What is an easy way to save time answering client questions as a therapist? How can you optimize and automate responses to frequent questions? Can you save yourself time and your client’s money by making use of videos?
In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens speaks with Aaron Potratz and Nathan Hawkins about how Shrink Think is saving therapists time and money.
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Meet Aaron Potratz and Nathan Hawkins
In This Podcast
- The issue with repeated small questions
- Make mini videos
- Aaron and Nathan’s advice to Christian counselors
The issue with repeated small questions
Therapists often find themselves answering the same questions many times over.
They may have to deal with the same administrative problem time and time again or have the same therapeutic process breakdown with clients.
Over time, this can cost them in-therapy session time with the client, and the client may end up paying more than they need to, simply to have time to speak to the clinician to answer questions.
Make mini videos
There are so many common questions that come into the therapy room that, not only are you saving your therapist time but you’re also saving the clients money because they have to pay for a session to discuss the topic that you’re breaking [down]. (Whitney Owens)
Consider creating a series of mini-videos that are available on your website or that your clinicians have and can send to clients when they have repeated questions.
By handing out this information freely and digitally, you save your therapists time and your client’s money by having their issues outside of therapy resolved outside of the therapy room itself.
If you add all that up, that’s time and that’s money that you are not working on therapy stuff … it can even get in the way of some of the momentum that you might have. If you can remove that so that it’s done outside of the session, you are saving people time and money. (Aaron Potratz)
Aaron and Nathan’s advice to Christian counselors
Nathan: for both your Christian and non-Christian clients, speak to the design of things when you are helping them find peace. The big picture is designed, so focus on that.
Aaron: your faith background does not blatantly have to be in everything that you do. Nothing has to be specifically Christian unless you want it to.
Books mentioned in this episode:
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
- Listen to the Shrink Think Podcast
- Visit Aaron’s website and connect with him on LinkedIn, and Twitter.
- Connect with Nathan on LinkedIn.
- Visit Discover Counseling and connect with them on Facebook.
- Visit Life Discovery Counseling Services and connect with them on Facebook and Instagram.
- Join the Faith in Practice Conference from April 21st to 24th
- Take Faith in Practice further with the Mastermind Course
- Join the Faith in Practice Facebook Group and subscribe to the email list
- Email Whitney: email@example.com
- Use promo code ‘JOE’ to get three free months to try out TherapyNotes, no strings attached, and remember, telehealth is included with every subscription, free.
- The Christian DISC® is a personality assessment that divides personality into four types and integrates insight from scripture and emotional intelligence. Use promo code FAITHINPRACTICE to receive a 50% discount.
Check out these additional resources:
- Dawn Gabriel on How to Create a Soul Care Retreat | FP 129
- Next Level Practice
- Practice of the Practice Podcast Network
- Group Practice Boss
Meet Whitney Owens
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!
[WHITNEY OWENS] If you’re a faith-based counselor, who’s looking for more resources to use with your clients, the Christian DISC is a spiritually integrated personality assessment. The assessment provides four main personality types and integrates insight from scripture and emotional intelligence. The model behind the Christian DISC is ideal for individuals, couples, and groups, and is specifically designed for use in the faith-based counseling, coaching and ministry. If you would like to try out the assessment for yourself, go to christianpersonalitytest.com, enter the promo code, FAITHINPRACTICE, all caps, all one word, and you will get 50% off this assessment. So you can go to a Christianpersonalitytest.com and enter the promo code, FAITHINPRACTICE.
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. Each week through personal story or amazing interviews, I will help you learn how to start, grow and scale your practice from a faith-based perspective. I will show you how to have an awesome faith-based practice without being cheesy or fake. You too can have a successful practice, make lots of money, and be true to yourself.
Hello friends, thanks for being with me today on the Faith in Practice podcast. Looking forward to sharing an interview with you from my other good friends, Aaron Potratz and Nathan Hawkings. I feel so cool that it just said Aaron’s last name. I remember when I had them on the podcast, they were in the first 10 episodes, I’d have to go back to see which one and I had to like practice saying Potratz, like seven times before we went on air. Then we went on air and I was laughing because I still struggled to say his name correctly, but now I’ve known Aaron long enough that Potratz is a fun thing to say.
Anyway, I am excited about the Faith in Practice Conference. I know you’ve heard me talk about it. I feel like I’m talking about it so I’m blue in the face, but I can’t stop talking about it because I’m looking forward to it. We have now passed the, by the time I’m recording this the two month mark. You’ll be listening to this a month out. If you are looking at getting tickets, please go to practiceofthepractice.com/faithinpracticeconference to get those tickets. It includes so many fantastic, amazing things. We’re going to be hanging out on Jekyll Island, April 21st through the 24th, having beach access.
We’ll be at the Courtyard Marriott there, and there are going to be tons of talks and speakers from a variety of different backgrounds and different ways that they incorporate faith and spirituality into their counseling and into their business. So they’re going to be all there hanging out with us. We have, I think 22 speakers and not only will we be able to be in their talks, but what I love about conferences is you don’t just sit in a talk and then not talk anymore. I mean, you get to hang out with these people, eat dinner with them, play games with them. Like I am really looking forward to the conversations I’m going to get to have with some amazing practice owners during the Faith in Practice Conference.
We have three tracks; one’s on faith in action, faith in business, faith in counseling, which are going to cover ideas of how do we actually do the work with our clients. We’re going to have some soul care work going on, having techniques that we can use in session. We’re also going to talk about how do we market and grow our faith-based practice and as well as how do we integrate the clinical work into the therapy room with our clients.
I had somebody ask me the other day, if it would be a good thing for clinicians to come to, not just, I mean, clinicians, of course, but not just practice owners. I was like, heck yes, because there’s a whole track on integration. So actually the first full day of talks that we’re going to have, there’re going to be two rooms. One is going to be the faith in business room. The other is the faith in action room. So if it’s someone who doesn’t own a practice, but maybe you work at a faith-based practice or you have your solo, like this would be a great place for you to come. If you don’t necessarily need to work on the business side, you can still work on the clinical side of things.
Then the second day, both rooms are going to be just all faith integration stuff like in working with our clients. So really looking forward to that. It is limited to a hundred people because we’re going to being safe with COVID and providing an intimate setting. So make sure that you take care of yourself. We will ask that people wear masks indoors and take a COVID test. That’s the plan right now. Maybe that will be even lighter standards by the time the conference comes.
I also want to show off and maybe I sound better to you. I actually think I sound better to myself while I’m listening to myself record, but I am working on setting up my podcast room and it’s sad that I haven’t really done it before now, but I have done it now. So prior to, like a month ago, I had been recording most of my podcasts in my office, which was a big room with wood floors and honestly the Internet’s done at that office. Then my group practice expanded and we got a building next door and Comcast gave me the run around, welcome to working with Comcast.
Then they basically told me that my other building is a resident. So I have to get residence internet. This building is commercials. I have to get business internet. Did I say that right? Residential business. So I’ve got different accounts, one’s a business and one’s residential. Well, the business internet is fantastic. So I’m really excited about that with podcasting. Now, my episodes are loading really fast and things are like so much easier than what I was going through before. So anyway, I have this little room that I get the podcast in and it has carpet and not wood floors.
Now I have an arm and I can sit comfortably. When I say an arm, if you’re a podcaster, let me just tell you the things that I should have done two years ago that I didn’t do. One was figuring out the right way to talk into my mic. I learned recently that you actually have to talk into the blue light on mine. I was just talking into the top of it and not the side of it. So now I sound fantastic. Then I went and got a arm. So it connects to your desk or wherever you’re sitting and it goes up and out so that you can sit comfortably and it comes over you or to the side instead of being down on the desk. It has been game changer, even though I’ve only used it for five minutes, but I’m telling you it’s game changer. So if you’re a podcaster, please invest in these things. They’re very important and we’ll make your life a lot better.
Okay, now I know you’re ready for me to get into the episode. So Aaron and Nathan, I met these two dudes at the Killin’It Camp in 2019. They have a phenomenal way that they run their business. So please go and check out the podcast episode I did with them the very beginning, because they’ll talk about how they both have their own separate businesses and they came together and have another counseling business. This is really cool. Plus I just like to laugh with them. They make me happy. So I like having them on the show. They have started another business called Shrink Think. They have their own podcast. So please check out that podcast. They are sponsors at the Faith in Practice Conference, so looking forward to hanging out with them there.
They’ve got some really cool products they’re about to put out for counselors that you’re going to learn about in the episode. If you come to the conference, which you should, you’re actually going to get access to seeing some of those resources. So make sure that you stay tuned so you can learn how to save yourself a lot of time and frustration as a practice owner and as a clinician, because they’re going to tell you about how to make your practice a lot easier to manage. So I’m looking forward to introducing you to my friends, Aaron and Nathan here on the Faith in Practice podcast episode 130. Hello, today on the Faith in Practice podcast, I got my good friends, Aaron and Nathan here. How are you guys?
[AARON POTRATZ] Doing great. We’re loving it.
[NATHAN HAWKINS] Good to be here.
[WHITNEY] So I think I had you guys on the first 10 episodes somewhere in between five and 10. You all were like the first people. I was like, you all come on my show and you had this cool model of the way you do practice. So if anyone is listening and missed that episode, go back, watch the episodes, listen to the episodes. You don’t watch. You listen to and hear that, listen to them and hear those guys talk about their practice, but today we’re going to talk about some other stuff. Why don’t we just start out for anyone who hasn’t gotten to know you? Tell me a little bit about you and about your group practice.
[AARON] Yes, I’ll start. This is Aaron and Whitney, you were commenting before and your listeners can’t see it, but my beard has grown significantly longer since that first episode. So maybe by the time we see you at the conference in April being down to my knees or something. But, hopefully not, longer equals wiser, doesn’t it? I started out as a solo practitioner in 2007 and I expanded to a group practice in 2014. I just, I liked the business stuff. I really enjoyed the idea of taking on mentorship, doing some supervision and so I hired a couple of people, really loved that, really liked the idea of where that could go.
Nathan and I had partnered up a little bit more at that point. So we decided we wanted to start another business. So I had mine, he had his, and we just decided to start in hours to have a little baby business between the two of us. So we co-owned that one and we’ve been growing that one. It’s a group practice modeled very similar to what he and I have independently. But since then we, I have been just growing that, I’ve been doing consulting for therapists, helping them start and grow their businesses similar to what you do, Whitney, not quite as awesome as you’ve got a whole lot more experience than me. You’re still my guru and I do, so I do that. And we started a podcast called The Shrink Think Podcast in, was that in 2020?
[NATHAN] Yes, I think it was.
[AARON] Yes, we’ve been going for a little over a year and a half now. So yes. Got a lot of plates spin in, but always interesting and exciting. I got to stay busy and interested for myself.
[WHITNEY] Well that’s funny Aaron, because I’ve referred several people to you for business consulting. So there’s that.
[NATHAN] Boom check. Well I’m Nathan, I have life Encounter Counseling Together, our together business is called Life Discovery Counseling. Yes, we both wanted to supervise people really and then realized that, oh, there’s money to be made there. So that became a whole thing and we grew so fast that it was basically insane and then realized, man, we could do this separate or, excuse me, together, more blended. We’re already doing it separate. Anyway, so, which is, and Aaron spoke to that and at this point I think I have six people that are on Pleasant, an intern, and then with one location and then we have two other locations together and I’m not sure off the top. We have like six or seven people with that.
[AARON] We have nine in that shared, yes, totally.
[NATHAN] I’m up to date. I’m up to date.
[WHITNEY] I love that.
[NATHAN] So at any rate we started, basically Joe at the Practice of the Practice a while back was like, podcasts are cool. You guys need to get in. We’re like, okay.
[AARON] We want to be cool like everybody else .
[NATHAN] So we started doing a podcast and somewhere in there we realized that we just wanted to go behind the scenes as a therapist and let you know that we’re like human. So the Shrink Think Podcast, and as we went things develop and they change like our early episodes. We’ve got episodes that are 45, 50 minutes long, I think in the beginning and now we’re pretty true to about 25 minutes, 20 minutes. We hired a branding person to help us out to maintain that stuff and through that process have realized, whoa, okay, we have like a lot more we could do, because even this is a very normal person, normal professional. That was like, well, what about like, this is what’s interesting. Like what somebody should expect doing X, Y, Z, like coming in.
[AARON] It was like the basic thing we were explaining what we do and like we jumped over the basic stuff to get to the more interesting stuff to us. She was like, wait a minute, go back to that. Really simple, basic stuff and explain that, because I didn’t know any of it. We’re like, wait, what? Doesn’t everybody know this? She was like, no, no, not at all. I think you actually need to promote that because that’s, I think if I’m having this question or having these issues, I think a lot of people are and the more we explored it the more we realized there’s something here.
[NATHAN] As we started to, she asked the question like, yes, I did. When I went to therapy, sitting in there, the waiting room for the first time, I did not know what to expect. It would’ve been great if somebody would’ve spoke to some of that ahead of time. She goes, sure, you ask your friends, but it’s just not like, then you get in there and it’s like, nah, that’s not quite what they were saying necessarily. So because when we explain some stuff. She was like, yes, no, that stuff is really cool. That’s the cool stuff. And then in talking with other people, other practice owners and stuff, we started learning that there are some things we can just take off people’s plates. So then it became this, well we need to start another business. So it’s like Amazon started book with books and now they have delivery options.
[AARON] Or so eventually we’ll be delivering some service to your listeners at some point hopefully.
[NATHAN] Be a truck.
[WHITNEY] That would be awesome. All right, so what I’m hearing you say, I sound like a therapist, you started your podcast and then you started working with a branding person who basically was like, go back to the basics. Like you took one good idea and went to another good idea. So you’re taking her stuff, other therapists and creating some resources to make life easier for therapists. Is that all correct?
[AARON] Yes, exactly. It’s like a story. There’s a story brand process that she’s walked us through, which is Donald Miller. I don’t know if you are familiar with him. So it’s really narrowing down who we are, what our message is, what the problem is, the pain point and how we’re solving that really. Yes, it was really, it was quite simple. We are trying to bridge the gap between clients and therapists. There’s just so much space between when you’re a client and you’re starting therapy. Maybe you have never gone or if you are going, you don’t even know what you’re supposed to be expecting. In fact, right now, literally this morning, I got an email from a new client saying I listened to this episode on your podcast called what a therapist is not and I realized that the therapist I’ve been seeing is doing some things that I’m like, oh, I thought that wasn’t quite right. So that just helped me confirm like, okay, I need to find somebody new that’s going to fit my needs better. So that’s what we want to speak to. We’re trying to bridge the gap and empower clients to know things so they can be prepared for therapy much better.
[NATHAN] We’re going to say stuff that like, you are not going to have to right, so you could theoretically even, well, right now you could refer somebody to the podcast, looking through a title episode or whatever. For example, we do a breakout three to four episodes on what CBT therapy is, what IFS therapy is, what psychodynamic is like, what these things actually are, what they offer and how they relate to personality. So if somebody has a bunch of questions about that, it’s a waste of time in the counseling session to try to explain a lot of that. It’s just when, and also they probably don’t want to Google it. So you get out there with some of these things and go, here you go, just go see that.
Then we were like, well, what if we created a more direct service for therapists that was much more specific that took things off the table for therapists so when they come in, a client comes in, they’re just ready? So an example of that would be like for example, child therapy. So you’re a mom, you’re taking your kid into therapy for the first time and you don’t really know what to expect. Now, fast forward over to the therapist, the therapist is trying to balance between seeing the kid and then navigating what the parent is wanting and what the parent needs.
Then the therapist finds out that there’s some custody stuff going on. So now they’re like, oh man, I’m going to have to figure out how much time I have to spend with this parent in order to answer questions versus how much time I’m going to spend with the kid. Do I need to add an extra session? Well, I don’t really want to do that. Now, I’m going to have to figure out how I’m going to do this over email or whatever happens to be. But if you just refer our video then, and the parent watches that they’ll understand that you’re not a custody evaluator as a therapist. You’re not doing, that’s a whole different situation and the parent will be more prepared for what it is that they have to do or what they can expect their child to go through therapeutically. Kind of just narrows it down, takes that entire thing off the shelf out of the way for the therapist. You just do their job.
[WHITNEY] This is so good. I already have many videos that I need. Just the other day someone called and their child is, they’re moving to a different state and they were livid. Why can’t your therapist keep working with my child and blah, blah, blah. I couldn’t believe my admin did this. She said, “Ma’am, it’s not like going to the DMV and getting a new driver’s license. It’s really hard to get a license in different states.” So there’s a, we need a video on that. So I love this. There’s so many common questions that come into the therapy room that not only are you saving your therapist time, but you’re actually saving the client’s money, because they’d have to pay for another session just to discuss a topic that you’re bringing up.
[AARON] In my mind, exactly, when I think about those things, I think about man, if you have like a 10-minute conversation here or a five-minute conversation there, or even a more in depth, one, 20 minutes or whatever about that sort of a thing, if you add all that up, yes that’s time and that’s money that you’re not working on therapy stuff and even it can get in the way of some of the momentum that you might have. But if you can remove that so that that’s done outside of the session, you’re saving people time and money. You’re also keeping the momentum going, but then you’re also removing that obstacle between the client and the therapist and sort of putting it on Nathan and I, which in some ways that’s what we want. All right. Especially with that parent, child dynamic, it’s anybody who’s worked with children and parents knows that it’s difficult to work with parents. So if we can be the bad guy and say some of those things, then the therapist can say, did you watch those videos? What did you think of what those guys said? Not me. I didn’t say it. They said it. I mean, that can be really helpful in maintaining some of that therapeutic alliance.
[WHITNEY] That’s a really good point. Just to add to that, I love giving you all my problems. You all can take care of it for me and I can do the stuff I love.
[NATHAN] Exactly. The other thing too, like I know for myself, when I do have the savvy consumer that comes in and there’s not a lot of those folks, I mean, they’re getting more and more, I think as the years go on, but it holds you much more accountable to like, I do my best work when somebody knows what therapy’s supposed to be and what it actually they need. So if you’re, I feel like I’m way more on it in those situations, so we can put somebody, our idea was we can put a client in front of you as a therapist that is ready to go and knows what you, like this might be a little intimidating, but knows what you should be doing as a therapist. There’s other questions that they just no longer have. If they do have them, they’ll be more specific and more educated on what it is that they need to know versus what they didn’t before.
[WHITNEY] Yes, that’s great.
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[WHITNEY] So you all are going to be sponsors at the Faith in Practice Conference. So you want to talk a little bit about the conference, what you’re excited about?
[AARON] Yes, we are very excited, obviously, Whitney. We are big fans and supporters of you. You’ve made a huge impact on our lives. Both personally we love you and ours professionally. So we could not pass up this opportunity to be with you and the people that you’re connected with and the movement that you are creating. So part of it is I think it is some of that supporting you and riding that way with you. But also we believe, I think in a lot of the people, the things that all the people surrounding you, we believe in the things that they’re doing. It’s just an incredible community of people that are doing great things for the therapist community, for the therapist business world. We want to be a part of that as well. We feel like we’ve got something to offer and obviously Shrink Think is one of those things that we want to offer, but also just how we do things and how we see things. I think also partly because as you know, Whitney, there are not a lot of guys in our profession. Not a lot of guys in your profession —
[NATHAN] Not a lot of those, you know what I mean? Not a lot of those.
[AARON] So as male therapists, we want to provide, bring some of that perspective that we have along with this business idea that we’ve got.
[NATHAN] We’re going to go there, share stuff, but to be honest, I’m more looking, like I want to share that, the Shrink Think stuff, but also, I’m such a people person, but I just want to go hang out and talk to all these folks and be like, Hey, what are you doing? What’s happening? Really what’s happening? I know I’ve listened to your podcast. I’ve listened, I’ve read your stuff, but I want to behind scenes, the juicy juice. Give us the thing. We want to drink it.
[WHITNEY] You guys are so funny. Well, Aaron, thank you for your kind words and I will have to listen to this episode anytime I feel discouraged about my work. I’ll just go back and listen and be like, all right.
[AARON] Whitney, you can just call me for that. Just call me anytime you need encouragement.
[WHITNEY] Well, that’s great. This place we’re staying at, by the way, the Courtyard Marriott on Jekyll does have the largest pool on Jekyll. It’s so funny because every time I call them, they’re like the largest pool on Jekyll. It’s actually got a little bridge.
[AARON] It got it bigger since the last time you told me?
[WHITNEY] It does have a little splash pad, if people, some people are bringing their kids and the kids control the splash pad. They hit the button and boom. But yes, the beach is really, I’m actually a snob about beaches because I grew up in the south and grew up going to the beach as a kid and all that. So Jekyll Island’s a really nice beach. So anyway, it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re limiting it to a hundred people because of COVID but also because of intimacy, like it just, sometimes when you have such a big conference, it’s hard to get to know people and connect and it’s complicated. So it will allow us to have more interaction while we’re at the conference. But you’re going to be able to come and talk about your resources and talk about your videos. So can you kind share a little bit about how people can get access to those and learn more?
[NATHAN] Well, first of all, I just want to thank you and you’re diplomacy for making sure to keep it out of the loop. The reason why the pool is so big is I’m coming. Appreciate that Whitney. Sorry. Aaron, why don’t you take that?
[AARON] Yes, we’re building all that stuff out. We’re in the process of recording the videos and getting them edited, building out the website. So it will be shrinkthink.com. We’re hoping to have everything completely done and finalized where people can actually visit the website, watch some trailer videos to see like an example of what they would be giving their clients and then to actually subscribe to the service at that point.
[WHITNEY] Great. Then you all are going to be speaking at the conference, correct?
[AARON] We are.
[WHITNEY] Tell me about that.
[AARON] We, I mean really, we want to get as much feedback as we can about this because obviously there are a million different things that therapists talk about. Just like what we told you earlier, when we spoke with our brand consultant and explained what we do, like we just skip over things that we don’t realize are really, really valuable and beneficial to the average consumer. So we’re just, we want to present our idea, but we also want to get some feedback from people about what are some other things that you talk about all the times, maybe some of the annoying things or some of the really critical, important things that you talk about with people that we don’t even realize that need to be addressed.
When you pull all the minds together of all these brilliant people, you’ll just gather so much information that you didn’t realize you had and needed. We want to just collect all that and be able to provide the service and make it as robust and as thorough and comprehensive as possible for the people that are using it. Because obviously we’re therapists and we want to do a good job and help therapists to do their job better by providing this service as best as we can.
[WHITNEY] Yes, and it’s a service that I haven’t heard anyone doing. I just love that an idea came to you that no one was doing and now you get to do it. It’s oh, I just love the creativity with that.
[AARON] Yes, it’s crazy. I mean, you can find stuff out on the internet and Nathan was like, you can Google stuff, but the thing is, you just don’t know what’s true. You don’t really know what’s like, okay, this website says this, or there’s an article over there. It’s like really disjointed. Maybe it’s written by, I don’t know, like a tech company or something and maybe it’s good, but it’s written by a tech company. So what do they know about therapy? so exactly stuff that was made by therapists for clients, then I think people can get a sense that it’s more trustworthy and see that it’s all located in one place and it’s easier to access.
[NATHAN] Well, we’re hopeful that The Shrink Think Podcast has legitimized us in a way of being able to be trustworthy so that you know where stuff is coming from. It’s recognizable. So it’s like The Shrink Think Podcast would be like a, I don’t know, like a lower entity of underneath the umbrella of Shrink Think. So anyway, that’s how it’s set up. Too much detail there to go into but as far as, we haven’t talked a lot about what exactly we’re going to speak on at the conference other than somehow trying to integrate what we’re doing from the Shrink Think perspective. I know that, so I guess there’s more questions for me that we’re talking through about it. So I’m not sure —
[AARON] You’re hearing it live on air. You’re welcome
[WHITNEY] It makes you feel any better. I haven’t prepped my talks either. I haven’t even come up with titles yet, so
[NATHAN] We’re right there.
[WHITNEY] But I am planning a conference.
[AARON] We just found out about 20 minutes ago that we were speaking when you told us.
[WHITNEY] That’s good. I love it. Okay, cool. So I’m literally looking forward to it. I can’t wait to start watching your videos when those are all edited and uploaded. So I’m going to bring it to what I always bring it to at the end of the show. What do you believe that every Christian counselor needs to know?
[AARON] That is a good question. I come from the perspective of being somebody who has a faith background. It doesn’t have to be blatantly in everything that you do. I was talking with a client recently about a similar thing and he was like how do you do this from a Christian perspective, this business thing from a Christian perspective? I was like, I don’t think it has to be specifically Christian. You don’t have to look at movies and say, I want to do the Christian version of this because, we had a laugh together. We were like, because let’s be honest, those tend to suck. The Christian version of movies tends to not be as good a quality. So I don’t think you have to compromise your quality when you talk about what’s something every Christian counselor needs to know.
I guess I would say from that point of view, you can do all the things that you normally would do or that you want to do in terms of psychology, in terms of good clinical practice, evidence-based research, all of that stuff. You can be on the cutting edge of knowing and doing all of that stuff to the best of your ability. It can be coming from a place of value and for a purpose that you know has eternal value, even without mentioning the name of God or Jesus in what you’re doing. All of that I think really has an impact and it will shine a light to people even if that name is not even mentioned.
In a way I’ve always thought about it sort of like pre-evangelism. You might be telling the soil and prepping it for somebody else to eventually maybe plant a seed or for that person to maybe receive something that’s valuable that somebody else after you plants, but that’s not our job. That’s not why we’re doing this. That doesn’t have to be your main goal. You can still be just as effective and impactful doing what you’re doing in that way.
[NATHAN] I guess what I would say is how I think of it is about design. So the other day, literally just yesterday, so everybody at our site, well, yes, everybody at our site is Christian. So there’s a draw for interns to come in because they want to try to integrate their faith if they can, if it’s okay, at times of clinical appropriateness. And in Portland that’s a bit, that’s definitely not normal. We stick out for that a little bit, but he was asking me, he goes, “Hey, so this kid that I’m working with, I needed to know how would you help him emotionally regulate whatever that this is a whole thing where he was trying to connect through some,” they were doing emotion cards and stuff like that to just start naming emotions?
I said, “Is he a Christian? Or is his faith important to him? I mean, how are you integrating this?” He goes, “Yes, no, no, he wants, he’s actually overtly asked me about that.” So we started talking, I said, okay, well, if you could go through scripture in particular with this kid, I mean, he was literally wanting that and look for X, Y, Z, maybe some stuff that would support it, that you could show like, because the kids also movies a lot of anxiety. So his idea of like, well God’s in controls, you don’t have to worry that idea.
At the end of that, my intern goes, okay, so how would you do the same thing if he’s not a Christian? Like what goes on? I’m like, yes, well at that point you actually wouldn’t change anything except for you would just speak to the design of things, speak to like, okay, well how, when do you feel safe? When do you feel in control? Who’s there, how’s that work? We talked about adding that in anyway. So some of this was just about omission, but I guess how I try to help the younger folks coming up as far as therapeutic therapists is big picture is design. I mean, everything was designed. That’s where I come from. So if you focus that way, it’s like truth is truth is truth is truth. I mean, that’s just the way it is. I mean, I personally can’t argue with that, so that’s where I go.
[WHITNEY] That’s funny, I’m reading, believe it or not now I’m going to sound way smarter than I am. Just FYI, I’m reading Confessions by St. Augustine.
[NATHAN] Yep. That just happened.
[WHITNEY] I’m actually in a rough part of the book. He’s talking about memory and I’m like trying to stick with it. But anyway, one of the things I was also reading about was truth and how truth is God, and God is truth. So you can’t like separate those from one another. So even if you’re not verbally talking about God, if you’re talking about the truth you are, in essence, is what he was coming to. So yes, it’s a good book. But yes, I love what you’re saying about that, and I’m really looking forward to you guys being at the conference. It’s going to be so much fun and I haven’t seen you in a hot minute, so it’s going to be good to be around each other.
[AARON] It’s going to be really good. I’m excited to be around everybody party in the sunshine, because it’s been cold and dark here in Oregon. So it’s really nice to escape.
[WHITNEY] That’s right. All right, well until then, take care.
[AARON] All right. Thank you.
[NATHAN] Thanks Whitney. Bye.
[WHITNEY] We want to thank our sponsor today, Therapy Notes. To get three months free head on over to the Therapy Notes website and put in promo code [JOE], J-O-E. Make 2022 the best year with Therapy Notes.
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