because I follow your Instagram, and I thought your information would be valuable to my audience. So, I think that is a really wonderful example of just, like, how social media can help connect us and also create further reach, and influence, and relationship. And it's just an easy way to do this without having to break the bank, either. I mean, you're talking about things that you can do at home for free. 

And we all know, I mean, I talk about this a lot and some of you might get mad when I say this, but therapists are notoriously frugal in a lot of areas and there's not a lot of overlap and understanding of business ownership. So, the more things that you can do at low cost, or free, or at low cost and value, the easier it becomes for you when you start to think about, like, okay, I'm getting bored of therapy, I want to expand and create a group practice, or I want to go to become an all private pay therapist. Like, I want to, you know, offer retreats, I want to start a podcast. The more you can get comfortable putting yourself out there, and just being visible to the world and social media, the more that's going to start to build, and there are lots of ways to monetize that right now as well. And this is probably the best time to really take advantage of that.

KELLY McKENNA: Totally. And I think that that's such a good point, because, like I said, you don't need to have a huge audience to have a full private practice, even a full private pay practice, right? Like, 4000 followers may seem like a lot, but it's really not in the grand scheme of things, and it is totally manageable and doable. That's for me when I got to full private pay, that doesn't mean that that needs to be what everyone does to get to full private pay. 

You know, I have one therapist who I coach that with 1000 followers was like full private pay and hiring an associate, right? And so, definitely, you can do it with way less, too. 

But I think what's great about social media is if you like it, right, and you're like, this is a way that I enjoy marketing myself, you have already a primed community of people to sell other offers to. Whether that's courses, coaching, like you said, the kind of retreats, brand partnerships, a podcast, like whatever it is, you have a group of people that already know you, they like you, and they trust you. And we have all these different ways now that we can present of how can we take this relationship further? How can we get to know each other better outside of social media and kind of get to that next level?

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely, yeah, how can you have more access to me, especially, if you follow me [INDISCERNIBLE 00:22:31] out to the world. And that's worked wonders for my business. I mean, because people like the way I show up, they like my authenticity, and they like how I approach certain topics and retreats, and you know, coaching programs have sold very well. And it's again, that know, like, and trust factor of like, "I get a sense of who you are and I know I could work with you, or I trust that I could get a lot out of our working relationship." 

And that's very important. I mean, that's important in any business relationship, you have to have that there for it to be a consistent, thriving situation. And it's really a win-win all around. 

A couple of things that are coming up for me in my head, like, that I often see is like, I don't want to commit to making videos every single day. So, what's your thoughts on how often you should be posting? I personally think batching works great when you're like, I don't want to work and create this every single day. But if you're going to batch and you're going to, like, make a bunch of content, you got to be consistent with how often you create it, otherwise, you do it once and then you're like, "Yeah, life's in the way, I got to walk the dogs, I got to do this, I'd rather watch this TV show." Then that goes by the wayside.

KELLY McKENNA: Yep. Ideally, I encourage therapists to post once a day, whether that's a video or a static post, but I would say a minimum of three to four times a week, if not, the growth is going to be really, really, really slow, and you're never going to get, like, those rewards from it that are going to motivate you to keep going. So, I would say between three times a week and every day.

And then I think it's also helpful to invest in resources that are going to make doing this easier, right? So, I have a reels membership for therapists where every Monday you get four trending reels ideas, here's the sound, here's the prompt, here's the filming instructions, all of that, that can make it really easy for you to create all four of your reels for the week, in under an hour, because everything is thought out and done for you. 

And so, I think whether it's you know, investing in a low-cost program like that, or doing it on your own, you want to set aside a time and structure to that, right? So, like, every Monday, you're going to sit down, maybe you spend an hour or two coming up with ideas yourself, you write out what you're going to film, you film it, and you call it a day. But you kind of need to have that structure and that system so that way you are consistent with it and able to keep up when you're batching.

PATRICK CASALE: That's great advice. And I definitely encourage that for consistency purposes, because it's very easy to get this burst of energy or desire and do it once or twice. And then feel like it's a chore or feel like it's something extra that you have to plan into your week. And if you can do it consistently and schedule it into your week, like Mondays from 10:00 to 11:00, I create content, and you just commit to that, and just let it be one hour of your week. And that can really, really create growth, and revenue, and just more opportunities for yourself. 

And the other thing is, you know, if you feel like you want to create content, and you do get that spontaneous, like, "Oh, I feel excited to talk about this right now." Record it. Like, get on camera when you have the energy to do it when it just hits you. So, you can stockpile some of this stuff and you don't have to do it every single day. 

And I like to think about, like, other businesses, right? I always use restaurants as, like, references but like, restaurants that don't post on social media very often, you're thought initially is like, you go to their Instagram, you go to their Facebook, you don't see anything for the last six months, and you're like, "Are they open? Like, did they close down? Is this a business? Is this menu accurate? Like, am I…"

And you're probably going to say to yourself, "Well, I'm going to try the next one or the one that has more engaging content that's constantly, like, posting pictures of their menu and posting pictures of whatever they've got going on behind the scenes." And I think that really does create that relationship that you have with businesses and other people who you've never met before.

KELLY McKENNA: For sure, and I don't know if this comes up for you as much with like any of the male therapists that you coach, but for me, I hear from a lot of the women that I work with, they feel really insecure about, like, being on camera and wanting to have, like, the full hair, the full makeup, everything done in order to feel like they can film. And I think that a lot of the time that gets in the way of us, like, kind of doing this on the spur content. 

And I can relate, right? When I first started my Instagram page, I was only filming on Saturdays. I would have like a good Saturday brunch with my girlfriends so I would film on Saturday morning, beforehand, because I knew I was already dressed, I was like cute for the day, and I could feel my content for the week. 

There's nothing wrong with that. But I think that it can also be helpful to push yourself and try and show up the same way that you look with your client, right? Like, I was filming all my reels with all my makeup on. And then this is how I show up session with my clients, right? I have a jean jacket on, my hair is up, like, I just look like myself. 

And so, people want to see the version of you that's going to show up on Zoom or in the therapy room every single week for a session. And I know it can feel like so vulnerable to put that version of you online. But that's really going to help people connect to you and feel like they get to know you and like they are kind of having that more casual relationship with you. And so, I would kind of encourage people to push past that fear a little bit, too.

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely. And I've been victim of that too of like, I have to look a certain way or you know, or I have to do my hair, or I have to like not wear the Anthony Bourdain shirt that I'm wearing right now. No, that's really not who I am, so I need to be more authentic to how I actually show up. 

And that, again, reduces the barrier of I'm going to do it, because if I have to go through each one of those steps in order to get on camera to feel comfortable enough to put it out there, the likelihood decreases that I'm going to actually follow through. 

And when I started my business, it was in the midst of COVID, like, August 2020. I just started, like, doing Facebook and Instagram Lives about imposter syndrome and nobody was watching because I had no audience. But it was still nerve-racking and I was still having imposter syndrome talking about imposter syndrome. And the only person commenting is like, my fucking grandma who's like, "Oh, your kitchen looks nice." Or like, "It's good to see your dogs." And I'm like, "Get out of here grandma. Like, I'm doing this thing."

And, you know, just pushing through that fear, like you said before, made it so much more comfortable to put out videos and to be less concerned about like, what are the reactions going to be or not be? And those lives in my kitchen by myself have turned into a thriving business where I have spoken as a keynote on that topic, in conferences, at retreats, and other experiences, but without ever having done that, if I had allowed that to paralyze me, and I was concerned about like, what do I look like? Or Is anyone going to care about what I'm talking about? I never would have done it. And you and I probably are not sitting here having this conversation. 

KELLY McKENNA: Yeah, did the imposter syndrome get better for you once you started getting some results from those lives?

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I think it does. But I also think it never fully goes away. Like, when I started my six-month Take the Leap, like, coaching program and I'm sitting here looking at therapists from all over the country and I see their little Zoom faces, and I'm like, "Why did they pay me? I don't know what I'm talking about. They should probably pay someone who knows what they're talking about."

All the thoughts start going, and then I will name that, always name it, and just say like, this is what I'm experiencing, this is how I'm feeling. And then it starts to subside. 

And I think, we talk about ways to combat imposter syndrome on here all the time, but I really do believe some of the best ways to combat imposter syndrome, like you mentioned, putting the idea out to the world, like, getting out of the head and actually into real life, realizing like, oh, it's there, the world's still spinning, it's fine. And also, like, the recognition of talking about how you're feeling and experiencing what's happening for you, because that's so normalizing in terms of the human experience, because you'll see, like all this head nodding of people being like, "Oh, yeah, me too. I also experienced that thing that you're talking about."

And then it's like, yeah, we're just human. Like, we have these experiences and this is our reality. If we cannot talk about them, we kind of take the power back from them. And I kind of believe it never goes away. Like, no matter how, "Successful." You become and maybe instead of like driving the car, it's riding alongside next to you or in the back seat now, and it's no longer that debilitating, paralyzing, painful feeling that keeps you stuck, and small, and still, but instead you kind of notice it's anxiety-provoking, and you're like, "Okay, I'm a little insecure, but it's not going to dictate how I move forward."

KELLY McKENNA: Yeah, I love that. And one thing I hear in business all the time is like, new level new devil, right? So, like, maybe you worked through the imposter syndrome, and showing up on Instagram Live doesn't feel like super scary anymore, but doing group coaching does, or speaking at a conference in front of people does, right? And so, kind of having those skills and being able to recognize the imposter syndrome, work through it, and be the thing anyways, is going to serve you not just for like the stage of your business, but for all the future stages and success that's to come.

PATRICK CASALE: I couldn't say it better myself. My motto this year has become doubt yourself, do it anyway. And I really do-

KELLY McKENNA: I love that. 

PATRICK CASALE: …love that, because it's really powerful if you can get behind that. Like, I started saying that after the first international retreat I hosted last year in Ireland, and I'm now about two weeks away from year two, and we have 30 people coming, and I'm like, oh my God, this is horrifying. 

KELLY McKENNA: That's awesome. 

PATRICK CASALE: Awesome, so it's like that balance of like, exciting and fear. And I think that's where it needs to be. And the theme has become doubt yourself, do it anyway. And it's really for people who are like, "I have these big ideas or these ideas in general, but I'm so fucking terrified that they won't work out or that I can't be the one to bring them to the world." So, like, really helping create that incubator-like experience, where people are just like, "Yeah, I feel that too." And you'll have someone who says, like, "I just graduated from grad school, I'm going to start a private practice, I'm fucking terrified."

And you'll have someone in the same room who's like, "I own a group practice and I'm trying to do A, B, and C, and I'm fucking terrified." And the emotions are the exact same emotions, they're just being experienced differently and from a different lens. And I really love the power of vulnerability and dropping into that, like, unit and group where it's like, we're going to do this thing together, and we're going to work through this fear, and yeah, can still be there, and that's normal, but we're not going to let it control and dictate how we move forward.

KELLY McKENNA: Yeah and I think that that's one of the reasons why it's, like, so important that as therapists you have support, whether it's, you know, a professional network of other therapists, friends who get it, coaching program, it's one-on-one coaching, it's your own therapy. Like, you need a space that is safe, that you can name a lot of these feelings and work through them so that way you're not just like avoiding them and pushing them away and never taking action.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely. A group of colleagues and support system, like, is so important in this, because you can feel like you're on this island and in private practice ownership, I think we can all relate to, like, just seeing clients, keeping your head down, the day is done over and you're like, I haven't talked to anybody. 

And then I go home, I can't talk to anybody about what I've done for the day. So, it can be very isolating. But it's also so helpful when that imposter syndrome is taking over, when you want to kind of grow, when you want to try something risky and that voice in your head is saying, "No, no, no, not for you, someone else can do this, but not you." It's so helpful to have colleagues in your corner who you can be like, "This is what's coming up for me, do you all have any ideas?"

And then someone can say like, "Yeah, I tried it this way, maybe try this perspective." Or like, "I tried this and it didn't work, but then I tweaked it, and I did this and this was really helpful." And that can be so powerfully transformative to have that cohesive energy to really try to help you, like, not allow yourself to talk yourself out of the thing that you want to pursue or the goals that you have.

KELLY McKENNA: For sure and I think even just, like, getting to know other people that are doing similar work to you, that are either where you are or one or two steps ahead, because I think so often we look at these other people on Instagram and we're like, "Oh, well, like their caseload must be full. They must have it all together, they know something about marketing that I don't, like, reels are super easy for them because of X, Y, or Z." 

And then when you actually get in the room with these people, you're like, "No, they're all struggling with the same thing. They're having the same problem. And I'm not alone in this, right? And so, if they can do it I can do it, too." There's nothing special, there's no secret sauce that they have that you're missing. You just haven't taken action yet.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, it's so easy to get caught up in the comparison mindset of like, I'm not doing as well, I'm not as good, I'm more incompetent than whoever, and comparing yourself to someone who looks like they have a lot of success. And maybe they do, but you don't see the behind the scenes of like, what goes in with or the turmoil and the struggles that they've had to work through some of the stuff we're talking about, because if we compare that right now, you have 55,000 Instagram followers, I have 4000. That's intimidating, right? To say like, "Oh, my God, how come I'm not at that level?"

But you can't take it at that value. Like, you have to do your own path. And everyone's path is going to be different. Everyone's journey is going to be different. And everyone's successes are going to be defined differently. And I think it's really important to remember that and to really place your energy where you feel passionate about, so if it's not Instagram, but you love Facebook, get into Facebook reels right now. Like, if it's YouTube, get into YouTube Shorts right now, if you love TikTok, make engaging TikTok content. But like, this is the time to really ride the wave of social media and becoming more of an influencer status of having people who follow you and know, like, and trust you. 

And that really is as simple as sitting in your office or your room or your kitchen and making content. And all have this inside of you. Like, every single one of you listening can do 30-second videos or 60-second videos. You all have things you can talk about easily. And I suggest you start figuring out what those things are and then creating them. Like, picking them apart. So, if it's one topic like imposter syndrome, where like you mentioned mindfulness, then start figuring out, okay, what about imposter syndrome? How it shows up for A, B, and C, how to manage it, three strategies to combat it, three ways I've experienced it. Like, that's five different videos you can make right now. So, like, it's that's simple.

KELLY McKENNA: And like, they don't even need to be 30 or 60 seconds, right? Like, we can use some of these other styles too, of like pointing or just putting text on top of a random video and do a five or six-second video, right? Like, I think so often people get stuck with whatever version of creating videos is the hardest. That's the one that they feel like they have to do first. And so, if speaking to camera gives you like the irk and that, like, really drives that the imposter syndrome, don't do that at first, right? If the idea of dancing in your kitchen gives you the irk, don't do that at first, right? Like, pick whatever feels easier and do that thing. You have option.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, exactly. Do the things that make you the most comfortable at first, and then start pushing the limits, and start trying other things out, and seeing what works for you. Like, before I started doing all this stuff, and I don't naturally, like, smile a lot or like, feel comfortable on camera. And my wife is an actress. And she's like, "Just smile like this." And like, turns it on. I can't do that. Like, that's not who I am. You know, for a while really fucked with me. But like, now I just show up how I am. And I feel totally fine. 

But it does take a long time for some people to get comfortable putting themselves out there, and getting on camera, and just be gentle with yourself, you know? Like, it's not a marathon, or it's not a sprint, it's a marathon, a small business ownership. Like, there's no finish line right now. It's like whatever you want it to be. And it will evolve over time, it will change, and interest will change, niches will change, areas of specialty will change. You can reinvent yourself a million times in this profession. And that's kind of the beauty of it. And that's something that I really, really love about it.

KELLY McKENNA: That's such a good point. When I started my Instagram page, I started with my niche of, like, perfectionism and boundaries. And now I'm really focused on like anxious millennials. So, that has changed and evolved over time. My goals of social media have changed and evolved over time. When I started, I was like, I just want to get, you know, some private pay clients so I can feel comfortable leaving my full-time job. Now, I'm bringing in revenue from brand deals, courses, memberships, coaching, like all this other stuff that has happened as a result of being able to grow my social media page to the point that it has. 

And so, your goals can change. And when that happens, the content changes too. And that's okay, right? Like, you can adapt and change based off of like, what stage of business or stage of life you're in.

PATRICK CASALE: That's a wonderful, wonderful piece of advice. And I really want you all to take that in, because it's so true that all of this will evolve, and adapt, and change over time and interests will change, niches will change, hell, business goals will change. My finish line when I left grad school was to get an agency job, then I realized that was not for me it was to have a private practice. And I thought that was the finish line. Like, that was the ultimate goal. And now, podcast, retreats, speaking engagements, coaching programs, like, group practice ownership. I don't know what comes next. But all I know is that if you allow yourself the freedom to think, and create, and evolve over time, this career can be so unbelievably fulfilling, and it doesn't have to be filled with burnout, and just looking at your calendar, and getting frustrated. Like, you really can make it what you want it to be and just being patient with yourself and being willing to take those risks. 

KELLY McKENNA: Yeah, awesome. 

PATRICK CASALE: Well, this was a great conversation. And I think it was super helpful. And I hope everyone listening can take some of that in and start implementing it pretty immediately for your own social media, like, growth, and expansion, and just presence in general. And Kelly has a ton of great resources on her Instagram too. And just share a little bit about what you've got coming out and where people can find you.

KELLY McKENNA: Awesome. So, you can find me on Instagram @sitwithkelly and I recently started a new Instagram account @businessoftherapy that is specifically for therapists, business, and marketing tips to help you grow your private practice. I have a few different ways of working with me. I mentioned my reels membership for therapists today, so that would be wonderful to join if you are, you know, kind of looking for inspiration and ideas of reels. I have a course, Private Practice Academy that walks you through everything you need to start and scale your practice on social media. And then, I also offer one-on-one and group business coaching as well.

PATRICK CASALE: Cool, lots of good offerings. And I will put all of that information in the show notes so that you have easy access for it so that you can find out more about Kelly, where she's located, and how to contact her, and follow her, because there's a lot of great information coming off of her social media accounts right now.

KELLY McKENNA: Awesome. Thank you, Patrick.

PATRICK CASALE: You're welcome. Thanks for coming on and to everyone listening to the All Things Private Practice Podcast, new episodes are out every single Sunday on all major platforms. Like, download, subscribe, and share. Doubt yourself, do it anyway. We'll see you next week.


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