1. What inspired you to become a therapist?
I spent 10 years in the computer software industry because I was offered a job with a startup right out of college. My bachelors degree was in mass communications, but I minored in Psychology. I enjoy psychology but wasn't clear on what a career in psychology looked like at that time, so I took the job in front of me and moved forward. I enjoyed high tech, but I wasn't passionate about it. I found myself routinely being the one who people turned to to solve problems in the workplace, and there were times where I felt like I had missed my calling. Shortly after the dot.com boom and the market collapse, I started my own computer hardware company, and I was sued by larger companies trying to get me out of the industry a couple of times and I knew I needed to pursue a different career path. At that point, I truly did feel called to go back and get my masters in counseling, I felt inspired to work with men, to help them become better husbands and fathers. I like to say that once I did start my practice, I realized not a lot of men come to therapy on their own, so I found myself doing a lot of work with pornography addiction, which is a very big problem with men, and some women, and I also started doing a lot of couples therapy. Because of my work with pornography addiction, I also started an online recovery program called “The Path Back” which helps men and women with tools to overcome pornography addiction and compulsive sexual behavior. You can find out more information at http://pathbackrecovery.com.
2. What are your favorite parts of your work?
I know it can sound cliched, but helping people break out of negative patterns, helping people identify and then achieve goals that they either never knew existed inside of them, or that they had given up on. I love watching somebody come to me with an addiction, for example, going minute by minute to not give in, to get to a place where the addiction is no longer running their life. I started doing a lot of couples counseling a few years ago, and I am very passionate about a modality called EFT (Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy): it changes lives, it gives couples skills they didn't know were even available, and it helps people get to places in their marriage that they thought were only seen in movies. And a quick side note, I love when somebody comes into my office and opens up about a struggle for the first time in their lives--I love seeing the relief of hearing their worst fears normalized, and then seeing them slowly have hope, and gain momentum as they overcome their issues.
3. How did you get the idea to do The Virtual Couch podcast?
I'm an ultra runner, that's somebody who specializes on running races LONGER than the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. I've run around 50 regular marathons, including the Boston Marathon, but then I got into ultra running and I've run nearly 100 ultra marathons including a dozen runs of over 100 miles. That requires A LOT of training, and I've been running 6-days-a-week for over 20 years--that's a lot of time on the road, and I found podcasts over a decade ago and I've listened to thousands of podcasts over the years. I love the medium, and I've always wanted to do a podcast. The more time I spent in my therapist chair, the more things I began to notice that I wanted to share to as many people as possible that I felt like could help people live better lives. My first few podcasts have dealt with how to talk to teenagers, how to get "unstuck," tips on resolving anger, making new habits, and I have so many more I can't wait to record.
4. How do you choose the guests/topics to feature on your podcast?
That's a great question. In the months leading up to the launch of the Virtual Couch podcast, I made a list of topics and colleagues that I would love to interview, and I started to reach out to people to see if they'd be interested in coming on my podcast...but I didn't have a podcast to show them so I feel like a lot of people didn't seem too interested, or they weren't familiar with podcasting in general, but once the podcast launched, and especially as it has immediately shot up the charts on iTunes, people have been more receptive. My first three interviews were so much fun, and easier to book than I anticipated. Tina Fuller, author of the book, It's My Turn, about growing up with a narcissistic mother, Paul Gilmartin, host of the incredibly popular podcast The Mental Illness Happy Hour, and Eriz Schranz, host of the chart-topping Ultrarunnerpodcast, were all immediately responsive and willing to come on the show, and that gave me some legitimacy, so now I have a lot of interest from therapists, and authors. I've began to be contacted by publicists for a couple of authors who would like to come on and talk about a book about mental health that they've written. I'm so excited to bring these interviews to The Virtual Couch.
5. What's your advice to others who want to start a podcast, and what else would you like readers to know about you and your work?
Haha! Don't go out and buy a bunch of equipment that you ASSUME you'll need. I have a pretty nice mixing board that I don't need and a couple of high-end microphones, only one of which I need to record a nice sounding show. There is SO MUCH information about what it takes to start a podcast on the internet, YouTube, etc., so just spend some time researching how to put one together, but then go for it!
I would just love to plug my podcast, The Virtual Couch, if you have an iPhone go find the Podcast app, it comes pre-installed, and search for The Virtual Couch, please hit the subscribe button, listen to an episode or two and if you like it, I'd be grateful for a nice rating and maybe even a review, and feel free to share any episodes that you found helpful on social media. If you aren't an Apple user, you can find the podcast on any podcasting app for android, there are quite a few or go to http://virtualcouch.xyz (that's a real domain ending!) and the shows are there. Scroll down to the bottom and send me a question you’d like answered on the show, and if you feel inclined please consider making a donation to help with the cost of hosting and producing the podcast. And if you, or anyone you know, is struggling with pornography addiction or compulsive sexual behavior PLEASE visit http://pathbackrecovery.com and take a look at my program, it can really help give you the life you always dreamed up.
Thanks for interview and for your time. Take care!