Skip to content

Is the MSW the New MBA?

Looking at the needs of business these days, so little has to do with numbers anymore. More has to do with how we get along with others, how we connect, how we develop meaningful relationships.

Since when is that the job description of the MBA (Master of Business Administration)?

When the MBA stumbles upon those issues, they refer to them as the “soft skills”. The MBA recognizes there is something to getting along with others, but it is the MSW (Master of Social work) who really works in that space.

The area of practice for the MSW is the space between people. The MSW is always looking at the connection between us.

Think about it. If you are in a service industry, truth is, there are likely dozens to thousands of similar service providers providing the same or similar service. Many service providers look for unique ways to brand their service. Big mistake.

Truth is, in service industries, it is the service provider who is the brand.

The challenge for developing your business is recognizing that fact and seeking ways to better connect YOU with your client or customer.  You need to address the space between you.

I have long since recognized that I am my brand. People seek my service because of me. I have my own unique attributes or identifiers that will appeal at least to some segment of persons seeking my service. Those attributes include training, experience and approach to working with people. I also demonstrate my values of transparency and frankness in service delivery. I talk about my challenges and I talk about my values. People come to know me before ever coming to see me.

How about you? How about your brand? How about your service? What do people know about you, your business, the people you serve and how you come across?

If you are looking to drive up your business, maybe the time has come to think MSW.

We look at the connection between people.

In any service business, connection is key.

If you are a family law lawyer, mediator, divorce financial professional, mental health professional, counselor/therapist or other service oriented professionals and you want to build your practice, call me.

Let’s connect. Let’s address the space between you and your client/customer.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Three Key Considerations for a Successful Peacemaking Practice

Yesterday I met with a small group of people helping them build a successful peacemaking practice in the context of separation/divorce.  Interestingly though, one participant represented industry as a negotiator/adjudicator of typically workplace labor-management disputes.

Of the information provided and emphasized, I think the three most important points for building a successful practice in peacemaking was:

  1. Build your practice on the value of abundance and not scarcity. 

With scarcity, people are afraid to share and help out other colleagues. They hoard clients and rarely refer to other professionals who may actually be more appropriate to the task. These practitioners worry about where their next referral will come from. As a result, they don’t build relationships and referral networks.

Those who practice from a place of abundance, share and seek to see others do well. They make referrals and concern themselves that their clients get the best service possible. As a result of their sharing, those who practice from a place of abundance build close, strong relationships that wind up being reciprocal. As such, they tend to have bigger, better referral networks and are more highly spoken of by their clients and colleagues.

  1. Be very mindful of the disposition of the people calling you for service.  

If someone is calling a family lawyer, mediator, divorce financial professional, a counselor, that person is likely feeling either anger or fear. They may be mad at someone for the demise of the relationship, impact on self, family and kids as well as for the inevitable change that will occur and even perhaps for the way matters have come about.

Alternately, the person may be afraid. They may be petrified for the implication of things to come. They may have been threatened with harm; financially, socially, physically or materially. They likely don’t know their rights or how to protect themselves. In the initial stages of a separation, there can be much to be afraid of.

People are also likely upset about having to pay any of these professionals for their service even if in need of service. Our services are a grudge spend, meaning people begrudge having to spend their hard earned money on something that isn’t a mortgage, a car payment, food, clothing, etc.

Given anger and fear and our service as a grudge spend, we must support, set reasonable boundaries, advise accordingly, sooth, empathize and be seen as frugal with regard to the spending of their money. This is how we connect with people at intake and help them to feel safe using our service.

  1. If you don’t use social media, you don’t exist these days. If you do use social media, remember the “social” in social media. 

Many practitioners take a standoffish approach to their use of social media. It is as if their social media is a brochure where they simply hang information. Their use of social media doesn’t connect them to the folks they seek to reach.

For social media to be effective, you must connect with people. You must post regularly and you must engage in the comments and conversation. Through social media people learn about you and how you come across. People like to know or have a sense of their service provider in advance of meeting. It is comforting.

It is not that one provides direct advice or guidance, but we can speak to general issues and we can point people to other services and resources that may be of benefit and we can provide information as to concepts that are generally helpful.

Those who practice from a place of scarcity complain they are giving information away for free and that as a result, they may not be needed.

Those who practice from a place of abundance realize that in being generous and supporting and understanding, people appreciate those values and may be more inclined to use or recommend your service to others.

Of course we also talked about much more in the workshop, including; how to develop a suite of services; how to present services on a website with accessible language; and how to present one’s own values and approach to service.

Everyone left with a to do list they can start first thing Monday morning to take their practice to the next level.

It was a very full day with lovely and engaged participants.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Of Course Your Kid Doesn’t Listen and Here’s What to Do About It

The big discussion at last night’s workshop was pretty much kids who don’t listen and talk back.

I discussed changes in the family and parenting over the last 50 years. We have moved from predominantly intact two parent families with a parent always in the home, to many single led families or where even with intact two-parent families, both must be employed in order to make ends meet. To add, our use of technology distracts from connecting with our very own kids.

Parents don’t realize how social, economic and technological changes has so affected parenting and by extension, our kids.

As parents we are fatigued and burnt out simply surviving. We too are distracted.

When you look at those changes from the eyes of the child, we have children who used to receive ongoing supervision and guidance, to children who are frequently left to their own devices (figuratively and literally).

When we as parents are in our kids’ space these days, it is often to only bark out directives or admonish for tasks not completed or to cave into demands because we are either too fatigued to hold our ground or alternately feeling guilty and looking to assuage our guilt by giving in. How can that be good? How could that not foster resentment and/or entitlement?

Because we just don’t have the same rapport/relationship with our kids owing to those changes, we have a generation of disengaged resentful kids.

No wonder they don’t listen and talk back. On the one hand we leave them marginally supervised and quite independent and then we expect them to jump to our tune. If we do not understand the experience of the child in this situation, we cannot change behavior.

BTW – punishment is not the answer. Relationship building is.

No relationship; no influence.

No relationship; resentful and defiant behavior.

The challenge is on us to reconnect to fight the disease of disengagement.

  1. Come home: Turn off your phone;
  2. Once home: Hunt your kid down and give them a kiss;
  3. At home: Have a meal together – no phones or devises on or at the table;
  4. At Bedtime: No devices in the bedroom. SLEEP – we all need it!

BTW – This guidance is for all members of the family – parents and children alike.

The issue isn’t whether we are good parents. The issue is our presence.

Simply put, our kids need us more and we need each other to turn off the noise to hear each others’ cry for love and connection.

Be warned though, when you follow the guidance, your kids won’t know what happened and they will resist.

They resist, you persist.

Persist with the understanding that you must at all times remain calm and in control of your own behavior. If your child loses their cool, just observe and maintain your own. Your calm is necessary for them to find their calm. They must see calm as an option to find and take it. Once calm, don’t finger point, but hug.

Be calm. Concentrate on love and connection and that behavior may take care of itself.

(Download this blog to print and handout!)

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Assessment Critique – Does the Report Measure up?

I reviewed two assessments recently. One was from a lawyer seeking to defend a client who was subject to the report and the other by the author of the report seeking to be sure nothing had been missed in the writing of the report. Both were from persons far outside of my jurisdiction.

The reports were striking in their differences.

The report provided by the author was clearly structured. It provided clear headings and the information provided under each heading clearly matched the heading. This report also provided a great deal of data from a multiple sources. It was clear as to which data was obtained from which source. Given the multitude of sources and complexity of the data reported there was conflicting information presented.

The writer discussed all the data, the inconsistencies and advised as to why more weight would be provided some information over other information.

In the discussion and conclusion, the author referenced key sources of social science research to support the assignment of different weight given to conflicting information and also weight to decisions affecting the recommendations.

In the end, the recommendations were clearly supported and made sense in view of all the data and social science research. I could only offer a few minor observations to strengthen the report.

The other report I reviewed just didn’t match the prior and will provide ample opportunity for challenge at court. While generally I would agree with the recommendations even in view of the deficiencies of the report, there were enough deficiencies that a court battle could ensue.

I offered this person some alternate considerations to peacefully find a solution in view of the deficiencies but with an understanding that given the issues, the report will likely not be tossed in its entirety and will still remain influential. Be realistic, nudge the recommendations as may be possible with guidance provided, but be prepared that the recommendations could still stand.

The goal of both reports is to provide guidance to the persons involved as well as to the court. The persons involved may be able to find a solution to their issues between themselves and preclude the necessity of court, based on the recommendations. If a solution is not found between the persons involved, then the court must rely upon the assessments as least to some extent.

Hopefully my feedback will help move things forward in a positive direction.

Please note, I only provide verbal feedback with regard to the quality or issues of the report. I am not a hired gun where one party can bring me on board to shoot down the other party. I do not write a report for court purposes and nor will I go to court on these matters. Review, critique and feedback provided is given in the interest of facilitating a peaceful settlement.

Please see my web page discussing my approach to assessment critiques for interest in this service.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

When Separated Parents Fight Over the Child’s Name

In the more contentious parental separations, parents not only fight over the time the children spend with each of them, but over their minds and identities. Indeed as an issue, that underlies what many call parental alienation.

It is not enough that the kids live between us as we want, but the kids must also have the same (negative) view of the other parent as do I and the kids must be more aligned in their identity with my family over the other.

So what’s in a name?

The name for many is the seat of identity. The given name may honor a living of prior family member. The surname reflects the clan to which one belongs.

And so the fight is on.

The fight for the child’s identity may have begun at birth with a parent’s name left off of the birth certificate. In other cases it seeps in over time with subtle or not so subtle messages how the child may not fully belong to the clan, given a different last name.

As these parents fight over the external identity, characterized by the name, the child’s internal identity is also being shaped and formed. It is the parental fight that is most formative of that internal identity.

Apart from the child having to choose sides by making the name a deciding factor, the child’s internal identify forms on the basis of the child’s actual experience of the parents. The child then develops a world view on the basis of that internal identity:

  • If one or both parents is bad, that at least half of me is bad;
  • I am born of bad blood;
  • Given exposure to the parental dispute one parent’s views of the other is validated by that other parent’s actual behavior;
  • Separated parents will NEVER get along;
  • I cannot like or love two people who themselves do not like each other;

Consider the life of the child who lives with an internal identity comprised of those beliefs.

  • How does this child ever feel about themself?
  • How will/does this child compensate/manage for how they feel internally about themself?
  • How will the child relate to the parent whose behavior validates the negative messages of the other parent?
  • How will this child come to manage life’s inevitable conflicts with their intimate partner or friends or colleagues?
  • Will this child ever feel safe in the company of both parents and what will that mean for things like graduation, marriage and other significant life events?

Being the better parent may require one to remove themself from the fight for the external identity to concentrate on the formation of the internal identity. This is a tall order.

It requires letting go of the usual indicators of identity – the name.

By letting go the fight, the child then has at least one parent who demonstrates making concessions to the greater good of the child. The child’s experience of that parent also stands in contrast to what is said of that parent. With one parent being reasonable it holds the door open that if both are present in the same space and time, while uncomfortable it can be safe.

When your child comes to you and demands to change their name consider if the fight for their external identity will be of value to you in the long run in terms of your life-long relationship with your child. How you manage this may validate negative impressions of you whereas letting go the fight may cause you to be internalized as caring and acting in your child’s interest to live in peace.

While you cannot control the impressions projected of you by others, you are always in control of the impressions your project of yourself. Manage your inputs to your child’s internal identity as that may better serve your child in the long run.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Loving What You Do is Important to a Successful Practice

I gave a workshop recently geared towards mostly mental health professionals who have peacemaking practices. Those are practices that include dispute resolutions strategies such as mediation and Collaborative Law. The workshop was also attended by a few lawyers who practice similarly. The workshop was called Blowing the Lid Off Your Peacemaking Practice. It was presented at the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals at the annual conference in Philadelphia in October, 2017.

Of the topics covered in this 90 minute session we discussed what people do currently in their practice and how they present what they do to others, mostly through electronic media. Everyone included similar information. There were several who included distinctly unique services which I listed on the board.

Then I asked what people would love to do.

Only a few of what was mentioned as things they would love to do were included in the services they first presented.

Later in the workshop I was asked where I get the time and energy to write as much as I write and engage as much as I do on social media.

I explained that we all seem to find the time to do what we love.

If people do what they love, then they are motivated to talk about it and somehow, finding the time is not even an issue. Loving what you do is where motivation comes from.

The workshop was about helping people determine what they would love to do in their practice; convey it in everyday language that anyone can understand; and get the word out to the public.

The workshop also encourages people to use less jargon and convey a multitude of ways they can be helpful. The key in all this is differentiating your practice from others and demonstrating a passion for what you do.

When you differentiate what you do an exude a passion for it, then clients can appreciate the value of what you offer and that you are committed to service.

I think the best compliment coming out of the workshop is the attendee who told me she knew exactly what she was going to do differently the next morning when she arrived to work.

If you want to grow your practice or change what you do, call me. I am pleased to work with people individually or provide workshops on behalf of practice groups, organizations or companies. Here’s the next workshop coming in November.

BTW – Loving what you do is key to success.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Can’t get your twenty-something out of the house? Maybe it’s an Anxiety Disorder…

I am seeing more and more families where an adult child (20 – 25) has a serious anxiety disorder with some depression, where the implications of this as an issue of mental illness is not fully understood. The call for help is from one of the parents.

Their adult child barely gets out of the home and is frequently up much of the night and spending time on-line or with video games. The adult child is seen as non-productive, unmotivated and there is often parent/child conflict and also conflict between the parents in terms of how to manage the adult-child.

Because the implications of this as a mental illness is not fully understood, the issues of the affected person are taken as willful behavior instead of understanding that the behavior observed is rooted in a mental illness.

It is so important to understand the implications of an anxiety disorder to appreciate appropriate from inappropriate expectations. It is also important because without a good understanding of the disorder, the wrong treatment may be provided to no effect which only serves to make matters worse.

With regard to anxiety and treatment, so many people are searching for the right key, thinking that with the right key you may get the engine started and the person will be on their way.

The issue though isn’t the key. The issue is the engine itself. There is (a biological basis to the issue.

We may not be able to “fix” the engine.

However, understanding the issues and limitations of the engine, we can set more reasonable expectations and work better within the abilities of that engine.

Knowing these things reduces stress and conflict which in and of itself can help improve function to some degree.

Knowing these things, then we may apply strategies to manage better with the engine we’ve got. Those strategies are likely to include a combination of medication and “psycho-education” which means we explain and educate on the nature and effect of anxiety and strategies for better self-management (not change).

When the parent phones, I get a very brief history on the phone and then set a first meeting with the parents only. More often than not, their adult child has already been well diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

In the meeting, I obtain from the parents a detailed history of the family and members from a bio-psycho-social perspective. I am seeking information trans-generational in nature and probing for issues related to mental health, physical health, addictions, violence/abuse, quality of relationships, developmental histories, personality styles, etc. I am looking for or assessing issues that may be either contributory or intervening variables to the presenting problem.

From there the next meeting is typically with the parents and young adult child together. The assessment continues and on the basis thereof, education and information is provided.

Today’s client found it helpful to have the nature and effect of anxiety explained for their own benefit as well as to the benefit of the parents. The feedback suggested that the information provided was fully consistent with the experience of the person and the parents’ experience of their adult child. The parents found it helpful to have the information in order to be more appropriately supportive. The adult child found it helpful to finally realize what they are grappling with.

We will continue to meet and I will continue to offer coping and management strategies. These meetings are monthly and will only continue as necessary and as helpful.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

We All Want a Successful Practice.

In addition to my social work practice, I have been consulting, coaching and training others on practical strategies to grow their practice. You may have seen my private practice tips or blog posts on Linked In. In addition, you may have seen my announcement for workshops provided at provincial and international conferences helping others build the practice.

If you are seeking to build your practice, there are several ways I may be of service:

  1. The first is by providing content for your website, blog or social media. For this I provide 2 options;
    • You can freely use any of the content from my website where you will find hundreds of article related to family life, parenting, relationships, divorce and separation. All I ask is that if using my readymade content, that you provide appropriate reference – Authored by: Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW.
    • If you want original content, as a professional writer, I can provide content for your use under your name. We would chat; I would obtain an understanding of the theme and issues to be addressed and provide you with written material for use on your website, blog or social media.
  2. The second way I can be of service is through consultation or coaching. We can meet in person, by phone or video conferencing to chat about strategies for growing your practice.
  3. The third way I can be of service is through invitation by your company or professional organization to provide a workshop on growing your practice.
  4. Lastly, you can attend my exclusive small group workshops when available. The next workshop takes place Friday, November 10 and is limited to 8 persons. For more information, see:  Build, Brand, Market, Close: Building Your Successful Peacemaking or Counseling Practice

I love seeing others succeed. It would be my pleasure to help you do so.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

Facebook
Linked In
Twitter

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Examining Therapy

Therapy is a funny thing.

Although the history of psychotherapy can be traced earlier, it was Sigmund Freud’s “talking cure” that created the template for today’s psychotherapy.

That template is built on assumptions such as the standard 50 minute session and letting people “free associate”. In Freud’s time, the person actually laid down on a couch with the psychotherapist sitting in a chair just behind and out of the person’s field of vision. If the therapist said anything it was to reflect back some of what was heard or to offer an interpretation. In the context of Freudian therapy, the therapist was the expert.

Years later, Carl Rogers developed what he came to call in the latter part of his career as “person-centered therapy”. This moved the therapist from behind the couch to a face to face position with the person served. As a former minister, for Rogers, having a connection with the person was important to his style of practice. Without going into the underlying theory, important in his approach was seeing the person as expert rather than the therapist. The therapist was there to provide unconditional positive regard (UPR), empathy and to reflect back positively what was heard from the client. In this context, the therapeutic relationship was seen as pivotal for facilitating wellness.

There have been many other remarkable and notable therapists before and since. However, common to virtually all psycho-therapeutic approaches is the 50-minute hour, empathy and letting the client take the lead.

The thinking or theory held by many psychotherapists given the history of psychotherapy, is that if they create a “safe place”, typically thought of as free from judgment where the person is allowed to speak freely, the person will come to trust the therapist and then after however many session it takes, reveal either directly or indirectly events that have shaped their lives, but they were either out of touch with or felt shameful about.

It is in finally revealing those past events that provides relief. The other thinking is that “timing” is involved. The traditional therapist believes that past issues can or should only be revealed when the client is ready.

Here’s the thing…

People seeking help for emotional or interpersonal distress typically haven’t read or are familiar with the history of psychotherapy. As such, it is only through attendance over time do they learn to be a client. However, depending on the time and the discomfort of the issues, many people drop out of therapy not having attained the relief or resolution sought. To add, if the service is private pay, the persons served can develop an even greater sense of dissatisfaction, not having obtained a desired result for time or money spent. This leads to treatment failure and an experience that leaves the person reluctant to try therapy again.

I have never taken to a traditional view of psychotherapy. From sitting in my original counseling class in undergrad psychology with a remarkable woman who trained with Carl Rogers, to present, I have always held the view, that while the therapist is not the expert on the life of the client, the therapist can hold expertise and knowledge to be used directly in the service of the client. As such, it not only behooves the therapist to be knowledgeable on therapeutic approaches, but also social science research, understanding those issues that give rise to emotional, cognitive and behavioral issues as well as those conditions that promote healing and wellness.

From this perspective and approach, the therapist is very active in the therapeutic process, asking direct questions regarding one’s background and life experiences. “Safety” in this context is derived from the therapist’s comfort in and non-judgmental listening to the content brought forth by the client’s disclosure of material from direct questions.

By asking direct questions and with a good knowledge of social science research as well as biological factors underlying behavior and issues related to mental health or illness, the therapist can more forthrightly uncover those issues that may relate to current matters of distress.

Whereas many therapists, including myself rely upon the genogram (pictorial representation of one’s family history or family tree) , the more traditional therapist build their genogram over time, based on content delivered session after session. In my approach, I seek to build the genogram within the extended first meeting, that first meeting scheduled for 3 hours.

By creating a more elaborate genogram in one sitting, within the first session and with knowledge of social science research, the therapist is then able to sooner provide connections between life events and current circumstances rather than relying on the passage of time and for the person to eventually come to their own deconstruction-reconstruction of factors contributory to their issues. It also helps the therapist rule in or out issues that may be historical and/or biological and thus lends itself to more efficient treatment.

Guidance, information and treatment recommendations may flow from the single encounter, sufficient to meeting the person’s needs.

If necessary, a follow-up meeting is set to support the use of strategies or increased knowledge or information provided to the person. Follow-up meetings may also serve for examining hypotheses that may have also been generated at the meeting and then tested between appointments.

With this approach if a follow up meeting is set, it usually is some 4 or more weeks into the future. This allows feedback or guidance provided in the first meeting to percolate with the person and to provide time to practice, adjust, explore or implement any of the strategies provided. As in the first meeting, 3 hour chunks of time are always provided yet only the time used is actually billed to the person. With this approach, the meeting concludes more when it makes sense rather than arbitrarily having run out of time. This lowers concern for the person that they will run out of time before addressing issues and also lowers concern for losing momentum not having addressed issues of concern from one meeting to the next.

There is nothing to say this approach is better or worse than any other approach, but to say it is different. It isn’t helpful to all persons, but in my experience the persons I serve typically express satisfaction.

My bottom line in writing this blog is to bring to therapists’ attention that just as we seek to have people examine their lives, we too who provide therapeutic services, must examine our beliefs and approaches too. That is the nature of reflective practice.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

7 Questions to a Successful Peacemaking or Clinical Practice

Are you a Collaborative Lawyer, Mental Health Professional, Divorce Financial Specialist, Mediator or Clinician/Therapist/Counselor?

To have a successful practice, you must be able to answer these questions affirmatively:

  1. Is you practice really client centered?
  2. Do you know your client’s experience of your practice?
  3. Do you ever debrief with a client after meeting?
  4. Does your website really convey who you are and what you do in an easy to understand manner?
  5. Are you using social media and if so, are you engaging with your followers?
  6. Are you able to convey what you do in simple terms?
  7. From the moment of first contact, be it a website, social media or phone call, will the person seeking service see you as the go to person to meet their needs?

To have a successful practice, you not only must be able to answer those questions affirmatively, but you must also be able to identify those elements that contribute to your answers, otherwise, you are just guessing and hoping. Growing your practice by chance isn’t good enough in today’s world of choices. Growing your practice today must be a purposeful endeavor.

Today’s client has a world of options available to them. To serve them well, you must be clear about who you are, what you do and who you can do it for.

To have a successful practice you must not only invest in the skills associated with your profession, but also marketing and business development skills. While you may hire an outside consultant to facilitate your branding, marketing and even service processes, you still must be able to convey to your outside consultant who you are, what you are seeking to achieve, who your client is and how your client thinks. Your business is your baby and you can make it grow best.

Build, Brand, Market, Close: Building your successful peacemaking or counseling practice is a workshop designed to assist you in learning about and addressing concepts associated with practice business development.

The benefit in attending is to help you better conceptualize what you do, how you do it and how to convey it to others.

Interestingly enough, being able to identify and articulate who you are, what differentiates you from others and how you may be of service also helps you in your practice. Knowing who you are, what you do and how to convey it to others helps you focus yourself and your service making you more on point and confident in your work.

They say it takes 3 to 5 years to develop a successful business.

Regardless of when you started your practice, where do you want it to be in 3 to 5 years time?

Kick start your goal by learning and being purposeful and focused in how you build your practice.

Attend this workshop or invite me to provide this workshop for your association, practice group or organization.

Build, Brand, Market, Close: Building your successful peacemaking or counseling practice

My next workshop is offered as an exclusive small group experience taking place from my residence/retreat in Georgina (Keswisk) Ontario, ½ hour north of Newmarket, an hour north of mid-Toronto. It takes place Friday, November 10, 9:00 am.

Hope to see you there or hope to enjoy your invitation to present on behalf of your group, organization or association.

When you invest in yourself and your learning, even for practice business development, you are serving your client. Bottom line, the client experiences your attention to your business on their behalf. That’s attractive. It serves your client.

Be a stand out.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

Facebook
Linked In
Twitter

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.