Unexpected Lessons From Starting a Mental Health Podcast

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I did a “soft opening” for my private practice and decided that that the best way to grow it was by starting a mental health podcast. I kept working for my boss’s private practice and worked for myself about 10 hours a week, all while trying to figure out how to attract enough clients to move into solo practice. I’m a big researcher and came across Joe Sanok and his 28 steps, as well as his incredibly helpful podcast.

My Journey to Starting a Mental Health Podcast

Between following advice from Joe and listening to his podcast and others he recommends, I realized that providing consistent content to establish myself as an “expert” was going to be helpful in growing my practice. I thought about blogging, but spending time alone after my already lengthy workweeks didn’t sound tempting.

I shared office space at a local healthcare clinic thanks to some networking from a good friend who is a PA there. We had previously tossed around the idea of writing a book together, combining the fields of physical and mental health. Half-way joking, I suggested that we podcast together instead. Another friend who teaches yoga joined the conversation and a podcast team was born. I am a year and a half into podcasting and just finished my first full year of group practice.

What I Didn’t Expect From Starting a Mental Health Podcast

Podcasting Was Self-Care

Taking a marketing idea and joining forces with my professional girlfriends turned this time into self-care that I could “justify” – because my intent was to build my business. As a small business owner, wife, and mom, time with friends can take a back burner for weeks, months, and perhaps years! It can be easy to tell clients the importance of healthy friendships, but carving out time can be tricky! While I did not consciously plan for it, starting a mental health podcast with my girlfriends ensured a weekly sit down to touch base and build my friendships with important conversations, joint learning and growing.

Podcasting Was More About my Learning Than my Expertise

The plan was to establish myself as a local mental health “expert”. However, launching a podcast involved me becoming a student and branching into areas I had no experience in, like sound editing, social media promotion, and recording equipment. I had to practice what I preach and try new things – doing something that made me uncomfortable.

And then there were the guests! The guests we invited taught me so much! Getting to hear from those who were further along in this journey of life opened my eyes to see things differently. According to G.K. Chesterton, “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly”. The early episodes (and occasionally later ones) had some bad sound quality.

My plan for releasing on a weekly basis was blown out of the water in 2020. I might be the world’s worst promoter, and frequently forget to mention my podcast to potential listeners. And yet, it’s difficult to find words to describe all that I have learned through the scary challenge of producing a podcast.

Starting a Mental Health Podcast Improved my Ability to be Vulnerable

What therapist doesn’t love Brene Brown and promoting her research on vulnerability and courage? I am no exception. I can’t tell you how many times I have shared her TED Talk video. Yet sitting in a therapist chair day after day might not, by itself, promote vulnerability.

There is a line to consider about appropriate self-disclosure and making sure to not use your clients to do your own work. I have found though, that sitting across from my dear friends and discussing mental, physical, and spiritual health provided me with an opportunity to be honest and vulnerable in a way the therapist chair never can. Thanks to my newly acquired editing skills, not all those vulnerable moments go on air, but I’m having them more frequently because of the time and space that I carved into my schedule, based on the idea that I could market my practice by starting a mental health podcast.

Practical Takeaways From Starting a Mental Health Podcast

As my wise husband says, “the answer to every question is more research”. This can feel very true! If you are thinking of starting a mental health podcast, in relation to your practice or for other reasons, here are my thoughts.

  1. Research, research, research. This is a great place to start. Listen to podcasts about podcasting. Listen to podcasts! Consider what message/topic you feel passionate enough about to justify the expense of time and money to consistently promote.
  2. Seriously consider doing this with another person or two. This has been such a bonus in my life! Even if they don’t share the editing demands, not having to carry the full weight of content planning is such a relief.
  3. Go for it! There is a point where you have to trust you have prepared as well as you can, and it is time to jump in and at least get your feel wet!

Hope Brown

Hope Brown | Practice of the Practice Blog Contributor | Lessons learned from starting a mental health podcast

Hope Brown is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas. She is the owner of a group private practice, New Hope New Liberty Counseling, PLLC.  Her passion is to help clients recover from traumatic experiences and build healthy relationships with themselves and others. Hope is a co-host on The Liberty HopeCast, a mental health podcast that encourages women to address multiple aspects of their overall health. You can find out more about her practice and gain access to the podcast at her website: nhnlc.com