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Why Write? Therapists are busy enough!

Written By: Elizabeth Doherty Thomas - Jan• 05•11

I’ve been sick, exhausted, travel weary lately.  I know I’m at the bottom of the barrel when things that normally excite me feel stressful, overwhelming, and impossible.  One of those tasks?  Blogging!  I’m a blog addict.  I love to write.  And yet fatigue kicked me down…down, down enough for me to truly empathize with all the therapists (my husband included) who have so many questions, issues, uncertainty about WHY to write (separate issues include WHAT to write or WHERE to write.)  Even this blog has taken me longer than normal.

Why Write?

Wisdom that leaves your head or private client conversations into the broader world may really help someone. Ideally that person becomes your client, but seriously, there is only one of you and what, 5 billion people now on the planet?  How cool to potentially have a real impact on another human being.

Search engines love content. And search engines bring you effortless attention, as compared to the attention you get from word of mouth, direct advertising, speaking, or purposefully trying to GET attention

Journalists love content.  The more you write the more you may be convincing a journalist to contact you for a story.

Clients need content to be convinced of therapy, and therapy with YOU. I would argue unlike other health care professionals where, even if the doctor isn’t great, you’re just in the room for 15 minutes and done, therapy is a deeply personal, ongoing relationship.  For you to convince someone of doing therapy with you requires writing more than just a “welcome to my website” and a short bio that discusses nothing but boring details about YOU.

The world is hungry for words. Media, when you think about it, is simply filling air or pages with content.  And a lot of media folks have a lot of space to fill, every day.  Many good therapists end up becoming therapy experts on magazines, websites, radio shows.  You’re way more likely to be contacted if you have shown these media folks that you have a lot to say.

Make new friends. I know, this sounds weird, right?  But yes, when you write and someone likes what you say, they may strike up a friendship and that may lead to personal or professional gain.  I have a growing list of amazing Twitter therapist friends and some of them I specifically “fell in like with” because of how they wrote.  And lots of cool professional things are coming of these friendships (mutual support, idea generation, swapping ideas, appearing on each others stuff, cross-marketing each other.)

Dare I say, it’s your professional obligation? Just stay with me for a minute.  You had a community and family raise you, tax dollars went to help fund your graduate program (if it was a public school, and even private schools get tax write offs for being non-profits.)  Your faculty worked hard to train and educate you.  And a licensing board approved you to help others.  There really ought to be a bigger professional standard than “do the minimal work to fill your client load.”  Writing is just ONE of many ways you can do more to help the world, especially when it’s free content to the public.

I recognize this blog post won’t likely get you unstuck, but perhaps you had a new “oh!” moment when considering the WHY behind writing.

For therapists reading this, why do you write?  Do you have a specific goal for yourself?  Any cool stories that have come from your writing?  Comment below!

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6 Comments

  1. Linda says:

    This is a wonderful way of looking at writing and psychotherapy Elizabeth.

    There’s no getting around social media, and honestly, why would you with all these benefits to your biz, others, and those who helped raise you. True, blogging is a free gig, which can monetize with a lot of work, but knowledge is to be shared and learned.

    I’ve met some awesome people online, including therapists who appreciate an honest, direct, and personality-infused POV, as opposed to the dry, cold, clinical stuff that sadly comprises so much of psycho-ed out there.

    Any journalists out there…? Hit me up ;) I’m only half-kidding, btw.

    Thanks for sharing your lovely words.
    ~Linda

  2. Dan says:

    Brilliantly stated!!! I couldn’t agree with you more on just about every account – but then again, I write… How do we convince our peers that the world needs to hear what they have to say?

  3. Thank you Elizabeth for reminding me of why I am blogging. I too felt a little tired after the holidays. But, I had to remind myself of my commitment to my subscribers to get a post out to them every week. Not to talk about all the other people out there that don’t know my stuff yet!

  4. Renee Segal says:

    Thanks for the reminder Elizabeth. It is on my list for this month. This was timed perfectly for me. Had a new client who emailed me and wanted to know in my “own words” what I thought about something. Yes, I couldn’t agree more. The clients want to know who you really are because anyone could have written your website for you.

  5. Miriam says:

    Hi Elizabeth,
    I was struck with a thought with Dan’s comment. Not all therapists should be blogging. To put it bluntly, not all of us have something to say that’s any different or beneficial. That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty who really could contribute powerfully by showing themselves more. But to write just because you think you “should” probably won’t yield a whole lot of richness! I say – if you have a passion for writing or having a voice then write. If not, but you have something you think might benefit the world, get connected with someone who already is blogging and give them an interview so your wisdom insight might be heard.

  6. Love your advice Miriam! And unfortunately I never said BLOGGING was the only way to write, and I actually have some anti-blogging views for therapists I’ve written about.

    Yes, lots of other ways that I will mention in a future post for those non-writers… and there is too much watered down, boring writing out there written by therapists so please, don’t add to the dump, folks!