Multicultural Counseling and Social Media | A Podcast interview with Namrata Rindani

private practice counseling

Today’s Private Practice Podcast resource:

I read this book in December 2014 and I’m using it with my whole team to help them find their unique advantages. My personal tagline or anthem is AMBITIOUS RESULTS so this year you will hear me talking more from that point of view.

 

Have a question for the show? Leave me a message on Speakpipe

 

Practice Nation, Meet Namrata Rindani

Nam RindaniNam Rindani is a go getter, she was a counselor in India and now is starting over in the United States. That has not stopped her. She is ambitious and someone to watch. Already she is the Pre-license Chair for CAMFT- San Diego. Further, she runs a Facebook Group, Therapists in Private Practice, that has over 2,400 members.

 

What you’ll discover in this podcast

  • 6:29 what it is like to start over
  • 16:12 How to pack up and move to another culture and what it’s like to see clients in another culture
  • 25:59 Running a thriving Facebook group
  • 35:49 How to stay in love with what you have created
  • 36:06 What every counselor in the world should know

Resources/Actions from this podcast

Nam’s Twitter: Nam Talks Therapy 

Therapists in Private Practice Facebook Group

Music from the Podcast

Silence is Sexy

Akashik Records

Promo for your social media

private practice quote NAM

 

private practice consultant headshot

 Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC

Joe Sanok is an expert on achieving ambitious results! He is a private practice business consultant and counselor that helps small businesses and counselors in private practice that are starting a private practice. He helps owners with website design, vision, growth, and using their time to create income through being a private practice consultant. Joe was frustrated with his lack of business and marketing skills when he left graduate school. He loved helping people through counseling, but felt that often people couldn’t find him. Over the past few years he has grown his skills, income, and ability to lead others, while still maintaining an active private practice in Traverse City, MI. To link to Joe’s Google+ .

Photo by Vinoth Chandor

 

Here is the Transcription of This Podcast

Multicultural Counseling and Social Media An interview with Namrata Rindani

This is the Practice of the Practice Podcast, with Joe Sanok, Session 63. I’m Joe Sanok, your host and I am so glad you’re with me today. Boy, it’s a blustery day in northern Michigan and those of you that live south of Michigan which is most of the nation, I’m glad you’re warm. Well, maybe it’ll be a winter like last year where everybody got snowed in, but those of you that aren’t prepared for it, I don’t want to put you in any danger or anything but I kind of like it. It doesn’t have that brown slushy look. It’s like this beautiful white. The tops of all the trees all the leaves are gone and there’s just like crystals of snow and all the kids had a snow day today which meant that a lot of the parents had to scramble for babysitters or who’s staying home with the kids, and it’s just a unique season here in northern Michigan.

You know, one resource that I want to tell you about today, and I don’t have an affiliate link for it or anything, but it’s this book I just finished called, “How the World Sees You” by Sally Hogshead, and I am trying to get Sally to be one of my consultants that will be on the How to Become a Consultant Podcast. But it is so awesome. It comes with this assessment that is more how the world sees you more than how that you see the world and she helps you make what’s called an anthem. That’s kind of your unique just way that you see the world when you’re at your best. And mine, I’ve mentioned already to my email list, and I think I mentioned it in the last podcast that I came up with in kind of putting together are some of her recommendations is, that I help people achieve ambitious results. That’s going to be something that you’re going to hear a lot from me this year. So, if you don’t want ambitious results, if you want just so-so results or you want ambitious not results, then you’re in the wrong place, my friend. You should find a different podcast.

Oh dear. Hold on. Sorry about that. My headphones I had them next to my head as headphones are supposed to go. But I didn’t mute the interview, and I was talking a little too much. I was hearing in one ear my interview with Nam and well, I couldn’t like concentrate. I’m going to leave that all in there. Oh, dear. Oh, dear.

Anyway, so this book I read it over kind of the month of December. It’s really a big book. But it’s going to be awesome to help my team here at Mental Wellness Counseling to kind of figure out who they are and how I can best help them bring out their best advantages. So, I’ll keep you posted on what we learn and what we do, and if we find unique ways to use that book and use this assessment to help the team, what’s cool buzz I’ll let you know.

What Sally really comes from is a whole background of marketing and business and kind of that sort of point of view not the psychology like a Myers-Briggs or Strengths Finder something like that. It’s a super cool book. Check it out.

And yeah, let me tell you a little bit about Nam Rindani. Nam Rindani is someone who I met online, and she’s going tell you actually a little bit about how I made quite an impact on her by joining her Facebook group, which was really exciting. But Nam is someone that we are going to discover some amazing things in this podcast. I did not know all that I was going to discover by talking to her, but our conversation went from India to the United States to Facebook, to monetizing Facebook, to growing a business, and if you listen to the very, very, very end, you’ll hear some outtakes that I think are pretty hilarious.

Without any further ado, I give you, Nam Rindani.

Joe Sanok: Well, Nam, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice Podcast.

NR: Thank you so much, Joe, for having me.

Joe Sanok: Oh, yeah. This is awesome to talk face-to-face. We’ve been talking online for probably a couple of years now, and it’s nice to talk like this.

NR: I know. You know Joe, it’s actually so serial that we’re doing this because a little while ago, I was kind of you know, reflecting back on how I connected with you at all. I don’t know if you know this, but when I created this Facebook community, Therapists in Private Practice, you were the first person who requested to join that I didn’t know at all.

Joe Sanok: Really?

NR: Yeah. So, before you, it was like, “Oh, she’s my friend. Oh, I met this person at a motivational interviewing training. Oh, this is an old classmate and then I go, Joe Sanok? Who?” And then I went, “Oh, I think this is a stranger who wants to —

Joe Sanok: That’s awesome. It’s so exciting.

NR: For me, there was like streamers and balloons and confetti all over you when you said… Yeah it was a big deal.”

Joe Sanok: Wow! That is so exciting. Wow! Thanks for sharing that.

NR: Absolutely.

Joe Sanok: Well, I definitely want to get into talking about the Facebook group eventually. But let’s hear a little bit about your story as a therapist in private practice and kind of where have you been.

NR: Okay. Where have I been? This is something and not a lot of people know is right now in the United States, I am an intern of couples and family therapy. However, as an intern, I have been in practice in the clinical world for about 11 years.

Joe Sanok: Wow!

NR: And the reason for this is not that I’ve been like you know, waiting for BBS for 11 years although that might not be surprising soon. I was a therapist back home which is in India.

Joe Sanok: Okay.

What it is like to start over

NR: I used to you know, do work with children and families and I did that for a sufficiently long time. And I decided I wanted to further my education, and so I packed my life up and moved to the United States, not realizing that once I got here, what they would likely tell me was, “Well, we need you to start over.”

Joe Sanok: Oh!

NR: And so, I had all of this experience, and I thought I knew it all and I was, “Okay. I’m an intern now. I have to start over.” I’ve been in the United States for a few years. I have been an intern for about four. I’m waiting in line for my hours to get licensed, which is where I am. It’s been a fascinating journey to be a therapist in a culture like India and then move to the United States, become an intern, and then kind of start over in so many different ways. It’s been exciting.

Joe Sanok: Wow!

NR: As far as private practice, I have been in private practice. I got into it right after practicum. And a lot of people told me that was like a professional death wish because getting hours is — it takes a while.

Joe Sanok: Yeah.

NR: But you know, I believed in it. It’s something I really, really enjoy and I didn’t’ want to give up on it. And so I started right after practicum and about three months ago, I decided to get into it full-time as an intern.

Joe Sanok: Wow! I want to go back to what it was like for counseling in India. I think that you know, it’s rare to have a guest that has that kind of background. So, tell us what’s the world of counseling like there? What was your experience like?

NR: The world of counseling in India, it’s extremely different. Like the dichotomy between the two cultures is just it’s so wide. My experience in India I remember I would have these “marathon therapy sessions” and I say that in quotes, that would last five and six hours. I would be in a client’s home and now I specifically work with populations that were you know, economically marginalized, a lot of poverty, a lot of racism, some of the darker stuff. A lot of my sessions would happen in these little shacks, called homes. Or I would — I remember a session where I was in there for five hours. It was one of those big industrial parks and this really, really poverty-stricken family had made that their home. I was expected to go the client’s home to offer services. So, guess where I was.

In terms of that, there was that difference but then the biggest difference that I noticed and I experienced was counseling in India is still something that gets frowned upon. It’s, “Well, why won’t you talk to your family? What’s wrong with us? Why do you need to speak to a stranger?” The stigma is extremely high, but the need is even higher.

The way that counseling would take place or the way it would show up in people’s lives is, “Oh, you seem a little upset. Just go talk to someone, this person. You don’t say therapist. You don’t say counselor, you don’t say shrink. You don’t say anything. It’s just, “Go talk to her. You’ll feel better” because that’s what happened to me. Then counseling sessions the boundaries were very different. It’s not uncommon for a therapist to be invited for family dinners and then that kind of becomes part of your session. It’s not uncommon to — like a question that I notice, hear a lot is, “Would you go to a client’s wedding?” Well, in India, if you don’t go to a client’s wedding, you probably won’t see the client again. It’s deeply disrespectful.

There are a lot of changes in how therapy kind of shows up and how it takes place. Then there are also you know, more nuanced differences in the kind of conversations you have. You won’t use words like ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’. You would use words like “the pain in the butt mother-in-law.” That’s something that would you know click more for a client than a diagnosis of some sort.

Joe Sanok: Well, and I bet that challenge is kind of the view of confidentiality, too, if it’s so fluid in how counseling looks.

NR: Oh, a hundred percent! I remember when I first moved here and I was in the low and a fixed class and I had a deer in headlights experience because there were all of these rules that were you know, you have to follow them and I respect them and I go ahead with them, but if I were to apply some of them back home, I don’t think I would have a practice. People would not want to see me because it’s just the Indian culture of being so collectivist, the more personal you are and the less boundaries you have, the more success you will experience in therapy.

Then I moved here and it’s you know, if I see my client in a grocery store, I have to wait for my client to approach me.

Joe Sanok: Right, right.

NR: In there, it’s you better approach the client.

Joe Sanok: Wow!

NR: Because, yeah. That’s the cultural norm and the cultural influences and norms trump the ethics and practice of therapy.

Joe Sanok: Well, and how does that work with say, Indian-Americans that still have those norms but then you’re bound by certain State ethics or your board’s ethics? How does someone navigate that?

NR: It’s difficult. I have some personal experience with that because I have to navigate it. But then I also have some professional experience when I’ve seen clients who come from different cultures or I’ve had colleagues who come from different cultures and have to then navigate this. Personally, it’s been, I want to say that it was super easy and I just kind of slipped into it but I didn’t. I threw a lot of tantrums. I threw a lot tantrums where I questioned a lot of you know, where does this come from and how is it that this helps and my dear professors in my graduate school had gotten pretty used to me questioning everything and then following it.

When I see clients who have kind of moved from one culture to another, especially you know coming from India, coming to the United States that feels more confining and more rule-based. There is definitely an identity crisis of sorts that takes place where you kind of go well, where do I belong then? Because personally, this is what I’ve been conditioned to believe and this is how I’ve been trained to practice, whatever I practice, but then I come to this world where if I do what I’ve been doing for my entire life, I may get banished for it.

Joe Sanok: Right, right.

NR: And it’s extremely scary. It’s unnerving, and it’s not very easy. However, what I’ve noticed is once you get past those growing pains, once you get past those learning hurdles, there’s a much more whole-hearted experience of who you are, that comes about.

Like the therapist I am today, I would not be had I not had those tantrums, had I not examined everything I was taught to believe in in there and how it applies to the United States.

I think the end result is incredibly positive, and it’s very unique and I feel very privileged to have it. But the process to get there is messy. It definitely is messy.

Joe Sanok: Well, and I think that’s so true even outside of cultures and occupations that whenever we are stretched into those areas that we throw those tantrums that it so often produces a positive result, but none of us want to go through that. I mean, I think about when my daughter was having heart surgery and right after that I had cancer and it was like this crap storm of stuff. I’d never wish it upon anybody but I feel like I’m such a deeper person because of that experience and I understand what it means to have a sick child, and it’s amazing how as you go through these things that really stretch what you thought the world was, it does make you a more full person.

NR: Definitely and it’s something. I think about that in terms of client work when we talk of our resistant clients, for example. I in 11 years have yet to meet a resistant client. I’ve met clients who are very protective about their way of being. I’ve met clients who are very loyal to their beliefs but it’s very similar. They come into therapy and we’re kind of requesting that they change all of the stuff when they’re used to something else and then we label that as resistant. I think about it in terms of my own experience where I bet I have professors who you know, listen to my annoying questions and then why won’t she just learn? Just read the book, give the midterm, just be done with it.

Joe Sanok: Resistant Nam.

NR: Resistant, no. Definitely.

Joe Sanok: How do you think that’s maybe positioned you differently to be a therapist in a positive way, that maybe other people that were just raised in the US and have kind of your traditional experience, like maybe compare your experience to how that will help you out in a way that maybe I wouldn’t experience?

NR: Well, something that it — this wasn’t even intentional, something I kind of started to notice that was very unique to my experience in the therapy room was I seriously question assumptions. When a client comes in, I have a joining process like most therapists have a joining process but I often preface that conversation by saying, “I may ask you questions that make you go, ‘Well, that’s obvious. Why is she even asking me that?’”

The reason that I do that is because I’ve come to experience uniqueness in people in a much deeper way. Things that I assume a client wants or is in therapy for, is often, just completely wrong. And without actually asking the questions, I won’t know that.

How to pack up and move to another culture and what it’s like to see clients in another culture

For me, that directly comes from you know, packing my life up and landing in this foreign culture and feeling like I was walking on my hands instead of my feet. I often wonder if that’s how clients feel like the first therapy session. They come in and they go, “Okay, I signed up for this, but this is really awkward to talk about.”

The way I join, the kind of questions I ask, the beliefs and the ideas that I invite to examine and question with me, are very different because I made this move that when I look back at my time in India, I did not have that skill. I didn’t even have that lens. I didn’t think there was so much to question, as I now do.

Joe Sanok: Wow!

NR: It definitely plays a very big role in my work as a therapist.

Joe Sanok: Well, that’s really exciting to just personally go through that kind of development and to look back and say, “Wow, that wasn’t even on my radar, back then. I lost you for a minute there, Nam. But welcome back, and it seems to be happening recently with a number of my podcasts but we just roll with it.

NR: Absolutely.

Joe Sanok: Let’s kind of shift a little bit because I think you are uniquely positioned by having already been a practitioner that then had to join a program. What do you think positioned you differently as you entered the program having already been in practice in India?

NR: Well, the number 1 thing that stands out for me is I experienced the lesson and the gift of humility that I believe I needed, and I didn’t have because something that I think, it’s very human and a lot of us go through is the more we practice something, the better we get at it and the more comfortable we get I think with our identity as being part of that. I am a therapist and I came in here going, “I am a therapist.” Then the United States kind of looked at me and said, “No, no, no, not right now. But you can be. This is what you need to do to get there.”

The unique position that I found myself in in that moment was I had some knowing. I had some knowledge. I had some skills, and I had experience that informed me in a certain way but then I also had this beautiful opportunity to be [?? 18:30] and it didn’t feel as positive when it first began, and I’ll be the first one to admit that. But fairly quickly, I recognized that there was still so much I didn’t know, and here was this life experience that was kind of almost forced on me, but I was very open to receiving of going, “Okay. Maybe I need to relearn some things. Maybe I need to learn how to look at what I know in different ways. And there was this very real experience that I knew how to be a therapist in India. I had no idea how to be a therapist in the United States.

I believed it was the same, but my goodness, it wasn’t, nothing other than maybe the kind of conversation I had at a very basic level was the same. Joining a program with experience was unique, and it’s definitely been a learning experience and one that I deeply cherish. It’s kind of left me with this constant sense of “be a student all the time.” Even if you’ve done something for 25 years, there’s still so much you don’t know. You can stay with that (cross-talk)

Joe Sanok: Well, that’s so true and when I talk to therapists or anybody for that matter, and if they’re not reading or listening to podcasts or engaging with other professionals like how do you plan to keep up over an entire lifetime of being in this profession?

NR: Exactly.

Joe Sanok: And for me, it just like invigorates me like whatever my new book is that I’m reading or new podcast I’m listening to, it gives me then different ideas of how to approach things that I never would have thought of.

NR: Absolutely. Learning is essential and staying in a climate where learning can be supported whether it’s you know, reading, whether it’s podcasts like you said. And for me, it’s social media connecting with other professionals. We have social media that like you that I may never have met in real life is such a big learning experience. It kind of constantly keeps you aware of what else is out there.

Joe Sanok: Absolutely. Let’s talk about your Facebook group, because I would consider that a pretty widely successful Facebook group. You’ve got how many members now?

NR: Close to about 3,000.

Joe Sanok: Yeah, yeah and it just seems to be exponentially growing. Let’s really go back to when you first had this idea to launch the group and then maybe give us some ideas as to if other people want to launch groups or just some things that you’ve learned.

NR: Honestly, my idea for launching this group was kind of selfish. I was in a place where I was in private practice, and I needed to meet more people and I was also experiencing the isolation of being in private practice that a lot of therapists and agency jobs don’t necessarily experience because you know, you’re not in a big office with co-workers and managers, et cetera.

I had some conversations with some of my peers. I realized that, “Oh, this will involve in something that just I was experiencing. I have friends who were experiencing it as well. The day I created the group, my idea was well 11 of us. Me and my friends were going to connect and we were going to learn from each other and support each other. Very, very quickly, I’ve noticed that there was no need to restrict it to just my friends. If I was feeling isolated, if my friends were feeling isolated, there have got to be more people who were also feeling isolated.

That’s when I went to Facebook, and I changed my settings from secret to “closed” and I opened it up to anyone who wanted to join. Like I mentioned at the start of our conversation, suddenly I see Joseph Sanok wants to join Therapists in Private Practice and well then, here we go.

Joe Sanok: Maybe for people that don’t know that distinction between secret and “closed”, just what does that mean?

NR: So, Facebook has an option where when you create a group, you can kind of have groups that are open to the public in different levels. You have a public group which is, you find the group, you join it, and then that’s it. You’re in it. You then have a closed group which requires that you request to join the group and someone has to approve your request and this would be a group that people can see that it exists, but they can’t necessarily participate until their request is approved.

Then comes the super-secret group that no one can even find if you look for it. So, if someone were to type in “therapists in private practice” and if this group have a secret setting, it wouldn’t even show up. It’s really, really that underground. Initially, that’s what I’d had started with where it was just me and my friends, keeping our secrets. And I changed it to “closed” which means people were able to find this group and then request to join it.

Joe Sanok: Which I think a secret group might be good if you had any sort of like discussions that you wanted to, I wouldn’t say client discussions, but if you had maybe some sort of parental support group that you ran and you wanted people to be able to talk and share resources and they understood the limits of Facebook confidentiality, but they didn’t want it out there. Whereas, it sounds like you wanted to expand your group to help any therapist in private practice.

NR: Absolutely. I think secret groups help keep groups very, very exclusive and I quickly kind of shed that intention and I wanted it to be open to anyone and everyone who was connected to the mental health field. So, a closed setting worked out for that.

Joe Sanok: Now, I know one thing that on some groups I’m a part of or now I’m not anymore because it was so annoying, is people doing tons of self-promotion.

NR: Yes.

Joe Sanok: I noticed that on yours, you have some very clear rules. What kind of guidelines do you recommend for people to just prevent a bunch of spam or self-promotion?

NR: I co-lead the group now with James McMahill who’s a therapist and my husband which works out. When we kind of noticed that there was a lot of that happening and the work you know, community members were very vocal saying, “This is kind of getting weird. I don’t enjoy this anymore.” For me, it was very, very important to include the voice of the community members, because when James and I lead the group, it’s still a democracy. We’d still want community involvement.

I put forth a question which I recommend to anyone who wants to start a Facebook group is to listen, listen to the people who make up the group. And I posed a question saying, “How should we do this? What would you prefer?” where those who want to market their services feel that they can because marketing is not an ugly thing. It’s an important part of private practice. But then it also doesn’t take away from some of the quality conversations we’ve set out to have.

Running a thriving Facebook group

A suggestion I had put forth was maybe we should have one or two days where you can go nuts, you can post every piece of marketing, every blog you’ve ever written can show up, and that’s okay. The majority, the consensus in the group was, “That would work for us.”

What was also kind of communicated that if you are someone in a group and I think this is important in leading groups: if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy a certain element of the group, for example, the marketing aspect, don’t log on on that day because people will continue doing that because it’s important to them. Would you get to exercise your own boundaries and say, “I don’t enjoy those group on Mondays because it feels spammy. I’m not just going to be on there.

So far, it seems to work out.

Joe Sanok: Well, I think that that’s great that you listen to the group. I know that when I first started doing more social media, I didn’t even understand like all those different nuances, and I got kicked out of a LinkedIn group, because I was posting too much kind of spammy stuff.

NR: Oops, barred.

Joe Sanok: I, actually, in my E-newsletter, part of the series I write about is how that person reacted to me, rather than say, “Hey, Joe. I see you’re brand new to this group. Just so you know, here’s the rules.”

NR: Right.

Joe Sanok: And so I mean, I know that I think a recommendation to people that join any group is to get to know the moderator of that group and just say, “Hey, if I step on toes, just send me a message, and I’m so sorry if I do that.”

NR: Yes. You know, it’s interesting you say that, because back when you joined the group, or when the group was still kind of a baby, we were just kind of approving requests assuming that you know, they were legit people and in the mental health field.

Our process is very different now. When someone requests to join the group, James and I will send them a message, and we ask for their credentials, we ask to know how they’re affiliated to the mental health field, because something interesting that’s happening is there are a lot of people who are looking for therapy services wanting to join the group. Like, “I’m really depressed. I need a therapist.”

Or there are some people who very openly say, “No, I’m actually promoting a weight loss product, and I just want to meet more people.” And so you know, they don’t make it through that process. What also happens in that engagement with a new member is, they get to know us. In that conversation, we also let them know that you know, this group is built on this foundation and feel free to kind of scroll through posts and see what works for you and see what the group is about.

Also know that we have some guidelines that are posted. One of them is that we have marketing Monday. Marketing Monday is just a day when we are dying to hear what you’re doing. We want to know about your services. From Tuesday to Sunday, the group is for this other purpose and unfortunately, we have to delete your posts. I’ve noticed that having that conversation right up front, it’s led to very positive responses of, “Oh, I really like that. Okay, thank you for letting me know. I won’t do that on other days.” In that sense, you kind of join with the moderator like you’re saying. It’s fairly rare that people will go outside of the guidelines, willingly stay within them.

Joe Sanok: Sure, sure. Well, and what’s interesting is somehow I missed that whole marketing Monday conversation. If I did marketing or anything like that, sorry. But I think that also, people are in these communities for community, not to be marketed at.

NR: Yeah.

Joe Sanok: And so, I think joining a group and getting to know the culture, it’s great that you’re leading people through that process and so maybe speak to how you continue to foster this group to make it more of a group rather than a just a marketing thing.

NR: Well, for me, whether it’s group therapy or leading a social media group, the element that is the most important is community. It’s the members. It’s not the leader, it’s the people who make up the group. And so a way that we have very consistently I believe kind of fostered the sense of community and kept it going is even when someone goes outside of the guidelines, they break a rule so to speak, we speak to them. We send them a really friendly message saying, “Hey, I know you probably don’t know this, but this is what’s happening, so I have to delete your post, but please post on Monday.”

Or there are some times when we have to contact people to say, “Hey, you know, I get where you were coming from, but the way it was delivered kind of pissed a few people off.”

Joe Sanok: Yeah.

NR: “How can we navigate this”? The sense of community, I believe, has started to build and has stayed strong because of conversation. It’s being willing to talk to each other instead at each other. It’s asking more questions than making more statements. It’s kind of explaining why the guidelines exist as opposed to just imposing them and saying, “You did a bad thing. Get out.”

It’s just not where we come from, and I noticed that the more we do that, the more the community members choose to do that as well because that’s the climate that we are hoping for here in this conversation.

Joe Sanok: Right. And it’s by making those boundaries. I think you’re protecting the group from itself or from other people, and in doing so it becomes an even more valuable group because then when I go on there, I know that if I go on on Mondays, it’s going to be a bunch of this stuff, but on other days, it’s not and so it then helps the members be able to know that, as well.

NR: Absolutely, and you know Joe, it’s something that I hadn’t really expected would come out of this group that has become a very, very important experience is the amount of learning about therapy that takes place. So, invariably, we’ll have someone who is new to social media and is not aware of how much client information can be shared. That happens every now and then. And you know there’ll be a referral request with all these beautiful details —

Joe Sanok: Oh, my!

NR: — about the client and I read them or James will read them and go, “Oh, that’s a little bit too much” and we are ethically bound as leaders, as well. We have some level of liability here.

The way we would navigate that is again, take the post down. I often, if it’s a very detailed post, I’ll copy and paste it so that the person doesn’t feel like they lost what they wrote, and I’ll send it you know, I send them a message letting them know that, “You may or may not know this. This is not to punish you, but this is to protect you. That’s way too much client information. Should this come back, you don’t want to fall down that pole –”

Joe Sanok: Right

NR: “– of violating something this important.”

Joe Sanok: Yeah.

NR: Here is an example of how you may want to say it. If you want to use this suggestion go ahead. If you don’t want to choose to not post it at all, that’s okay, too. And it’s amazing to me that in — it’s been a few hundred people that we’d have to do this with over time. The number of people who go, “Oh, my gosh I had no idea. Because for me it was like just talking to someone. I didn’t realize that just because the settings of this group are closed, it means we still can’t talk about clients.”

Joe Sanok: Right.

NR: And from the outside, it kind of looks like what is wrong with this therapist? How can they not know? It’s such a basic thing. But therapists don’t always know as the field evolves, new rules come about. And this has given James and I this position of helping therapists learn something new and learn something new ourselves because we didn’t know about this, when we first started.

Joe Sanok: Right, right.

NR: I’ve spoken to countless lawyers many, many times about the group, and there are all these nuances that I had no idea about.

Joe Sanok: Right. So, Nam, you and James put a lot of time into this group. Originally, it was you said kind of selfish. You just feel connected. It’s obviously evolved past that point of just supporting you. How do you like I guess, I’m just thinking, that’s just so much time. Are you monetizing the group or is it just kind of a way to give back or tell me about your time commitment in regards to the group.

NR: It’s turned into a solid part-time job. There’s no money involved at all and that’s not the intention. We’ve kind of intentionally kept it like that. Time commitment is huge. We get about you know, 100-150 requests every three or four days, which means we send out that many messages, which means we reply to that many messages and every person has unique questions and so we have these conversations a lot.

It takes a lot of time and that is just the approval of requests. What then happens is actually moderating the group, answering questions, listening to concerns and complaints because those happen, too. And they don’t keep the theme of the group going. I am a huge chatterbox in that group. I love asking questions, I love getting to know people, and so I keep involved in that, as well.

How to stay in love with what you have created

The time commitment is much more than I ever expected, but what I’ve come to realize is there’s got to be love. There’s got to be love for what you’re spending time doing and so even though there are times when you know, I’ve had a long client day and I don’t kind of want to go on there and ask people about their credentials for the next two hours. I do because out of those 100 people, there could be some people who are going to really get something awesome out of this group. Just because I’m feeling lazy in that moment, they don’t get to experience that, does not work for me.

It’s staying in love with what you’ve created, which for me, holds true for the group, and it holds true for anything I do.

Joe Sanok: Wow! What a great service to offer counselors. So, thank you for all the time you put into it.

NR: Well, thank you for acknowledging that.

What every counselor in the world should know

Joe Sanok: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Well, one question I always ask people that I interview at the end of the interview is: If every counselor in America were listening right now, and maybe I should even say every counselor in the world, since you’ve got peeps all over the world —

NR: I do.

Joe Sanok: — what would you want them to know?

NR: What would I want them to know? There are actually a few things but I’ll keep them really short. I would want them to know that they matter. I think it’s very easy in our field to hear “thank yous” from clients but not necessarily receive the gratitude. I’m not necessarily [seeped 36:42] with the impact that we do have in people’s lives. I would want therapists all over the world to know that they matter. Their work matters.

I’d also want them to know to stay humble because there’s always so much to know, and the clients are our biggest teachers. Even though we have the degree, they still remain the experts.

The last thing I would want them to know is don’t stop being silly. Be silly in session, be silly with your significant others, have fun, laugh but easily it’s an undermined element of life that it gets lost in the seriousness of therapy, easily.

Joe Sanok: Awesome. Well, Nam Rindani, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice Podcast. If people want to get a hold of you, how’s the best way for them to connect with you?

NR: The best way, considering the theme of our podcast conversation is actually social media. You can find me in Twitter under Nam Talks Therapy. I am on Facebook. You can also email me. It’s namtalkstherapy@gmail.com and I will answer your call if you call me: 619-339-8594.

Joe Sanok: Wonderful and we’ll have those links in the show notes. Just in case you’re running or mowing the lawn or blowing snow in Northern Michigan, Nam thank you so much for taking time out of your day.

NR: Absolutely.

Joe Sanok: Have an awesome day. Thanks for all you do.

NR: Thank you so much for having me on. This was really fun. I’m glad I got to speak to you in person.

Joe Sanok: Yeah.

NR: Thank you, Joe. Have a wonderful week.

Joe Sanok: You as well.

Thank so much for listening to that interview with Nam Rindani. That was such an awesome interview, and Nam just has such a different world view because she’s experienced life in a different way than kind of your typical North American and what a depth she brings for her clients. I’m really excited to see where career goes from here.

Thanks a lot for listening. You can always check out the show notes and those are going to be at practiceofthepractice.com/session63. You can also go to the front page of Practice of the Practice for tons of articles, information about consulting, all sorts of other things.

Thanks for letting me into your ears and into your brain, and I hope you have an amazing week. See you.

Special thanks to the bands Silence is Sexy and Akashik Records. Little known fact, I love Indian music. I even own a sitar, which I failed to weave into my discussion with Nam, but I love that style of music.

Also, this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered.  It is given with the understanding that neither the host, nor publisher nor the guest is rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional advice. If you need a professional, you should find one.

Sorry I took a handful of nuts that I was eating, and I feel like I’m about to cough. So sorry for me stumbling over my words. Stick around for some outtakes.

Joe Sanok: I want to make sure and say your name right. Can you pronounce it for me?

NR: So, my actual name is Namrata. However, almost no one in the United States knows me by that name.

Joe Sanok: Okay.

NR: The name that I go by is Nam.

Joe Sanok: Nam. Okay.

NR: Yes.

Joe Sanok: Nam.

NR: So, a quick way to remember is it’s like Vietnam.

Joe Sanok: Okay.

NR: But without “Viet.”

Joe Sanok: Okay. Nam. Okay.

NR: Yeah.

Joe Sanok: Is that how you prefer to be introduced?

NR: Absolutely.

Joe Sanok: Okay. And will you pronounce your last name for me, too?

NR: It is Rindani, R-I-N-D-A-N-I.

Joe Sanok: Rindani. Okay.

NR: It’s funny, Joe, because even my last name like my clients really struggle to remember it. My brand has become Nam, like go to Nam, therapy with Nam, all just Nam.

Joe Sanok: That’s awesome.

NR: I know. It just happened like all on its own.

Joe Sanok: Well, it’s like you know, I think the easier it is for people to kind of pronounce things, sometimes that’s just what you get known for and so, people usually just say, “Joe” rather than Joe Sanok because it becomes Joe Sanok “Nic” all the over the place.

NR: Exactly and I’m not complaining because how many Nams do you know who are therapists in San Diego?

Joe Sanok: Right, right. Yeah.

NR: It’s like, okay. Here’s Nam’s business card. Oh, perfect.

Joe Sanok: Yeah. Yeah, and you can have a whole PTST clientele there you know, in talking about back in Nam.

NR: Exactly. I actually have clients who call me Phenomenam.

Joe Sanok: Oh, my gosh.

NR: I know.

Joe Sanok: That’s awesome.

NR: I think so.

4 Comments

  • I really enjoyed this interview! Nam has such a refreshing perspective on counseling in general and multicultural issues in particular. I relate to her experience of navigating the social and cultural norms of the counseling field and psychotherapy in the United States, coming from a different country and training abroad. I joined her Facebook group and enjoy being a part of that community. Great interview, Jo! Keep it up for us! Thanks!

  • Well, I love your podcasts so much that I am going back in time to listen to your old ones as well! I have learned so much from you about blogging, marketing, social media, etc. and have implemented many tools and ideas you have suggested to grow in private practice. I am working on building a community and great content right now. Eventually, I want to write an ebook and maybe start my own podcast. One step at a time; there is always room to improve.
    Keep inspiring us all to do great things! Your work is much appreciated! Thank you!

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