Thursday, May 23, 2013

Helping Your Clients Use New Technologies

An Introduction

At Talk to An Expert Inc., we have a simple goal: To help you help Others by using technology. 
We believe that the mental health industry is at a historic turning point and that there is a tremendous opportunity for people like you to help the millions of people with emotional and behavioral problems that are currently under-served.
Technology is not a solution in and of itself, but it can be a tool for professionals to reach hundreds or even thousands of people that they would otherwise never encounter using traditional methods.
We make software that you can use to connect with clients from your website or blog.
  • ExpertDirect™ is a pay/minute software for all experts, including coaches, speakers, authors, and consultants.
  • TherapistDirect™ is for mental health professionals who want online therapy that meets HIPAA guidelines.
  • ExpertGroup™ is for group practices that want to bring their experts online.

Where to Get Information and Training to Help People Online
Finding the right technology is just the beginning. If you want to help people online, there is some new information and some new skills that you will want to acquire. We highly recommend the Online Therapy Institute and Online Coaching Institute as a place for you to keep abreast on this new and exciting field.
The Institute publishes a free digital magazine called TILT, which stands for "Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology." This is a must read for anyone interested in current trends in online therapy and coaching. We also refer people to the Institute’s archive of blog articles to answer questions on issues regarding liability, insurance reimbursement, and ethical practices. They also have a variety of training programs, certificate programs, and supervision.

We hope you’ll join our community of helping professionals!
Keep a look out for newsletters in the upcoming weeks on:
  • Creating the best website for your practice
  • Internet marketing for helping professionals
  • Publishing e-books and forms to supplement you income and promote your practice
  • The effect of the Affordable Healthcare Act on helping professionals
  • Creating mental health apps

Best wishes,
Lawrence E. Shapiro, Ph.D.
President, Talk To An Expert, Inc. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Can Mental Health Apps Really Help?

The answer to this question is an unequivocal ‘yes!’ Self-help books have shown that many people can benefit from information which supplements, and sometimes even replaces the advice they would get in a professional’s office. Apps of course offer much more than information, and can actually interact with a person to do an ever-increasing number of tasks—including changing one’s behavior.

Breathing Lessons 
Our mission at Talk to an Expert, Inc. is to help people like you help others, and we would be remiss if we did not consider apps for mobile devices as a new way to help people cope with and overcome their emotional, social, and behavioral problems. To this end, we’ll be compiling a list of mental health apps that you can recommend in your practice. In the future, we hope to develop our own apps, and also  help others to develop apps that can be used by your clients, or even people from all over the world.
Apps are typically inexpensive to download, usually costing just a few dollars, and yet just like recommending self-help books, you will want to be careful when advising your clients. The last thing you want is to recommend an app that will not be helpful.

There are thousands of apps now available which are promoted as self-help tools, making it impossible to review them all. But we will review ones that look promising, and give you an objective evaluation from a mental health perspective. That being said, we strongly urge you to try an app out for yourself before recommending it to someone else.

App Name:  Breathing Lessons

Developer/Author: Susan Bosworth is listed as the seller and the developer. Carla Melucci Ardito is the author. The introduction to the app explains that Ms. Ardito has helped people explore the relationship between the body and the breath for 20 years, and was inspired to do this by her own healing process.  Her background is as a vocal instructor and yoga teacher.

Possible Uses:  Anxiety Disorders, General Health

Comments:  The app provides a simple and informative way to present the virtues of appropriate breathing from a physiological perspective. The core of the app consists of 8 videos which teach the basics of good breathing, with an emphasis on postural alignment. Practice sessions, which would be particularly useful for clients who need to learn deep breathing to calm down, cannot be accessed until at least four videos are watched, which underscores the author’s intention for people to understand that appropriate “healthful”  breathing is not quite as simple as one might think.

Cost:  $4.99

Platform: iPhone and iPad

What Do You Like?
Do you know of any other apps that teach breathing techniques? Tell us about them or other apps you have used to address mental health issues. You can either post a response on this blog, write to us on Twitter or Facebook, or make your recommendation to us directly by writing us at:

Monday, April 1, 2013

10 Reasons To Add Online Therapy To Your Practice

  1.  According to the American Psychological Association, almost 25% of people with mental health problems don’t get the help they need with the current mental health delivery system. Online therapy extends the reach and reduces the cost of therapeutic services.
  2. Studies suggest that online therapy is just as effective as traditional in-office therapy.  
  3. There are tens of thousands of people who cannot go to an office to see a psychotherapist, including the elderly, the physically disabled, people living in remote areas, and people who have emotional problems that prevent them from leaving their home.
  4. Online therapy makes it easy for both therapists and clients to communicate outside regular office hours.
  5. Online therapy allows professionals to provide immediate emergency psychological services. For example, trauma specialists could be connected to a triage center at a disaster site in a matter of minutes (studies show that that early treatment reduces the chance of PTSD).
  6. Therapists can provide treatment for people at the location where the problem is occurring, such as an airport for a client with fear of flying, or during an office presentation for a person with social anxiety.
  7. Therapists can provide consultation to institutions such as schools, hospitals, daycare centers, and remote clinics, without the time and expense of travelling.
  8. Therapists can receive supervision from recognized experts in their field from anywhere in the world.
  9. The vast majority of people look for a therapists online. It makes sense that many of these clients would also want to communicate with a therapist online.
  10. Talk to an Expert, Inc. provides HIPAA compliant software that makes online therapy easy to use from any website or blog or even from an email link.  Find out more at:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Unique Support Materials Help Establish You As An Expert

What makes you an Expert?  It’s your knowledge, experience and your ability to help people solve their problems in practical and effective ways.
As part of your profile, we have given you the ability to upload various support materials which may help in your Expert services.  Your support material can be a checklist, a fact sheet, a worksheet, or information on how you provide expert services online. You can use these materials to engage new clients, or as a way to supplement your work.  You can add support materials to your Expert Profile at any time.
Here are some things worth keeping in mind:
  • Do not use material that has been copyrighted by someone else without their permission.  If you receive their permission, make sure they know how and where you will be using it.
  • If you are uploading original material, then you should make sure you copyright it yourself. Usually people just put the word “copyright” (or the copyright symbol), along with the year the form was written, and their name. If you like, you can register your copyright at the U.S. Copyright Office   Usually people don’t go through this much trouble for simple forms, but that is entirely up to you.  You should certainly visit this site to be aware of copyright laws.
  • Upload forms as PDF files.  This will prevent people from changing what you wrote. You can save a file as a PDF form through more current versions of MS Word, or similar word processing and graphic programs.
  • Limit your forms to 10 MB each.  You can see the size of the file by right clicking on the icon and opening Properties.

Subscribe to this blog to learn new ideas about how to market yourself as an Expert.  Next week:  “How to Write and Publish Your Self-Help Book.” 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Describing Yourself to Your Clients

If you are helping clients online--whether you are a counselor, coach, or consultant--you will need to describe your services in a way that engages prospective clients and makes them want to connect with you. This type of writing can be difficult for many people, and yet every copywriter will tell you that every word counts when it comes to selling products or services on the Internet.

If you are using our Talk To An Expert, Inc. software, we suggest you describe your services in 100 to 150 words, being very specific about what you can do for a client, and how much time you recommend for your consultation.  Remember that clients typically will find you on the Internet because they have a problem to solve, and it is up to you to convince them that you are the right person for them.

Here are some suggestions that can help you write about your services so that clients will instantly understande who you are and what you do:

  • Write from a personal perspective and avoid professional jargon.
  • Give examples of the type of problems you have helped to solve in the past.
  • Tell prospective clients how long they should allow for a session, and what kind of outcomes they can expect.
  • Be positive and upbeat, but be realistic.  If possible, describe possible solutions in objective and observable terms.
  • Be sure to remind clients that the first email is free!

Here's an example of what an expert helping children with social problems recently wrote:

"If your child is having a difficult time in school, I can help. Over the last 15 years, I have helped hundreds of chidlren do better in school, to the great relief of their parents. There are lots of reasons why children don't like school.  Sometimes they are being teased, sometimes there is a problem with a teacher, and sometimes you have to be a detective to really find out what is going on in your child's mind.  Whatever the problem may be, you can learn new ways to help your child which will make his or her school day much more pleasant and productive.  Initial sessions are usually 50 minutes, but follow up or emergency sessions may be 15 to 20 minutes.  I am also available to answer your questions by email (note: your first email is always free)." 

You can also draw attention to the support material you have uploaded or books you have recommended on your Profile.This can certainly add to your credibility, and facilitate your effectiveness with your clients.

If you are having trouble writing a description of your services, please let us know. Just email us at 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Therapists May Want To Consider Being Coaches

 According to a New York Times article from last Sunday, therapists are having a much tougher time making a living than ever before. Becoming a life coach may be the solution to make a living helping others.

In an article titled “What Is Your Brand,” psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb discusses how therapists with waning practices are redefining themselves to appeal to a new client base.   This re-branding can lead to a new approach in helping others. Rather than focusing on general life issues, one should begin focusing on specific problems.

Many therapists are finding that coaching is a good way to supplement their psychotherapy practice and even supplant it.   The most successful coaches develop a brand that addresses a particular market niche’, such as divorce coaching, dealing with the loss of  a loved one, or working with parents of children with ADHD.

Coaching also lends itself to interacting with people online, and we have designed our Talk To An Expert Inc. software with this in mind.  Online coaching gives you the flexibility to work with clients at home or in the office. This software delivers your practice to the entire country and potentially the entire world! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Start With A Good Photo for Your Expert Profile

Humans respond emotionally to visual images, particularly the faces of others.  That’s why it is so important for Experts to have a good photograph.  We strongly suggest that you have a professional take your photograph, and that it be a head and shoulders shot. Your dress should be professional as if you were going to an office. 

As an Expert, you want to have a trustworthy yet friendly expression.  Did you know that there are at least 12 different kinds of smiles?  It’s easy for anyone to recognize a forced smile, a wary smile, or even an angry smile.  We unconsciously recognize the sincerity of a smile in others, and similarly others can recognize sincerity in our smile.  

It’s not easy for most of us to take a picture with a relaxed and natural smile, but a professional photographer can help you achieve this. Normally a photographer will snap dozens of pictures, and then you can choose the one you like best.  If you’re not sure which one is best, ask a friend or colleague, making sure to tell him or her what the photo is being used for.  Having a good photograph is not about winning a beauty contest, but rather it is about portraying yourself as someone who is a trusted individual; knowledgeable, sincere, and, how else can I say it, an Expert.

Once you are satisfied with the photo for your Expert Profile, make sure to adjust the image to 160 x 160 pixels for best results.  Remember that even if you have already registered to be an Expert, you can upload a new photo at any time.

Let us know if you have a question about creating your Expert Profile. Your profile is your “storefront” so to speak, so make it place that people will want to visit.