Before I became active on social media, I thought I didn’t have a creative bone in my body. I thought I had nothing to say. But once I got started, I found I was far more creative and have far more to say than I’d ever imagined. With a little bit of practice, I believe the same is possible for you. Today’s episode of the Good Enough Counsellors podcast will encourage and inspire you so that you can begin to make an impact on people and draw more clients to your private practice.

Welcome to today’s episode of the Good Enough Counsellors podcast, which is your social media toolkit for August. Today, I’m going to give you some ideas for your August social media, and tell you a little bit more about my own story, in the hope that it encourages you too. I can’t remember exactly when I started up my first business page for my private practice. I set it up in a fit of enthusiasm and invited all my Facebook friends to like it. And then it sat there, and sat there.

For several years nothing happened. I really didn’t know what to do with it, or what to say. So how did I move from there, a page with maybe a couple of 100 followers, to now, where I’ve got a Facebook group of 12, 000 people, a page with over 4,000 followers, and a Guardian reviewed and award nominated podcast – that’s Gloriously Unready for any of you who don’t know about it. What gave me the belief that I had something to say and the confidence to say it? I’ll answer that question in a moment.

But first, let’s think about what may stop you posting.

I get it. Being on social media feels vulnerable. You can have all sorts of fears about getting it wrong. Not only may you be worried about making a fool of yourself, you may also be worried about too much self disclosure, or crossing boundaries with an existing client. If you’re like many of the counsellors I work with, the thought of people actually looking at what you’re saying is probably terrifying.

And this is what holds so many people back. It’s the fear of judgement, the fear of what will happen if you say the wrong thing, and the question of what will people think? Sadly, we often fear the judgement of our peers, and that’s other people in the counselling profession. Counsellors often tell me these are the people they’re most frightened of. We do worry that we’ll be considered unethical, and posting on social media poses dilemmas about self disclosure and the possibility of dual relationships.

It’s helpful to think carefully about how much you want to share if you’re using social media to promote your practice. And for this reason, I do include training about it in Therapy Growth Group, which is my paid coaching group for counsellors. But I’d like to encourage you too, that during your training, you will have absorbed the ethics of the profession, and you can trust yourself to be able to make wise decisions about self disclosure and boundaries. It is possible to attract clients via social media, to allow them to build up what is called a know, like, and trust relationship with you, without you having to be friends, or share too much of the personal. You can market yourself ethically on social media.

But first, you have to overcome several things. There’s that imposter thought. I’m not an expert. Who do I think I am to share this? But remember, the people you’re in contact with probably know a lot less than you.

They haven’t trained in therapy over several years. Yes, you might not know as much as an expert, or even one of your fellow classmates, But the fact is, you still know more than the average client. And let’s remind ourselves, therapy isn’t actually about knowledge as such. It’s about using your skills and tools to build a relationship and help someone through. You know you can do that, you’ve done it already.And in the process, you will have learned a lot about what makes people tick, and that knowledge can inform your social media posts. 

Next, you have to overcome the thought of what if I make a mistake? I hate to say it, but you probably will make mistakes. I have, and some of them are embarrassing. But as with any mistake, you apologise and move on, because what other choice do you have?

And I’ve found that the people who believe in me, and like following me, are pretty forgiving. Others, who don’t agree with me and don’t like me, may have more of a problem, but they’re never going to work with me anyway. I have a very helpful phrase for these situations, and it is this,  let them go with love. They’ll find others who they can agree with. It’s really important to remember to focus on the people who you’re able to help.

Marketing is not only about attracting people, it’s also about repelling people. I’m sure you’ve had the experience of helplessly sitting in a session with someone, and it’s obvious that you don’t work well together. Personally, I don’t believe that in private practice we have to work with everyone. This may not be an acceptable thing to say in some circles, but surely running your practice is about the freedom to make it work for you. How much better for both of you, for that person to find someone who can truly serve them, and for you to have your time freed up for a client where you can really make a difference.

Something that has freed me up with regard to worrying about what people will think of my content, is that it’s not something that I can control. Even if I produce what I think is a beautiful piece of content, people who want to will still find something to criticise. And what you learn when you’re working in a contentious area, as I am with my transgender advocacy, is that people will deliberately misrepresent you whatever you say. It doesn’t matter how perfectly you do something, other people will make of it what they will. What I found helpful in those situations is two things.

First, to focus on the people I want to reach with my content. If you produce content with the intention of helping, you will reach people whose lives you can touch. And the difference you can make to someone who is suffering is worth 1,000 trolls. The thing that can really help is to know that the public content you publish is not all of you. There’s a part of you that’s loved by your family and friends, that is the private part of you.

So if you do find yourself criticised, turn to the people who really know you and understand what it is you’re trying to do, that can support you in your public facing work. Come back to yourself when you need. 

So what helped me to get started? To even get to the place where this craven people pleaser is able to withstand criticism? It was when I started to use Facebook live videos.

The beauty of these is that once you’ve started, you just have to keep going whatever mistakes you make. And you learn that actually, mistakes don’t matter very much because your audience is very forgiving. I’ve had dogs barking, doorbells ringing, and people interrupting, and it doesn’t matter. That gave me the courage to record more videos, and then I realised that I knew far more than I thought. The first time I thought I’d record a quick 5 minute video about sleep, I had to keep stopping, because the first point I wanted to make took the whole 5 minutes.

You know more than you think. You’ve studied long enough to learn a lot about what makes people tick, and you’ve gone on learning ever since you qualified. You may not know as much as some of the big names in the industry, but you don’t need to. Your existing social network will give you access to people who’d never dream of watching something by someone like Gabor Mate, because they don’t know who he is, or even why he’s relevant to them. However, some of them will look at what you’re saying, because they know you, and, I hate to say it, people are nosy, and will want to know what you’re up to.

And while the thought of people actually seeing what you’re doing might make you want to run for the hills, here’s a thought. When you start, there’s not that many people watching anyway. It takes time to build up a following. So as you’re learning and making rookie mistakes, not many people will see them. The first video I ever posted on Facebook got posted sideways on.

The second was when I was out on the windy sea front, and my nose was running. One of my friends commented how distracting it was that I had my hair stuck in my snot. But it attracted attention. And as the saying goes, no publicity is bad publicity. And gradually, I improved, and my friends kept watching, and they helped spread the word.

As Emma Radway Bright said in her interview on building a therapy business with me last week, practising going on video really helped her with her camera shyness, and means she’s felt much more confident in using her photos on Instagram. And she’s found that people respond to that much more than nice quote posts. If you’d like to listen to Emma’s interview, it’s episode 19 of the podcast. As I mentioned in the interview, I’ve decided to run my live video feed challenge again in July 2024. It’s over 4 years since I last did it.

I’m kicking off with a guest speaker in Therapy Growth Group, who’s going to share how to build an interesting talk. And then we’ll do some simple practice in our closed group, so that you can get used to going on video. If you’d like to join me, look in the show notes for a sign up link to register your interest. 

Now, let’s turn to the month of August and what you can include in your social media post. What interesting events have we got coming up?

Well, for a start, the Olympics will still be running. And for ideas as to how you could use sporting events on your page, please do listen to episode 16 of the podcast. The Olympics closing ceremony will give you a rich opportunity to talk about things like perseverance and teamwork. You could draw a parallel between the sporting journey, with its highs and lows, with a client’s journey, through therapy. 

If you work with young people and families, August is a significant month. You’ve got A level and GCSE results coming out, and all the decisions that go alongside these. It’s a good time to be publishing posts and blogs about disappointments, decision making, and preparing for a new academic year. This can apply to parents as well as teenagers. And remember, August comes round every 12 months, so keep an eye on which posts do well and use them again next year. 

There’s a couple of interesting topics for August awareness months.

August is both Happiness Happens Month and Romance Month, so let’s take a look at those. For Happiness Happens month, I’d like to suggest four different themes, one for each week. You could produce what’s called long form content. For example, a blog or video, for each of these, and then divide them up into smaller posts for your social media platform. So here’s the themes.

First, reframing happiness. This could include the idea that happiness is a journey, not a destination. It can be made up of small moments, and it’s unrealistic to expect happiness as a constant emotion. 

Second, cultivating happiness. Things like self care routines, healthy relationships, and living a purposeful life.

Third, obstacles to happiness. What gets in the way, and how do you overcome them? Talk about dealing with setbacks and living with difficult emotions. 

Fourth, happiness and mental health. Discuss the link between mental health conditions and happiness. 

Talk about resilience buildings, and how therapy helps when happiness is elusive. 

So there’s some ideas for Happiness Happens. Now you’ve got the idea. Could you do the same for romance month? 

Remember, you can make content even more relevant to people if you apply it to their particular circumstances.

If you have a niche in mind, such as parents, LGBTQ plus, or the workplace, say, try to shape it to what you know of their particular needs. 

I hope these ideas are helpful, and please remember that I give many more detailed ideas to members of Therapy Growth Group, to make posting on social media easier and take less time. If you’d like to challenge yourself on your camera shyness, then do sign up for information about my live feed challenge. Look for the link in the show notes. Remember, it all started for me with that snotty video.

And last week, I was at the International Women’s Podcast Awards. If you’re brave and take that first step, you may find yourself living a life you never imagined possible. 

Thanks for listening. Do come and join my Facebook community, Good Enough Counsellors, and for more information about how I can help you develop your private practice, please visit my website If you found this episode helpful, I’d love it if you could share it with a fellow therapist or leave a review on your podcast app.

And in closing, I’d love to remind you that every single step you make gets you closer to your dream. I really believe you can do it.