How Did we Get Here? | STP 2
James Marland: thank you for joining us for the Scaling Therapy Practice. My name's James Marlin. I'm with Dr. David Hall. Today we're gonna talk about how did we get here, , you know, every, every life has a story. Every podcast has a story. So how do we get here? Are you excited to talk about that today?
David Hall: I am. It, it is the, for those who checked out the first episode, hopefully you did. It was a short one. But we're gonna talk about kind of our kind of positions of how we kind of got into this. And as James is our, our host James, you know, you're, you're for therapist podcast. You might be the first person I know that does a therapist podcast.
And you yourself, you're
James Marland: not a therapist. Not a therapist. Is that kind of rare? Well let, well, let's, it's super rare. How did I get here, right? Yeah. So let me, let me talk a little bit about my story. I grew up my mom worked in social service. She worked actually like doing direct care with people, not a, not as a therapist, but sort of like in the helping field.
So I come from a history of people wanting to help other people. And at first, my first career, I don't, for some reason I wanted to be an accountant, so I started going to community college for like journal entries and those, you can tell I, I didn't stick with it cuz I don't even know the terms anymore.
But I started going for those types of things. Took some classes on accounting for community college. And then one of the things as I was going through college, , one of my main reasons for going to school was to earn, like, to get rich. I didn't wanna be poor. I didn't want to, you know, we grew up in a poorer type neighborhood, so I wanted to like better myself.
And and going to college, you don't get rich. I don't know if you know that, but there's not much money making as you're going to college. So I was like, trying to think how am I gonna make this work? And in the middle of. in the middle of my second semester, I wrecked my car and almost like I, I was a dumb 20 year old and I was going through gravel and I hit the gravel on purpose, but then lost control of my car with bald tires and flipped it and almost like landed on a tree stump.
And that was like a. Life-changing moment for me because I realized, My end goal of making money was not gonna, it wasn't, it wasn't like a life fulfilling goal. Does that make sense?
David Hall: Mm-hmm. . Yeah. There's an existential crisis that coming into the near death creates.
James Marland: Yeah. I was an ex existential crisis. I was, I remember just sitting on the side of the road in shock.
I couldn't even talk to the officer or anything. I just, I was like, out of my mind. , I, at some point I realized if I would've died my life probably wouldn't have meant a whole lot like I was serving myself. I was doing things. I also come from a, a faith-based background. And so like I realized in my reli I would go to heaven, but God would be like, well, you got a zero and you, you didn't do anything.
You didn't help anybody. You didn't do anything in your life. You didn't support anybody. You made it, but that's it. And so I decided I wanted to start focusing my life on helping people. And the first, the first episode was I took some, I went to school, I changed my major and went to college to go be a youth minister.
So, after, after college one of my wife's friends said, , you like working with kids, why don't you come work at a shelter at, for, at a mental health hospital? And so that's kind of where I kind of got landed in mental health and never really left. Mm-hmm. . So I worked in the shelter, worked at then I worked at a family-based team as the second person.
I have a, I had a bachelor's degree and I worked with somebody who had a master's degree. Then I did. Day. Hospital scheduling, inpatient scheduling. Eventually managed a department where we did assisted psychiatric evaluations for you know, people to get rapid evals. So that's, that's sort of my, my work career.
And I, I worked, I worked in the therapy realm for about, you know, doing admissions and, and dealing with like, really intense cases for about 16, 16 to 18 years. Mm-hmm. , When that department, we got bought out and when that department got shut down my job was eliminated and I didn't have a therapy degree.
You know, I'm, I'm more admissions. I have a master's degree in ministry and a master's degree in business, but not they didn't find a, a therapist's job for me and I didn't, I didn't wanna stick with admissions, so I went to. A friend of mine was, started a company to do support services for remote therapists or remote services for therapists.
And it was a great fit for me. I stayed there three years and. and then that company got sold . So that company got sold and now I you know, I was the manager but not the owner. So now I'm looking for another job. So this is kind of like 2 20 22 here, June, 2022. And I I've been reading books and like trying to figure out what I wanted to do and, you know, going back to the, the.
Somebody else's grind was not appealing to me. Like I had another crisis moment. You know, how am I gonna take control of my life? How am I going to put things in place where I can have a stable income but not be dependent on if some other somebody else's business plans. Mm-hmm. So, So I started doing started, I started with what I am good at and I'm good at technology.
I'm good at presentations. I'm decent at social media. I like making relationships. So I started calling therapists, asking them if I could either create courses for them or create PowerPoints or do some of their social media. And because of my connections with like Gordon and Whitney and some of the other therapists, I bumped into Dr.
David Hall, .
David Hall: Yeah. And it's, it's the, and that's an interesting kind of segue. I do wanna highlight, kind of back to your story, James, of what, you know, you have all this logistic background and that's funny. Like so many therapists, you worked in your therapy adjacent sorts of things. You, you got to see a lot of different parts of the industry of kind of the business side of things, the mission side of things, a lot of stuff that we may have experienced, but from different sides.
And so I think there's a lot of uniqueness in your perspective. And, and as you
James Marland: said, like, yeah, I helped for sure. I helped group practices, individual therapists, psychologists day hospital, like group programs, day hospital programs, inpatient admissions crisis, B H R S services. I don't know if that's the right term for all states, but that's sort of like the, the in-home community services.
Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , like I had to be, I had to like conceptualize. The, the admission process for that span of, um mm-hmm. different types of clients with criteria and insurance and just supporting, so the therapists could do their work. Yes. Like we were, we were a whole department so that the, the skilled people could, could spend their time doing the skilled things that they do.
David Hall: Mm-hmm. . It is. Yeah. And, and that's the, and I think that's what such a unique voice and what kind of intrigued me when you reached out to me. So I, I'll pick up kind of my story on kind of the other end of it and, and share kind of how it's converged for James and I. So, as James said, my name is, is David Hall.
I'm, I have doctor in psychology. I'm licensed as a marriage and family therapist and a licensed professional counselor, mental health service provider in the state of Tennessee. I'm a group practice. I run a with my wife, who's also a mental health counselor. We're business partners and we co-run together a at this point, a time of recording, a 17 person counseling clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee, which is my hometown.
I'm in east Tennessee. James is, you're in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania, yeah. The end you know, James kind of mentioned. Kind of our, our connection points of Gordon Brewer for the Practice Therapy co podcast, Whitney Owens Wi wise practice. But I guess I'll go back a little bit of how I, cause I am a therapist and how I kind of got into that.
I never thought I was gonna be an accountant. I'll be very clear with that. I barely . I barely, I think the highest level of math I did was college algebra. I never took a calculus class, or I barely passed St. Statistics twice in doing it for both my master's degree and yeah. . I think it's important. It's just not where my mind actually works.
So I, I became a therapist in the, in some ways because I didn't feel very competent for lots of other things. I, I had family friends that have been in mental health. I've always been inclined to social sciences. I did an undergraduate in history. But for me it was trying to figure out similar, I was, I was interested in making a living.
I, I didn't necessarily care in the same sort of way of how do I, how do I make a lot of money? I just like to make a livelihood. Mm-hmm. and, and looking at my options available. and the encouragement I got, mental health seemed to work. People made sense to me. I'm, I'm, I, I, I'm, I have different learning disabilities.
I know some people don't like that term, but I it. It does it, it is kind of my experience of I'm dyslexic. A lot of how I process the world is atypical, but people always made sense to me. Math doesn't make sense to me, but I'm really good at this thing. I call people math. Mm-hmm. , I'm good at kind of seeing.
And people, math doesn't work like normal math at all, and normal math, you have a lot more consistencies if two plus two is four and outside of, you know, changing the nature of the universe or things like that, that's a pretty constant, but people have so many different variables and my mind just naturally gravitated towards that.
So I, I felt well at home when I went into mental health, but I went straight on after undergraduate. I didn't have another career. It's the only kind of grownup job I've. I went from as a table server, as a grad student into my first therapy jobs and, you know, got out, worked for a few years, you know, decided to go back and get my doctorate.
It was something that different people in my family were supporting, so I decided to do that. But in that process, I was in a, I was in a counseling practice. I en I enjoyed the work. I was working for somebody else, but I was, I was making a good living for the hours I was putting in, but I began, Feel this question, this was in my twenties still to what kind of is the pain points that we highlighted in the first episode?
Mm-hmm. , which is, I could, I just saw this tunnel of that. Mm-hmm. . Okay. I'm going to keep on seeing clients and if I wanna make more money in a given month, I can see more clients, but see more. Yeah. I, and I was feeling kind of the top end of that. I, I was seeing about between. You know, 25 to 32 clients a week.
I know there are lots of people that see more, but for me that was kind of my top end. I'm very extroverted and counseling's a very difficult extroverted activity. It's much more inclined to introverted mindsets. Mm-hmm. and I wasn't energized by the work. I loved the work. I thought it was important, but it didn't energize me in the ways that I thought.
And so I began pretty early in my career, began ex considering and exploring like, how do. , how do I grow? How do I step out? I, I wasn't looking to get a into like group practice at the time. I was working for one, but I was having these thoughts. I was 28, 29. I wasn't independently licensed yet. I hadn't finished my doctorate degree.
Not that those things, depending on your setting needs to be absolute, but I did not feel like I'm gonna go out and start my own group practice. That was not my initial thought. . What inspired me was I started to do some workshops. I, I, I'd stayed connected with some graduate professors of mine and it actually contributed to some published works.
of, and so was speaking at conferences and realized I'd like that and I was, I was decent at it. And so I began exploring how to lead kind of workshops and seminars, and I have a whole course I do on this and, and but I, I didn't, I hadn't written a book. I didn't have a license, I didn't have a lot of credentials that led me to get hired.
So my solution to that was in 2011. I started my own continuing education business. I didn't know what I was doing, , but I just, it, it, I thought I could figure it out and I did. In the process, and I, I still am in the continuing education business and I began for years, I would do in-person seminars where I traveled to different cities.
I would get hired and, and by doing in-person seminars that led me to get hired by other groups. But I would go to places like Atlanta or Dallas, or Tampa or Charlotte, and I would rent out presentation space. and market I'd send out postcards. Mm-hmm. and I learned a lot in that. And that was, that was an interesting way to scale.
It was still a lot of work, but I could, I could, I could do more in a day and talk to more people and that was exciting to me. In 2019, I began putting things online and that was a great year to start learning online things because then the need for online continuing education just exploded in 2020, and fortunately I had a little bit, I didn't have a lot.
by the time Covid hit. But I had enough going that, that I was able to build some momentum and get some great mentoring in that I've, and I've learned a lot, even just in the years since. So that kind of brings us to the present day. I, I still run my with my wife there, group therapy practice, and I do psych maven where we provide continuing education and other courses and resources for.
And in the process I've been able to get to know some great therapists that have also kind of stepped into the space. Gordon Brewer, we mentioned, Gordon was the very first person that paid me for an independent workshop, . And that's how we met, was I was doing my first independent workshop over 10 years ago.
and I was just cold emailing people that I was finding Gordon. He's about an hour and a half away from me in Kingsport, Tennessee. I'm in Knoxville, Tennessee, and I just found his email. I go, you know, this is a little far for someone to maybe drive for an in-person workshop, but he's in a smaller community than me.
He might be interested in coming. And he did. He was the, I remember when the PayPal charge went through mm-hmm. . I had an app on my phone and. and I'm like, who's Gordon Brewer? . But, and, but Go's been a very important person in my life and I've been loved seeing him and what he's done in the Practice of Therapy podcast and also now the Psych Craft Network that we are a part of.
Oh yeah. Very cool. Yeah. The James and I are a part of for this podcast, so. , but through Gordon and other relationships like that, I began, I got entree to this world of, I've just call, I call the hustle therapist. Mm-hmm. , there's a few dozen US. Yeah. What is that? Yeah. There are a few dozen of us in the country I would identify, but they're, they're therapists that have kind of created a space for themselves as kind of the entrepreneurial thought leaders.
It's traditionally it's been people like John Clark. Mm-hmm. , , Marissa Lotton Joe Sank, Gordon Brewer. A lot of these are people that have podcasts. Uriah, Gilford. Mm-hmm. , fortunately, you know, a lot of them in the, the site Craft network, but these were people that were just kind of in the ether of the space of talking about the work of mental health practice.
And I've, you know, developed different relationships in there. And I've, I've been very disinterested in doing a podcast. . I've been asked at times, my disinterest has been I've, I've wanted I, I enjoy the things I, the things I get to be involved in. I, I was less, I didn't really, part of it was I didn't have a vision for a podcast.
I didn't have something that I felt like, well, this is what I need to do. This is what I need to put out in the world. And I didn't wanna just add something else to my plate without a vision, but a few months ago I got an email from James. Yeah. And I will highlight, like, I had not met James before I knew who he was because he had also kind of been in this, this field of these hustle therapists.
And so I had heard him on podcast episodes. I, I had context for who he was. And James reached out to me and, you know, introduced himself. But he had found psych Mavin and he had kind of asked us a question. if he, he wanted to just chat with me to get some, some insights and feedback cuz he goes, you know, I see that you've created online offerings.
Why do you think more therapists haven't done this? For sure. Yeah. And, and that was kind of the question James posed. And I thought, well, this is really interesting. So we, we ended up setting up a, a conversation and, you know, James was saying like, you know, I've, I have, I would love to put together a course on how to do.
and I said, well, I hate to burst your bubble, but I have a course that I've already done. How about you? How about you check out my course and see what you think? And my course, profitable mental health training, which is what I was taking my lessons from doing in-person trainings, but also doing them online.
And I created a course around that and James took it, gave me some gracious feedback, and he said, yeah, this is basically what I was wanting to put together. And I go, well, , I, I would love to connect with you on this because I, I think, and I, I said, you know, at first I said, at the time my friend, Gordon Brewer was starting to put together his network for podcast.
And I, I said, I, and a side conversation with Gordon, I go, Hey, James, Marlin's doing some really interesting things. He may be a great key person to kind of help organize and I. Managing this this new podcasting network. And Gordon had this conversation with James and that kind of came to fruition. And I said to James, I said, you know, I've had this podcasting thought.
I go, I don't wanna do a podcast, but I'd be happy to be your co-host. and I go, if you'd like to do the podcast, I would love to ride shotgun with you. Yeah.
James Marland: And I jumped on that. Yeah. And cause there, there's just, we have had hours of offline conversation like that could go like, They could just go on and on.
It just all the ideas and the, just the dreaming and how you do things and your, some of your connections. It's, it's, it's great stuff.
David Hall: And there was a great convergence for Jamon, James and I, I felt that, you know, James had, because I had worked in an inpatient hospital, it was one of my first jobs as a, as a graduate.
and, but I didn't see the admission side. Mm-hmm. and I didn't see the back office sort of side. I didn't see, like, I, I saw one side of it and in some ways I wouldn't say I'm an archetypal therapist, but I've, I've had a lot of the typical work experiences for many people I think, who'd be listening to this podcast in different phases of my career.
And I can speak to those different perspectives. And it just felt like this great convergence cuz James has been on this parallel. That sees things from so many different angles, and I thought, you know, in conversations that we could pull together and resources we could pull together that, you know, could we be hitting kind of both sides of these pain points for therapists.
And, you know, James asked a very prescient, clear-minded question, which is, it feels like some of these other things should be no-brainers for therapist. and he asked me what's, what's the barrier? Mm-hmm. , and I told him best. I thought the barrier, I go, the barrier is not the vision. A lot of therapists have ideas.
It's figuring out how to implement. Mm-hmm. . And where James lit up in that part of our conversations, he said, well, that's what I do. I implement. I go, well, I, I think that's the, I think that's what people need. There's a lot of inspiration and we hope that part of our conversations in this podcast provide inspiration.
But implementation, I think is the thing in shorter. . You know, it's great to think scale, how, yeah. I, I absolutely should scale, but how to do it, the how is the, I think that's the, the million dollar question at this point. And James has had so much in his work history about implementing the how's. And I think that's, again, that's just what exciting.
So that's what, when we talk about what we want to share with therapists and people who work as helping professionals, Ideas, of course, of what to implement. What are the things that can help you grow without creating more grind. Mm-hmm. How to grow in ways that become more efficient and maybe even decrease your workload.
That's the vision and in what we share between ourselves. And you know, James is gonna have other interviews I know with people in this, in this podcast of, of, it's kind of how to lay out both the what's but also the how. What are the different things to implement through this process that can make being you as a mental health provider easier?
James Marland: So, so you, you started talking about how our stories help therapists. I mean, just to sum up for me, you know, I have a, I have a talent stack of, like, I, I've been working on the, the system side of running therapy offices and therapy systems. I'm. Great with technology, pretty good with people. I have a, I get energized when you were talking about being energized.
Like, I get energized when I give an idea or a system or a template or something and people uses it and their, their life is easier. Like, they're like, oh, that was so good. I saved, you know, I'm saving two hours a week doing this now. It's, it's those, those are the types of things that get me excited and keep me going.
. I mean, I, I, I've worked with SEO and social media. These are things I've, I'm good at, but they're just part of the stack, you know? Mm-hmm. , they're just part of. What I can bring to the table. That's my journey and my story that allows me to hear a problem from the, the clinician side and then go back to the resources, you know, or the network and find a solution that can help make that person's life, j or job easier.
David Hall: And for me, it really feels like the mirror end. I am not good at seo. I am not a technical person. I, you know, I . , I, I may have more skills or more experience than maybe some other therapists. Like I've, I've figured things out over the years, but a lot of it's been out of necessity. Mm-hmm. And I will say I generally do things in the most inefficient way, first, and struggle to get them more efficient.
I have so many stories of inefficiency that I'll be able to share in this. And a lot of ways, as James and I kind of talked about this idea, . You know, I have my own experiences and ideas of what scaling has, has looked like and what I've implemented, but throughout this podcast, I also wanna be the voice of the therapist.
The voice of, mm-hmm. , you know, what, you know, in, as we have these conversations, what might average therapist be thinking about and struggling with? Because not only has it been my life, it's been very much my social world. Like I, I live and breathe and do life with therapists. I'm married to a therapist.
My, a lot of my close relationships and friendships are other people in the industry. I by far, if you look at like my non-blood relatives, the amount of time of people I spend talking. and in my close circle of friends, I can think of so many, so few of my friends that aren't therapists or not married to therapists.
I've got, I've got some friends that have been looped in because they're spouses of therapists , but that's and. . So I see a lot in that world. I, I talk and hear and process myself about what are those pain points, and I live in those pain points. I live in the pain point of being a group practice owner and trying to figure out how to be more efficient.
Mm-hmm. as, as James and I are recording right now, I just got a text message and I just think this is so just interesting, but it's, it's from a friend of mine. He runs a, a, a group practice, a smaller group practice in a different town, and he texted me, he goes, Hey, do you have any sort of c. to go by for clinicians who end up leaving the practice.
I think I have a good idea of what I need, but I'm not sure if I'm missing something. And the truth is I don't. Yeah, I, I don't, but that is something that would be great. Like I've, because I've, I've dealt with like managing exit interviews and I've gotten better at them. But I'll, I'll tell you the first time I had to do an excellent interview with a practice a therapist leaving my practice.
It was not a smooth process because I was just kind of throwing it. Yeah,
James Marland: I had, I had a admin staff when I worked for the, the support company. That first time made me, oh man, I cringe when I think about. The mistakes we made and how we, how we thought we were doing it right. And how it, it just wasn't, it wasn't a kind exp it just wasn't as kind as I thought it was for the, like the, the support staff.
And you're probably thinking of like patients charts and like billing and N P I numbers and all those things from your side, like how do you do that anyway. Yeah. Yeah. The
David Hall: first time was terrible. Yeah. And you know, some of. . I think the vision we have collectively for this podcast is how it can be kind of an easy button.
Mm-hmm. , because we're gonna like, okay, like how to, like, here's what's hard, how can this be easier? And you know, what are resources that make this easier? And you know, we hope that, you know, in conversations we have, and we hope that as you, you connect with us, you know, we'd love to hear what those things.
and you know, what are the things that you, you wish you had, you'd have, you know, particularly as James is, we're early in this process, but depending on when you listen, you're listening to this, you know, James has so many, I think, dynamic ideas for the product suite, for the scaling therapy practice kind of resources.
Mm-hmm. , and you might be catching out, catching this episode sometime after it's been recorded and you might be able to come and check out. There might be some, so, , it's even stuff we're talking about right now that, that are available. And, you know, in, in being with us in these conversations, in this journey, if, if the outcome is, it gets easier, like I, you know, when I put together a product particularly a business product for therapists and again, one of the ones I love having out there the most is my course on how to create mental health trainings, how to create CE events, how to create trainings for.
Your kind of client populations, you know, whether you're doing in-person trainings, online trainings, live webinars, pre-recorded courses. We, I cover all that in my course, but one of the highlights I say in this course is this is I, what I created was what I would've wanted when I started. Mm-hmm. , if I could beam stuff back to my younger self when I was trying to figure this stuff out, I would've paid for.
I want, I would've want this because most of my mistakes in the different things I've done in business have been super expensive. , and they, they expensive in sense of dollars in like what it costs. Yeah. But also expensive emotionally. Yeah. I've gone through, I've gone through a failed startup in the mental health space.
And I can tell you about the stress, the lack of sleep, I mean, cortisol levels were probably through the roof, like it was not fun. Mm-hmm. , but I didn't know what I was doing and I, part of it's, I didn't have anyone in front of me who had done some of the things similar that I could say. Like, how, how did you figure this out?
And you know, you talk about the energy, James, that's one of the things that really energizes me when I, when I'm able to have conversations with somebody else in the field and there's something that I'm able to share that helps them avoid. A pain point that's not necessary, right? If there's something about my pain that can help them do it easier, I want that.
I want that. And I wanna, I wanna highlight that, amplify that, and we hope that as you join us for these different conversations in the podcast, that that's what we can offer you. Great. .
James Marland: All right. Well, let's let's wrap up with our one thing from that we want you to remember from this episode. I think as both David and I were talking, my one thing is our stories are a strength, like mm-hmm.
we did not just drop out of the sky . Mm-hmm. and end up on your podcast feed here. , we both come with a story. And, and also you too come with a story. Your story is your strength. You have experiences that have gone on in your life that help you and in our stories. You know, I, I started off in a, in a, in a different field and ended up over here.
But every step of the way I was learning and growing. Even the failures of like, Like the businesses closing or other businesses getting bought out. And then learn, having to learn a new business and learning new skills helped me like hire more people, build more systems. I had to build a whole training system for the whole place.
Like how do you bring on employees and get them up to speed quickly? All those things were. Their, their strengths now in the, in the moment they were tough, you know? Mm-hmm. those failures and getting knocked down and not being able to sleep and worrying about different things and like messing up with people and then, then trying to make things right.
Like all those things in the moment, they, they were, they were hardships, but now their strengths and those are the strengths that we can bring to our audience.
David Hall: Mm-hmm. absolutely. James, great conversation. I look forward to the next one.
James Marland: All right, we'll see you next time.