In this episode, Gordon opens up about the challenges he faced in 2023, reflecting on the loss of his wife to breast cancer. Despite the difficulties, Gordon shares his experiences of grief, emphasizing the power of community and connection. As he navigates through personal struggles, Gordon also looks ahead to the future, setting intentions for the coming year. Gordon reflects on the interconnectedness of personal and professional growth. Through vulnerability, shared experiences, and intentional goal-setting, he envisions a year of community building, genuine connections, and continuous support within the therapy community.
Grieving and Building Community
Gordon starts by acknowledging the challenging year he faced, marked by the passing of his wife on November 22, 2023. He candidly shares his grief journey, citing a valuable lesson he learned early in his career as a funeral director and therapist – “grief shared equals grief diminished.” Gordon emphasizes the importance of community support during times of loss.
To extend this support, Gordon introduces his series, “Love and Loss: A Therapist’s Journey Through Grief,” available on YouTube. This series aims to provide solace and understanding to those experiencing similar struggles. While acknowledging that the emotional content may be intense, Gordon hopes the series serves as both an educational resource on grief and a means for him to express his own grief meaningfully.
Setting Boundaries and Moving Forward
Recognizing the need for personal healing, Gordon took a break from his therapy practice in December, choosing to step back and prioritize self-care during the challenging holiday season. He acknowledges the importance of setting boundaries and allowing oneself time to grieve without external pressures.
Navigating the New Year
The timing of his wife’s passing at the end of the year prompts Gordon to reflect on what’s next. He shares his intentions for the coming year, focusing on building and sustaining connections within the therapy community. Gordon desires to be more present in his online community, host meetups, and facilitate genuine professional interactions.
Professional Goals and the Practice of Therapy
Shifting gears, Gordon discusses his professional goals for the upcoming year. Reflecting on the success of the Practice of Therapy podcast, which has reached episode number 311, he emphasizes the importance of continuing to build a community around podcasting. Gordon plans to provide more support to individuals interested in podcasting, recognizing the positive feedback he has received.
Expanding on his consulting work, Gordon expresses a passion for working one-on-one with individuals. He discusses potential revamps to existing membership communities, sharing plans to create a unique space for therapists just starting their private practices.
Building on the success of his colleague, Whitney Owens, who runs the Wise Practice Community for faith-based practices, Gordon envisions a similar community tailored to a broader audience. He highlights the importance of connection, community, and collaboration in fostering growth and support within the therapeutic profession.
Setting Goals with Purpose
As Gordon prepares to set goals for the coming year, he introduces the Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt as a valuable tool. He emphasizes the importance of starting with one’s “why” and aligning goals with personal values and motivations. Gordon shares the SMARTER goal-setting framework, emphasizing the need for goals to be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Risky, Time-keyed, Exciting, and Relevant.
Gordon underscores the transformative power of clear intentions and the importance of accountability, encouraging listeners to write down their goals, set reminders, and share selectively.
[00:00:00] One of the things that I want to do is work at connecting people in the practice of therapy community, but also connecting to resources, connecting to others and, and things that can be helpful to people along with being able to have people connect with me and learn from the experiences I have had, the time that I've been in private practice.
This episode is sponsored by Therapy Notes. Therapynotes. com. Be sure and check them out and be sure and use the promo code Gordon, G O R D O N, and you can try them out for two months for free.
A little over 15 years ago when I started my private practice, I had to learn a lot and most of it the hard way and I don't think You need to do the same. Hi, I'm Gordon Brewer, a [00:01:00] licensed psychotherapist and welcome to the practice of therapy podcast. Part of the site craft network of podcast. Join me in this journey of discovery as we have conversations with other leaders and professionals in both the mental and allied health fields.
Join us as we. Explore both the business and clinical sides of running a private
folks. This is Gordon Brewer and welcome to the practice of therapy podcast. This is episode number. 2 11. And I just realized when I started thinking about this episode that this is also the sixth season of the Practice of Therapy podcast. It's hard to believe that I've been doing this almost, almost six years now.
I started the podcast in [00:02:00] August of 2017. And so here we are at the beginning of 2024. And I didn't say it already. Happy new year. I hope you had a good holiday and hope you had a good holiday season or ready to kind of get back to the regular grind, as we say, or getting back to doing work again. And in this particular episode, one of the things I want to focus on is number one is I want to.
Tell you a little bit more about my journey over this last year. I think I had shared and I've know I've shared in several other episodes about my wife's illness and the fact that was, she was terminally ill. Unfortunately, she passed away on November 22nd of this year of 2023, rather. And so I want to I want to reflect a little bit on that and also tell you a little bit about my The video series that i've been putting together through all of this called love and loss a therapist journey through grief So I want to share that with you and it's on youtube and so you'll [00:03:00] find out more about that But also as I do at the beginning of most every year is just talk about goal setting and how we can figure out what our priorities are and thinking about where we want to be by this time next year and just thinking about, you know, what, what it is that you want to accomplish.
So I'm going to delve into all of those kinds of things in this particular episode. And yeah, so hope that you'll. You'll stick around for that. And before we get to that, I'd love for you to find out more about the psych craft network. If you'll go over to psych craft network. com, this is, uh, a podcasting network that I've put together actually in 2022, and we've got just a great cohort of independent podcasters that.
Are sharing in this, I call it, there's some business podcasts that are really directed towards therapists and people in the allied health fields, but also there are [00:04:00] some great podcasts in there around just various self help and life. Kind of topics. One that comes to, comes to mind is Janine Hertzkowitz's podcast.
The autism blueprint, which is really geared towards helping parents of, of kids that are on the autism spectrum, or really people living with family members that are on the spectrum, and just helping them work through all of the things around that. Also, Steve Bisson's, uh, Finding your way through therapy is another great one, really geared more towards clients of just really helping them think about what it is that they can expect in therapy.
And just really being honest about the issues that people face, particularly around trauma and that sort of thing. But Steve does just a wonderful job with his podcast. Another one that comes to mind is the shrink think podcast by Aaron Potratz and Nathan Hawkins and it is geared [00:05:00] really again It's a around the topic of what it means to go to therapy and what you do in that My good friend Whitney Owens Whitney and I just as I'm thinking about this just had dinner.
I had dinner with James Her husband and our good friend, Jane Carter, and got to have my daughter tag along and we met in Asheville, North Carolina, had a lovely dinner just this past evening as I'm recording this. But Whitney Owens has the wise practice for podcast. And it's really geared towards people that are.
Considered themselves faith based therapists or counselors and just talks about kind of the nuance around having a faith based practice There are several other great podcasts in the network I think we're up to around 12 different podcasts now I'm not going to try to name all of them, but got a Great bunch of people and all of them are just, uh, becoming good friends for me.
And I really enjoy being, being [00:06:00] part of that and being able to have started sitecraft network. So go over and check it out sitecraftnetwork. com. And you can see all the podcasts that are part of the network. And I invite you to subscribe to them, listen to them, check them out. Because I absolutely love this media of podcasting.
I think it's a way to really connect in a very personal way with people. And yeah, it's just something that I do and something that I love and really want to help them be successful in those other podcasts and help you find out about them. And also really quick before we get to just my thoughts on goal setting, but also just reflecting on what I've gone through over this past year.
I'd love for you to hear from one of our, our sponsor of the podcast therapy notes. Hi, Dawn Gabriel here. If you don't know me yet, I'm the person behind Soul Care for Therapists podcast, which is part of the [00:07:00] Psych Craft Network of podcast. The Psych Craft Network is a collaboration of independent podcasters focused on helping people live more meaningful and productive lives.
This network of podcasts provides both self help and business building resources to create an impact in the world and change people's lives. I'm so proud to be a part of this network. And if you haven't discovered Soul Care for Therapists podcast, you can find us wherever you listen to your podcasts.
I'd love for you to join me as we explore the layered inner world that comes with being a therapist and entrepreneur and just plain human. I invite you to intentionally tune in holistically to your body, mind, and spirit in order to build a sustainable business and fulfilling lifestyle. We dive in to what it looks like to grow your business.
We also look at how soul care Authentic community and spiritual practices can help you prevent burnout and live a life you love. Join me as we allow the [00:08:00] sacred to intersect with
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Well, welcome back to the podcast folks and again, i'm so glad you're joined me in this journey and In this episode i'm going to reflect I want to tell you a little bit about what has been happening for me personally over this last year I I won't, I won't sugarcoat it. 2023 was a tough year for me personally and I know for a lot of people it has been but over this past year we've really, I've shared with folks earlier [00:10:00] on that my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and later it metastasized to her brain and She had all the struggles that went along with that numerous treatments radiation treatment chemo treatments Surgeries all of that kind of thing over the last 13 years And on november 22nd of 2023, she passed away And so needless to say i've been grieving and going through the grieving process And one of the things that I I wanted to do with that What one of the things I know about grief there's a quote from a A guy that I, I learned a lot from in my early first career as a funeral director and also a therapist.
One of the things that I learned from him was just that there's a quote that just simply says grief shared equals grief diminished. And that has certainly been what I have experienced over this last month. Um, [00:11:00] As I'm recording this, it's where the 29th of December, but I took the month of December off from doing is seeing any clients in my practice.
I really cut back on what I was doing with the practice of therapy. I had fortunately had. Already recorded all the episodes through the end of, of 24, 2023. And so I took the last two weeks of December off from doing any work at all. And just kind of making it through the holidays after my wife died, we just kind of had, as I like to say, we had to rip the bandaid off because on December 20th, that was her birthday.
And then we of course had Christmas and you know, Finishing out the year with here with New Year's and then we have a wedding anniversary on January 22nd. So we would have been married 30 years at that point. So needless to say, I'm moving through the grieving [00:12:00] process. And one of the things that I've done is put together a series called Love and Loss, a Therapist's Journey Through Grief.
And it's on YouTube and we'll have links here in the show notes and the show summary. And I put that out there just to share with you for folks that might be going through something similar. Uh, I think it's something that you could certainly share with, with clients. I will say that if you are in the grieving process or empathetic at all, it might be hard to watch because I get pretty emotional and, and all of it.
And I know. For me, when I experience other people's emotions, it triggers a lot of stuff for me. But one of the things that I really hope to do with this, this series is teach people about grief, number one, but also maybe a little bit of a selfish reason is, is that I wanted to give me a way to kind of express my grief in a way that was meaningful to me.
And so the format is, is that I'm just, [00:13:00] my morning, I usually have my morning walks, morning. You know, I'm either running or walking in the morning on our local greenbelt here. And so as I'm walking, I'm just reflecting and talking about what I'm experiencing. And so in the series, I tell a good bit about my wife's life.
Just talk about what it was like being a caregiver. Talk about just my experience of grief from kind of an academic standpoint in that I know. On paper and academically what is happening to me But when you experience that firsthand, it's a totally different thing And so I share that for those of you out there that have experienced loss recently or gone through the loss of a spouse or or anyone significant as I say in the series, I I guess one form of loss that I think is just probably one of the worst is [00:14:00] for a parent to lose a child I think that is probably one of the most heart wrenching experiences that anybody could experience but Anyway, it's there for you and you'll find that here in the show notes.
I'll probably share more along here on the podcast I don't want it to be a downer for people. I don't necessarily want people's pity or you know Offering sympathy is, is good and offering condolences. I accept that and that is good. And I've appreciated that. And the fact that I've had a wonderful community around me through my community here in Kingsport, Tennessee, and also through my church and just all of that and other therapists, my friends like Uriah and Jessica have been.
Just wonderful support to me through this of just being a listening ear. They can't really fix any of it for me, but just being there for me and yeah. And so one, one of the things that just kind of, it's [00:15:00] interesting, the timing of this and that her death occurred here at the end of, of this past year of being able to move into this new year of just really thinking about, okay, what's next.
What are my new priorities now? Where do I want to be this time next year and where I'm going? So let me transition here and talk a little bit about that. You know, one of the things that I've been doing this for a while with the practice of therapy, like I said, I started, I actually started the blog in 2016.
And then in 2017, I started the podcast and. My whole purpose in starting the practice of therapy was to provide people with resources and knowledge around running and starting a private practice, which I feel like I've done just a lot with that. And I've had just so many great. Guess on the podcast, you know, here we are at episode number 311.
And I [00:16:00] said, it's just hard for me to fathom that I've done that much with the podcast. But again, the goal for me with the podcast is to help people find out about resources. Different ways of running a private practice, different ways to think about their work clinically as well. I've done a lot this past year in just around clinical topics that hopefully people will find interesting, but you know, one of the things that I would.
You know, that is very important to me and I have not done as good of a job with it over this last year, just, you know, quite frankly, I've been distracted with my wife's care and just all that was going on with her and just juggling that and running a practice and keeping the podcast going and starting a, you know, the new site craft network.
I do take on too much sometimes, but I've been pulled in a lot of different directions. So this year I'm really going to focus on [00:17:00] continuing to build community just around these topics and particularly around podcasting and helping people connect with podcasts, but also starting podcasts and being part of a network.
I'm getting the support on podcasting. I've just gotten so much. Good feedback from people around saying that what I'm doing here with this podcast, they enjoy it. They like what I'm doing. So I'm going to listen to that and. And take hold of that and really focus in on that. So, but one of the other things that I would, I'm going to be able to be freed up to do is to do more traveling.
That's something I've missed a lot over the last few years is being able to travel and get out and be with people and that sort of thing. One of the things that I've got in the back of my mind that I'd like to do is do maybe a few meetups this year that maybe go to some fun places and have it so that we can connect in person, [00:18:00] people that are part of this community, the practice of therapy community.
And I bring in other experts. I don't wanna call it a summit or necessarily a retreat because one of the things that I've learned through. The ones that I've been a part of, you know, kind of the richest part of any sort of conference or summit or retreat is the interactions we have with each other and just learning from each other just through conversation.
And so I want to try to facilitate more of that within the practice of therapy and particularly within the community. The other thing too is it's a really Be able to be more present in the online community that I started the practice of therapy community, which is there again, we'll have links in the show notes, but you can just go to practice of therapy.
com slash community and sign up for that or join that. And so really hope to do more stuff with that and be more active in that and more [00:19:00] purposeful around that again, just. I apologize for being so distracted this last few years, but as I've told you, got a lot going on in my life. But anyway, that's my, my goal for this next year.
The other thing is to do more individual consulting with people. I really like working with people one on one and also really looking at how I can revamp the. The membership communities that I've got going or have employed, I have in place, but right now I've put everything on pause, had the practice launch club, which is really geared more towards those folks that are just getting started in private practice and probably going to work on changing the format around that.
I've talked. Again, a shout out to my friend Whitney Owens. She has a really successful community, membership community, the wise practice community, and which is geared towards faith based practices. And so I'd like to do something similar for people. You know, but [00:20:00] give it a, give it a different voice, a different, a different venue, maybe just for people not to take away from Whitney's community because it's a wonderful community.
And again, Whitney, if you're listening to this, I'm giving you a free plug here, but the other thing is just, uh, yeah, it's just going to be about connection. This coming year and just thinking about how I can connect in more genuine ways and also be more present for people, because I think that's such an important part of growth and just really being able to to do that, you know, as I was getting ready for this episode, I was reminded of the book.
By Malcolm Gladwell called tipping point and one one of the things that he talks about that is just how change occurs and how things catch on and how things can can explode and become kind of trends or become successful and he talks about three different types of people. He talks about [00:21:00] connectors.
Connectors and the other type are mavens and sales people and one of the things that the different definitions of those are mavens are ones who are really knowledgeable about things that are people that really. Enjoy learning and they can might be very knowledgeable in a particular subject matter that sort of thing Salespeople are people that convince others Selling an idea.
In other words, they have a personality that can convince others and be influential with people And then there are connectors those who with their many links distribute and collect information I kind of consider myself Connector. I love being able to help people connect with others and be able to learn from others and be able to build relationships.
It might be kind of a Southern thing too, because that's whenever you get two people from the South together, they immediately start talking [00:22:00] about who they know, who they're related to and making those connections. So I, in many ways, I'm kind of that way at myself. I love being able to help people connect.
Again, thinking about this next year, one of the things that I want to do is work at connecting people in the practice of therapy community, but also connecting to resources, connecting to others and, and things that can be helpful to people along with being able to have people connect with me and learn from the The experiences I have had, the time that I've been in private practice, I started my private practice in 2005, I believe it was, and so I've learned, as I like to say, I've learned a lot the hard way, and so that has just kind of been what I like to share with people, and kind of my goal for this coming year is to tap in more to those.
Those gifts, those talents, and really [00:23:00] help people have a sense of community because community to me is what really helps us get through. And I just know I've learned that just with my own journey here over this last year, if it weren't for community, I don't know how I would have made it through or how I would have survived all of this.
So this next year, community. Focusing on the site craft network and helping to keep people connect with that people connecting in the practice of therapy community and also just helping people, uh, connect with meetups and memberships and that sort of thing. So you're going to be hearing more about that from me as we move through, uh, 2024 and so, um.
As I close out here, a few thoughts I'd like to share with you just about goal setting. And as I finish up this particular episode, one of the things that I'm going to start working on [00:24:00] is kind of my goal setting for this next year. And One of the things that I love to use have has been an invaluable tool for me over the last several years is the full focus planner, which is produced by Michael Hyatt and company.
And it's a whole system of being able to be more productive and being able to use a planner and being able to make sure you stay on track with your goal setting with being able to think about things. And it's really, it covers the gambit of just not only. What we do in our businesses, but also what we do in our personal lives and that sort of thing, you can find out more about that by going to practice of therapy.
com slash full focus planner. And that is an affiliate link. So full disclosure here. That's if you, and if you purchase through that link, you can. I do get a small commission for that, but anyway, that's there. I use the product myself. That's why I promote it. So the full focus [00:25:00] planner by Michael Hyatt, again, practice of therapy.
com slash full focus planner. I think, and people have heard this from me for years. You've got to start with why start with your motivation for doing anything. So I think one of the things. When I think about goal setting is number one. What is my motivation for setting that goal? What is the, what is the outcome that I'm looking for?
That is, gets me excited. Gets me to think about, you know, where I want to be over a period of time. And so start with what are your priorities? What are your, what is your why? What is it that you want to accomplish and then build your goal around that rather than coming up with a goal and working at the other way.
So in the full focus planner at the at the beginning of it, it's got a whole section on setting your goals. [00:26:00] So Michael Hyatt talks about making your goals smart goals, or he actually carries it out a little further and calls them smarter goals, and it's just an acronym for number one, it needs to be specific.
You need to have your goals must identify exactly what you want to accomplish in as much specific, specific detail as you can muster. An example he gives is a goal of write a book. That's a bad goal, but he talks about a good goal being write a book. Proposal for the vision driven leader, which sets in quotes, but that that's the first thing is, make sure that your goal is specific.
Secondly, is make sure it's measurable. In other words, if you accomplish the goal, how are you going to know that you've accomplished the goal? The other thing that he mentions is make it actionable. So, in other words, You know, what, where you're going to start, how you're going to accomplish the goal. He talks about using action verbs like [00:27:00] quit, run, finish, eliminate, et cetera, rather than to be verbs like am, be, have that sort of thing.
In the example he gives with that as in a bad goal would be to be more consistent with blogging, whereas a good goal would be right to blog posts per week. So there's, there's action implied in that. He also says that goals should be risky. In other words, they should push us a little bit, but not too much.
In other words, put us a little bit out of our comfort zone zone with things. So when thinking about if you're, if you've got a goal of saying, I want to have 10 new clients by the end of January, you know, maybe push it a little bit and say 15 more. So again, push the envelope a little bit with making it risk risky, and it also he talks about making it time key.
So the T and smarter is there's a timing to it. In other words. [00:28:00] There's an end date. In other words, you set a specific date that you want to complete it. And that way, I think number one is, is that holds you accountable, but also it creates maybe a little bit more sense of urgency to push you to create that goal.
So make it time keyed. So it should be, you know, by the end of the month, you might want to even say by the end of January, by January 31st, I will have accomplished X. Um, the other thing is he talks about it is your goal should be exciting. They should be things that you look forward to doing and not something that you see is drudgery.
You know, I think there's those particularly personal goals. You know, one of the things that I don't necessarily enjoy doing is Is emptying and filling up the dishwasher. That's not exciting to me, but it's something I need to accomplish so that I wouldn't would include that as a goal is emptying in and filling the dishwasher, but [00:29:00] I could set it up to be able to empty and fill the dishwasher so I could do X and that would be the exciting part of it.
So there's something exciting to that. And also, your goals need to be relevant. They need to be aligned with your values, your season of life, and other things in that. And that goes back to your why. They need to be aligned with all of that. And also, he talks about, in addition to You know, not only having these goals, but write them down.
There's a, a statistic that I heard that you're 40 percent more likely to accomplish a goal just by simply writing it down. Also set reminders for yourself to look back at your goals. I know I've been really bad about. Writing down goals and then not going back and looking at them. And so that's another tip there is make sure you've got a system in place to, to look at your goals.
And then when you think about your daily task and what you're doing is, is there elements of moving towards that goal [00:30:00] in those daily tasks and then share them selectively. In other words, You know, he used to talk about being able to share your goal with, make you help you hold you more accountable.
There's in one of these articles, and I'm going to put a, get a link here in the show notes. It's full focus. co slash goal hyphen setting is the URL, but that's got this in here in this particular article. I'm referencing here. One, one of the things he talked about a 2010 Ted talk. Where Derek Silver makes a compelling case that telling what someone your goal makes them less likely to happen.
So I think you have to be selective in who you share goals with And you know make it personal make the goal specific and personal as well. So these are just a few tips about Goal setting that I, I wanted to share with you and just thinking about the new year. Please reach out to me with your thoughts about this.
I think there are a lot of great [00:31:00] resources out there about goal setting, but I do love the Michael Hyatt system and his he's got several books about your best year ever is one that comes to mind, but anyway, I I've relied on that. His system for quite a bit over the last several years. So I just commend that to you as a great resource.
Again, you can go check out all of those things at practice of therapy. com slash full focus planner.
Well, folks, we're going to bring this episode to an end again. A happy new year to you. I'm really. Looking forward to 2024 and just some new directions and new starts for me personally. And I hope to be able to connect with you in this new year. And there's lots of different ways you can do that through social media.
[00:32:00] A shout out to my assistant, Rachel, who does all of my social media for me. She does such an outstanding job with. that. And you can find us on Instagram and also Facebook are the places where you are probably seen the most, but also on LinkedIn. And we put a little stuff on Twitter. So those are the places you can find me again.
We'll have links so that you can find them easily. Be sure and visit the website, just practice a therapy. com because I've got tons of resources on there again. And another goal for this year, this year is to. To revamp the website and give it a facelift and make it a little more user friendly as we move forward into 2024.
And I'm sure I'll be sharing with you more about my goals for this year and just some of the things that I hope to be more involved in. But again, the big theme for me this year is building community and helping people connect and find the resources that they want to [00:33:00] That they need for to be successful in their lives and that's kind of my mission and we'll we'll plug on through this Thanks for following me.
Thanks for joining Me here with the practice of therapy Podcast be sure and check out our sponsor of the podcast therapy notes You can go to practice of therapy. com slash therapy notes and be sure and use that promo code just Gordon and you can get two months for free. Try them out. Um, they are the leading electronic health record system for mental health providers.
They're who I use in my practice. Couldn't do without them and absolutely love. That platform and they're constantly improving it and just adding new things all along. And so, yeah, I'm just really impressed with it and, and highly recommend therapy notes for your practice as a electronic health record system.
And also be sure and take time to follow us. Share [00:34:00] episodes with folks, reach out to me, join the practice of therapy community on, on the circle platform. And you can get to that by going to practice of therapy. com slash community. So. Take care folks looking forward to this new year and thanks for being with me on this journey.
And thanks for joining me after still being with me after six years of doing this podcast. This is season number six. Take care folks.
You have been listening to the practice of therapy podcast with Gordon Brewer, part of the site craft network of podcasts. You can find out more about the other great podcasts in the network by visiting site craft network. com. And if you haven't done so already, please visit us at practice of therapy.
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[00:00:00] One of the things that I want to do is work at connecting people in the practice of therapy community, but also connecting to resources, connecting to others and, and things that can be helpful to people along with being able to have people connect with me and learn from the experiences I have had, the time that I've been in private practice.
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Meet Gordon Brewer, MEd, LMFT
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 Instagram @practiceoftherapy, and “Like” us on Facebook.