Jan 25, 2021
In this episode, I am joined by Susan Orenstein, who works with individuals and couples to pursue a more peaceful, purposeful, and passionate life. Susan speaks about the process behind starting a podcast and what she has learned so far. We chat about creating content outside of the therapy room to help people on their healing journey. Tune in as we discuss other ways to expand your niche and turn your passions into creative and useful content.
Hi, I’m Susan Orenstein, Ph.D. For over twenty-five years, I’ve worked with individuals and couples that come to my counseling office in pursuit of a more peaceful, purposeful, and passionate life. Relationships are integral to that rich, fulfilling existence we all desire. Healthy relationships bolster our well-being while unhealthy relationships hinder our ability to thrive.
That’s why I’m passionate about helping couples to either optimize their relationship or learn to let each other go so they can develop a nourishing, intimate connection elsewhere.
Susan wants her work to be accessible to more people. So, she developed a podcast - it's called After The First Marriage. Plus, Susan has a free e-course that goes with it. She is creating a lot of content because Susan particularly loves the work that she does. In addition, Susan loves going online and looking at worksheets, reading, and joining groups. There are so many ways people can heal outside of the therapy room, and Susan wanted to help develop those things for her clients.
In Susan's podcast, she gets to bring more of herself in. Susan gets to think about who interests her, who she wants to learn from, what she is reading, and who she wants to interview. Plus, Susan gets to create fun materials with her content. Also, Susan is learning that there are parts of her that she can bring into this process to expand her ability to be a therapist. For instance, Susan has learned about the effectiveness of self-disclosure when working with clients because it gives you more credibility when they can hear that a therapist has gone through similar struggles. Overall, with a podcast and creating content, it's fun to shake it up and to learn new things all the time.
Next, Susan speaks about working on tearing down the stigma that's still attached to being a therapy client. She wants to normalize these processes for people because almost everybody cares about having healthy relationships. Therefore, getting the skills to learn about this and making it approachable and accessible to people is critical to Susan. One way Susan helps people for free is through her podcast and social media. Plus, podcasting is more personal than blogging or written material because it's a better way to connect with the person on the other end. Even though you're just listening to a recording, you still make a connection through voice.
Professionally, Susan's favorite clients have been people who have been kicked to the curb. They are so down; they cannot get their head up, and they are so grateful to have therapy and have someone believe in them and have someone help them. That way, Susan can help her clients figure out what happened, so it doesn't happen again. Through therapy, Susan's clients regain self-esteem and gain some tools for intimacy in the future. Some of her very favorite clients have been people going through a divorce. Luckily, Susan can't say that she knows personally what divorce is like. However, she can say that she has never taken her husband for granted, and he has never taken Susan for granted.
When Susan sees somebody going through a divorce who didn't choose divorce, they are often very wounded, have hurt self-esteem and depression. Plus, there is anxiety, they question their attractiveness, and they question their desirability. After divorce, many people will suffer from self-doubt, low self-esteem, and even revenge fantasies. In addition, many times these people are angry, and they are bitter. Also, these people will look for ways to numb themselves so they may start drinking heavily, eating more, turning to relationships that aren't good for them in order to dull their feelings.
While on the other hand, for the person who is initiating the divorce, there can be guilt and shame. Usually, these people want to know how they can help their children through the divorce process. Mainly, people want to be proactive, which is terrific. Lastly, another category is people that want the divorce, but don't think it's possible. For instance, someone might be staying in the marriage because of financial issues, or they are worried about their children's wellbeing. These are the trickiest and saddest situations because these people are almost like hostages.
When expanding your practice, find some issues and topics that fascinate you that you want to learn about no matter what. That way, you can't go wrong. When you enjoy the information, you'll become an expert, and it will help fuel your energy. Also, when you love what you do, it will be harder to burnout. Another piece of advice is having a colleague help you. For instance, talking it out with someone can be a massive asset to your endeavors. It's also critical to have a set of trusted peers and colleagues that you can share information with.
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Gordon is the person behind The Practice of Therapy Podcast & Blog. He is also President and Founder of Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC. He is a therapist, consultant, business mentor, trainer, and writer. PLEASE Subscribe to The Practice of Therapy Podcast wherever you listen to it. Follow us on Twitter @therapistlearn, and Pinterest, “Like” us on Facebook.