Dr. Richard Shuster on How to Have a Big Impact with Podcasting and in the Media | FP 35

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Dr. Richard Shuster on How to Have a Big Impact with Podcasting and in the Media | FP 35

Have you ever considered starting a podcast? How can a podcast really have a big impact on your life and the lives of others? How can you put yourself out to the media?

In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens speaks to Dr. Richard Shuster about how to have a big impact with podcasting and in the media.

Meet Dr. Richard Shuster

A portrait of Dr. Richard Shuster smiling is captured. Dr. Richard Shuster features on Practice of the Practice Podcast on How to Have a Big Impact with Podcasting and in the Media. Dr. Richard Shuster is a clinical psychologist, keynote speaker, CEO of Upgraded Insights, and the host of The Daily Helping with Dr. Richard Shuster: Food for the Brain, Knowledge from the experts, Tools to Win at Life which is regularly downloaded in over 100 countries.

His mission is to help people become the best versions of themselves and as a result, make the world a better place. A sought after media expert, Dr. Shuster’s clinical expertise and podcast have been featured in such publications as The Huffington Post, NBCNews.com, Glassdoor.com, Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, and others.

Visit his website and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Listen to his podcast here.


In This Podcast


  • The impact of podcasts
  • Moving past the fear
  • How podcasting helped with keynotes
  • Exposing yourself to media
  • What every Christian counselor needs to know

The impact of podcasting

Hosting a podcast, you actually have no idea the impact you’re having on people. It’s about how many people are listening, you’re speaking to so many and becoming a change agent in the world by recording one podcast, being able to speak through it so loudly. And for years to come, people can go back to it and their lives will be impacted by it. Podcasts bring connections.

Podcasting allows us to have amazing collaborative relationships and really impact people. As society before this pandemic, everybody was focused on the minutiae of their lives. This thing has really made everybody stop and focus on what matters – being there for people we care about, helping people when they need a boost, helping them to be more confident and to believe that things are going to be okay. Podcasting is a remarkable platform that allows you to have a voice and reach people everywhere, and it’s such an honor to be associated with that.

Moving past the fear of podcasting

A lot of therapists have these really big ideas but they’re scared to implement them, either because they’re scared of failure, they don’t know how to do it, or they think they’re going to do it wrong. Fear is one of the things that you just have to face head-on.

Dr. Richard used to ask his patients the disaster question: “What is the worst thing that would happen if this wasn’t successful?” The fear is usually worse than what it’s actually going to be. And then the flip side: “Who’s going to miss out and who’s going to be hurt if you don’t take that opportunity to help others in a really creative and exciting way?” If you have a really good idea, you’re doing yourself, your family, your community, an incredible disservice by not trying. Our world is so connected and we have opportunities to support each other in so many ways.

How podcasting helped with keynotes

There are so many different ways that you can leverage your expertise as a therapist, and you’ll be able to benefit from that and you’ll be helping others. So, people don’t think that there are opportunities to do this. There are limitless opportunities to do this, but you just need to spend some time learning how to market yourself a little bit in that regard.

The podcast has transformed Dr. Richard’s life in every way. People knew who he was because of the podcast and that’s how the speaking engagements started happening. Getting into the media also really helped because people would go onto NBC for example, click it, and be taken to his website.

There are a lot of different ways to speak though, and it doesn’t happen overnight, but there are so many opportunities within your community, especially now. People in communities are moving towards free virtual summits which enable anybody to reach out to their community. You can get yourself out there, in front of some people, and maybe bring in some new clients for your practice or open doors for you to speak in other ways.

Exposing yourself to media through podcasting

The other shoe is yet to drop economically and COVID-19 is going to be felt for a very long time. If you’re thinking about exposing yourself to the media, start small and start local, then you’ve got that credential because now you’re a media expert.

Reach out to somebody in your community, whether it’s a school, a church, businesses, or the local media, and offer yourself as a resource to add value. There’s a chance that they’re going to engage with you and who knows what opportunities will come out of that?

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Meet Whitney Owens

A portrait of Whitney Ownes is captured. Whitney Owens, a successful group practice owner in Georgia, offers her perspective on faith-based practice. To learn more about her work and other areas of private, check out Practice of the Practice Podcast.Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.

Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.

Thanks For Listening!

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Faith in Practice is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts that are changing the world. To hear other podcasts like Empowered and Unapologetic, Bomb Mom, Imperfect Thriving, Marketing a Practice or Beta Male Revolution, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Podcast Transcription

The Faith in Practice podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network. A network of podcasts seeking to help you start, grow, and scale your practice. To hear other episodes like the Imperfect Thriving podcast, Bomb Mom podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Welcome to the Faith in Practice podcast. I’m your host, Whitney Owens, recording live from Savannah, Georgia. I’m a licensed professional counselor, group practice owner and private practice consultant. In each week, through a personal story or amazing interviews, I will help you learn how to start, grow, and scale your private practice from a faith-based perspective.

Today you’re listening to episode number 35 where I interview Dr. Richard Shuster on how to have a big impact with podcasting and in the media. So, this podcast episode, or I guess this interview, has really stuck with me. I recorded I guess about a month or two ago with him and he shares this amazing story about the impact of podcasting. And you have to listen to the episode because I wouldn’t do any of it justice to even try to retell a part of it. But it makes you realize that you can have a big impact. I’d like to think that my podcast has a big impact. And many of you I know are also podcasting. And so, I want to encourage you to keep it up, because you really don’t know who’s listening, and you don’t know how they benefit from the words that you’re giving. But other things that y’all are doing, when y’all are awesome, faith-based counselors doing big things in the world. So maybe you’re preaching a sermon or you’re developing an eCourse or you’re sitting with a client, I mean, that is important too. And then all these things, we have no idea what God is going to use them for, for greater good, and even the people that are impacted by us, those people are impacting other people. And so sometimes, like all of us, I find myself discouraged. I get tired, I mean, podcasting, let me go ahead and tell you, if you’re thinking about starting a podcast, podcasting is not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of thought into your audience and what they would want, a lot of planning the interviews. But when I read a review that says, this podcast meant something to me, here’s how I’m going to use it in my life, it makes it worth it; it makes me want to keep going. Now, we’re not always going to get that impact… we’re not always gonna get those impactful stories, right? So, I want to encourage you to keep going into your big dream, even if you’re not getting the feedback that you want. But then I also want to encourage you: if you are finding this podcast helpful, or maybe something else in your life that someone’s doing means something to you, take the time to let them know, because in the story that Dr. Shuster shares, fortunately, he was able to hear this story and how it made an impact in his life and how it has changed him and made him move forward. So, I want to encourage you to verbalize to people what they mean to you and keep going forward in the work that you’re doing. And so, I’m excited for you to listen to this episode because I think it’s really powerful. It also gives some basics about podcasting and podcasting is awesome. So, we’re going to go ahead and jump into episode number 35 with Dr. Richard Shuster on how to have a big impact with podcasting.

On the Faith in Practice podcast today, I have Dr. Richard Shuster. He is a clinical psychologist, a keynote speaker, CEO of Upgraded Insights and the host of ‘The Daily Helping: Food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, tools to win at life’, which is regularly downloaded in over 100 countries. His mission is to help people become the best versions of themselves, and as a result make the world a better place. A sought-after media expert, Dr. Richard’s clinical experience and podcasts have been featured in some publications such as The Huffington Post, NBCNews.com, Glassdoor.com, Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, and others. Thanks for coming on the show, Dr. Richard.

Oh, Whitney, it is awesome to be here. Thanks for having me on.

Yeah, yeah. How are you doing today?

You know, I’m doing… I know this is gonna air in a couple months, so I’m doing as well as anybody’s doing, adjusting to the new reality of our lives that you know, don’t go outside and you know, you’re in Georgia just like I am. So, we shouldn’t go outside because of the pollen anyway. But this is weird. And I’m just taking it in stride, but also viewing this as an opportunity to spend more time with my wife and children when otherwise I would be probably on a plane speaking somewhere. So, there’s always a silver lining, to be sure.

Sure, and it’s offered us more time to do podcasts, which is kind of nice. You know, a lot of people I’ve been interviewing have said, oh, normally I’d have to get on a plane and go speak at something but doing more podcasts has been really great to be able to share the message.


Yeah. So, Dr. Richard and I, we met at Podfest, which I think back really fondly of now because that was like my last social outing before the quarantine. But that was really great to meet in person, you know, so many people I interview I haven’t met in person. So, it’s really fun to be able to communicate with someone not only I’ve met in person but also in the state of Georgia. And yes, when I go on a run, the pollen is so bad. It’s like raining pollen. Yeah. So, Dr. Richard, why don’t you go ahead and kind of share with the audience a little about yourself as far as your mental health work, kind of how you got started in private practice?

Well, you gave me a banging introduction here, so I have a lot to live up to, Whitney. So, I… my story is kind of interesting, whereas I went back to school much later in life. In fact, I distinctly remember on my very last day as an undergraduate student at Michigan State University that I was out with my friends and I said, I swear on my life, I will never set foot in another classroom ever again. And now two masters and a doctorate later, here I am doing stuff I never thought I’d be doing. You know, I graduated from college and I went into the IT world, and I got a taste… this was in the late 90s, so that kind of gives you a hint as to how old I am. Back then, before the IT crash, if you could chew gum and you could talk at the same time, somebody was going to give you a pretty decent salary and so I jumped into the IT world and then took a shot one day and I bid on a government contract that I had no business winning with a couple of guys I was friends with from my IT job, and we won the bid. I don’t know if you remember that UPS commercial back in the day when e-com was kind of early, and this company launched an online product and they got a few purchases and they were excited and they got like hundreds of purchases and it dawned on them that they had no idea logistically how they were going to do what they were going to do, or needed to do.

And so that was kind of the world for me, my life shifted; I had moved to Texas almost overnight, and this contract with the DoD, listen, this was not selling bombs to anybody. This was medical records for the army that we were doing a software solution for. But it put me down a path that I look back on and I wasn’t terribly proud of, Whitney. I became incredibly materialistic and focused just kind of solely on acquiring stuff for the sake of having stuff. I literally would come home from work and I would Google on eBay, there was no Google, I’d get on eBay and I’d look at like fancy cars and boats and islands – you can buy islands on eBay. And I had no business doing that stuff but that was my world. I was just focused on how much glory and glamour and pizzazz could I have, and then my whole world changed for me on what was otherwise an ordinary Saturday. I was driving my car and made a left hand turn here in Atlanta and a kid ran a light and slammed into me head on, and it’s really one of those moments where you reevaluate everything. And so, what’s very interesting from a neurobiological standpoint, Whitney, is that we’ve got a lot of research around what happens to the brain when we’re in a near death experience. You know, this goes back to saber toothed tigers kind of chasing us into our caves many, many years ago. And so, in that moment, maybe three seconds elapsed from when the first car slams into me, and I’m sent into oncoming traffic as my airbag goes off. And the second car hits me and sends me back the other way, and then a telephone pole breaks my momentum, maybe three seconds, but it felt like an eternity.


And I’m literally watching in slow motion, like Neo in the matrix, I’m watching little pieces of my windshield floating in the air and the light of the sun reflecting off of them, and I’m having a full on conversation with myself and I was really overwhelmed with guilt and shame because number one, I knew that my mom and dad were going to get a call that I was dead, and it was a senseless death and they were out with friends and I can’t imagine anything worse than losing a child. And number two, I really was reflecting on what I’ve accomplished in my life. And it wasn’t one of these moments, Whitney, where I was like praying to God, and I really wasn’t even sure… I generally believed that there was kind of something out there. But I would not have at all, prior to this accident, referred to myself as spiritual in any way. So, it wasn’t like asking God to let me live. I was sure I was toast; I knew that I was going to die. That the car that I was driving, the watch that I was wearing, all of those things weren’t coming with me. And as a result of that injury, I broke my spine. I suffered a number of severe injuries, nearly tore every ligament in my neck and spoiler alert, I did survive.

It was one of these things where still, like, I actually have the picture on my website as part of my story. I don’t know how I survived other than that God had a plan for me. And it put me down to a totally different path and you know, you oftentimes have to hit rock bottom before you climb your way out of that chasm. And so, I’d love to say that I held up my fist at that moment, from this moment on, I’m going to help people. It wasn’t like an overnight thing for me. It was a journey of really a couple of years before I found this path. And so, I walked away from that IT company eventually and then I sat around doing nothing. And I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I was depressed, I was alone. And then because there was no such thing as Instacart back then, I had no choice but to go to a grocery store to survive, and get my food, and I go to the grocery store, and I heard these two women talking about their teenage daughters on social media. And I just kind of bought in, and I don’t usually do that either. Like I just, hey, you know, I overheard your conversation. Here’s a couple things you need to think about to keep your kids safe online. And their eyes get really big, like silver dollar pancakes at IHOP and we’re freaking out, and then it’s like, well, will you come speak to our PTA? And I wasn’t doing anything else. And that was that moment that really kind of reframed because I was down, I was lamenting that I spent all this time in technology, and I had an opportunity and I wasn’t… there was no strings attached to this. I wasn’t trying to sell anything. I was just, I went to speak to a PTA and share some knowledge I had on keeping kids safe on the internet, with their PTA members. And so, what came out of that was interesting, was a guy in the audience was a cybercrime police officer, and he heard me – I don’t know why they didn’t ask him to do this speech but he came up to me and he said, you know, Richard, as a civilian, you can say things that law enforcement can’t. And I’m now teaming up with them and I’m on a speaking circuit, educating parents about internet safety, and at one of these schools, so here’s the point… it took eight minutes to get to this point, Whitney, to answer your question. At one of these things I did, a guidance counselor came up to me and said, hey, would you be a mentor? We have lots of female mentors, but no male mentors. And they gave me a kid who was in the seventh grade at the time, whose parents had divorced, who had a lot of behavioral issues. And listen, I’m not so arrogant as to say that I’m the reason why this kid’s life turned around, but I was certainly part of that change process and that excited me.

And so, I had to go back on my commitment to never setting foot in another classroom and, in my early 30s, I applied to a social work program and was so intimidated by these younger students who were in there. And it had been so long since I had been in school. But I did really well, in that program. And during this period, I worked a lot with victims of Hurricane Katrina, which was so powerful and put so many things in perspective about gratitude for me, and just wanted to go beyond, and I decided that graduate school is actually pretty cool. And then I went and got a doctorate in clinical psychology with advanced training in forensic and neuro psychology. So that’s what led me to that path. And then I was doing private practice neuro psychology for a number of years, until I decided to launch a podcast and that took on a life of its own and then ultimately decided that I could have a larger impact focusing on the podcasts, my related businesses, rather than seeing patients. And it was an honor and a privilege to work as a clinician and do the work that I was doing. But it just became, from a time standpoint for me, too much. And I just, I have a very special place in my heart for anybody who works in the mental health field, especially now with what’s going on in the world. But I felt like I was shown a path where I could help people on a much larger scale, and I took a chance and walked through that door.

Well, thank you for sharing your story, and I love how God kind of interrupted your life – not that he would ever want a car accident to happen, but he used that to kind of interrupt you and put you on a different path that ultimately was better for you, you know, and you were able to make this huge impact in the world. And the way that these women just happened to be at the grocery store. Like, that’s how it happens. Like, we just keep going in our lives and then God puts things in front of us and shows us the direction to go. And so, I love how you’ve kind of emulated that story here for us today. So, your podcast – it sounds like that was what happened after private practice. So, can you talk about the podcast and the bigger picture, like, how you’re able to speak to so many through it?

Sure. Thanks, Whitney. And you’re right, you know, timing is everything and timing is divine. You know, for me, I am in practice… I mean, all I ever wanted to do when I was in graduate school to be a psychologist, I’m like, I’m going to be a neuro psychologist. I’m going to work with special needs kids, I’m going to do all these things. I’m like that was so exciting to me. And then I got out and I was doing it, and I just felt like, how do I go bigger? How can I have a broader impact than seeing a few kids a week? And I said, huh, podcasting. Well, let me try that, and so then I google, what do you need to do a podcast? And so, it was like 150 bucks off stuff on Amazon, and a recording program, and off I went.

And so podcasting is a lot like karaoke, except you’re doing karaoke for the whole world. So instead of just a room of family and friends, if you’re terrible, the whole world’s gonna know you’re terrible. So, I started this podcast and at first, it was going to be called the psychology of and so I was going to do an episode… I’ve actually never talked about this on air with anybody. It was going to be a psychology based podcast where I was going to have a psychology of… and this was actually, I got the idea because when I was a kid, my dad and I used to watch a show with Leonard Nimoy on TV in the late 70s, where it was like, ‘In search of’ was the name of the show, and it would be a like, ‘In search of Atlantis’, ‘In search of Pompei’, or whatever and the ‘of’ was whatever the topic of the day was. And so I was going to do the ‘Psychology of’ and it was going to be ‘Psychology of anxiety’, ‘Psychology of depression’, and not really realizing that I probably would have run out of topics in six weeks, if I was that broad.

But so, I got all my ducks in a row. And I decided, because I was licensed and wanted to make sure I’m doing everything aboveboard, I reached out – cos I was a member of the American Psychological Association – the opportunity to talk to their lawyers and run it by them and said, hey, I’m gonna do this podcast, I’m calling it the ‘Psychology of’ and what they basically told me was that they were going to shut me down so fast, my head would spin, I’m paraphrasing, but the title of my show implied that if somebody were to listen to it, I would improve their mental health. And I said, well, listen, you know, I’m interviewing people. My guests are the experts in whatever the topic of the day is. You know, if you want to be like Dr. Phil and get your license stripped away, go for it. And so, I have to go back to the drawing board now and come up with a new name. And a good friend of mine who’s actually an English professor in Michigan was the one that helped me come up with this name, and we called it the Daily Helping: Food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, tools to win at life. And that’s a double entendre to where, you know, helping could be a portion, it doesn’t necessarily imply that you’re changing lives. And so, we ran that by the lawyers, and they kind of grumbled and said, that’ll be okay. And so, you know, the whole scope of what I wanted this show to be completely shifted but shifted more towards an overall wellness.

So, I mean, I’ve had on some prominent psychologists and mental health experts, but we also focus on overall wellness. So, wellness as a parent, wellness mind, body, spirit. We talk about nutrition, we talk about finances, we sometimes talk about leadership. So, it’s really just a really broad scope of the type of paintbrush I’m able to use in terms of topics. And we just recorded our 150th show which was amazing. And actually, Joe Sanok has been on mine and I’ve been on the Practice of the Practice as well early on. So, I very much enjoyed that. And, Whitney, as the podcast started to take shape, it really gave me a platform and I got lucky… I went on a really prominent show and a journalist happened to have listened to that and so now all of a sudden, these journalists are starting… and journalists talk to each other. So like, the Cosmo interview happened because another journalist at NBC introduced them to me and I then did a series of interviews for nbc.com on what happens to your brain when you watch football, what happens to your brain when you go to the beach, what happens your brain when you learn a foreign language, and all of those backlinked into my show, so that really helped my audience grow. And so the other thing that I do with the show that I’m really proud of, is I snuck a little bit of neuroscience in my show’s call to action, in which I encourage the listener every day, to commit an act of kindness and post it in their social media feeds, using the hashtag #mydailyhelping and so, you know, my position is, is that if everybody is living a happy, healthy, fulfilled life, which of course, everybody listening to this show has the privilege of helping clients achieve, the world’s going to be a better place.

And so that’s how The Daily Helping got started. We’re in about 160 countries now. And I’ve gotten like the craziest stories that just like overwhelm me with joy and gratitude. Probably my favorite is a kid reached out to me the day after Thanksgiving in 2017, and the subject of the email was Dr. Richard, you saved my life. And I kind of looked at that before I clicked and I’m like, you know, that’s kind of interesting. And so, when I start reading, and he said, you know, Dr. Richard, I’m a 25-year-old high school dropout, working as a dishwasher in a country club. I have credit card debt I can’t pay. And last night, I got a nine-millimeter gun and I was ready to blow my brains out. This is verbatim. And now, like, obviously I’m stunned as I’m reading this and he said, I was getting ready to compose a suicide tweet, and right before I did, you popped up in my Twitter feed because you were interviewed on another show. And he listened to my story, the one I shared with you earlier. And then he stayed up… he put his gun down and he stayed up all night binge listening to my show. And he then says in the email that because of you I no longer want to die. And I’m crying as I’m reading this and he said, I no longer want to die and I want to start a podcast for people with mental illness so they know there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, and he gave me his number. And I’m usually pretty quick on my feet and I’m pretty good talking on stages, and I didn’t know how to talk to this kid. I called him and it was like, you’re gonna ask out the prettiest girl in school. You’re just fumbling over yourself. I was fumbling over my words, and I just said, listen, I don’t know how to respond to this other than this is the most, you know… I’ve never been touched by anything like this, and any way I can help you please let me know. And I helped him launch his podcast and I gave him some tips on starting a coaching business and now, now he’s very successful, and he’s happy. And we talk pretty often. And so, I didn’t start my podcast to prevent suicide, like that wasn’t on my radar. But when you put good out in the world, there are ripple effects that happen. Now, that’s an extreme case; we usually don’t know the good we’re doing, but I think that’s what’s so awesome about being in a space like personal development, and like therapy, and mental health professionals in general know this, that we have a responsibility and a privilege to be so transformative. And we might not necessarily know how that impacts people months, days, and years after they’re no longer our client, but we are impacting them. And so, you know, there’s different ways to do it but that was probably the coolest moment for me in my life professionally. So far, to be sure.

Yeah, that was an incredible story. It just really speaks to that idea that what you just said: we have no idea the impact we’re having on people. And as I’ve learned more about podcasting, you know, you’re speaking to so many, like, I can go in and see how many people are downloading the podcast or what’s going on. But the idea that every time I record a podcast, this is about how many people are listening, like, speaking to so many and able to be a change agent in the world by recording one podcast, but then being able to speak so loudly through it and speaking years to come that people will go back and hear it and their lives will be impacted by it. And I love how it brought… not only did it save someone’s life, because that’s amazing. The connection it brought you to somebody, like that’s incredible.

Yeah, I mean, you alluded to this in the very beginning, like, you and I got to meet at a podcast conference where otherwise we would have never known each other. And, you know, this is a new world, but podcasting allows us to just have these amazing collaborative relationships and really impact people. I mean, the first thing I tell people when I meet them is, how can I add value? And I think we, as a society, for this pandemic, everybody was so focused on the minutiae of their lives and taking kids to soccer and got to pay this bill and have to do that and in this thing has really made everybody stop and focus on what matters. And what matters is being there for the people we care about; what matters is helping other people when they need that boost, to be more confident, to believe that things are going to be okay. And podcasting, as you said, Whitney, is a remarkable platform that allows you to have a voice and reach people everywhere. I actually had a kid in India, like, a 17-year-old girl wrote me because in whatever village she was in… I think it was Microsoft, they got these free laptops and internet, and they were like these solar laptops, they could crank them. They don’t always have running water, and clean water, but they always have internet and like this kid reached out to me, from across the planet, and was able to say that my show inspired her and like, you know, there’s such an honor and responsibility associated with that. So, you know, for me, it was like, once I had this podcast, and I knew that I had a platform, it was how can I leverage it beyond and have even more of an impact?

Yes, yes. I love your story, how you’re like, I wanted to start a podcast so I’m gonna get on Amazon and buy what I need and do the research and I love that go-getter mentality. And I think a lot of us, especially therapists, we’re so used to kind of the one on one and sitting in the chair. We’re not always, you know, you’ve been on lots of stages. A lot of therapists don’t kind of have that, I guess, gumption or maybe they’re introverted, you know, and so a lot of them have really big ideas, but they’re scared to implement them. Either scared of failure, or they don’t know how to do it, or they think they’re going to do it wrong, right? And you just did it. And so I’d love to hear a little bit about how did you kind of get from I’m going to do this, and move past that fear of making it happen, because I think a lot of people are in that place.

So, the biggest lesson that I learned… I glossed over this in my story, but after my accident and I rehabilitated physically, I went back to work in that company. And every day I made myself more and more miserable until I got to a point where I was physically ill. I was actually going to be sent to an infectious disease specialist because nobody could figure out what was wrong with me. Well, duh, it was like a psychosomatic manifestation of depression, right? But fear is one of those things that you just have to face it head on, and I know that sounds like pull yourself up by your bootstraps. But, you know, one of the things that I used to do with my patients, when I would do CBT work with them, is I would ask them the disaster question. What is the worst thing that would happen if this wasn’t successful? And usually what you fear is far worse than what it’s really going to be, or when you actually just start breaking it down, and you think about it, oh, well, that’s not really so bad. And then the flip side is, who’s going to miss out and who’s going to be hurt if you don’t take that opportunity to help others in a really creative and exciting way?

I know a lot of therapists that are very introverted, and they’re phenomenal therapists. I’m one of the oddballs, like I used to like being cross examined on the stand, and I know many therapists, like, there’s nothing that would be worse for them than getting a subpoena knowing that they have to go testify in court. So, you know, I get that I’m an oddball in that regard. But I would say that if you have a really good idea, particularly if it’s an idea that you thing could make a difference in the world and help others, you’re doing yourself, your family, your community, and who knows who else, a really incredible disservice by not trying. And the cool thing about the world we live in today is that we’re so connected. And we have opportunities to support each other in so many ways that there might be a part of your idea that you think is really, really cool but you don’t have the pieces to do… you have A, B, and C, but you don’t have X, Y, and Z. But you can get on Facebook, you can get on LinkedIn, you can get on these Discord servers, and you might find this other person, who’s halfway around the country or the world, that has the chocolate to your peanut butter, and you would have never known it if you didn’t go out there and inquire for help and see what’s out there.

Yeah, so I want to kind of take you back a little bit. We were talking about some of the keynotes you’ve been doing, and so I’m gonna guess the podcast has kind of helped you in getting some of those keynotes, is that right?

The podcast has transformed my life in every way. So, people knew who I was because of the podcasts and that’s how the speaking stuff really started happening. The other thing that was really helpful was getting in the media because people would go to NBC or Men’s Health or whatever, and they click it and that would take them to my website, and then they’re asking me. There’s a lot of different ways to speak, though. I mean, it doesn’t happen overnight, where you’re going to be, you know, the next Tony Robbins or somebody like that, and I’m certainly no Tony Robbins. But there are tons of opportunities within your communities, especially now. But boy, I say that, especially now as nobody’s allowed to leave their house, hopefully by the time this airs, we are.

But even… if you’re listening to this, wherever you are in your community, you have a unique story. You have expertise in mental health, and you know what else you have? You have Zoom. And so, what people are really moving towards in communities are these free virtual summits, these virtual summits where you could reach out to anybody in your community and you can say, hey, you know, my name is Whitney Hope, and I have expertise in X, and don’t people really need their faith right now, because this is something that we haven’t gone through as a planet since 1918? That’s powerful. And now all of a sudden, you can get yourself out there and in front of some people, maybe that brings you new clients for your therapy practice. Or maybe that opens doors for you to speak in different ways. And if God willing, when this does air, if everybody’s allowed outside of their house, start reaching out to people in your community, maybe at a city level, maybe in your church, that you can do that. And it gives you a platform and once you’ve done it a few times, now you’re a speaker, and it’s kind of like making a lesson plan for school, to use a teacher analogy. Once you’ve written that speech, and you’ve given it four or five, six times, you don’t have to do much prep work to give it again. Then it’s just being able to market the value that you bring. And for a lot of people, just, you know, even opportunities where you’re not charging, you know, just to be within your community, and to be on a stage and speak as an authority on how to manage stress, or how to use faith to improve your marriages. There’s so many different ways that you can leverage your expertise as a therapist, and you’ll be able to benefit from that and you’ll be helping others. People don’t think that there’s opportunities to do this. There’s limitless opportunities to do this, but you just need to spend some time learning how to market yourself a little bit in that regard.

Yes, I appreciate you kind of speaking to that. I get this question from a lot of people I consult with and other counselors of how do I get out there? And it really is, you just have to get out there. You just have to try different things, get your name out there, like, speaking to the situation we’re in with the COVID-19, we’ve had a couple of opportunities, my practice has been able to do some things that were unique. The local NBC outlet reached out to me right when this all started because they wanted to do an interview on social distancing. And people are like, how did you get that? Well, I spoke for them another time on a different topic. And they called around and I said, I will do it. And I will be there in 20 minutes, you know, you let everything go so that you can bring in these opportunities, and those do lead to others. And also, some of the schools here. It’s like, we’ve spoken at one of the schools, they did like an online, they want us to speak about how the COVID-19 is impacting teachers and how do they take care of their students? How do they take care of the kids? And then someone else heard about that, and now we’re speaking at another school and it’s all going to be through Zoom. So, it’s just really neat. It’s one thing leads to another: it’s that domino effect, right? But if you don’t push the first domino, you’re not going to get anywhere.

It’s absolutely right. And I chuckled a little bit when you said, you know, you drop everything. I remember early on when I was just starting to get a name in the media, I was at Costco with my wife and I got an email from NPR. And they said, you know, we would like to interview you. And I said, sure, that’d be great. And I said, when? And she writes back, 25 minutes. Oh, wow. And literally, you know, we didn’t get a speeding ticket that day, but we probably should of. Just got home so fast and I frantically threw on my headset. But your point was well taken too, you know, the schools, local media, those places are literally dying for your expertise right now, because that’s all anybody’s talking about. And even if that June, July rolls around whenever this airs, if we’re let out of our house, there’s still going to be, you know, the other shoe has yet to drop economically. And this is going to be felt for a really, really long time. So, if you’re thinking about trying to expose yourself to the media, start small, start local, but you can absolutely do it. And then you’ve got that credential because now you’re a media expert and then you get to say that. So, I would encourage everybody listening to this to at least reach out to somebody today. Here’s my call to action. Reach out to somebody in your community, whether it be a school, a church, businesses, the local media, and just offer yourself as a resource to add value. What’s the worst thing they can do? They can either not write you back, or they can say, we’re good, thanks. But there’s also a chance that they’re going to engage with you, and who knows what opportunities will come out of that?

That’s awesome. Yeah, I did that same challenge when I got this interview for the social distancing, which… I’ve had some similar stories where, 20 minutes you better be ready. And I’m like in my workout clothes. I’m like, oh, goodness. But yeah, threw that out to the Next Level Practice, which is part of the Practice of the Practice. We have a Facebook group, it’s a paid membership, and I threw out that challenge like, hey, this just worked for me. Reach out to a news outlet, people were dying to hear from you. Even this guy that interviewed me, he said, thank you so much for responding because everyone they were reaching out to wasn’t responding, wasn’t willing to interview. And so, he was super grateful. And so, this person in the Next Level Practice group, she reached out to media outlets, got like two interviews, because they were dying to have some money for that. So y’all have got to take this call to action because it does work.

No, it does work. And it’s needed now more than ever.

Yeah. So, I want to talk a little bit about your freebies. And we had a survey that Dr. Richard had sent me before the podcast that I took. So, do you want to kind of talk about the freebies and the power survey?

Yeah, really quickly. So, one of the things that my platform has afforded me is an opportunity to address issues that make me angry or where I feel I could really help people. So, I’ve got a nonprofit for Kids cooking that raises money to give kids therapy services, which I’m very proud of. And I started two years ago. So, this will be fully out in the wild by the time this airs. I’ve been working on an algorithmic-based assessment tool, and I built it partly with the therapists in mind that they could use this as an intake. And so, I’m a social worker and a psychologist so I get both sides of the argument. I remember when I was a social worker, and I would ask my supervisor, well, why can’t masters-level clinicians do assessments? And her answer was, because that’s the rules. And I said, well, that’s not fair. And then I became a psychologist. And I said, okay, I get it, but there has to be kind of a happy medium. And so, as many of you probably know, the assessment industry is extraordinarily greedy. It’s one of the greediest industries I think I’ve ever been exposed to. They nickel and dime people to death. It’s the least inclusive industry I think I’ve ever seen, and it just bothered me. And as I started to have a platform, I sat down with a couple other psychologists and psychiatrists and said, how can we change this? How can we, instead of having assessments that just focus on everything that’s wrong with people, how can we make assessments that focus on what’s great about people, and give them a roadmap to improve areas where they could do better in their lives? How could we make it to where anybody could afford to take these assessments? Whether they… let me back up. Basically, how anyone could afford them and not have to go pay a psychologist $3,000 to interpret them. How could we do this in a way to where people that helped us help other people could benefit financially and do it in a way that just really lifted a lot of people up? And so, I said, okay, well, let’s do it ourselves. And we just kind of chuckled and we’re like, well, you know, Pearson’s huge [unclear] no, no, let’s start an assessment company that’s really focused on goodness. And so, we spent a couple of years developing our flagship, which is called POWERS, and POWERS stands for the Predictor Of World class Excellence Rating Scales. It’s really designed for somebody to understand where they’re doing great in their life. It’s really designed to put the balance in work-life balance. And we’ve created around it a whole training program for coaches and therapists to use this as their intake and what we’ve done – because it’s self-interpreting, and because it’s self-scoring, you don’t need to be a licensed psychologist to use this in your practice. And so essentially, what would happen is you as a therapist would just send the link to your client, and they would buy it and take it, and then the results would come to you. I’m going to put Whitney on the spot here a little bit. Whitney, you took it – what was your experience with it?

Yes. Well, you know, when you sent it to me, you said, oh, try this out before the podcast, I was like, what is this? And so, hearing you kind of explain the purpose of it, I’m like, wow, that’s really valuable, because I’ve now seen the results. So, it’s a really simple questionnaire. I think it was 58 questions, maybe. It really did take all of five or ten minutes. And then there’s this amazing report that comes to you about all these different areas. I think there’s six different areas that you could go into details, but it was really helpful that really basic parts of your life and now I can see how it gives you like an intermediate level or you’re doing really well in this area. So if I were to have a client take it, I could quickly see, oh, here are the areas we want to make sure that we focus on and make a treatment plan for, when maybe they wouldn’t have said that at the beginning. So I could see the power of the tool, and even personally, as I was looking at it I was like, oh, I’m doing better than I thought in this area, or oh, I need to work on this area. So, it was really effective.

Yeah. And that’s generally been the feedback. And so, as you know, a lot of times, if you’re a cash-based practice, this isn’t as big of an issue. But if you do take insurance, you only have so many sessions to work with somebody. And if developing that therapeutic alliance is challenging, well, now you’ve got to deal with that. And so, you know, what I like about this tool and why we did it this way, is because it’s one thing for you to say something to a client and say, hey, you know, it sounds like you’re having issues with x. It’s another thing to have a data driven, empirically created document in front of them that compares them to thousands of people their same age and to where they can really see the strengths and weaknesses come off the page. And then they’re much more receptive to doing it. So, you know, this was absolutely a labor of love.

We have another tool that’s coming out next quarter to help those in addiction and recovery that I’m equally proud of. But the POWERS is really cool. And what we’re doing with it was we’ve developed a training course for therapists so that they could be trained and certified on this, which of course we were charging for, but with what’s going on with Coronavirus, we’re giving that whole thing away for free. We do want you, if you’re going to be using it in your practice, we’d like you to take our online certification so that you understand really the nuances of the tool and how to use it with your clients. But we’re giving that away for free, whereas we were charging for that. And so, the other thing that we have is we’ve created a tool, which is a stress management, and it’s a COVID specific stress management workshop, that we’re giving away to everybody on the planet for free. And so, if you want to check those things out, you can go to stress.upgradedinsights.com and that will get you our free tool which you can share with whoever you want. And we’re very proud of that. We’ve gotten good feedback around that. And if you’re interested in learning about how to use POWERS in your own practice, which would add value, improve your therapy sessions and generate you some passive income as well, which we all love and need, particularly during these challenging times, you can check out therapists.upgradedinsights.com.

That’s awesome. I’m like writing this down. Yeah. And so, thank you for those freebies today. Here at the end of our podcast, we always ask a question to all the guests of what do you believe that every Christian counselor needs to know?

I think people come into their faith at different points of their life and at different times, and with different levels of belief. And as I said for me, you know, I wasn’t an atheist before my car accident, but I really wasn’t quite sure about God or a master plan for all of us until I survived that, and particularly now looking back two decades later and seeing the tapestry of the path that was put forth for me. So I think that we oftentimes, particularly from a therapy standpoint, our level of religiosity can really impact our therapy session and how we relate to our clients, if they’re not necessarily where we are spiritually, and I would say, meet those people where they’re at, and give them time and just let things unwind and unravel the way that they’re meant to.

I appreciate you saying that. It is so important that we meet them where they’re at, and we provide that kindness and love and I even think about the Bible and the example of Christ and how he didn’t force anything on anybody. He was coming kind and gentle and met people where they were. And so, I think that’s really great advice for our listeners. Well, thank you so much for being on the show today. You’ve provided so much great information that I think people will really be able to use this in their practices and especially kind of getting themselves out there in the media and having a big impact.

Absolutely. It was an honor to be here, Whitney.

Thank you for listening to the Faith in Practice podcast. If you love this podcast, please rate and review on iTunes or your favorite podcast player. If you liked this episode and want to know more, check out the Practice of the Practice website. Also, there you can learn more about me, options for working together such as individual and group consulting, or just shoot me an e-mail whitney@practiceofthepractice.com. We’d love to hear from you.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the Practice of the Practice, or the guests, are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.