Alumni, Community and Student Engagement Initiatives

Archive for September, 2009

Working with the Addiction Population

Susan Kotulsky M.A.

You know when you belong in your career when you are thrilled to show up to work and more energized when you leave!

For me, that’s the feeling I have working in a Residential Treatment Facility for clients getting “clean and sober” for 30 days. In my per diem role, I am responsible for providing therapy to the clients and their loved ones, as well as, facilitating a therapeutic Family Group every other week. I went to Fairfield University wanting a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with the long-range goal of starting a private practice. This position gives me the knowledge, skills and abilities towards that goal while I work on my licensure credentials.

In this role, I am given a wonderful opportunity to gain rich experiences with a diverse population and presenting problems. The population is varied in age, socio economic backgrounds, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender. While the presenting problem is the substance abuse on the family relationships, there are other systemic patterns going on. Family relationships are often fragile and sometimes non-existent. My education has prepared me to be helpful to the family by recognizing systemic issues, validating and supporting each member of the family, lowering intensity and trying out new patterns of interaction in session.

A potential downside was I only have access to the client for 30 days! If I am lucky I will see them three maybe four times. It confuses me when I get a client later in life, a couple times in rehab and they tell me they NEVER had family therapy before? How is that possible! With the help of my supervisors, I worked on turning this downside around by identifying clear goals of my role and what I would like to accomplish as a therapist in a few sessions. My number one goal is joining with them and creating a therapeutic environment where therapy may be a beneficial option for them in the future.

How does one measure therapeutic success for these clients? I am still learning however I look for the same energy I have towards therapy. Currently, I measure it by asking my clients if their session has been helpful and how could it be more helpful. I also measure it by their willingness to come to a next session or their desire for resources for therapy once they leave. My degree gave me an amazing foundation to be of service to the community. As I am discovering on this exciting journey is there is so much more to learn, skills to develop and abilities to enhance.

Susan E. Kotulsky graduated Fairfield’s MFT program in May 2009 and is currently working per diem for Horizon’s in Bridgeport, CT.  Horizon’s is an inpatient substance abuse facility for individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance dependence.


Building a Private Practice

Going Solo / Part 2: Introduction to Practical Aspects

So you’ve decided that indeed, you are ready to go into private practice. You need to be concerned about the nuts and bolts of business… just because you’re a therapist doesn’t mean that you’re insulated from the concerns of any entrepreneur. You’ll need an office, a telephone number, a web site, and most importantly, a strategy to promote yourself.

You will need to become comfortable with shamelessly promoting yourself and your therapy practice. When you’re on your own, you will quickly realize that, unlike working in established agencies that insulate you (as a therapist) from marketing concerns, you’ll now be doing all of this yourself.

And what about insurance? Liability? Supervision? Marketing? Advertising? All of these should be covered in your business plan. Business plan? Yes: this isn’t a lemonade stand, this is your livelihood, your career (tune in next week for more on that).

Next begins the task of setting appointments and viewing office spaces. Price-per-square-foot, triple-net vs. gross leases (typically a minimum of 5 years) are all terms that you will need to become comfortable with. We lost 2 spaces before we secured the one we have – be ready for change and disappointment.

During this time, keep developing your business plan. As the details flesh out around time commitment, niche, space and financial needs and limitations, you will be better able to assess the appropriateness of the spaces you are seeing. Do you need a group room? A one-way mirror? A reception area?

You’ll probably be establishing a limited liability company (LLC) for your business, creating NPI and tax ID numbers, and insulating your personal finances from risk should your venture fail (it happens).

And finally, you need to promote the business. A web site is a must, but worthless if nobody knows about it. Your marketing plan should include a budget for developing the site, a budget for business cards and brochures, fliers, ads, radio. Also, prepare some free seminars and workshops, to put you in front of your potential client base.

Tune in next week for Going Solo / Part 3: Your Practice’s Business Plan

Katherine Allen is a graduate of Fairfield University’s MFT program. She has worked in several agency settings; namely FSW Bridgeport, Family & Children’s Agency in Norwalk, and Family ReEntry in Norwalk and Bridgeport. Katherine also brings 16 years of leadership, advertising and design experience to her private group practice, Marriage & Family Therapy of Trumbull (MFT3) http://www.mft3.com. Check out the blog at http://blog.mft3.com.

You can find Katherine on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/katherineallen), PsychologyToday.com, Twitter (@mft3), Facebook (katal1967), and Social Networking for Therapists and Mental Health Professionals (http://marketing4therapists.ning.com/). She is a member of Ladies Who Launch, Fairfield County. Katherine has appeared on WGCH 1490 AM on the “One Smart Mother” show (http://blog.mft3.com/2009/08/04/domestic-violence-info/) and will be a guest again on September 29, at 9am.

Contact Katherine at k@ktherapy.com if you’d like her to consult with you in opening or building your private practice.

 


CTAMFT is Seeking Committee Members!

The CTAMFT Membership committee is looking for people who are interested in marketing, advertising, blogging, or people who are simply interested in getting involved to join the Membership committee!

The goal of the membership committee is to increase our membership (our aim is by 10% this year) and to create and foster community  within and among our members. Achieving this goal can take many forms and we are looking for a dedicated and creative group of committee members from across the state to help facilitate this effort.

If you are interested in becoming more active in ctamft and would like to participate. Please send an email to the BOD Membership committee liaison at ctamftadmin@gmail.com.


Building a Private Practice

 Katherine Allen, M.A.

Going Solo / Part 1: Am I Ready?

When I was completing my MFT studies at Fairfield, I thought I was going to graduate, sharpen my therapy skills with <sigh> maybe an entry-level job and then—watch out world—private practice here I come! Yes folks, as you may have guessed, that was a rose-colored view… after two years doing less-than-glamorous but important agency work, I knew I was ready to move on.

So, how will you know when you’re “ready”?  The 2-year rule of thumb is certainly reasonable. It’s the same kind of advice we give our clients when they encounter a life-changing event. In that time, you will probably have accumulated enough experience, created a large enough network of colleagues, received some extra training and honed your personal style enough to do it.

Let’s say you’re ready to go solo. Now what? You’ll be on your own: how will clients find you? Where will they come from? And, ironically, as clients succeed and move on, how do you replace them? Do you sublease in an established group? Build your own group? Hang out a solo shingle?

I recommend first assessing how much you know about the other practices out there. Which ones A) do you know and readily can list, B) have you been to and have a feel for the environment, and C) are doing well, at least in your perception.

Then I would assess your own personal needs and comfort with risk. Do I need a full-time salary? Do I need health benefits? Am I a good self-starter, organized and able to multitask? Do I need to work part-time and still build a private practice?

In building Marriage & Family Therapy of Trumbull (MFT3), many months of work went in before we started. Be ready for course corrections and unforeseen circumstances. But were we ready? Mostly. Were we a year before? No way. Do we leverage every available asset, i.e., the skills of our friends, family, and colleagues? You bet. Do we have sleepless nights? Not as many as we had 6 months ago!

I personally wouldn’t trade it for anything. But I also know beyond a shadow of doubt that I am better for all of the experience I gained prior to opening MFT3.  We’re a better team, and our clients are getting better clinical care because of the tough post-graduation experience, as well as the planning that went into building the practice.

Tune in next week for Going Solo / Part 2: Introduction to Practical Aspects

Katherine Allen is a graduate of Fairfield University’s MFT program. She has worked in several agency settings; namely FSW Bridgeport, Family & Children’s Agency in Norwalk, and Family ReEntry in Norwalk and Bridgeport. Katherine also brings 16 years of leadership, advertising and design experience to her private group practice, Marriage & Family Therapy of Trumbull (MFT3) http://www.mft3.com. Check out the blog at http://blog.mft3.com.

You can find Katherine on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/katherineallen), PsychologyToday.com, Twitter (@mft3), Facebook (katal1967), and Social Networking for Therapists and Mental Health Professionals (http://marketing4therapists.ning.com/). She is a member of Ladies Who Launch, Fairfield County. Katherine has appeared on WGCH 1490 AM on the “One Smart Mother” show (http://blog.mft3.com/2009/08/04/domestic-violence-info/) and will be a guest again on September 29, at 9am.

Contact Katherine at k@ktherapy.com if you’d like her to consult with you in opening or building your private practice.

 

 

 


“Families that Flourish: Facilitating Resilience in Clinical Practice” Workshop

Fairfield University’s Marriage and Family Therapy  department
announces the next workshop in  our Cutting Edge Clinical Approaches
series:  ”Families that Flourish: Facilitating Resilience in Clinical
Practice”   This workshop will be Presented by Dorothy Becvar, internationally renowned author, teacher, and clinician.

Friday, October 9, 2009
8:30am – 4:00pm
Dolan School of Business dining room

This workshop will focus on the clinical application of research
regarding the traits and patterns that characterize resilient
families, including those with diverse structures, different ethnic
backgrounds, and non-traditional forms.
CEUs: 6 Continuing Education Units
Cost: $100 (Professional), $ 65 (student)

Directions: www.fairfield.edu/directions
Mail your check, payable to Fairfield University by
October 5, 2009 to:

Kim Baer, GSEAP Dean’s Office
Fairfield University
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
kbaer@mail.fairfield.edu
(203) 254-4000, ext. 2140