Join us in this inspirational episode of the Traveling Therapist podcast, where Tristan McBain shares her compelling journey from a conventional lifestyle to full-time nomadism. Following a series of transformative experiences, including a pivotal apartment fire, Tristan discovered that true fulfillment comes from within. She now travels the world while managing a virtual therapy practice and coaching other therapists on how to embrace a nomadic lifestyle. Discover how Tristan navigates the challenges and joys of living on the road, maintaining a relationship dynamic that allows for independent travel, and setting up a travel-friendly therapy practice.

Key Points: 

  1. Embracing Change Through Crisis: Tristan's journey to nomadism was catalyzed by personal crises.
  2. Nomadic Lifestyle and Professional Practice: Tristan travels full-time while successfully running a virtual therapy practice and coaching other therapists.
  3. Empowering Therapists for Nomadic Success: Through her coaching business, she focuses on both practical and mindset aspects.

About Tristan McBain: 

I am a full-time traveling nomadic therapist and coach. I had just graduated with my PhD and was on a national job search when the pandemic hit. My life as I knew it changed but I eventually saw there was an opportunity to build toward something I wanted even more. At the end of 2021 I left my home state to begin traveling full time. I eventually started my own virtual private practice, where I specialize in couples and sex therapy, and just recently started my journey into coaching for digital nomads. 

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Hi everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the traveling therapist podcast. Super excited to have Tristan McBain with us here today. She has a really cool story, and she's doing a lot of what I'm doing in my life. So it's cool to talk to a fellow person moving in the same path and exploring this adventurous lifestyle we have, and also we'll talk about it, but adding some coaching in and that sort of thing. So I think that's really I think that's really cool. Tristan, thank you so much for being here. I always start out and I just say, so how did you go from being a typical therapist to a traveling therapist? Yes, so


thank you for having me. I was one of those people that knew pretty early on that I wanted to be a therapist, and I knew I wanted to specialize in couples and sex therapy, so I started college with that being my goal. And in 2014 I graduated with my master's, and I started my career. So it's been about 10 years now that I've been in the field, and I also knew from a young age that I wanted to have a PhD. So for many years of my life it was a balance of being a graduate student, being a part time therapist, usually working at least two jobs. I'd work one day at one place, one day at another. And for many years, my life was this mix of work, school, sleep, repeat pattern where I'm juggling like classes, teaching, grading, research, Writing, Publishing, all of these things, and I was always having to be somewhere. There would be some weeks where I would put between three and 500 miles on my car, just commuting, yeah, all of these places that I needed to be, I was grinding right? And it was like that for many years. But I really didn't mind it. I truly loved what I did. I loved teaching. I loved being a therapist, like my heart was so at home, but I'm doing all of these things. It was a complete yes woman,


yeah, oh yeah, I did relate absolutely


and so on top of everything else, of course, there's a lot of pressure, there's a lot of academic politics to navigate, but I eventually graduated with my PhD, and my plan was to go into academia. So I wanted a tenure track position, I wanted to teach, I wanted to continue my research, and I figured I would probably have a small private practice on the side. And while I was waiting for the next round of interviews to start for that next academic year, I was full time at a community mental health job that I had been working at for about six or seven years. At that point, I started a national job search. It was going really well. I had been given three offers, and I had several more interviews lined up, and it was March of 2020. Of course, yes. So the pandemic came and the remainder of my job search was canceled. I suddenly had gone from having all of these career prospects, where's my first academic position going to be, to all of a sudden having zero job prospects. And then I was furloughed from my community mental health job. So here I was. It had been a few months since I graduated, so I'm still going through this transition out of being a career student, because I'd been in school forever, and then I suddenly found myself at home for about six weeks, and I had nothing to do, like in my mind, I had nothing to do. I had no clients to see books, to read, no assignments, to complete classes, to prep for, like nothing. And so it felt like it was gone, right? Like my life as I knew it had really changed. And so after some time of being home and getting some distance from like, everything that had been my life, I started to become really aware of the extent that I had been so burnt out and really had just been in flight mode trying to stay on top of everything, like for so many years. Wow, yeah. And then so very quickly, my entire life, my future, everything that I had spent the last like 10 plus years of my life preparing for. All of the sudden, it was very unclear of what the future held, and that had never happened to me before. I was always one of those people that knew five years my trajectory plans for pandemic to come in and interrupt the whole thing exactly, yes, initial weeks after the pandemic, I'm home, I'm going from newly appointed doctor to full time dog fetcher, and yeah, it felt like the rug had been like pulled out from under me. It felt like a loss of some kind. There were parts of who I was that I just I didn't know what was going to happen with that. I didn't know what was going to happen in terms of the future, and it feels crisis is too strong of a word, but it's the best way I can describe what I was experiencing, which was like an identity crisis. But I think what was really interesting about that time was the crisis actually came because I had this realization that I wasn't that. Free to see it all go like the relief that I felt in these weeks of being home and away from these sources of what I was realizing was extremely significant stress. It just it felt so different. But that was really scary, because I truly loved being a therapist. I loved what I did, and at the time, I didn't really know what all of that meant. I didn't know how to reconcile that, or how any of it would play out. So that was the catalyst that set everything that followed into motion. Oh


my gosh. Isn't that just amazing sometimes that the things that come out of, I don't know, tragedy, crisis, whatever, like, major life upsets, and it's, oh my gosh, look what I've been doing for all this time. I was the same way. It was like 3040, clients a week, cramming them in, trying to take vacations. That I realized I could be online. But then when the pandemic hit, it really did. It was like, Okay, we could be locked in forever, like, we're gonna have to figure out how to do all of this online, or something like, how are we going to make money? It's just for all of us, but hearing your personal perspective of it, and then right after you finish your PhD and all that stuff, that's, oh my gosh, how long did you work for that? And then it's now going to Yes, a big


part of it was a lot of the ambiguity and a lot of the uncertainty, because it was really hard. Like I said, I'd always had things planned out. I always had a vision. Had some kind of sense of what is the direction I'm going to go, and that really had been gone for a period of time, yeah,


oh my goodness. So what happens then you're, like, in this crisis, but it's Wait a minute. This isn't so bad.


But yeah, good thing, yeah. So eventually, like, by the end of the summer of 2020, I had pretty much reconciled that I was not moving out of state for a job, at least not right then, but I did still move on from the Community Mental Health job that I had been working. So I started at a group practice virtually, and that was my first experience with virtual therapy, and I loved it to this day. I love working from home. It is my gym. I love every single thing about it and but there were some problems that I encountered, though, because, for instance, I'd never worked from home before, so I had no concept of boundaries with like, my schedule, right? So I'd see a few clients in the morning, a few in the afternoon, and then a handful in the evening, I was working these really long days. I was seeing 25 to 30 plus clients a week, and I was telling myself that I was okay with it, because I was at home and I was enjoying being at home so much. But what I really didn't realize at that time was like my body hadn't had a chance to reset, and so I was still in flight mode and burning myself out just as quickly working from home as I ever did when I was a student or an in person therapist, and at the time I didn't really know it. So I'm working and October of 2020, comes along, and this is a really like, kind of transformative time for me, because I had a nine year relationship that officially ended at the beginning of that month, which was really difficult for me, and then about three weeks later, I lost my home in an apartment fire. So during that event, I actually woke up. It was about 317 in the morning, I remember the clock saying that, and there were firemen and policemen breaking into the apartment shouting at me to get out. The lights came on. Apartment was filled with smoke, and I


was like goosebumps right now, just here. Yeah, it was.


It was an incredibly scary and devastating experience. I was incredibly lucky, because my actual apartment didn't suffer any damage from the fire or the water itself was part of one unit of a four unit building, the other units around it were the ones that were most affected. I was very fortunate that I was eventually able to go back and recover my things, but I still was homeless overnight because the whole building was condemned, and it was about three weeks before I was able to go back in. There was this event that happened in the middle of all of this, because we're still dealing with the pandemic and all of these other things. There was a moment where I was sitting in my car with my three dogs. What I had with me was the clothes I was wearing my dogs and their leashes and collars, my car keys and my phone health and my neighbors were all sitting in our vehicles, and we had moved them to the back of parking lot. We were watching the buildings. There was nowhere for us to go. We sat there for about two hours just watching the building burn, watching the firemen trying to put the fire out to save our homes. I had so many moments in that where I was faced with I'm about to watch everything that I have left be taken away. I didn't really know what was going to happen. It was that moment where I realized everything. Need I have with me, right? Like I had myself, I had my dogs, and in that moment, it was such a big moment of my life, I had to make peace with what was happening, that I could lose everything, and I had to make a decision in that moment, that if that was going to happen, I would be okay, like when everything is stripped away, you really find out what you're made of, and that was the moment that I was facing. So I learned something really important from that experience. The changes that happened in my life from the pandemic itself that led to dramatic lifestyle were more logistical. My work literally went from in person to virtual, but this was the mindset the spire taught me. One of the things I say that I took away from it is that my only possession is my soul. I really started to see a greater depth of how I've always lived my life and how I saw myself in it for the bulk of my life, at that point, so much of my worth and value had come from things like what I did, what I produced, and how well I did it. And I think a lot of my stress for so long was because I lived from like, the outside in. I put some value on all of these things that were outside of me, like my degrees, my job, my research, and even things like what other people thought about me, or like, what people might say. Like, I let a lot of these external things determine how I would feel about myself on the inside. And so I really started seeing that perspective, and I put a lot of value on, like, how what was I doing and how did that look? Rather than prioritizing, how did things feel for me? Am I happy doing what I'm doing? And so the shifted me from living from the outside in to living from the inside out. It taught me that everything that I need is already inside me. It taught me that like home is a feeling that I create like inside, and it's not something that I'll necessarily find like from searching to be somewhere. And so that was the next shift that I went through, in retrospect, that prepared me for making such a big life change. Because without that lesson, I don't know if I would have ever been brave enough or trusted myself that I could live the life that I'm living now, which


I really want to talk about that too. But yeah, what a profound thing to discover. I feel like I went through a similar transformation, not through like tragedy, like a fire, but just putting everything in storage, feeling like we've got to keep all these little things and because what if, and this is the things are important, and all of that, going through that process, and then realizing two, three years later, we have this storage unit full of crap that we don't need, I don't care about at all, and really it is each new place that we land, even if it's week to week, wherever we end up, it feels like home, because we've just incorporated that into our bodies and ourselves and like our family unit, me and my boyfriend, when I say we is what I'm talking about. But yeah, we could be anywhere and just feel fine now. We don't need the stuff. We need something. We'll go pick it up at the drugstore, whatever. It's not a big deal. But not to minimize how tragic it must be to lose everything to a fire, because that's got to be terrible. I hear what you're saying. I'm relating so much, and it really is a mindset transformation that happens when you go through this process of becoming nomadic.


Initially, it felt really traumatic to think about losing everything, but underneath, it was so liberating to realize that I really don't need any of that stuff. It's nice to have, and I can appreciate it, and it allows me to really lean into what I want and not feel guilty about it or get caught up in do I want this, or do I need it? Because what I know that, at the end of the day, what I need to have are the things that are inside right? Like, I need to, like, have that trust in myself. I need to be on my own team, like stuff like that. And I know it sounds like very philosophical but like that truly was the lesson that I took from that fire. And it was so liberating, because then I felt okay, I have everything, and I can do anything within reason, but right, with a very different perspective than ever anything I had before.


Amazing. Oh my gosh, yeah, thanks for sharing that. I love how you articulate that, yeah, because I think anybody can go either way with that. You loot like fire, loss for relationship, loss of what you had in mind for your career, all of that, you could have really gone the other way with it, really depressed and downhill and emotionally and just spiraling. I think a lot of people could, but you decided to embrace it and learn from it, and now it's empowered. You have to be where you are now, what you're doing now. And I want to talk about that, but yeah, I love it. I just love that.


I really do. Yeah, it's


like, firing.


Thank you. Yeah, once when everything was broken down, right, everything that I had been doing was deconstructed, then it was like, I had the chance for the first. Time to really think about, what do I want to recreate without the influences of, say, my parents? Well, you have to go to college or society saying, Okay, the next thing is for you to have a house or something like that. Like it really allowed me the space to think about, okay, if I'm starting from scratch, then I've got me and these dogs. What is it that we want to be doing? Yeah, so I can share more about kind of making the decision, and kind of what came next after the fire, I continued working. I was at that virtual practice, and eventually I went on a trip in summer of 2021 it was a tiny, mini vacation to hocking hills, Ohio, if


you've ever been Wow. No, beautiful. My sister is there right now. Is that a state park? Yes, that is wild. My sister, like, literally, she's on vacation and sent pictures of like, I've never even heard of this place, but it's so pretty, it's a magic so, wow,


yes. So it was actually my first vacation Since 2018 so it was well overdue, not even just since covid, but yeah, so it's well overdue, and I was very burnt out from just being a virtual therapist during covid. I was exhausted, but I'm on this trip. And it was one of those quick weekend trips where you get there on Friday and then you leave on Sunday, kind of deal. And I just remember having this moment on Saturday morning where me and my partner at the time had gone together, and we had booked a canoeing excursion that morning, and we are in the water, and we are paddling as fast as we can, because we have this time crunch of we wanted to go canoeing, and we wanted to do this hike, and we wanted to go on that hike, and we want to go here for dinner, and we're trying to cram all of these things until the 36 hours that we were going to be there. And I just had this moment of being on the river where it was soul crushing to just waited so long for a vacation, and then to just rush through it, to get back to a job that was burning me out again, and it just felt so unfair. So we were driving home from that trip, and it was on that car ride home where I said, I wish I could live like I was on vacation every day. That was my thought at the time, but that was the moment where I realized, okay, I don't have a house. I don't have children. My work is virtual, and it's funny because I used to say, like, back when I was younger, that if I was rich, I wouldn't even own a house. I would just travel from place to place. Like, I didn't even know the word Nomad existed, but I would just to people like, this is my ideal life. But I share that because it really was on this level of, like, fortune and fame, like, yeah, wildest fantasy, like hitting the lottery. That's nice to fantasize about, but that's that's never going to happen for me. And so it was in this moment where I had this realization, holy cow, maybe I could actually make this happen. And that was another, like, very liberating moment, because I'm the kind of person that once I decide to do something like it's fun, then it's just a matter of, okay, you work backwards, and what do I have to do today to get me closer to that goal? After that, things happened fairly quickly, because I had made that decision. There was, like, a clear before and after. I had decided to start traveling full time, and I didn't know how, when what things were going to look like. I just knew I was going to do it. So about a month after I got home from that Ohio trip, I put in my three month notice at that job that I had been working at. My last day of work was in November of 2021 and I left my home state of Michigan about a month later, just a few days after Christmas, I packed everything that I could fit into my Corolla. If it didn't fit, I didn't take it. My dogs were included in that car, so I did not have a lot, but I took my dogs and I got a roommate in Denver, and I stayed in Colorado for about four months. That was my first place that I went and I moved on from there, even when I took the leap and I quit my job and I had left, I didn't have my practice established yet. I didn't do that a couple months later. Looking back on it, I don't necessarily recommend that for everybody, but you appreciate the bravery in myself that it took for me that change, because I figured it out as I went. And if I had waited until I felt like I had everything figured out, I probably would have never done it.


Totally relate to that, yeah, because it's too hard to plan for the logistics, and it's more like you have to live one day at a time. I know that's a cliche, but really, you can plan a trip, but things are going to happen every time something's going to get canceled, or the weather or whatever family member you have to come back for something. There's something that's always going to come up. So I just love that spirit. Just do it. Just take off. Did you put anything in storage? Or you were just like, No, I'm just taking this car and the dogs and I'm done. Sure. Yeah,


so that was pretty much what I did. I didn't put anything in storage. So at that point, I had moved a few times during covid and with the apartment fire, I was displaced for a couple months while I was waiting for another apartment and stuff like that. So what I owned had dwindled over 10 and I really didn't have that much. I think the thing that was hard to leave behind was my plant collection. I had about, oh yes, 40 to 50 plants that ended up going to my mom. So those were the items that I ended up putting in storage. But really, my mom just took them into her collection.


Oh my gosh. Oh yes, I could relate to that. I had so many plants that I'd have for 20 or 30 years. I'm like, I love this plant so much, but you find good homes for them, and I know they're still thriving in other places. Yeah, me too. I can relate to that so much. Yeah. So you had mentioned a partner for the Ohio trip. How, if you feel like talking about it. How did the partner come or not go. You mentioned a remade in Colorado and all this stuff. So did you have to break up to pursue this, like, passion that you just had to go do this? Or, like, how


did that go for you? Just out of curiosity. So my partner and I, we've been together about five years, and we're both very independent people, and so there have been times like during that where, like, we've lived together and we've lived separate, and even so, when we came back from that hocking Hills trip, the conversation had been like, what would this look like? And so interested in the lifestyle as well. And he actually ended up selling his house, and we traveled, sometimes we traveled together and sometimes we would travel separate, yeah, but yeah. So I didn't have to leave the relationship to do this, but I also didn't have to stay within, like, really firm parameters of, okay, this is what our relationship has to look like, and we have to make all of these decisions together. So I think over time, we found a really good balance with how can this work for both of us, and also just overall, have the freedom to do what we want to do, while also being able to share some of these experiences together? Yeah? Oh, I


love that. Yeah. That's such a good message, because I run into that all the time, like with the coaching and the traveling therapist course and all of that stuff, that's a huge component. What do I do with my significant other? They they want to do this. They don't want to do this. They can't because of this or that, or we have family, family holding us back, like all of those things come up when a lot of people don't, don't do it because of that stuff. So I love that message. Let's talk about it. We don't have to have this traditional thing all the time, and I can still live the life that I want to live. I love that.


Yeah, and I think that what you're saying about like that tradition is really important, and it was a big part of my story, too, because I've always lived a little bit outside of, like, society norms, in terms I knew I didn't want to have children from a pretty young age, and I was always pretty vocal about that. I've never owned a house. I never really wanted to do, like some of those, like more traditional type of things, but I think that is one of the biggest lessons that I've taken away as well, is that I think that everybody has to make their own decision for themselves, and that it's okay if what you want to do or how you want to live looks outside of the norm, because The norm is set What's there for a reason, and it's set by something or someone, but just because it's there, it doesn't mean that you have to abide by that. If you're able to step back and really think about what's best for me and what is it that I want, it might look a little non traditional, but that doesn't mean that it's less than it just means that it's different. Because I certainly wouldn't say that my relationship is, like, less valuable than Yeah, pulses, just because sometimes we spend time apart actually, like, works really well, so sometimes it's really good. I can't agree with that. Yeah, and I don't think that's right for everybody, but yeah, my point is just that you have to do what's right for you, and if what's right for you is a little different than what's right for most people. Like, that's still okay, yeah, I


love that so much. That's amazing. So where are you now? Like, how are you navigating this now? Are you doing, like, slow travel in places? Are you, like, getting roommates for six months? Like, how are you making the whole thing work right now in your life? Yeah,


my sweet spot is I tend to stay about three to five months somewhere, okay, less than three months to meet like I really like to get to a place and explore it and do all the touristy things, and then I like to do all of the local things, all of the little hidden stuff. And so I find that three months, anything less than that, I feel like I'm rushing myself. And anything longer than five months, I just I get a little stir crazy. That tends to be like a good mix for me and sometimes my partner, he has an RV but he tends to work camp, so like, for right now, he's staying at a spot for seven. Been months, and sometimes I'm here in the RV, and other times I will go out and I'll Airbnb or find a roommate or something like that. So for example, there was a time where I don't remember if it was last year or the year before, but we were in Vegas, and we were going to be in Vegas for a little bit longer than I was ready to go with the weather, it was so hot. So I ended up going to Portland for about three or four months, and then we ended up back up after that. Yeah, so that's how I've traveled up until now. So one of the things that I'm doing by the end of this year is I'm actually going to get my own trailer and yeah, so I'm going to go all in on getting, like, a vehicle to tow and a trailer for myself, and that's going to be my next chapter. So hopefully I'll have that going by the end of this year.


That is awesome. Yeah, that's really cool. I always love on those the different nomadic groups, when people post their travel trailers and they have them all decorated, and they're just so cute. I


love those. I've always wanted one, yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm really excited to see how it's gonna turn out, and have something of my own to decorate. And yeah, that's


so fun. So do you mainly just stay in the United States? Is that kind of your thing? Or have you gone out of the country and all of that? Or is it right now


it's been mostly more of the US. A couple of reasons for that. One, it's really hard for me to it's been hard for me to travel and like, plan travel abroad with my dogs. That's one thing. So my loose general plan is, I'm going to get my truck in my trailer, and then I'm going to focus on us travel, and then I'm going to do a broad travel in terms of, like, actual vacation. So that's the other thing I do is, oh yeah, three to five months in one place, but I'll still take trips. So even, like this year, I went on a trip to Miami and Key West. Last year for my birthday, I did go to I went to Mexico, and that was my first solo trip out of the country by myself. So I do a lot of solo travel, and that's probably how I will incorporate more of my international travel over the next couple years, like the foreseeable future, but down the road, big picture, when it's just me, when my dogs someday are gone, I've thought about doing some Nomad travel abroad, so we'll see what happens. Because I definitely think that's in my future. I'm just not sure when. Yeah,


oh, that's so fun, though. I just love them, not even knowing this is my general, loose idea where we might be. But that could totally change, at least. That's how our lives have gone so far. It's what people be here for six months. No, we're not even going now it's totally changed.


Yeah, it's funny because I've had some friends in the last couple weeks message me, and they're like, how long are you going to be where you're at? When's the next thing? And I'm like, I don't know. Where are you going? And I'm like, I don't know yet. They're like, this doesn't sound like you.


That's great. I love it, though. Yeah. So what are you doing practice wise, is it private practice? The sex therapy, and I guess using your PhD in some capacity, I'm assuming, in private practice?


Yeah. So in 2022 I started a virtual private practice where I specialize in couples and sex therapy. So that's been an amazing adventure. I really can't underline enough how much I love being a therapist. I just love the work that I do. It's so fulfilling and so enriching for me. Yeah, I've really been putting a lot of my heart and soul into building my practice over the last couple years and getting that to a place where now I'm offering couples therapy intensives, and I'm actually planning for 2025 I'm actually going to niche my practice down even more to just working with couples. Right now, I work with individuals as well, but my goals for my practice are to really niche down, do great work with couples who need the help and continue to serve my community in the state of Michigan,


it's amazing. Yeah, and you're probably just such a fantastic relationship therapist, because you have such an open mindset around setting the boundaries, how you need to set them to make the relationship still work. So I'm sure you're a very good role model to your clients, yeah, I think that's really neat. So I'm assuming, with the Michigan license. You can be anywhere, as long as your clients are physically in the state at the time of the service. Is that how it is for your license? Okay? Perfect, correct? Yep, nice. So let's talk about the other part of it, because you're also branching out into the coaching world, the nomadic coaching world. So I'd love to just talk and share about that a little bit too for everybody listening. Sure. So


this year, I founded my coaching business, which I'm really centering around this newfound passion that I've developed for helping other women therapists build their own virtual practices so that they can travel as they please. Uh, essentially pieces of the work that I do really focus on helping you build your virtual practice, and then also that mindset piece. And so I talk a little bit about, like, the travel and things like that. But there's so many personal factors that can influence how somebody travels that my like, the coaching I do really focuses on, all right, what's the mindset that you need, and how can we set you up with your practice or your business and essentially income that can be consistent over time, regardless of where you're at, or are you just doing extended travel versus are you living nomadically, or maybe there's a change you want to be closer to family for a period of times. All of these things are possible with the program that I offer. Because at the end of it, what you have is, you have your practice and a mindset that is going to, you know, help you just really indulge in more of that travel and have more of those other pieces that you want. So I really, I think of it as the this idea of funding your dream life of travel with work that fuels your soul, yes, with work that you are empowered by and that you love to do. Because I really found that is something that's true for me, there's been this very beautiful relationship between like, how I've built my practice in my work with the lifestyle that I'm living, because I feel so invigorated and just alive with the lifestyle that I have, and I know that translates and comes into my work with my clients. Without that, like that's my lifeblood. Without that, I wouldn't be able to do the lifestyle that I'm so passionate about and that I love so much, so it really just cultivates a passion for what I'm doing on both sides of it, and that has truly been a gift that I did not experience before, that I've had and that I've created for myself at this point. And that's part of my passion, was sharing that with other therapists and helping other women who are inspired by that and want that for themselves.


I love it. Love it. Love it, love it. Yeah, so good. So how do people find you they want to work with you or talk to you more about your program and what you have to offer to help other female therapists or even male therapists if they want to do this life that we're living? Yeah, absolutely. You


can find me on Instagram. My handle is iwander. What's next? Dot LLC? Yes, that's the name of my company. And then I also have a Facebook group. And the Facebook group is called the nomadic therapist. Build your practice for a life of ultimate freedom, and you can join this group if you are a woman therapist who's interested in the lifestyle. We want to keep in touch with me. Group. I do a live every week. I have free resources available, and it's really just a resource for other people who are curious about this lifestyle and they want to know, how do I build a practice that's location independent, so that I can travel more.


I love it. Thank you. Thanks so much for sharing and coming out and talking about this, and you guys go check her out, and we'll have all the information in the show notes, if anybody wants to look in there and find more information about how to reach out to Tristan. Thanks for being here.


Thank you so much. You.

Listen to the Previous Episode

In this episode, I converse with Paul Collette, a seasoned college professor and therapist who seamlessly integrates his passion for travel with his professional life. Throughout our conversation, Paul shares his transformative journey from a traditional therapy setting to adopting a lifestyle that combines his love for travel and his commitment to providing mental health support. He discusses the challenges and triumphs of moving his practice online, which COVID-19 significantly catalyzed, and how this shift has allowed him to maintain a flexible lifestyle, traveling extensively with his family while continuing to serve his clients effectively.

I delve into the specifics of managing a traveling therapy practice with Paul, including the importance of reliable internet connectivity and the selection of suitable environments for work while abroad. He emphasizes the value of understanding local resources and maintaining professional integrity, especially when dealing with clients across different states. Our conversation also touches on the broader implications of remote work, including the need to navigate licensing and regulatory challenges across jurisdictions. Paul's narrative is not just about balancing work and travel; it's a testament to the evolving landscape of therapy where digital nomadism and professional practice converge.

Key points

About Paul Collette:

Paul Collette is a retired federal probation officer, ex-military and current therapist (specializing in addiction counseling and co-occurring disorders) and full-time college professor. He devoted a significant portion of his career to the supervision of federal sexual offenders. Paul have many interesting stories to share as well my own personal experience with PTSD with that offender population and being exposed to child pornography and that particular offender population. After retirement, pivoted into the personal counseling space and opened his own private practice serving men in recovery. For the past two years, he spent summers in Mexico with his wife and two young children navigating running his practice remotely. Paul’s LinkedIn profile has additional information about my professional background. 

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Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of the traveling therapist podcast. Super excited today to have Paul Colette. I hope I'm saying your last name correctly. Paul Colette with us. He's got quite a story, really interesting, super inspirational about how he's making it all work. So I'm really glad to have you here today. Paul, can you tell the audience? How'd you go from just being like a traditional therapist to a traveling therapist? Yeah,


great. First off, wonderful to be on your podcast. Kim. I've been following you for a couple of years now. During covid, after covid, you've provided a lot of service to me and helped me navigate that really difficult landscape. And even today, I get excited whenever one of your podcasts drops. So I just love listening to all the other therapists and the influencers that you have on there talking about their journey as well. It helps me and keeps me energized and focused, because, as we all are operating in a vacuum, sometimes in a very isolated little bubble, and having that connective tissue with our colleagues is can be somewhat difficult. Yeah, you provide that. So thank you very much. Thank you.


I feel a little like blushing a little bit because it's just, you never know how it affects people, but I just, I love to hear that, that it's helped you and supported you on your journey to becoming traveling therapist and everything you're doing, it's really cool to see, like the ripple effect. Yeah,


to answer your question, I first started. Let's go back just a little bit. I'm my previous life. I was a federal probation officer. I started my career in New York City, 1997 before that, I was a New York City probation officer. Before that, I was a Clinical Case Manager, which sounds pretty cool, but it's just basically it was just a case worker working in a hospital called Bellevue Hospital in New York City. Have you ever watched the show? Yeah, if you watch the show New Amsterdam, that's actually filmed. So I worked in this in the psychiatric emergency room, doing that in the very early 90s, and realizing very quickly that I didn't have the temperament nor the patience to be a therapist, because I was in my early 20s. No, really, you know what the field was like. But the same time, I was exposed to that population, drug addicted, mentally ill, homeless, working with them, providing service to them, learning a lot about field, learning, sitting, sitting at the feet of psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, the whole treatment team, and learning from them. But that wasn't my journey yet. So what I did was, is I transitioned into law enforcement. So I became a probation officer, which is a blend, if you will, of social work and law enforcement. You work bad. So it was a good fit for me, and actually helped me out considerably in terms of honing my skills in dealing with difficult populations. So I became a federal probation officer, and I did that job for almost 25 years, and during the mid part of my career, I supervised Federal sex offenders. Those were pretty it's a pretty difficult population to work with. Not only was I supervising, I was also having to investigate violations that would occur, finding, unfortunately, this is a little vulnerable here, little graphic child pornography and victims, I'm sure, out in the fields. Having done that for almost eight years, I was getting burned out and realized towards the end that, number one, it's not sustainable for me. I can't continue to do that. Number two, what am I going to do when I retire? Because the shelf life in law enforcement is is about 20 years before you really start to develop trauma, post traumatic stress, all the other wonderful co occurring disorders that go along with working in that field. And I sat back, audited myself and said, Why did I get in this field to begin with, and that was actually to help people, and becoming that caseworker back in the early 90s was something that I enjoyed. Now I'm ready now. I think I've learned a lot. I've gotten the resilience. I have a family. I'm married to my second wife, who's incredibly supportive. She's a behavior interventionist. Got two beautiful daughters, age five and three. She's younger than me. I'm 56 and I realized that number one, I have a lifestyle. Yeah, I love making money, I love traveling, I love working, and that's just who I am, much like you are in a lot of your Yeah, and it's just something that I felt was a good fit for me. But I didn't know at the time, when I was in graduate school that this was possible, that you could actually pack up a laptop, hit the road, up on a plane, a boat, and continue to work remotely. Yeah, I've seen influencers on Instagram, and we all have about them in Thailand or someplace, living out of a hotel and laptop on the beach, laptop on the beach, sipping my ties out of a coconut. Isn't that wonderful? That's a great life, and I wanted that life. But as a probation officer, let's be honest, those are soft skills. They really don't translate well into the private sector, and it's much like many of the people that I worked with in that field when they retired, they were. Of having to live on half their income, even less, and having to figure out what they're going to do their 2.0 version. And many ended up doing having to go work again full time, finding other jobs, having to budget their money to the point where, you know, they're not able to go out to eat and enjoy certain things that they were doing when they were working full time. So I looked at that kind of lifestyle and said, What's the best way for me to hack my way through that? And it was going back to graduate school and investing in that. So I sat my wife down, and I explained to her, I said, Listen, are you into this? I said something, we're going to give up our happy hours. We're going to give up our weekends. This is going to be a couple years here for me to go back to school, but it's going to pay off in the long run. She was incredibly supportive. She said, You know, because I told her, I said, Look, when you met me, I was as a probation officer, that was what I was doing. Now I'm asking you to be with me through this other version of myself she was in and once I had that level of support from her, it was so easy graduate school. Plus I was older, graduate school is much easier for me. So I'm a here in Connecticut. This is where we live. We call a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. That's an LA DC. La DCS are very niche, where we only work with people with substance abuse, co occurring disorder. Okay, gotcha so much like going to medical school and specializing, right? Or you want to, you want to work on your feet, you become a podiatrist or a dentist, you go to dental school in Connecticut. We've got four different master's level clinicians. We've got lmfts, okay, we've got social workers, MS, W's, LCS, W's. We've got cites to, I'm sorry, we got cites and PhDs as well, and we have LPCs, licensed professional counselors, and we also have la DCS. So it's a very niche master's level program, and that's what I wanted to do, because, number one, that's only population, pretty much other than sex offenders that I worked with. Yeah, right. Pretty much everybody on probation has some type of substance use disorder I already knew about that. I already knew about working with that popular. I felt more comfortable with that as well, and I didn't want to do anything else. I didn't want to invest the time and the resources getting an MSW or an LPC. I said, let me get my LA DC. Let me get a master's degree in addiction counseling, and only specialized in that much, much like you and many of your your guests, they how they niche down, and that's, yeah, the money is for me, the


riches are in the niches. They say.


I love it. So I, once I did that, everything became easy for me. I no longer even though I was working full time and having to juggle that. And by the way, nobody at my job even knew I was in graduate school until the very gosh, wow, I kept that a secret. There was I worked with some toxic managers. Oh, I bet, oh, my God. They were just horrible people. And but I was like, I knew if I, if I shared that story with them, I would not have ended well, they would have done come for me somehow, some way they would have written me up. And I was just like, I don't know if you worked in toxic work environments, law enforcement. Oh, sure, yeah.


I'm actually a CSAC. So I was in and out of rehabs and outpatient, inpatient, non medical detoxes. Yeah, definitely some toxic environments throughout my life, before I went into private practice, and all that for


sure, exactly. And yeah, which, by the way, that was something else, right? Because, as I was in graduate school, I didn't know, I knew I wanted to have a private practice, but I was just assuming that what I was going to have to do was go work at an agency, work at some non profit, make X amount of money a year. Because in my graduate program, I was actually told by one of my professors, when they asked me what I want to do in front of the class, they were like, I said, I want to open up a private practice. And he goes, Oh, no, you can't do that. You're not going to make a lot of money in this Oh, my


God, this disgusting. I saw. This is like a soapbox. It's like, How is this possible? Even in this day and age, that professors are still talking like that? It just blows my mind. It's you can actually do whatever the you want to do.


You know why? Because I think that's all they know. That's all they know. And I'm not knocking people that do that. There's certainly room for people to work with disenfranchised populations to make 40 or $50,000 a year with a master's degree. Okay, you're certainly welcome to do that. But for me, I have a lifestyle. I have I have a family to take care of. I've made X amount of money every year, and I want to make six figures a year. I made six figures and I was working for the federal government, but I want to make more than what I was making for the Fed. Yeah, and absolutely. How was I going to do that? And I realized that I'm talking to the wrong audience here, and I don't need to be talking to these professors, because they don't. It's like talking to a it's like talking to a jellyfish. It's like a different language to them, and that whole shame. Stigma comes in, yeah? Where, yeah, I'm supposed to feel shame because I want to make $150 an hour, or make $190,000 a year, and this why should I feel ashamed of that tool's expensive I have to grind away for those 1000s of hours to do what I have to do i and this is something else. We don't shame attorneys, right? We don't you could graduate from the worst law school in the country, right? Toilet bowl law school out of a strip mall, and the day you pass the bar, you can charge $400 an hour, and nobody questions that from an attorney, because they're expected to charge that amount of money, much like a doctor, right? You don't negotiate with your surgeon when you're about to go into heart surgery. You're expected that this is going to cost 100 grand to save your life, because they spend all that time and energy and money going to school for that, and they deserve that. Why are we in this profession publicly shamed or shamed by our colleagues, because we want to have a great lifestyle and make a good living. I don't get it sometimes, and I get that from some clients as well. So I have a private practice, and I only work with men in practice. I only work with men in recovery. Ex military was in the Navy, so I work with ex military, first responders, police. I work with felons, ex felons, people that are probation and parole. I don't work with sex offenders anymore, but because that's why they call it private practice, you can choose, you can pick. So that's the that's my niche. And yeah, one of the one of the wonderful things about that niche is I'm always getting clients. I'm always getting referrals. I am insurance based, but I also do cash as well. So my other stream of income, my other part of my practice, is what we call a Department of Transportation, SAP and SAP. Oh, yeah, right. So that's very niche. So saps are if you work for those proposed listeners who don't know what that is, a sap is a specialist that say, a CDL driver or a pilot or an air traffic controller or an oil and gas worker. Somebody test positive for drugs while on the job, they are immediately grounded and they can't work, and so they have to go see a sap, somebody who is certified by the Department of Transportation to work with that person and get them through the process. Now, the great thing about being a sap is insurance doesn't pay for this, right?


It's private pay. I did something similar. I wasn't certified SAP, but I got in with whoever monitors train conductors and people that work on Amtrak and all of that stuff. I got in with them. At one point my private practice, I was getting like, a million referrals, which is scary, but kind of too that they're on top of it. But yeah, so this is super niche, and really, it could be a good, lucrative in a way, because, like you said, insurance doesn't cover it. It's private pay. They've got to come. It's mandated. But also you can be super helpful too, because you're a specialist with it. So I love that. I love, yeah, and


to give the listeners an idea of the pay, because I know you're very transparent with this, I love that about your podcast is that the pay for a sap evaluation starts around 400 and goes up to about $800 and that's usually just two sessions. It's the initial and then followed by the recommendation, and then the follow up, and that's you're getting paid $800 yeah, literally, two hours of work. And it can be lucrative. But the other piece of that is you have to market yourself. You just can't do the training and then sit back and expect Amtrak to give you a call. You actually have to do a lot of boots on the ground marketing and get to know people. So fortunately, in Connecticut, we're a small state, taking me a couple years to build that kind of cachet up with a lot around here. So that, to me, I love because it's, I'll give you an example. So we were in Mexico for the first time couple years ago. Playa Del Carmen, yeah, I'm gonna shift gears here. That's okay. Can I shift? Yeah, I


want to talk about the traveling too. Talk about, I could talk about the the CSAC or the certified substance piece stuff forever. So, yeah, we probably should switch.


So I graduate, I get licensed. Yeah, I'm happy thinking that I'm going to retire and open up my own private practice. Yeah, and I'm going to sit back at least an office by the way, live in Connecticut, so we live in West Hartford, so I at least a little office space there, thinking that, all right, the clients are going to come and it's going to be wonderful, and then I can just coast for the rest of my life into retirement, and then covid hit. Everything is shut down. I had to close that practice. And then I'm scrambling, like, What the hell am I going to do? How am I yeah, oh, we have the internet. Let's let me give that a shot. So I moved online, and everything worked out. Everything started to work out. I had to navigate, of course, getting a decent laptop webcam, making sure that I understood what the regulations are in Connecticut to see people. Online with my license. That wasn't an issue. But then now I had all this time to do, and covid started to end, and my wife and I are looking around like we want to travel. We want to take our children and expose them to the world, and she speaks Spanish very fluently. Awesome. We decided for our first test, let's go down to Mexico for the summer, it's been about five weeks there, and bring the kids and see what that's going to be like. So we Yeah, picked a spot on the map. Playa Del Carmen, we had been down there once before, the Cancun area, and realized that it's all built up. It's a beautiful place. Yeah, I love it down there. Yeah, nice people, but once again, the internet wasn't a thing for me. So made a few mistakes on that trip. They weren't terrible, but what happened was, the first mistake is I went on Airbnb, and I looked for the coolest, most extravagant Airbnb in Playa Del Carmen, and it was a three bedroom, beautiful pictures. It had its own private little pool up on the roof. Oh yeah. And we had other pools in the complex spinning distance of the water, walking distance of what they call Fifth Avenue in Playa Del Carmen. That's the That's the spot where all the shops and the nightlife is. And how cool is that? Right? Yeah, it's very cool. So it had good reviews, but here's the mistake I made. I didn't read the reviews too much in terms of the internet, so we show up check in. Turns out, yeah, the place is beautiful. It's great. Older, it's a much older condo, yeah, but made it entirely out of solid concrete. Oh my gosh. And the internet wasn't good internet. It literally was internet where I went into another room and I I had zero connect connectivity, yeah. And what happened was I moved everything online. I had a Psychology Today profile company called Alma, which has actually been pretty decent with me. And then my SAP, I'm on a sap list, so clients were starting to call into me, and I got my funny thing, got a sap client that called me up and he said, I need to see you, and I'm like, great, be happy to I'm looking at the money I'm getting. Yeah, that same day, I got another call from another SAP client, and that's when I started to realize these calls, this trip with those clients and my practice clients, it's going to pay for this trip. Yeah, exactly for the trip down here. But I didn't have a decent internet connection, so I'm emailing, you know, the the owner, and I'm like, Listen, can we fix this thing? What can we do? And they were like, No, the internet's the internet. And I was looking at my wife, and what am I going to do? I need to find something. And so I started looking at co working spaces and Playa Del Carmen. That was the hike to get there, in terms of walking or taking a cab. Yeah, I didn't want to do that. And plus, it wasn't private. I needed some privacy. So here I am holding my laptop in the air, walking around the condo, trying to find a Wi Fi spot. I feel your pain. Long story short, I found a spot in one of the bedrooms that was on the floor. So I'm on the floor seeing the clients. Janky. Zoom, but it worked. Yeah, I was able to do that for five weeks, but that was a mistake him. I will never, ever make again. I don't care how


I hear you go ahead.


I don't care how beautiful it is. I don't care how baller, how incredible the pool is and the building is, if there's not a good internet connection. And what's funny, the review said that I missed it. I just didn't look at it. I was just too enamored with the private pool and because zvo up on the roof that we could sit at and cook and drink. And I've


done the same thing. I've done the same thing, it's, oh my gosh, okay, we need a place in three weeks. We want to go here. This place looks perfect. Then you forget to look for even the most basic, does it have a washer and dryer? It's like, how do we not, how do we book a place without a washer and dryer? Or it's all these little things, like we even have, like, a checklist now, and we still forget, because we get totally enamored. Like you said, Oh my God, it's right on the ocean. Like we're on one right now. And we didn't look at the beach, we didn't think to, but the ocean is Rocky, like when you go into the water, it's Rocky in Florida, I'm like, I didn't even know they had rocky beaches in Florida. It's terrible. But we didn't do our research, because we were like, this is perfect. It's right on the ocean. This is a gorgeous place. But anyway, all that to say, I feel your pain.


Yeah, it was rough. It was rough. And yeah, the beaches were okay. Just for those who have not been to that area of Mexico, there's a lot of seaweed on the beach. Sargassum,


yeah, there's like, a whole thing. You can follow the balloons across the world that are coming towards Playa Del Carmen, yeah, it's terrible. Yeah, it's


a thing. And fortunately, the city does do a decent job of cleaning it up. But, yeah, you're out there in the water and. You're going to get some seaweed on you, and it comes up on the beach, and if it's sitting there too long, it starts to smell. Listen, these are first world problems. I'm not complaining about it. The place was, like I said, the place was amazing. People were wonderful. We had such a wonderful experience exposing our children to a different living embedded in a different country, coming right out of covid. And that was which is why the following year, we were looking at, where are we going to go? And we were looking at Costa Rica. We were looking at places in South America, by the way, I think next year we're looking at going to Colombia. Oh, cool. Yeah, places because she speaks Spanish, and I'm taking advantage. Yeah, why not? And then when the kids are a little bit older than we're looking at Europe. I'd like to go to Morocco. But what's that's maybe that's just a fantasy of mine, but it is on my checklist. And maybe going to the I love to go to the Far East, going to Thailand, which I hear is amazing. And I look at a lot of the influencers that are living out there, something that we can do. And having done that, I think, is also providing the kind of growth that we want to expose our daughters to as well. And it gives me a deeper appreciation of living in a different country, not being just tourist anymore, because we, like you, do a minute of your guests. Do we? I had the first year we were there, by the way, we my wife went out to hop at a cab to go to the Walmart because it was a little too far, but that's where all the food was and everything. I did not know that, literally, in five blocks away was Playa del Carmen's equivalent of Whole Foods. It was a Oh, really did not know that it's right there. You walk right in and it's beautiful, clean and liquor and beer and meats and cheeses and all this great food, fresh fruit every day. It was this incredible. I found that out the following year because we went back to Playa Del Carmen.


It's like, How did I miss this? I do that too. I'll leave somewhere. And I'm like, wait, there was a grocery store, like, right there. I didn't even


know. Oh my god. It was just, I was kicking myself. That's but that's we learned, right? We learned from these Exactly. So the second year, we went back to play l Carmen. This time I we got another nice Airbnb. This one a bit different. And of course, the Wi Fi was amazing. It was just perfect for me. Made sure it was going to be it was fiber optic. It was chef's kiss. Awesome. Awesome. The building itself, brand new. The rooftop, it had five rooftop pools. It had a bar up there. A lot of expats were living there as well as travel all through and it was just a really good experience for us as well. No complaints there in terms of running my practice remotely. Were there any complaints about playa? The only I think we were just getting probably a little burned out in terms of, once again, four to five weeks. And I like, because when we have children and we're embedded in another country, yeah, for those that are going to Playa or that area, there are not a lot of playgrounds. There's not a lot, yeah, right, or things for children to do. So we, and you don't see a lot of children walking around on the streets during the afternoon because it's 105 degrees, yeah, it's hot. You get used to it. We really couldn't have that experience of being around other parents. That's which is why we're looking at South America now, and we're looking at cities that are family friendly, a lot of outdoor activities for children. This year, we're heading up to Montreal for a couple weeks, and nice. We're staying in Old Montreal. It's a four hour drive for us, so we're that's going to be a fun road trip and oh my gosh, how. Yeah, and I've let my clients know I'm excited about being on the road, excited about seeing clients again remotely, and having that experience and navigating what it's to work remotely. And I think next year and the year after, we're going to maybe increase the time that were on the road as well. But, yeah, it's just a wonderful, I think, lifestyle for us that I didn't know was possible to the extent. Yeah, you know that there are other therapists out there doing what they're doing and thriving, but it's amazing. There's a lot of there's a lot of minefields too.


Yeah, I'm wondering, as you're talking like the LA DC, is that your license is, does it follow the same regulations as like an LPC would have to follow it LCSW, or does it have its own like, board and regulations and all that?


We have our own board, but it does follow the same requirements as social workers and Okay,


gotcha. Okay, that's cool. So I'm assuming, probably you've already checked this out, but I'm assuming it's fine to go work in Monte work in Montreal. See your clients back in Connecticut, yep. And same with Playa Del Carmen. I don't think I've ever heard in Mexico license that you couldn't work from there, but yeah. So I'm guessing it's


as long as my clients are in Connecticut, I can be anywhere in the world, and I can see them remotely. So as a sap, that's a more of a national certification. So when you, by the way, when you're a sap, you're not a therapist, you are evaluating and assessing them, so that I can see I pick up clients all over the country.


Oh, that's awesome. So you're not bound by a state licensure with that. I didn't know that. No, interesting. That's really interesting. And I guess being a sap, you're allowed to be located anywhere too, obviously, if it's national, and is it fine to be out of the country, and it


is fine to be out of the country. But once again, here's the problem. And I don't really, I don't like taking clients outside the state. Matter of fact, I won't, and I'll tell you why. Okay, yeah, because if I have a client that's outside the state and they need treatment, which a lot of them do. I don't know the resources in Texas. I don't know the resources in Louisiana. It's not fair for me to take their money to sit down and do an assessment and say, Okay, you're going to need treatment. You're going to need three months of IOP or three months of seeing a therapist that specializes in substance use disorders. What am I supposed to do? Hop on psychology today. Start making phone calls for them or tell them that's unethical. Oh, you need to find somebody. No, here in Connecticut, I know all the resources, I got, all the contacts. I know exactly where my clients can get into quickly if they need that. That's the service that we provide. There are some unethical, yeah, out there that are just hungry for the money, and they'll take anybody. And I believe that I'm very vocal about that, but it's that's another podcast we can really like


that. A lot of us, we're all pushing for, like, interstate compacts and all that stuff. But that is one positive thing about licensing restrictions, I think, is that you do get familiar with the resources. You do know how to get your client help if you're online, like at a telehealth session, versus somebody maybe sitting in Morocco that you're seeing or something. It's like that does get out of our scope a little bit. And we talk about this on the podcast, but also in the traveling therapists Facebook group. Know how to get a hold of 911, if you're seeing a client a different country or a different place and you're familiar with so I'm so glad to hear you say that that you really could take anybody from anywhere, especially being in SAP was so specialized, and people need it. Need that service so much, employers and all of that, but being able to say, You know what, I'm not going to compromise my values. I want to stay in this place where I know I can give you really good, reliable resources. I think that's super like, commendable, really. Thank


you. I appreciate that. And for those that are thinking about going into that specialty, please understand that you're working with people that have substance use issues that it's not just counseling, it's not just talking to them for 60 minutes a week. There's a lot of other moving parts here. There's relapse, there's slips, there's there's a lot of CO occurring most have co occurring disorders as well, trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, all that stuff that goes along with somebody using heroin, pain, whatever, alcohol, and they're going to need resources. They're going to need something that, and they look to you as the therapist to facilitate that, and for you just to say, I'm, you know, I'm just a therapist, you need to find your own that's unethical. That, to me is, yeah, it's not borderline. It's just completely unethical. And I would never, ever do that leave a client like that hang there's a lot writing on that, on this specialty of being a addiction specialist in the field, just like I would never children, I could not work with that population, yeah,


oh my god. I know I had to get out of that early. I tried in the beginning, but it, it's pressure, because I don't know what you're getting. Ready to say, I totally interrupted, but it sometimes it was the parent. It was the parents that were the problem, and then you're supposed to get the kid and fix them. At least. That was my experience. And it was like, so hard for me, because it was, like, the kid's great, it's you, that's the problem. So I had a really hard time with that, like, if I just didn't like that at all. So I got out of that, like, niche completely. But yeah, and what were you going to say,


No, that was it. Children, I think people, suicidal ideation. That's another people, oh, yeah, like deep, deep depression, not melancholy, not feeling nostalgic, not what am I going to do with my life? Some existential people that have, like, deep, like they they're going to kill themselves. That's another population that I am far outside the scope of my practice with, because I'm just not trained in that. I'm not going to go down that road. And it's just I've had colleagues that are very good with them, but I've also seen the consequences that when you when you do when your client commit suicide, right? Yeah, I know what I do when my client overdoses. I yeah, there's a protocol for that for me, and many of my clients have overdosed, because here in the Northeast, the opiate epidemic is horrific. Yeah, fentanyl, car, fentanyl, heroin, opiates, all of that is rampant here in Connecticut, I think the 2000 overdoses deaths a year, and those are the ones we just know about. And it's right. So when you come into this particular niche that I'm in, just much like you're it's you're going to have, except for some of the bad with the good. And I, like I said, I'm not complaining about I love it. This is what I'm I think I'm good at, because I see my clients stay with me and get better, yeah, but at the same time, I love the the freedom of having a practice that's completely remote. But. By the way, I don't have an office anymore. I completely work at home now I'm on the road. I don't think twice anymore about having to call up a client and their clients and say, Hey, I'm on vacation for two weeks. No, I'm always on vacation.


It's wild. But we my boyfriend and I say that all the time is we actually live on vacation. It's incredible, yeah,


by the way, it's in my bio, and you can put that in your show notes. I'm also a full time college professor. So when I retired, right? Yeah, so when I retired, I did not think I was going to get it. But here in Connecticut, we have a big wave of retirements, because people that 20 year, 25 year mark, with a lot of public employees, they left, and one of the the community colleges of the professor for the drug and alcohol recovery counselor program. Oh, wow, she retired and actually moved to Costa Rica, of all places. And so they announced her position, and I just for shits and grins, I applied, and they hired me. And to this day, I've been there for now three years. To this day, I expect somebody to tap me on the shoulder and say, we made a mistake. Come with made a mistake. Come with us. But it's amazing because now I'm able to train the next generation of addiction counselors in our state, as well as have that freedom that every summer, we can leave for three or four months if we want. I can. We've got a lot of around my classes and around the program that I'm teaching, we can just travel anywhere we want, which is to win for me, so


it's amazing. You're probably exuding that sort of mentality, culture, attitude around private practices and diversifying income streams and also having the freedom to have the lifestyle that you want. I'm assuming you'd exude that to your students. So you're helping the next generation with that too. I would think, yeah,


thank you. Thank you, Kim for saying that's exactly what I do. I believe, to me, some of the best podcasters out there, some of the best influencers out there that are in the space, are the ones that are completely vulnerable and honest about how much they're making, about how much you can make. They get rid of the shame and the stigma surrounding this field and working in this field, granted, it's an Associate's level degree program, but most of our students decide that they're going to move on to graduate school.


Sure, and that's the basis of everything, yeah,


and that's what I let them know. I said, Listen, you certainly can work in the field as a CAC here in Connecticut on the associate's degree level, you certainly can have a decent living at it. Nothing wrong with that. You want to make more money, you need to get your master's, at least your master's degree, and you need to specialize and niche down. And I'm vulnerable with my students. I tell them what I charge an hour, how much I make, not because I'm bragging, but because it's true, you can make good money in this field, right? Much like doctors and lawyers. You drive by a lawyer's house and you see the BMW parked in the drive. They're doing pretty well.


Yeah, exactly. So Exactly, yeah. I


pretty like that.


I love that so much. That's so good to start getting rid of the stigma that we were talking about in the beginning of the episode, and also the stigma around as social workers or substance abuse professionals, we have to, like, take these really hard cases, and we've got to do this, like, awful in the trenches work forever, like I used to, I specialize in, like trauma and like substance abuse, called substance use disorders now, but I called it substance abuse when I was coming up in was coming up. And I specialized in that. I did EMDR, so I had the toughest cases. I had people that were relapsing, but they also had tons of trauma. And I did that for so long in my private practice, and then when I decided to go fully remote and take it on the road, I was like, I don't work with these hard clients anymore. It's too much like you were saying with the probationees that you were working with, and all that is eventually you get tired of. And I think there's even shame around that in our field, like, you gotta work with, like, tough cases if you don't want to, if you want to take the easier cases, the ones that you never have to worry about suicide, the ones that just have, I don't know, like, middle class problems or whatever, if you want to take those clients, that's also, like, shameful, and to charge a lot of money for it and all of that. So also, that's part of what I hope we're doing here, too, is breaking that stigma a little bit. It's okay to be a traveling therapist and see really easier clients,


yeah, and you said something very important about the kind of money that that you can make. Yeah, it does differ. I agree in terms of your specialty, but as we have our foot on the gas pedal, we can make as little or as much as we want in private, exactly. There's nothing wrong with working 40 or 50 hours a week as a therapist. You're going to burn out very quickly on that. There are other ways like like you so eloquently talk about to have a diversified stream of income coming in. Yeah, when you can build your own private build a group practice, you can have podcasts and advertisings and books and classes and groups and all these wonderful things that you're providing a value to people that are going to they don't have to figure it out on their own, do they? Yeah, they don't have to reinvent the wheel. That you can go to some. Be like you and ask them, Hey, listen, what's the quickest way for me to get on the road to work where I need to do to live and have a lifestyle that I want? Because they're, you know, they're out there on Google and they're getting a lot of misinformation. They're on some pretty toxic websites that people are going to put negative information in their head and say, oh, you can't do that. You should. Oh, you right. What kind of liability you're going to have living in Spain? You know what they're going to do to you when they find out your license?


Exactly, nothing. Yeah, yeah. You know what's going


to happen. I'm going to feel better, I'm going to lose weight, I'm going to, I'm going to, I'm going to drink more on the weekends and party, and I'm going to develop a new language, and I'm going to expose my family different culture, and maybe I'll become an expat and live completely 100% in another country. Do that. Yeah, hundreds of your people have done successfully,


or 1000s Exactly, exactly, exactly. I love it. I think that's a good note to end on. I just love talking to you. So people, what does ever reach out to you or learn more about what you do or how you've made it work? How could they find you? So


I have a website. I'm also on LinkedIn, and we can put that in the show notes as well. But if you just type in my name, Paul Colette, C, o, l, e, t, e, type in Paul Colette, I should show up in Google ranking in the SEO search for like the first page. But type in Paulette, Connecticut, and you'll see on LinkedIn, you can always connect with me on there. I also have a website called SAP services. CT, okay, that's one word, and that is my private practice, SAP Business. Piece, any questions or anything, feel free to email me through there as well. I'm on Instagram, but that's closed account, just for my friends and family, but yeah, LinkedIn is really where I spend a lot of my professional time. Up on LinkedIn, DM me through there, I'll be happy to provide any value or just friend me, and I'll be happy to follow your journey as well.


That's awesome. Thank you so much. Thanks for being here. You.

Listen to the Previous Episode

In this captivating episode of the Traveling Therapist podcast, I sit down with Dr. Ciji Blue, a seasoned therapist and military contractor living in Sicily, to delve into the intricacies of transitioning from a traditional therapy role to embracing a globe-trotting lifestyle. Dr. Blue shares her personal and professional journey, detailing her initial move from community mental health in North Carolina to working with military families abroad, which kickstarted her decade-long adventure across various continents. The conversation explores the unique challenges and adjustments expats face, particularly when moving with a military spouse, and how these experiences shape both personal and professional growth.

Dr. Blue discusses the logistical and emotional aspects of living overseas, such as dealing with local infrastructure issues, cultural adjustments, and the profound sense of community found in expat environments. She provides insights into the professional pathways for therapists wishing to work internationally, emphasizing the importance of understanding local regulations and leveraging opportunities with contracting companies that cater to military and expat communities. The podcast sheds light on the crucial support systems necessary for expats and military families to thrive in foreign countries, highlighting Dr. Blue's role in facilitating these transitions through her coaching and therapeutic work.

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About Dr. Ciji Blue:

Dr. Ciji L. Blue is a licensed psychotherapist who nourishes her soul with pure adventure, travel, and curiosity. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Dr. Ciji has lived and practiced across three continents since 2014, and visited over 30+ countries. From volunteering with Syrian refugees to bringing culturally competent care to expats in Tokyo, Dr. Ciji welcomes the chance to learn. In her various roles, Dr. Ciji helps expats with cross cultural adjustment issues and international military families and service members adjust to their new normal. Dr. Ciji hopes to continue to break societal expectations while highlighting the expansive field of social work. 

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Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of the traveling therapist Podcast. I'm really excited today to have Dr CG blue here with us. She's got a very cool story. I was just reading her bio before she came in to record the podcast, and I'm like, Wow. I feel like I could just talk to her for hours. So CG, would you please introduce yourself and let everybody know how you went from being just a typical therapist to a traveling therapist? Interesting


story. I started out as a lot of us doing community mental health, and I worked with families and just did different things in my local community in North Carolina, I had such a good network when I was in North Carolina, other therapists who were getting these other opportunities, working with the military. And when we were all just getting fully licensed, like we were going to go work with the military at the local base, which, at the time was for Fort Bragg, now it's fort liberty,


okay, yes, I was just there, yeah.


It's a difference, right? It's changed over the years. But at the time when we were all getting transitioning out of community mental health, I was like, hey, I want to try to get the job that you have. And by the time I got to it, they were only hiring for this particular job in South Korea. So they were like, are you going to go to South Korea. I was like, absolutely yes, because I have family that I have a lot of family members that are military, and so I just remember all the gifts they would send home from Korea. And so I'm like, Yeah, I want to go. And so that's that started this. And that was 10 years ago. Been over overseas in the past 10 years exclusively. And so that started this career journey where, you know, as I was transitioning, or trying to transition back, I was getting a call, Hey, would you be interested in going to Germany next? And then it started this three year journey in in Germany. And then it started this next journey I had in the Middle East. I used to live in Bahrain, which is where I met my husband, and wow, yeah, when I met my husband, then I also became a military spouse, and thankfully, I had that background of traveling, of being overseas, and it just continued our journey overseas. Yeah, that


is amazing. And then before we hit record, I was like, Where are you now? And you're sitting in fully that's so cool. Okay, so many questions. What I was looking at your website, you were talking about you were in community health. I love that story on your website, you're in community health, and you're like, how am I cannot do this for the rest of my life. Is what it sounded like, progress notes and these boring meetings and all this stuff. So you just saw this opportunity and jumped on it. It sounds like, Where does somebody find information about just that they want to, like, work with the military or travel to different countries and do this type of social work. Like, how does somebody find out more about that?


I always tell people to start within, like, military behavioral health. Start with USA Jobs, if you can. But also go into contracting companies, like some of the companies, off the top of my head, are like ciders, Serco, Leidos, time, MHN, all these different companies that hire contract therapists to support military family members and service members, because there's such a shortage, especially when you're overseas. So I would definitely encourage people, especially if you have a knack for traveling or you're generally curious about other places.


Yeah, that is amazing. So when you work for these companies, are you like a 1099, employee, or is that like, you actually work for them? Like you're a full time employee,


you're full time employee.


Yeah, interesting. Okay, yeah, wow, that's really cool. Yeah, so you're doing some of that, and then also you've got, like, a coaching arm too. Can we talk about that? Because I'd love to hear about that. But then also how you manage all of it for people that might be listening and want to do a little bit of


everything, yes, and a lot of this is experiential for me. So when I started, when I lived in Germany, I started volunteering with local organizations through a company. It's a big expat community called InterNations. I think people have heard of InterNations. It's pretty, pretty present in all these different countries. But I started volunteering working with Syrian refugees in Munich. There was a place called the Bayern casternet, and I hope I'm saying it, but there was this influx of refugees, and there were people helping. And so I started there, and then I wanted to get a little bit more into the community and start. I started coaching expats when we moved to Japan. I started working at this local private practice in Tokyo, and I worked solely with expats, and what I learned so much about expats and the meanings that they ascribe to their travels, how things unfold differently for them and their experiences are very different from. Those who just travel when you travel somewhere in your vacation, and you're getting a brief snap snapshot of that place, but once you start working and living in a different country, you learn the nuances and the differences from where you're coming from versus where you are, and you miss a little bit of that infrastructure that you have. And then


there's that is so true. Oh my gosh, yes.


Emotional determinants too, like the loneliness, your ability to retain your autonomy, your ability to replicate the lifestyle you're used to in these other countries. And then there's a lot of times we love being curious, and we love being in these environments where we're learning and we're returning to that communal sense, but then the nuances of that can become tiring when you're just learning and you're not able to really connect on an organic level with people without being the hey the girl from the States or hey the EXP Do you want to be more than So, yeah.


Oh, that is so interesting. Yeah. I just was recording an episode yesterday for this podcast and talking about the very same day we were in the Dominican Republic for four months. And the first is, this is going to be so awesome, but this is going to be amazing. And then you get down there, and by the end of it, we were ready to come back to the US like we missed, like the modern conveniences that we're used to. We miss just being able to hop in the car and ride to the grocery store, get whatever you want to buy, like those little things. You don't think about that, but it really is a culture shock in a lot of ways for these different places, and they're trying to adjust to it. So it just, I know this is probably a lot of your coaching, but how do you help somebody just with that, get started with that piece of it to adjust? Is it more just about acceptance and grieving the old stuff. And I'm just curious, as a therapist for expats, how do you help with that?


Absolutely, it's always a different approach, depending on the client. Before a lot of these clients, you're helping them to rectify the loss to one match. And I always say many times, we look at adjustment as a solitary construct, but it is not, and it is ongoing, and when we even define it is the goodness of fit between that person's personal characteristics and what they bring to the environment and the physical requirements of that environment, whether it's walking a lot all these different Things that happen, but for certain expats, it's the meanings they create behind the move and behind their environment, the meanings that they have created. Now, what does it mean? And a lot of times I get spouses. I get spouse, oh, spouses who had these very comprehensive, bustling careers, and now they come to this new country, and they are simply a spouse. And a lot of their community starts with the spouse's job. So their immediate community are the coworkers. And so a lot of times the spouse, the expat spouse, who is working, is able to make that is able to bridge that gap socially. But the spouse, the expat spouse, is not, and they tend to try to bridge their community through like language courses and through all these other courses, or these other communities for expats, and you realize there's a bit of loneliness in this. You're not having the same level of social interaction that you had when you left. You may have had a great community where you were able to pour in it, and they were pouring into you. So it's a lot of rectifying loss. Sometimes things happen when people are overseas, they may have lost a family member. They're not as connected to family, or they put a lot of emphasis on their social community back in the States, and they tend to neglect the social community in their immediate environment, and it creates this inhibited grieving, this loss and this loneliness that people tend to not get beyond until they and they really they rarely notice that they're experiencing it, experiencing it, until they're just sad all the time. They're not motivated. They don't have a lot of energy. And so when I was seeing these spouses, we talked about, so what are we able to do? How are we able to fill our day? And they would have all these routines, but they weren't really, they weren't meaningful to them. So there's what I would say for therapists who are trying to work with expats, especially with expatriate maladjustment or cross cultural maladjustment, I would say you have to know a little bit of the theoretical underpinnings of this, because a lot of this research comes from international human resource development, and a lot of this research shows that it's important for the spouses to be adjusted in for the the employee to really be able to continue their time at the company overseas. Yeah, that's a lot, but


it is, but it's so interesting because, yeah, because just even thinking about the dynamics that must have on the right. Relationship itself. This one's the spouses. They've lost their identity, their job, their friends, and then the other person is getting fulfillment through their employment and meeting new co workers and just having a bottle. That's going to be a discrepancy. I could see, like the working employee spouse would probably this is great. I love this. The other one might be really not happy with the situation at all. I could see that, or just not happy in general. Yeah, yeah.


And we tend to categorize, I tend to categorize these disruptions within people into like, first order or second order disruptions. In the first order disruptions are the stress that comes from the actual move, whether you're keeping your house back, wherever you come from, or you're listing or you're renting it, and the actual move, getting everything established. If you have children, what schools do they go to get all of that is stressors that tend to subside once you have actually moved and you're settled, but the second order disruptions are the stressors that come from or come as a consequence of you actually being there. Can you get a job that is as meaningful as the one you have? Is the job going to be within your career field? For military spouses, a lot of times, they may work locally at the commissary, they may work at the library, or they may volunteer with the USO. And for some people do like to rest when they come overseas, but for some people, they want to keep that same level or caliber of professional work that they had before. So there's a there's so many considerations to this,


yeah. Oh, that makes so much sense. Yeah. And you hear stories about people that were maybe like physicians in another country, and they come to the US, and they're like, working at a convenience store or something, because it doesn't translate like that. That is real stuff. Yeah, that's so interesting. Wow. Okay, so anybody listening, of course, if you're dealing with this, reach out to Dr Blue, because she obviously is an expert with this. They can help you with it. So I just want to shift for a second to talk more about you and your journey with the whole thing. Would you so it sounds like, were you licensed in North Carolina? Because you mentioned Fort Bragg and all that stuff is that where you're like licenses, and are you able to still use your license in the other countries? Or how are you navigating that whole piece of it?


Yeah, so I'm licensed in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, okay? For military work, your license tends to translate well in the military environment. For the for the expats that I coach, we just do coaching, and it's a separate entity, of course, but it's predominantly coaching that I which sometimes it can border a little bit, but it's predominantly maladjustment that I work with


for the expats, yeah, okay, do you still see clients in North Carolina, or is that you don't do that anymore? Or South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia. Okay, gotcha, yeah, okay, that's really cool that you're making it work both ways. I was just talking to somebody yesterday that's also in Italy, and he was talking about how much of it a struggle it had been for him to even figure out if he could work from Italy as a psychotherapist, like, if he was even allowed to. But I'm just curious, have you explored that and figured out the nuances of that maybe your credentials are different than his? I think he was a LMFT, and he was having a hard time figuring out, like, how does this even translate in Italy, and will they let me work from this country, even if I'm seeing people back in the United States? You


know what? I'm glad you brought that. You raised that concern quickly. It's and this is where personal gets in. Here I am a military Italy has allowed military spouses to do remote work in the United States.


Oh, yes. So interesting, yeah. So there


are laws that govern what you can and can't do. I know a lot of countries have these very liberal views when it comes to digital nomad work and working as a working remotely in the United States from another country, but Italy has just opened that border up for military spouses. So I don't know if your colleague was a military spouse, but there are some I would definitely check into the local laws, especially around your license, because I know for me, I had to. I personally wrote my board like, hey, is this permissible? And yeah, I would definitely encourage people to definitely get it in black and white and make sure, to make sure that the local laws and sanctions that govern your license, yeah.


Okay, so interesting, yeah, because I don't know, it's hard to get the information sometimes. That's what we're talking about yesterday. It's just hard sometimes to get a straight answer from even our boards and especially from other countries. Okay, so I'm just trying to think, what do you have tips or tricks that you've learned for yourself? Obviously, you translate this into the expats that you work with, but ways to just decide where you want to go or how long you want to stay in a place and how you now. Get all that. It sounds like yours is also around the military schedule with your husband. Is that why you guys are in Sicily? Or is that not what you're in Sicily? I don't even know. Yeah,


yeah, this and I would be, uh, somewhere else. I would be in, like, maybe Bolzano or something in the Dolomites. But this is, this is all the military is doing. But I always encourage people to spend time in these places. Spend time with locals. I know it's very hard for when we travel to places, we look at it as a traveler. We are not exactly enmeshed so much with the environment that we have to understand the work laws or the infrastructure or the road conditions. It doesn't even have to be specific around work. It's just the quality of living there. I would make sure you spend I I think sometimes, if you're there more than three weeks, you can really get a good sense, a good sense, of the type of environment places. But then sometimes you don't, unless you are exactly working in there, within their systems. So I think it just takes a little bit of time being in these places to know. For some places, I didn't think I would adjust well, and I had a great time. When I was in Bahrain, Middle East, I wouldn't think I would adjust. I had such a good time. I didn't want to leave. I had a great time. Wow. You would think with Italy or Sicily in particular, that you would the weather's always good and that you would adjust well. But for me personally, the road conditions, the flooding, things are just very, what they call gabene in Italy. They're just very, it's very different. It's not as structured. I think certain places, of course, I'm going to always say Japan is a great place. I love Japan. Oh,


wow. I'd love to get in Japan someday. Yeah, it's a


beautiful place, but yeah, I would recommend spending time. I would also recommend making sure that you can cultivate a portable identity, whereas you're not. So if your identity is largely made up of your accomplishments, your achievements, you may not be able to translate that well in a different environment. Always be flexible, flexible and pivoting those skills and utilizing those skills in other ways too. I would suggest that making sure your time is meaningful, even if it's through volunteership. I think there's so many tips and tricks to this is all. It's all a situation specific but, yeah, off the top of my what I would recommend?


So good though. That's so helpful. Yeah, I love that. Three weeks to really start to get a feel for it, because I'd be totally you can go anywhere for a week and say, I love this place. I could totally live here. Who doesn't do that, like on vacation. You could move here. Let's look at how much is a house here. We wanted to be here, like, that kind of thing. But you're right, once you really get into, like, the infrastructure of how it all works, like medic medical care and employment, and what time are the shops open every day, and just all of that, the driving, like we were in the Dominican Republic, the driving is terrifying there. It's these are things you really have to think about the flooding. If you're there for a week visiting, you're not going to know that every rainy season this place floods for months like you just don't even know that stuff sometimes.


Yeah, I was, it's so crazy. You said I was in, I was in the in the Azores, in pico Island. Oh, loved. It is a beautiful place. Have you been to Portugal yet?


I have been to Portugal, but I haven't been there. I've been to, yeah, just a few places. Yeah,


I remember, oh my gosh, the housing is cheap. We could easily buy a house here. And then talking with the tour guide, and he was telling us, if you need to go, if you need, like, any big services, you need to go to the main island. And I was like, how do you get to the main island if you need medical care? And see, these are things that you don't you don't consider as a tourist. Yeah, you're absolutely right. But you, I think understanding the implications of what these differences are if you are living there, does it produce some sort of anxiety for you, and is it debility? For me, my husband has to drive certain places. I wouldn't dare try my stick shift. It's things like that, the concessions you make when you're in these countries, that if there's too great of a loss, you may not be adjusting. Well, yeah, absolutely,


yeah, exactly. It starts to add up. If it's this and this, it's just too overwhelming. I can't do it. But if it's one thing, maybe I can figure out how to adjust to it for sure. Yeah, yeah, it's so interesting. So how did you get medical care if you had to off the little island to the Big Island? I'm just curious, like a ferry or something or, Oh, okay, he


suggested. Oh, if you have to, you need to take a ferry to Ponte delgada. And if it's too big for Ponte Delgado, then maybe Lisbon. I was like, Okay, this is a great place, but maybe not to live.


That's scary. It's okay. But what if I have an emergency? Like, how do I get help? Yeah, no, I know. Yeah, totally. It was the same way in the Dominican Republic. It's like, where's the hospital it there's supposedly, like, a 911, System. But they were like, it doesn't always work. It's Oh gosh. How do you get there to the hospital the middle of the night if you need to things like that, exactly that you don't really think that much about when you're just visiting Absolutely. Oh, interesting. Oh my gosh. I bet you have so many examples of that stuff in all these different countries. You've been to so


many examples and so many good travel stories, I tell people, I think traveling just restores a bit of what we lose sometimes in these larger cities, that sense of community just being able to walk down the street shopping in your local community for I know when I was in Korea, they had shopping schedules depending on the days, and each community would come out with fish, with fruit, with all the things that you need and your vegetables. And you could just shop in your neighborhood, like the person who lives next to you also sells cucumbers. So it's so many things that, you know, I just I miss that about those places like Korea and Japan, where they have the very good sense of small community. You know, you're not seeing. I mean, you do have some of the big stores, but they really do shop in their communities.


Oh, wow. It sounds amazing that you've gotten to experience all that. It really does. Yeah. So do you think when, like, his military stint is over, when he retires, or whatever? Do you think you guys will settle down somewhere? Or do you think you've got this bug and you're just going to keep going to all these other places? I think? Would you say 30 countries or something? You've already visited both


countries? Yeah, bug, hon, I got the bug. Yeah, I get it. I got the bug. And so I just, I love traveling. I just, I love meeting new people. I love that curious state. How do people deal with this? So what is this? I love it. I love it. So, yeah, yeah, probably


not. I'd probably keep going for sure. Sounds like you said Bahrain was really surprising for you. Or is there, has there been, like, a country you would definitely want to go back to and spend a lot more time in? I'm just curious from your personal travels and experiences,


yes, definitely Switzerland. Oh, nice Japan. I don't think you can see enough of Japan. We were there three years, and I cannot. I know I did not see enough prefectures, and we tried our hardest. We probably you, and that was during covid time too. So there was a very, very big difference in how far you could travel. But yeah, Japan is beautiful, and I always reference Japan, but there's so many other countries that I just genuinely love being in Switzerland. For me, anytime people are out in the outdoors, they're biking and they're they're out in the grass, and just, it's just a great place. I love Swiss. Yeah,


so nice. Oh, gosh, that's how I felt about Amsterdam. I just loved how everybody's outside and the bikes and just the water lands all around. I was just gorgeous there. Yeah, you're inspiring me, because I've not been to Switzerland or Japan, and I'm dying to go. So that's really exciting to hear, for sure. And more of Portugal. It's like, it never enough time in these places. But I'm so grateful that we have this life now where we can really extend our stays a lot more than we used to be able to, like, a week here, week there, that kind of thing. Yeah,


yeah. And I got my Portugal inspiration from you guys, everyone in the group. Oh,


it's a really popular destination, isn't it? Yeah,


yeah. So you guys sold Portugal to me.


I love that. Yeah, I love that. I'm trying to think I only got to go like, three places in Portugal, but I would love to go back and just spend four or five months just going all around, yeah, that's just, it's such a good conversation, so interesting. It's going to help a lot of people too, I think, especially with the expat piece, and also dealing with our spouses. Even as therapists, we could take it with us so we can work somewhere else, but it's probably the same idea, like our spouses want to go, but they might lose that identity of whatever their career was back and wherever they were the United States or wherever they're living at the time. Yeah, and not being able to take it won't translate to where the therapist wants to travel to the traveling therapist wants to go. Yeah. So interesting. How do people find you? They want to work with you. They want to learn more about how to navigate the expat lifestyle. Absolutely


introspective. so it's introspective behavioral healthcare, but introspective, I'm the traveling social worker on Instagram. Dr CG, on Tiktok. Love it. I'm


going to go follow you right after this too. I bet you got some great info on there, pictures and everything. Thank you so much. Thanks for taking the time today. And I can't wait to share this episode with people that are just starting out and you need some inspiration and some guidance and advice around how to adjust to this lifestyle, because it's not always simple. Yeah, thank


you so much for having me. Thank you. Appreciate you taking the time out.


Thank you too. Thank you.

Listen to the Previous Episode

In this episode, I sit down with Nicole McCance, a renowned business coach for therapists, to delve into the transformative journey from being a traditional therapist to a globe-trotting professional managing a group practice. Nicole shares her compelling story, revealing how the birth of her twins catalyzed her shift from a solo practitioner to creating a multimillion-dollar group practice that operates seamlessly without her constant oversight. The discussion pivots to practical strategies for therapists looking to scale their businesses, emphasizing the importance of automation and effective systematization to ensure a practice can thrive independently of its founder.

Nicole also unpacks the details of her Clinic Growth Map program, which has helped over 700 therapists achieve remarkable success. She offers actionable advice on how to prepare a therapy business not just for operational efficiency but for potential future sale, ensuring it can provide sustained revenue with minimal direct involvement. This episode is rich with guidance on harnessing digital marketing, leveraging AI, and building a practice culture that aligns with personal freedom and professional growth.

Key points:

About Nicole McCance:

Nicole is a Psychologist (retired) turned Business Coach for therapists scaling to a group practice.  She expanded her private practice to 55 therapists and multiple 7 figures in 3 years (with toddler twins at home). Nicole sold her clinic in the 4th year and then retired as a Psychologist in her 5th year. She now teaches therapists how to help more people, make more money and have more freedom following her proven method. Catch her top-rated business podcast every week, The Business Savvy Therapist or her strategies on instagram nicole.mccancemethod

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Instagram: @nicole.mccancemethod


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Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of the traveling therapist Podcast. I'm super excited to have today's guest. I actually met with her recently, and we talked about some really cool stuff that we wanted to do together to collaborate. This is an amazing woman. She's got an amazing business going on, and she's a traveler, so I want to introduce you guys to her. Name's Nicole McCants, and Nicole, I would love to just ask the question I ask everybody when we start out, and that is, how did you go from just being a traditional therapist to a traveling therapist? Yes, I like you. Wanted the freedom and just wanted to build something that could run without me. So now I'm in tow with my twin boys and my family. We were in Europe for two weeks before that, we were in Jamaica. So it was just truly amazing, not just the traveling piece, but for my kids to see the world. They come back different. They're seven years old, and they come back different. It's amazing. Like, the best education happens. Yeah, that's so cool. So seven year old twin boys could take them anywhere, almost anywhere. Yeah, almost anywhere. Yeah, yeah. So, so tell us about yourself, because you used to just be what you're a psychologist in Canada. Is that right? Am I remembering that you were a psychologist in Canada and you figured out a way to pivot and evolve into another sort of career. So I'd love to just talk about like, how did you start out as a therapist, and then how did that move into what you're doing now? And let's talk about all that. Yeah, the fact that I'm a business coach sitting in front of you and have worked with over 700 therapists across North America is really shocking. I love how life takes us all these places that are unpredictable. I love that part, but let's rewind for a second. I was in solo practice as a psychologist for 15 years. Okay, okay. Loved what I did, EMDR, couples therapy. I knew that I was born to be a therapist without question. I'm on this planet for this reason, but when it happened. And I wonder if your people relate. After 15 years of holding space and pain and all the things, I became tired, but I also became frustrated with hitting the ceiling in my income, the only way I could make money was sitting in front of somebody my butt in a seat, right? And then 2016 I become pregnant with twins, and I'm like, Oh my gosh, how do I do this? My whole life is going to double. We need a bigger house, but I can't work more. And so that's when I said, Okay, well, the only way is to hire. And I wanted to create something that was automated so I can get the freedom. So guess what I did? I did absolutely nothing, because there was nobody to guide the way. So fast forward, chubby little babies, Jackson and Lucas, are born, and Mommy is still working to till 7pm every night. Oh my gosh, wow. And it was so I can totally relate. So I remember, like, I was probably, I don't know, early, 2000s somebody said to me, if you want a million dollars, would you stop being a therapist? And I was like, No way. Not ever. I love it. I was just like, you like, you know, my clients love me. I think I'm a great therapist. I could do this forever. And then same thing, I was basically seeing like 40 clients a week. I was taking eight weeks of vacation a year. I was like, cramming all my clients in and then taking time off, and then coming back and cramming all my clients in and then taking time off so I could totally relate to what you're talking about. And it just it becomes like such a burnout that, yeah, you have to find another solution, or that's exactly something's gonna break, yeah, exactly we walk right into a wall. And for me, it's like, When was your rock bottom moment? I vividly remember pulling in and their chubby little faces, these two year olds were squished against the window, waiting for Mama, and I just felt so much guilt and tears in my eyes, like every night, and this particular night, I turned to Dan, my husband, and I said, I'm hiring. I don't know how I don't, but I just am going to do it. But, babe, mark my words. I'm creating something that can run without me, because I'm not buying myself a job here, right? Yes. And it was that fateful day that I took the plunge, in three years, built it to 55 therapists, multiple seven figures, and eventually sold it. My gosh, oh my gosh. That is incredible. Wow, with the boys, and I think the boys were the motive. It's funny how we don't always do it for ourselves, but sometimes we'll do it for somebody else, like, it pushes us, right? Exactly, yeah. I mean, same for me. You know? It's like, it's basically has for me. Anyway, it has to be a huge pain point for me to finally say, and that's for everybody, right? It's like, okay, I literally am broken now I cannot do this, so something's gotta give. And then you did it, you took it and ran with it. That's amazing, yes, and I'll come and share kind of how I retired, because then I retired as a psychologist. So what happens is, if you build something, which I now teach people to.

Build a group practice, a group therapy practice that is automated and can run without you, and it's revenue generating. It's just a matter of time before someone wants to buy it. But I was not going to just give it away like, this is my baby. This is my life's work, right? But it was a psychiatrist that said, I will take better care of your people than you. I can give them all benefits. I can give them all pensions. I can give them all stipends for education. I was like, holy, okay, wow, this conglomerate, I could, you know, walk away and be free, but they're in really good hands. And that's why I did it, because it was just the right person. I think that's really, you know, not just to throw it to anybody. And the thing I love is that you figured it out kind of by yourself, like trial and error by fire. You know, now there are coaches like you that can help guide people through the process, but when you were doing it with two kids, little kids, you figured out. And, I mean, you even call it the McCance method. Now, right? I mean, is that how the McCance method was born? Yes. So what happened was, the day I sold it. Picture this therapist, because you sign a non compete, I will not do therapy. You can have my practice. And I'm sitting there by my pool, and I'm like, Okay, this is a sweet retired life, but it only last. I'm a busy personality. I'm a doer. I want to go for a walk, a hike, all these things, right? Yeah, it lasted maybe a couple of hours. And then I was like, What do I do with my life? And then it hit me, wait, what if I give people my map, my marketing plans, my recruitment system? Because it got me very fast to to automated and a very seven figures that I was like, okay, you know what? I'm still going to help people, but I'll be a coach, and I'll only work with therapists, and I'll tell them and give them everything I got, all my systems, processes, contracts, all the things I love, it. I can relate to you so much because I've built all this stuff. And of course, I mean, I feel like it's everybody's dream to be able to have multiple income streams, but to have them so automated that they're just basically running themselves and that, I mean, that's been a struggle for me. Honestly. I've hired systems people, and now, you know, I'm using AI and a lot of what I'm doing to try to really systemize that stuff a lot better, but it's a dream for people to do that. So you figured out the automation systems and then retired. And you're a lot like me, I guess, where you just can't sit still and you have to be doing something, yeah? So, you know, you turned it into this other this, this product to help other people. And I love that. And, you know, my boyfriend asked me all the time. He's like, once you get all this stuff automated, or you just kind of like, step out of your business and, you know, not do anything. And I'm like, Yeah, that's the goal. But I'm kind of like, you too. Like, I still have this, like, deep inner, like, part of my soul that has to be helping people, even if I'm not doing it in therapy, code, like, one to one. But I just feel like I have to always be, like, giving back to people, like that fulfillment piece for sure. Yeah, and I'm happy to share a couple of things, what I did, because I think it's like, Okay, how did it grow so fast and not break? That's the other thing, because typically, when something grows really fast, it breaks, because it's not automated step. So I teach people how to build the container before they fill the container and grow the container, and that means systemize and standardize everything before you hire otherwise, you're not going to be a CEO. You're going to be a CQA chief, question answer, which is not freedom, because you're constantly answering all the questions. You're more overwhelmed than before, and that's not what we want. So here's the key. The key is getting everything out of your head right now, as somebody listening in solo practice, or maybe they have a group practice, but it's a bit of a mess. It's because they haven't taken every single process that they just do automatically and put it in a Google Drive and then give it, hire an admin, and it's their responsibility to update it, and then you can use AI and all those things as well. But my favorite thing is create and delegate. And if you keep doing that, then you get the freedom create it, but train really well and then give it to somebody else. I love that so much because you're doing the exact opposite of what I do. I'm a quick start. I just had these great ideas that I think are amazing, and I just put them out there without any systems in place beforehand, and it causes a lot of problems. It's messy, you know? And then I find myself later having to come back and clean up messes because I was too much of a quick start with it, and didn't think about the systems ahead of time. So let's talk about that for a second. So you're using a term from the Colby. Quick Start. Okay, yeah. So if I can go there, because I train people in that as well, I would love that. I'm definitely start. Help me. No, I am. So here's the thing, okay, so guys, if you're wondering what the Colby is, the Colby is something that I suggest you give people when.

You hire now, you have to pay for it. It's about 55 bucks American. But most of us are what's called quick starts. That means we're entrepreneurs. So we love ideas, we're spontaneous, but we're a little bit all over the place. But what I suggest is giving somebody the cool B, there's four categories, and hiring the person that is lower in Quickstart, much lower, higher. In fact, finding, they're going to do the research, they're going to put the processes in place, and then it's beautiful. You're the visionary. Did you ever read the book rocket fuel by oh my gosh, by Gino Wickman? He talks about

the best companies have. What we are, the visionary. They are the ideas people, however, they also need, almost like a COO, and this is the implementer, visionary meets implementer. You just need. I love that. Like, take the idea, put it in a system, which is what I teach people, and then it runs without you. Amazing. What are you on the on the cult? I'm just curious, are you a quick start, or do you also have another six in the quick start? Yeah, so super high. But I'm a tweaker, so all I love changing things and optimizing, which can be annoying to somebody who doesn't like change. I actually enjoy change. I want to always be cutting edge and innovative. Yes, see, I need someone like you, and probably half the people listening, because I hate the details I hate, I hate, you know, I guess as a therapist, I just wanted to sit with people and, like you said, Be the creative and the visionary and have all the other people around me implement for me. And that's, you know, really the processes I've been trying to put in place forever. So I love that your program has that built in in the beginning, especially for people like me that are entrepreneurs and don't even think that stuff through. It's like, okay, I need a I need a private practice, and then I wanted to be a group practice. So I'm just going to start, you know, instead of thinking about the back end, and it sounds like you have it done for you in the back end, I give them the therapist manual. You need an employee handbook. You need a HIPAA handbook. People don't even know that. You need a private health and safety handbook. So I literally give it to them. We have lawyers, HR experts, accountant experts, all in the program monthly. So they go through this six months like MBA, where a lot like, literally, they come out changed and with a thriving group practice. It's really exciting. It's like, my favorite amazing. What's the name of your program? Just for people, yeah, the clinic growth map.

The clinic growth map, yes. So it's actually the fastest growing right now. Over 700 people have done it in a two year period. I think there was just a major gap. There was a big gap. And I said, Okay, I'm just gener. I just want to be generous and say, here it is done. I know it is proven. Do you want it? If you're the visionary, stay in your zone of genius. I'll give you the processes and systems. I love that so much. Yeah, and I'm super excited. Nicole actually invited me to come into her program to do a series. I think it's a four part series that we're going to do on how to use AI to also systemize further, to get really good processes in place with that's what we're going to we were going to do an orientation we're going to do, like hiring, how to manage the hiring process using AI. What's the other ones? Nicole, marketing, yeah, marketing and systemizing and systemizing? Yeah, yes. So, so first you want to build that container. Okay, get everything out of your head, put it into Google Drive, and I love looms. Just do a quick video, walk them through. This is exactly how I respond to a new client email. So you can take your voice and train your admin to be your mini me, and then let's talk about filling the container. This is the fun part, guys. This is where the freedom comes. You see, the boring part is a systemizing, let's be honest, which is why I give people the systems. Oh my gosh, you have a mini me. I suggest your very first hire, or for my group practice, people who already have one, your next hire should be your mini me, because your brand is a reflection of you. You give people a certain experience. So I'm high energy, and so people were used to that in therapy, and for me to move them over so I can go and travel, I needed a therapist with similar energy. It's like going to a restaurant and you go to, you know what I mean, a restaurant in a different city, you expect the same experience. That's really key for retention. Yes, yes. Oh my gosh, I love that so much. Yes. So give us some tips on hiring your mini me, because I destroy you talk about it in the program, but, and you talked about the cold and what to look for. But how do you know? Because even myself, I've I've hired and you know, they haven't really worked out, or they haven't lived up to what I'd hoped. And I know part of that is me not having good systems already in place before I bring them in. But just, how do you how do you go about that process, like figuring out who's the best person to be? Your mini me, basically, oh my gosh, look for there's a whole six step process, and I and I'll walk you through. I.

Think it's like a work marriage. Let's treat it like that. So there's a stick. You know what? I mean, all the processes that we have to go through to actually say, Yes, I'll be, you know, you're going to be my work person. I think it has to be the same. So the very first thing I suggest is actually have your admin screen them on the phone. This is going to save you so much time on Zoom. I used to make the mistake of just going on Zoom and with, have you ever had this experience within 30 seconds? I know it's not a good fit, just their energy, their face, like, their facial expressions, like, oh,

and then yes. And then I'm like, oh, Doc, what do I do now? Like, it's like a bad date. And so I learned I want to say people time, so get your admin to get on the phone and ask them the important questions, can you work evenings and weekends? Do you live close to the office? Are you good with seeing 15 clients a week, which is my recommendation, because if you have less than that, by the way, it's hard for people to be retained if you have somebody working once a week, but little Johnny has soccer's on Wednesdays. I literally can't see that therapist anymore, right? Yeah, exactly yes. So first screen them, and you're and so that's good. Then we give them a personality test. The Wow, yes. Then you'll know, like, okay, then they meet you on Zoom. I give you an interview protocol for that

related to mini me. For me, it was energy, it was directness. We also give them a working interview, because here's the thing, people aren't honest in interviews. They could say they're great, but I want to see them, and I role play, I get my I teach my members this to literally role play a very hard scenario, and I'm the client, and let's see how you handle that. And if I'm not impressed, we always say don't hire unless they're a Hell yeah, I want you to leave that Zoom hoping, oh my gosh, I hope they want to work with me. Be that impressed. And I think if you go through all of that then, then it's typically the right person all those hoops. I love that, yes. And then, of course, training them correctly, yeah. And then it's been my downfall too, because I'm such so scattered. You know, that's been a downfall for me too, not giving enough training, I think. But yeah, for sure. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs, you're pulled in a lot of places. So training is really key. Because if you think about it. Think of, I'm training my kids to ride a bike. So, I mean, life would be amazing if we could just put them on the bike and wave and say, good luck to you. Call me if you need me. But it's not like, if we're not saying, like, hold on to the handlebars, pedal, pedal, pedal. Look both ways. You know, it's, it's usually, I always ask, is it a leader problem, a people problem or a systems problem. It's usually a system. There's a system missing, which is the training piece, yes, oh, I love that so much. Yeah, such good advice. I mean, because I know there's tons of people listening that probably want to take the leap to a group practice, and they're not even sure, because these little details get in the way, you know, and keep you feel so taking that step, and that's why I didn't do it for two years. This is our reputation. I'm like, oh gosh, what if it's the wrong person? That's why it's a six step process. Like, you need to be in love with this person by the end of those six steps, or don't hire them. Yeah, I love that so much. That's great. I need your list. Yes. Okay, so I'm trying to think what else to ask you about this for somebody listening. So does your program basically set them up to be able to sell it at the end. Is that how that works? If they want to does that, then say, Okay, now it's perfect. And here's how you go and sell this thing if you want to do that now, yeah. So I give them what's called the content hub, which they have lifetime access to. So first we systemize, then we hire, and then I help them grow it with all the marketing, digital marketing, all these concepts they haven't heard of or thought of, a lot of people aren't doing, which is awesome. It's kind of top secret for a lot of the members, but really good a lot. It's funny, a lot of them, don't they want it to run without them and feed them, but not be there? Make sense? Like they want it to be revenue generating, yeah. And for me, I didn't really think I'd ever want to sell. So I would say 10% come in saying, like, I'm building to sell, but most say I'm building to have freedom, free time, and it to feed me for the rest of my life. Yes, amazing. Oh my gosh, yeah. I mean to have a done for you, like, basically, system that you just, like, put all pieces in place, and then to be able to have that part of it where you're not in your business, but like on the outside, just watching it run like a little machine. Yeah, that's the dream for any business, for group practices or or, you know what, what I'm doing, or what you're doing, even with your program, that's the dream. Now, can we talk about, though, how you keep a culture when you're living in Costa Rica? Thank God for the Yeah, the pandemic shifted everything for us. You I did all my supervision. Actually preferred zoom, because it was

half people were like, not there that day. They were virtual. So you can do supervision on Zoom. You can lead your team.

Things on Zoom, and I will tell you, research now tells us you don't have to be there in person to have a good culture. What matters is psychological safety and for them to know that you care and so who you are, like they're just going to feel that like I care about you guys. I'm going to help you find your dreams within my group practice, if you can help them grow and have thriving many practices within your group practice, why will they ever leave? Yes, oh, I love that so much. Yes, absolutely. Because, I mean, I can't even tell you how many consults I've had with potential traveling therapists that say that very thing, I can't leave. I can't leave my clients. I can't leave my my employees, yeah, you know, I can't leave my parents, my family, you know, all of that stuff. There's so many like beliefs around that that you have to be there physically, even in today's culture. I mean, it was really terrible, obviously, before covid, but after, even still, when we're all doing zoom meetings, pretty much, there was still that mindset that you have to be there, you have to be available if needed, that kind of thing, but, but this is like, I mean, literally, you could be anywhere, anytime, and hop right on if you if you had to exactly. And some of my people have, they do have bricks and mortar, but they don't live in that state, or it's purely virtual. And most of them are in network. But move to private pay. We have a little mantra, private pay is the way. We always sing it. It's so cute. Private pay is the way. So I teach, I was private pay, and private pay equals freedom, although there's some people that stay in network, and that's okay too.

Yeah, yeah. And I guess when you when you were in your practice, that was in Canada, and I don't even really know how the insurance system works there, but definitely here in the United States, it's even though I run a billing program, my advice is that too, it's like, if you are going to be an insurance provider, make sure you're on panels that pay well and are easy to get paid from and all of that. And, you know, out of network billing, definitely, if you want to be private, pay like, like, you know, figuring out how to offer that too, to help your clients if they want to use their insurance still, yeah, yeah. And I love that private pay is the way. Yes, we all know it is.

We have a headache. That's great. Yeah, definitely. So out to you. Why do you run it right now with this business? Do you, do you have, like, do you work, like, four hours a week and travel like, how do you manage it all? Just for people listening to, yeah, somebody actually does this. I have a team of 15 in the McCance method. And I think that if we're also a multi, seven figure business, that happened really, really quickly, if you want a big business, you kind of need a big team, because it's either, how is that possible for you to be away and all the things happen, and we're a little obsessed with client success, so I just needed all the people, all the accountability coaches, success coaches, things like that. But I it's funny, rather than taking a full day off, I'm the type of person I love. My energy in the morning, so I'm off every day at two. I you'll see me on Instagram. I'm always walking on the lake, talking, giving strategies, and then I jump in my pool. And Fridays are off at the cottage. So that's kind of my perfect life, because I love to. I do love working. I'm just one of those people, so, but I, but I don't love working after two. So that's the life I've created. Or Fridays. Yep, I love that so much. And that's a lot of what we talk about on this podcast too, is one, how can you get another income stream that's going to support you with your traveling lifestyle? You know, with me, I really, I'm just down to Wednesdays, pretty much, is when I'm doing most of my stuff, and then I have all the other days to travel. And, you know, squeeze an appointment in there, here or there, but I don't like to work out for probably two either, usually, because I want to go out and explore exactly, you know, whatever place we've gotten to, you know, because it's like, we might be somewhere for a week, and there's tons of things we want to do there. So, yeah, definitely created my lifestyle, you know, and then tried to build, you know, my businesses around my lifestyle, so I can, like, really live that fulfilling lifestyle instead of the other way around, where my business kind of dictates what I can do and can't exactly. Yeah, one thing about that, if anyone is considering two things, building a practice. One, it does not have to be 55 therapists. I help people figure out, like, what is your freedom formula? So how many? Maybe it's two therapists for you to say I don't need to work. I can cover my travel, whatever it is, or I can cut down half my clients, or all my clients. I think that's really key, so you can be small, but also know that I love what you said. I'm going to underline it. Know the life you want to create and build your practice around that, because it what will happen is the opposite, and then you're like, Ah, shoot, now what you're trapped, trapped again. Yeah, trapped again. And, you know, yeah, a prisoner to what you've created. I mean, I felt like that for a long time with I mean, I basically have 15 different income streams, and they were running me, really. I.

Was not able to sort of dictate how I wanted to live the live my life, really. So hiring people to help me put better systems in place, and using AI and learning about SOPs and how to train better, like all of that, came with time, and now I have this real freedom, you know, where right now I'm sitting in my dad's house helping him with medical issues, and I'm able to do that and be present. Mostly, I told Nicole before we hit record, I was like, I might get interrupted by my dad, but if I do, we'll edit it out. Amazing, being able to just live that life and be able to be flexible and and do what you need to do or want to do, really, yeah, isn't that truly the best therapist? Like sadly, I think that we our profession brainwashes us. You know that we can't make good money or that we have to be a certain way, but I believe I want to be the therapist that is living my best life and inspiring my clients and not having the shame around Oh, no, I can only charge this much, or I have to, no, I have to, like, see these many clients, yes, yes. And even culturally, I would think running a group practice as the leader of the group practice or the owner of the group practice, to to be able to exemplify that lifestyle of putting your, you know, your needs first and then building around that, you know, being able to have that sort of culture. I don't know if you teach that in your program. You probably do step one, flexible, yeah, flexible schedules, you know, like you said, keeping your staff happy. And, you know, well nourished, so to speak, so nourished with this type of like lifestyle. They want to even live this type of lifestyle. And you know, it starts with you. If you're not doing it, how are you going to have that trickle down effect with the culture inside of your own group practice or inside of your own business, you know, so you got it? Yeah, absolutely. I love this program that you built. Yay me too. Yeah, it's amazing. Every day we get, like, life changing things. It's so fun. I've been away for a month. We always say, check if it floats. So, like, put it in water and then slowly let go and like, does it float? Does it float? Oh my gosh, it does.

I love that? Yeah, I've actually never heard it put that way. That's really good. So So you took a whole month and just like, literally walked away and just let it run as well. And my memories all the time. You know what? You know what I do is I say, try half a day, go to the beach for half a day. So don't just be like, You know what? I mean, see ya but it's like, and then what's amazing is, if there's a leak, you catch it in that half a day, then you fix it. Take a whole day, okay? Now take a week. So we work up to it. You are right, because that would not be great if you're like, peace,

I could never do it, but, but hearing what that's a really smart way to do it like, you know, and then fix it as it breaks. And then hopefully you've got everything fixed and everything systemized and standardized, and people feel safe, like therapists, like any human beings, they like predictability. I would always get compliments. Thank you so much. Your onboarding was so easy. My friend down the road at the group practice, it's a mess, and she's so anxious already because it's a lot like knew everything, right? Yeah, but if you could make that standardized, not only it's not just your life that's easier, it's actually theirs too. Yes, oh my gosh, I love it, yeah. Well, so how do people work with you? They want to come and and learn from you and take your program and all that stuff. Yes, I have a free masterclass every single week.

Live, yes, it is called How to build a seven figure group practice where I walk them through my proprietary five step scaling method. Lots of freebies for showing up live. You guys will love it. I'll give you the the link for your show notes, perfect. And I have a podcast. So if you guys love podcasts, which you probably do, the business savvy therapist. I'll also give you that link I love that. I've got it saved to to binge it. I'm going to be driving to Florida soon, and I that's one of my plans, is to binge your podcast. So for sharing that, yeah, thank you so much. And to anybody listening, we'll definitely put all this in the show notes, and you can reach out to Nicole and what's your Instagram? I love your Instagram. You've got great little reels on there. Yes, Nicole dot McCants method, yeah, I'm always giving away freebies, and I'm obsessed just with talking about just the things that nobody else is talking about, because when you differentiate, then you become the busiest therapist in town. Oh, I love that. What a catchphrase. That's

fantastic. Well, thank you, Nicole, for being here. It really was a real pleasure. Yeah, awesome. Thanks for having me. Bye.

Listen to the Previous Episode

In this episode of The Traveling Therapist Podcast, I have a delightful chat with Christine Wong, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Los Angeles. Christine opens up about her journey from being a traditional therapist to becoming a traveling therapist within the diverse landscapes of California. We dive into her passion for exploring California’s scenic gems, her innovative approach to integrating travel with her private practice, and her fascinating dissertation work focused on self-care for Chinese Americans. Join us as we explore how Christine balances her professional responsibilities with her love for travel, and the unique ways she enriches her practice through her experiences.

Key Points:

About Christine Kay Wong: 

After a decade in the real estate industry representing homeowners in the San Gabriel Valley and Greater Los Angeles, Christine Kay Wong shifted gears to align her career with her core values. She took a leap of faith to pursue a degree in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University, and is now a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Strategic Coach. Christine is dedicated to helping individuals and families embrace self-care and wellness, addressing challenges such as childhood traumas, grief, cultural stressors, and corporate burnout.

As the dedicated owner of Momentum Mindfulness Family Counseling, Christine passionately guides her clients toward empowerment and healing. She is currently immersed in her dissertation on self-care in generational trauma. Outside of her professional pursuits, Christine enjoys long walks, audiobooks, and progressive house music. She also loves tennis, ping pong, and exploring the California coast, finding joy and inspiration in hearing stories of vulnerability and resilience. Additionally, Christine delights in diverse dining experiences in the San Gabriel Valley, enriching her appreciation for various cuisines.

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Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of the traveling therapist Podcast. I'm really excited today to have Christine Wong here with me. You guys know, I just love sharing all these different stories. And Christine, it's got a really interesting story. So Christine, I'd love for you to tell everybody how you went from just being like a typical therapist to a traveling therapist. I

love going to just random towns in California, especially the Central Coast. I'm primarily in LA and I, and I love being in the city, and I love being in the San Gabriel Valley and and loving my Chinese cuisines. But I think ultimately, I love being in California and being in, you know, anywhere from the desert to the ocean side and just being in that culture of, like, you know, slowing down and then really fast pace all together.

I love it. I mean, California is amazing for that, because you can get the the best of, like, three worlds, really, desert, mountains, ocean, you know, I could spend, like, probably years in California, just going to all the different places, because it's so beautiful. And I, I actually love that story, because a lot of times, you know, people will write me and they'll say, God, I can't, I could never become a traveling therapist. And I always try to, like, emphasize it. It's different for everybody. Like, you don't have to be a full on digital nomad like me that lives in Airbnbs. It just, you know, all over the world, you could totally just travel California or your state that you're in. You could be like, just a local aficionado of, you know, towns around where you live, you know. And that's still a traveling therapist, you know. So I just actually love that you're sharing that today. Here's

the thing, I'm living vicariously through, you Kim, I love, I love the life that you live. I love that you're kind of, you know, incorporating all this variety in your life. I think that's a beautiful thing, and it kind of stretches our mind and stretches our ability to, you know, really understand ourselves in different environments. So I think I live through, you know, watching you through like podcast, and also in all the, all the reel that you get to make, and, and guys, yeah, I love that.

I love hearing that, you know, much I hate making those reels. I mean, it's like, it's fun, but it's also like, you know, it's really awkward, like putting your life on social media, you know, it's, it's a whole other like thing, but, but thank you for saying that. I really appreciate it. So could you tell us, like, a little bit about your practice and how you structure, you know, traveling to different places in California. Do you work when you're when you're traveling to different places? Like, how does that work for you and your life?

I think primarily right now, I have more of an online private practice. I do do hybrid. I see a few clients in person. And for the most part, I think telehealth has been phenomenal in a sense, where not a lot of people like to drive in LA and so if they're in the comfort of homes having a telehealth session, that seems to work just as good. And I enjoy just being, you know, meeting different people, being in different towns, and just being part of the environment and feeling the presence of what it's like to have a clam chowder in Cambria, looking at the ocean and being, you know, in Indian world, and watching tennis and having amazing, you know, this the whole camaraderie of fanatics of tennis, right? And being in that space awesome. And, you know, I think I always think about my private practice. I think about my clients. I think about how I can improve the private practice, make sure that I incorporate new, you know, features to the practice. I think one new thing that I was able to, you know, incorporate is like a walk and talk therapy, which I was about to start, but there's a few clients that do really like it, and I like to kind of, you know, provide that for them, especially if the ones that live closer to me, and they seem to enjoy that walking and talking and being in that space of what it's like to get two things right, like be outdoors, but also be in a, in a in a confidential space of, let's talk about real life things are that are, you know, they're struggling with right now?

Yeah, oh, I love that so much. You just like, meet them in random places. Or do you start at the office and and go from the office and then come back to the office? I'm always, I love the topic of walk and talk, because it really is kind of controversial on Facebook. People be like, You can't do that. Client confidentiality, all that. And I'm with you. I'm like, Let's go for a walk like it's so much better than sitting in a stuffy office somewhere, in my opinion. You know, there's local

parks that are really secluded, which is nice, and ultimately, just getting on the same page right with the consent forms and making sure that, hey, if someone randomly says hi to us, right? What are we to do in that moment? Right? And I always make it a funny joke, and I said, you know, please, I'm going to go at your pace, so don't, don't start running a marathon, because it's going to be hard for me.

You know, that's so funny. Yeah, yeah. Oh, that's great. Yeah. Just for anybody listening. I get this question all the time, like in the insurance billing side of things that I do, like, how do you bill insurance for walk and talk? So this total side note, if, if you're leaving from the office and coming back to the office, you can bill Location Code 11. And if you're doing it just somewhere randomly, you can bill Location Code 99 on your claim form. Just like, total side note,

love it. We all need it. Yeah, because I get that question

a lot, like, how do I bill for this? But I love that. I really do. So, you know, I'm curious how you talk to your clients about, you know, I've got, especially people with hybrid practices, because, like, when I first went all telehealth, my clients were not on board with it. And then, you know, I tried to do a little hybrid thing in the beginning, but I was getting a lot of pushback, because they knew, if they knew they could see me in the office, they would like, wait until I was going to be in the office, you know. And eventually I had to, like, pull the plug and say, I'm not going to have an office anymore. But I'm just curious, like, how does that work? Do you have clients that will only do in office? Are they, like, on board with the fact that you might be in Cambria or somewhere, and then they'll just, you know, convert over to the hype to the telehealth instead. I just wonder how you manage that, or what you have found with clients, because I get that question a lot too. It's like, my clients don't want to be on video with me, you know. So I'd love to hear your thoughts on that, or how you've navigated that.

I think I've gotten really lucky. I think majority of my clients like telehealth, and the ones that do like the hybrid, they are okay with, you know, seeing me once a month or twice a month, and because they don't themselves, don't want to drive, and they might have this conflicted, over packed schedule of raising children and having to do the picks, pickups and drop offs, and that seems to work out. I don't know what the future will hold. I might completely transition, but it's, it's one of those things where I like to kind of keep things open so that they can make the choice themselves and see what fits best for them. Yeah.

So do you ever worry? Like, okay, like, I really want to go for three weeks down to Palm Springs and, you know, but I know I see this client in office every two weeks. Like, do you ever worry about that? Are you just like, hey, this is me. This is how I do it. And, you know, yeah, see me or don't see me, like, that kind of thing.

I think the thing, the difference of it all, is that when I do take these trips, I tend to like the three day trips a lot home and be home right away, right and and I it typically works out where it's a three day trip, whether it's like a Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, just something where the week is still available for sessions. I try to make it so that it's available for my clients. And I think that's important for them, especially different levels and different needs. And I think over time that might change, I might take a more nomadic approach and be like, Hey, I'm in Iceland right now. I don't know, right? And

I'm going to be there for like, a month. So make it work. Yeah,

yeah. And I think, you know, when I, when I cross that bridge, I'm happy to to, you know, be, I think being upfront about it is important. I want to just always, you know, be on the same page with my clients and let them know that it's, it's maybe a personal self care month for myself or whatever that needs to be in seeing engaging with them and seeing how that would would be accepted, or that for them in their in their stage right now. And if it means, like, you know, having another therapist on deck to see if that could be, like, the buffer in between. Oh,

that's nice, yeah, just like, have somebody else see them if they need, need somebody, that's awesome. Yeah. So when you take the three day weekends, do you ever see clients? Or is it like, do you just like, block, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, off? Always. Like, how do you make that work? If you're like, No, I don't see clients.

I walk in so that I can really enjoy my myself. Like,

like me. It's like, well, let me just fit in two people in the morning. Yeah,

that by the time I get there on the first day, it's really, you're adjusting right? And so that's yeah, like in day is really when you're gonna get to live it up a little bit. Yes?

Yeah, no, I, I love that, yeah. I mean, I feel like if I was traveling just like three days, I would totally not see clients for that time. Yeah. That makes sense to be Yeah, yeah. So do you ever go out of the state, or is it more just staying kind of local, so you can just do these, these quick weekends, and then come right back. Is that pretty much how you manage it?

Yeah, that's that's been this past year a lot, especially just having the private practice, you know, in the past, of course, you know, going to different countries, and seeing the sites as a kind of done this, like Central Coast, and it's really made me feel like more appreciative of the state that I live in and and just seeing the new things that I've probably never even you know, thought of, thought to go, you know, and experience that in its full form. And I think that will continue to be the case for a little bit. Yeah,

I love that. So when you say you kind of miss home a lot, is it like kids and a partner and all that, or is it, you know, just, you just like your home a lot and you want to get back to it? I

think I just, I have a this deep, deep appreciation for this town that I live in and and just being part of the culture and I, and I, you know, I always joke with my friends like, you know, if I, if I drive a little bit too far, I'm always dreaming and thinking about dumplings. And dumplings are, like, kind of Chinese culture and all these things and, and I'm just like, where's the local boba shop? You know? Just, you know, yeah,

I love it. So really, your Your hometown is your heart. But anyway, so it's, it's good for you to come back to it. Me, my hometown. I'm like, whatever. Yeah, you know, I don't really have any Go ahead. Would you say sorry? It

just helps me to be grounded, to be in this that I'm in and and to feel like I can call a friend and see go to the local park that I like to walk in and just be in this like, state of, like, I'm grounded versus I'm I'm worried about navigating different areas and different, you know, directions and, yeah, yeah,

no, that makes perfect sense. One of the other episodes we had on here was about, like, vicarious trauma, and how, you know, just even traveling constantly like I do really disrupts a nervous system, and, you know, can definitely make me feel really discombobulated sometimes, you know. And recently, I even said to my boyfriend, I was like, I just need to stop for a little bit. I need to, like, settle down and just, like, get, like, like, you said, grounded again, just like, kind of, like, reestablish, like, some consistency for a bit, because I can tell my, my nervous system is a little out of whack, just like trying to get places, dealing with a new Airbnb each time and each each one has a different issue that's wrong with it. You know, just learning a new place, all of that is in a new city. So I totally get that. It makes perfect sense to me. Yeah.

I mean, I think even, like, I know that you follow the the thriving therapist group and and they're doing the Costa Rica retreats. And I'm, I'm fascinated by that, because I'm like, I would love to be part of something like that and really learn from amazing, you know, therapists all over the country, and just see how do their practice and how to they incorporate travel and and trainings and different things like that. So I love that you you're in. I always feel that you know anything that Kim's involved in, it's always pushing the box, pushing the law. Thank you. This is incredible.

Thank you so much. Yeah. I mean, if anybody listening doesn't know what we're talking about, Megan gunnel, one of my dearest best friends. She does conferences and retreats. She's got one coming up in Costa Rica this coming February, and it's going to be, I think they've got like 10 speakers, ces for each one. It's at El mangrove resort, lman group resort. I always say that wrong, right on the ocean there. It is gorgeous. But you learn so much, and then, like you're saying, you get to really, like, interact and make tons of friends. Like a lot of us, travel to each of these events together because, you know, we made bonds in other places together like that. Is so fun. I love it. And, you know, being flexible as a traveling therapist, I can just go stay there for a couple weeks. You know, it's amazing. Yeah, well, I want to just talk a little bit too about something else that you're doing, which I think is really cool. So you're, you're doing these trips, you're managing a hybrid practice, but you're also working on your dissertation, right?

And the last phases of my dissertation,

oh my gosh. Can we talk about that? Like, the time? Like, I would. I don't know anything about, like, PhDs and dissertations, but when I hear people say it, I'm like, Oh my gosh. I just don't even know. It feels like it must be so, so involved and just amazing for you to be going through this process. I'd love to talk about it, especially your topic, which I think is amazing.

Yeah, it's so I meet with my dissertation chair probably every other week, and we're final stages, and the topic is essentially self care, especially for the Chinese American communities. So what I'll do in this research is kind of under get an understanding of what it's like to be a Chinese immigrant, what it's like to kind of deal with filial piety, of kind of always respecting your elders, right? And and kind of how the Chinese immigrational journey coming into the US, you know, in the in the late 1800s to build a railroad and the transcontinental railroad, and understanding what that sacrifice looked like, and to see that theme in today, where there's a lot of corporate burnout, right? And there's a lot of buzz air and not understanding emotions and and maybe omitting emotions because we weren't taught emotions when we're younger. Yes, you know, American born, Chinese perspective and how to kind of bridge that gap of. Uh, learning different ways to have self care, have a lot of grace and compassion for yourself, and not allow that to be tied to performance, but it'll be a lot well, you know allowing that. You know that grace within yourself, that self acceptance and understanding that our values are our values, our values is not just an A plus, our values are more than that. Our values come down to what our relationship with ourself looks like, what our self esteem looks like, and and how we how we can build that up simultaneous. Yeah,

so important. Oh, my gosh. Heck, do you have some preliminary findings, or are you just like in the initial research stage and all of that. I'd love to hear what you find from all of this. Yeah,

going process, I'm still looking through a lot of the research and trying to bridge a lot of gaps and also recognize, you know, just these common themes. I think so much of the culture has, you know, through the research has been about this notion of respecting our elders. And at times, when we do that, we find that in our in our the immigrational journey, there's been a lot of things that have kind of went underneath the rug and just brushed underneath the rug and and it's hard to know exactly what happened and where, where our ancestors, you know, came from, because so much of that record is gone and and so little was spoken of it, and it's been, yeah, just to look for some research, especially with the Chinese American community. And I think that contributes to the theme of, you know, when, when things are hard and things are tragic and even shameful, it's hard to talk about them. And I think that goes hand in hand with this focus of grief and trauma, and how, because it's just so traumatic, and then, because there's just so much grief, it's best we don't talk about it, right, right? There's been so many findings of, you know, people looking in their history and saying, you know, I didn't know I had a brother, or I didn't know I had, you know, so and so was actually my uncle, you know? And, yeah, wow. Journey of of how so much needed to be protected and just so that they can try their best for the American dream, and also, just like the uncovering of so many people that did die building the railroads, that so many people died from that project and and so little was uncovered, in a sense, where, you know, who was my father in this or where was my grandfather, and whatever happened to them when they finally came to the US and came to California and and how did they come? How did they go from San Francisco to Los Angeles and and just all that journeying and, and I think that sometimes gets lost

absolutely. Yeah, I remember learning about it myself when I was a kid, and just the tragedy surrounding all of it, it just blew my mind then, and still continues to blow my mind. And I'm so glad you're doing research around it. I'm sure it's going to be super meaningful and helpful.

I take a lot of breaks in the research because I think it definitely tugs at my heartstrings every so often

that, oh my gosh, yeah,

I'm with it. I try to not get too performance about it. And you know, the pages will come along as they come along.

Mm, hmm, yeah. I love that. I love that. Just do it in on your own time, taking care of yourself along the way. Obviously you're researching on self care, so doing it slow and at your own pace and and and allowing yourself the grace to to process what you're even researching is amazing to me. Yeah,

thank you.

When you meet with your dissertation chair, or do you do that remotely? So is that something like a traveling therapist could probably be doing remotely if they wanted to. So

I She's based in Colorado, and so we're always talking and editors also in Denver, Colorado, and so it's just this, like zoom world, right, where we get to have these breakout sessions and talk about things and go deep on, how do we fill, fill the gaps to the research, and how do we kind of look for that specific keyword so that we can uncover more more, you know, studies and articles and things like that?

Yeah, so everybody listening, you could still pursue something like this, even if you're a traveling therapist. So do you have to go eventually? I mean, I don't know anything about the process, but I have heard that eventually you have to go, like, present it to a board of people. So I would imagine you have to, like, fly in for that, do that in front of everybody, I'm guessing, yeah, okay, along the lines,

like a capstone, and also the oral defense and just making sure that they just really need to know and grill you to see if you really read all those research articles so that you about,

gosh, that is amazing. I admire that so much. Yeah, on top of everything you're already doing, like writing a practice and trying to travel and do all of that too, it's really cool. Yeah, it's, it's,

I think it's sometimes it can feel very you know. Very dry the whole process. But I think as long as we stick to the value system internally, it's going to help us with, how do we go forward and keep going? Because there's been many times when I paused and I said, you know, I don't know if I can do this. I don't know if this was worth my time, you know, because it's been like a four or five year journey. But I think the reality of it is, I think about the contribution, because I know that this could benefit a lot of people, just to have that awareness of what it looks like and identify these themes that we don't talk about it so much in our community, and we need to, yeah, yes,

I love that. Thanks so much for sharing about it. And I'm sure if there's anybody listening that wants to connect or learn more about it, would it be? About it, would it be okay if they reached out to you and connected? Yeah, okay, that's great. So how do people find you if they want to connect with you?

You can find me through my Instagram. It's my my full name, Christine, K Wong, and you can certainly reach out and DM and you can start the conversation there. Love

that. Thank you. Yeah, that's great. So is there anything else we didn't talk about that you think would be helpful to anybody listening? I personally would love to know what is your favorite place in California to visit, because, you know, I'll probably be back there eventually. So I just love to hear, like, tips and and, you know, places that people love. Well, my

two favorite places at this time is probably Cambria, which is like the coastal town next to Napa. And it's, it's super calm and super relaxing, very just you see the beautiful ocean, and there's amazing wine and seafood, and just being in that space of like, meeting other people that are also just in the relaxation mode,

yeah, oh, I love that. Oh, I've been to Napa just briefly, but I've always thought I would love to come back to that area and spend some time there.

There's an incredible restaurant out there. It's called lens, and they make their fresh pies and fresh jams, and they're famous for their, I think it's called Oli berry jam, which is, Oh, amazing. It's like the first, the first time I ever had it. It was, like, most delicious thing ever.

What's it? Oli Berry? I don't know.

I'm like, a Blackberry and a blueberry mix, but it's really very

I love that. Oh my gosh, yum, yeah. I love I love California, so beautiful. And I went to Carmel by the sea one time. And I just love that area so much. I've never gotten to go back. We were going to go, but then it was like we were trying to book an Airbnb at the last minute. It was like the prices were astronomical, so we didn't go. But I love that little town. I you know, I was there for, I think, 24 hours one time, and I was always like, I want to come back here and spend time in this area. Just that, like coastal area over there, is so pretty.

It's just, it's a different vibe compared to, I feel like Southern California and how busy it can be, whereas that Central Coast is just, it's on another frequency. It's so nice. Oh,

I love that you're making me want to go, like, right now.

Yeah, I'll see you there in March.

Okay, I'm gonna have to remember that. Yeah, no, that. That's awesome. Who knows where we'll even be in March? You know, it's like, you just don't even know where the where my life is going to take me. We're in Williamsburg, Virginia, right now. My dad and stepmother had like, a health thing, and we're here, like, trying to figure out what to do with them, like assisted living or, you know what. So we're just all, like, taking shifts, sleeping here and just making sure they're okay, so that that's been interesting. But I'm also grateful to be able to just be here, you know, be able to, like, arrange my schedule to be here and help them out with this. So, yeah, you just never know where life's going to take

you. Yeah? And that's all you gotta we gotta enjoy every moment of it. Exactly.

Yeah, exactly. Well, Christine, thank you so much for being a guest. I hope you'll come back when the dissertation is done and tell us all your findings. Certainly will. Chinese Americans need this, you know, they need, they need this research. So I think it's super important, and I'm glad you're doing it. Yeah,

thank you, Kim. I appreciate it. You're

welcome, yeah. Well, thanks so much. And you guys reach out to Christine if you have questions about her research, or tips for California, I guess where she's staying. Follow her on Instagram. I if I'm not already, I think I already am, but I've got to make sure I am after I get off of here. But yeah, yeah, yes.

Thank you so much. You appreciate it. Bye.

Listen to the Previous Episode

In the latest episode of the Traveling Therapist Podcast, Kym Tolson reconnects with Steven Mollura, a returning guest whose journey encapsulates the dynamic lifestyle of a traveling therapist. Steven dives into the transitions he has navigated from apartment living to van life and back to having a stable home base while still embarking on adventures. He shares his experiences and lessons learned from living on the road, the logistics of maintaining a mobile practice, and his plans for an exploratory trip to Japan aimed at expanding his counseling services internationally.

Key Points:

About Steven Mollura:

Steven is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in sexual health, fear and self-sabotage, and empowerment. He offers honest and open therapeutic support to help clients face the fears holding them back from the lives they want. He loves helping clients heal the shame, hurt, and anxiety around past trauma, unhealthy relationships, and toxic upbringings. Therapy with Steven involves deep collaboration to gain insight into personality, gain courage, work towards beneficial behavior changes, and reach goals.

Steven has worked in a variety of settings with a wide array of populations including psychiatric hospitals, substance treatment, palliative care, and private practice. He is a US Army Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also specializes in working with pissed-off men who can run towards gunfire but can’t tell their dad they love him. He is licensed in Pennsylvania and Florida and is offering telehealth counseling sessions only at this time.

For more information check out Steven’s website at

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Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of the traveling therapist Podcast. I'm excited today because we have a returning guest, Steven Melora. He was a guest on episode I think number 127, and I actually think this episode is probably like 118 or something like that. So we've had a lot of episodes in between, but I wanted Steven to come back to give us an update. I love doing these updates a couple years later to see where people are. Are you still a travel therapist? What are you doing? Are you still making work? So Steven, I'd love to have you introduce yourself and maybe just tell us a little bit about where you were and kind of where you are now and then, let's just chit chat about everything in between. Absolutely. Thank you so much, Kim, it's great to be back. I love being I love just talking with you and being on this podcast. But yeah, I've been a traveling therapist for, I believe, two years now. I believe so when we were meeting last time, I was doing a part time traveling therapy in my little, basically a little work van that had a bed in it. It was basically a minivan, and I've upgraded to a bigger van. I did full time traveling therapy for six months, and then I had a couple home bases in between with apartments and still doing adventures with the Sprinter van, and now I'm just in an apartment, and I'm doing a little bit more like you. I know you're doing Airbnbs and hotels and doing that kind of thing. I'm have a home base, and I've been doing small excursions from now on. So, okay, yeah, it's been a great series of adventures and a lot of transitions. Oh, my gosh, oh, okay, I have so many questions. Okay, so, so the van before was called Eloise. Am I remembering this correctly? I had a name that was the first one. So, so you sold Eloise, and do we have a name for the new van, or what the new van was? Sophia? So Eloise was a ram promaster city. You know what that looks like? It's just a small minivan. It was just big enough sleeping in. It was kind of like sleeping in a coffin, which is terrifying the first times, but you get used to it. And at a certain point it was actually after that trip to Costa Rica, there was a counseling conference down there where I saw you in person, which was great. I got Eloise the van, which was a Ford Transit medium roof, 1/3 degree base. It was like, going from a shoebox apartment to a bigger shoebox apartment. But it was like, it was like, you can definitely fit that.


Oh, wow, yeah. It was so wonderful being like, I have so much room. Like, this is amazing.


It was absolutely wonderful. Oh my gosh. Okay, so, so you still have that band. You got rid of the other one. You still have this one now that you travel in. So what does it look like? Because I remember you were like, was it Philadelphia? Where did you live before, where you were you were living, and then you're coming Pittsburgh, that's what it was. So you were in Pittsburgh, and you were like, really coming down to Florida, right? Because you had an apartment in Pittsburgh. So you were like, just taking these short little trips, I guess, to Florida and then going back to the home base up there, yes. So this was the short term or the part time van life. Was 20. What What year is it now? 2024 2022


was when I was doing part time van life. And I well, even, even 2020 the entire point was, I went down to St Petersburg for a trip. I saw this family living out of a sprinter van. They that was like, if they can do it, I can do it. And I started doing part time. So 22 and 22 is just doing these short trips back and forth, because I have friends in Orlando, and I just love Florida because sunlight, water, beautiful beaches, all that good stuff, exactly. So 2022 and then that Autumn, I decided I want to do full time. And I was at that point, I was like, Okay, I was really just burnt out with Pittsburgh, the lack of sunlight, and I don't want to, I don't want to knock Pittsburgh too much, but I was like the southlands were calling to me. So I pack up Eloise the van. January 12 is when I left. Okay? And 20? January 12. 2023,


and then, wow, did two months of living in Eloise, which was great. I was terrified, but it was awesome. And I just spent it mostly on the coast, meeting other van lifers, having adventures. And then at a certain point, I was like, I need a bigger van. So explored the options in 20 in February, 2023, end of February, I immediately bought a sprinter van traded in Eloise, which was, you know, there's a there was a little bit of tearing. Oh, hi, home. But like then I bought Sophia, the Ford Transit, and then continued to do that until June 11, 2023,


so actually, full six months.


On the road, having adventures, mostly between Daytona, Orlando, Miami, that was usually the triangle, but with a bunch of other places in between and outside, and going a little bit back and forth to Pittsburgh just to see family and have some adventures there. So it was absolutely great. So when you say terrifying, like, tell us about that. Oh, yeah, I like to hear that the dirty, the dirty, dark side of the stuff too, to tell the listeners, because everybody's like, Oh, Van life seems so cool. But what's the other side of it? Like that? You're talking about the scary part. So 2022, I was in an apartment with an older remain, who I've been living with for years. At this point, the old roommate from college, and, you know, we know each other on and off for as I'm trying to talk, I'm like, I'm going through the timeline, yeah, oh yeah, remember college? And I was like, no, no, so. But I was like, okay, decent apartments, but not really doing it for me. I didn't really like the area, and it was like, it was safe and stable, but it was boring, and I can kind of feel myself. I had a call to adventure. Yes, I totally get it. And it was killing me not doing it, even with the part time van life, it was like, This is great. This is wonderful. And my therapist at the time was like, Steve, you are always super happy every time you come back from a trip, and then a week later you are devastated because you're back here. Oh my gosh. So deciding to do full time and being like, Okay, I'm going to get rid of all of my stuff. I have an address. Get rid of, like, the stability and the people I know here for, you know, going off into the wild blue yonder. And I kind of knew some of the things, like, I knew I was going to experience some level of loneliness and homesickness and some difficulties, specifically, you know, hygiene, showering, keeping things clean, yes, eating all the, all the, all the, just the basic life stuff that's like, oh, you can do this, but it's going to be a different way of doing this.


So just going into that was definitely very strongly anxiety provoking. But yeah, I was very blessed because I hate Pittsburgh, and I hate Pittsburgh in winter, lack of sunlight and the cold was like, You need to go, Steve. That was, that was the fire under my butt, really pushing me forward. And I remember it was like, June. Oh no, it was January. I don't know it was leading up to January, and I'm like, I kept on getting pushed back because I was sick of covid and whatever. I need to leave. I need to leave. So when I finally did leave. It was such a relief just to hit the road. Oh, my God, a relief and scary at the same time. Like, I totally get that. It's like, this is gonna be awesome, but, oh my God, I don't I don't even have a house. Like, if I what, if I hate it, you know, like, all that stuff. Yeah, totally. That was what I kept on telling myself, logically, if I hate it, sell the vehicle, get an apartment. You're not that broke, you're not that you're not incapable. You're able to give a master's degree and run your own practice. You can do whatever you need to


do. Exactly, yeah, so I get it. Okay, so it was more of that kind of stuff I was thinking when you were saying scary, like, you know, sleeping in WalMart parking lots or, yeah, that is scary sometimes too, like that part terrifies me. When I see like, single women, like living in vans or in their cars, I'm like, that is so scary. I do not know how people do that. You could drive it across the country by yourself. Like, I don't know. It just freaks me out. But the ladies are courageous. And this is when I was still doing part time van life I met. Well, actually, this was before I did van life at all. I was in Orlando. It was, like, it was outside of Disney Springs, and I met this one girl in a parking lot of a speedway gas station. She was clearly in a Ford Transit Connect that was, like, geared up to be traveling van. And I just, I was annoyingly interrogative. I was like, what do you do? How do you keep yourself safe? And like, she went through the whole thing. It's like, oh, I'm I mean, you met me. No, no one probably wants to fight me. Yeah? It's like, okay, yeah, you can take care of yourself. And once you get used to it, like, be vigilant, but you don't have to be hyper vigilant about it, yeah? But yeah, that's there have been a few nights where I've been like, I might get shot through this van, yeah? Oh, see, that scares me a lot. It's like, what does somebody like, just comes to the band middle of the night trying to break into it, thinking you're not in there, you know? I guess I don't know. Do you have weapons? Like, what do you do about that? I did. I did actually sleep with the revolver under the it had the case so you can't accidentally fire on yourself. It's fine. I'm a big proponent of the Second Amendment, especially for women, be able to protect yourself. But no, I mean, especially when I was like, in Miami a few times, and I've been like, Miami's great.


I have nothing bad to say about Miami or Fort Lauderdale, but the biggest thing when you're in downtown Miami, it never gets quiet and, oh my god, people going back and forth. So it's like three in the morning and you're in this I was in this parking lot in South Beach, which I shouldn't have been on, but like, clearly, there's maybe not shady things going on, but just clearly a lot of people drinking in this parking lot at three in the morning. Just be careful. Yeah, sure, we could probably spend an hour just talking about all the different parking lots you've slept in.


Oh, oh, my god, yeah, that should be just the




Steven's parking lot reviews. So you probably could do your own podcast on that. Anyway. Okay, so I interrupted you, because I think you were just telling your timeline. So you did the six months all the way to what was it? Did you say June 11? 20 Yeah, 23 okay. And then what happened? You just decided, Okay, I'm done. So my brother, little brother, love him to death. He bought a house. He was living in a condo with his wife. He bought a house, and he's like, Steve, can you be a tenant here for a little bit? And after six months of full time van life, I was like, great. So this will be wonderful. And I just told him, Hey, if you sell this condo. If I move in June 12, and you sell this thing june 13, I'll just pack up and leave it'll be nothing like do whatever you need to do. So I go up there, take over his rent for a little bit, and basically get stuck there.


Word so oh my gosh, yeah. But I still had Sophia the van, and I did some short trips. I went to Blue Ridge Rock Festival, which was like a three day camping thing. That was terrible


festival experiences I've ever had that's, I'll rant about that later, but I did that thing. I went down to Miami one on November. I had a couple other adventures here and there, just doing overnights little bit, but it was nice to have a home base. It was nice to have a shower. It was a nice


a few other things. And it was a little interesting, not because I got a little bit cursed. So, like I I worked out really hardcore one day, and then I spent, you know, four months in pain and having to do physical therapy because, oh gosh, right, and it's like, I'm glad I have a bed that doesn't Rob too much when with the actual with the actual van. Glad, you know, having, having the basics, is very, very nice when you are little in pain or you get sick. So, that was but once again, I got stuck in Pittsburgh during the winter,


certain point again. So that fall, I decided, You know what, and between rents, the expenses, and I was living in a city with a splinter van, yeah, Appalachia, where


it's not very conducive to a giant truck van. So I decide, hey, I'm just going to do this differently. I instead, I trade in the Sprinter van Oh, or a Toyota rav4 and once again, I was like, bye, Sophie, a little bit of tear.




now I'm decide to go back to Florida. This time I start with Daytona, actually, because Daytona is nice, yeah, I get a short term lease in a kind of mixed unit. It's like, half hotel, half apartments, half


Oh, Wow, interesting. Three halves makes


sense. I had like, a six month lease, but I only stayed two it was so bad. It was like, Okay, I just need to move down the road. Now I'm in an actual apartment further down. This is my permanent place in quotation marks, but I'm still doing adventures around here. I'm doing overnights. It was just in Tampa yesterday, so the three hour drive two days ago, then three hour drive back simple two weeks ago was in Miami. And, you know, I'm still able to travel and have adventures and see people, but now I just have a home base, which I can actually have furniture in, yes, and it's in Florida, and, you know, don't have to worry about the winters anymore. In Pittsburgh, no more winter. I'd never want to see snow again. I understand. Yeah, I totally get it.


Somehow we ended up in Sun Valley, Idaho for, like, it was supposed to be three weeks, but we shortened it because it was, like, 36 degrees. It was snowing in mid May.


I'm like, how do we get here? The person that is cold, like when it's 76 outside, I don't know how we're here, but it's beautiful there. If anybody ever wants to go, but it's it's too cold for me. But anyway, I can't


either. Oh my gosh. And so cold.


We don't have to, you know, just to say that we don't have to, we could be wherever we want to be, which is amazing. The coolest thing about this lifestyle, I think, and take our practices with us. Because I was my I was seeing my brother yesterday in Tampa, because he travels for work. I saw my clients in the morning, hung out with him for lunch. We had a split after that, but it was absolutely great to, you know, get the time, and we have he's, he's usually 1000 miles away from me, and still be able to make money, do my own thing, run my practice,


absolutely, yeah, I couldn't agree more. Okay, so I want to switch gears a little bit, because I know that you're planning a big trip. I'd love to just talk a little bit about that, because I think people will be super interested in what you've got cooking up and how you're planning it in the research and all that stuff. So maybe we could talk about that a little bit. So yes, my plan originally was to spend two months, 30 days to two months in Japan. Because, yeah, I've never been and I'm just like, let's whole different world. Let's see what happens here. Scaling that down a little bit too. Let's try it for two weeks, and then, if we want to, then we'll expand up. We can do two months later, or we can just do two weeks at a time every so often. But yeah, ever since I posted that, and it's been weird, universal synchronicity. So last week, I was in an event in Miami. I meet this one person who basically wants to expand counseling services to Japan or for international workers who go back and forth. And I'm like, Oh, this is right up my alley. Let's definitely do this. And I don't remember the person's name. And I apologize, there was this other person. I believe it was on your podcast. I believe she ran orchard, Cheryl. Cheryl, yes, yeah, yeah. I talked with her as well. I believe, a year, year or so ago. And same thing, I am very, very interested in how to run in an international practice. And yes, I'm, yeah, I still am in this planning pages phases. I know Japan has its own sort of counseling licensure system, but they also have this role that you don't advertise as that specific thing. You can still do international practice, amazing. So, so you want to see clients like expats and stuff in Japan. Or do you want to just be able to see your clients from Japan both? Oh, okay. Oh, that's interesting. Yeah. So I definitely want to see clients from Japan, because this will it's a 14 hour time difference, and I already have Excel file with the jst Eastern Standard Time, including daylight savings time. And it's like, okay, if I, if it's, you know, 8pm there, I can see this client at this time. And I have, I have everything planned out in regards to that, as long as I can get a strong enough internet signal, I think this can work. Yeah, okay. This will open up so many more possibilities, because I don't know. I mean, if I want to go to I don't even know where else I'm gonna go to, but if I'm gonna go on the other side of the planet and still keep my practice for whatever reason, I can make this happen. And it's kind of a proof of concept, but I'm very pumped for it. Oh, I love it, yeah. So is the trip planned, or is it still like, Okay, I'm gonna do two weeks, or you already have, still, it hasn't been finalized yet, so I keep on getting alerts from kayak and Google Flights like every other day. Yeah. In regards to prices, I'm looking at October, I might push that back to this November, just because the daylight savings time might actually align a little bit better, be a little bit cheaper as well, because it'll be an off season. But, um, yeah, no, I'm pumped. I definitely want to do this. And this has been a dream of mine since I was like, I don't know, teenager, different world. I really want to go international and see how this works. That's really cool. Yeah, so have you already started trying to get like, uh, clients in Japan, like, expats there, or are you willing to see about that? Okay, gotcha. I still want to experience a little bit more, and I definitely want to know a little bit more about the culture, because I'm, you know, I'm a nerd, and go to anime conventions and do and play video games and stuff. But it's like outside of that. I think Cheryl knows a little bit more about, like, adult corporate culture than I do, yes, so seem to know a lot about that. I probably want a little bit more exposure to


the reality outside of the media that's like imported over here. So I definitely want to explore a little bit more before I start advertising. Yeah, that's awesome. Oh my gosh, so exciting. So you've you found out that you can see expats in Japan, as long as you don't call it whatever they call what do they do? They do? You know, the term they use or not sure I do not. Okay. It's all.


On, it's on the international I believe. I don't


know if I have the website, but it's, I'm trying Japan counseling. No, I don't have the website. I apologize, but I don't remember what it was called specifically. But yeah, there is a specific term in the same way that Americans use licensed counselor or licensed mental health counselor or licensed professional counselor. They have their term as long as you don't call yourself that you can still work.


That's awesome. Yeah, that's cool. Okay, so you can do that. You can see your clients, you worked out the time zones, and assist them to manage it. It sounds like you got a spreadsheet going. I recently have just, I've just keeping everything on Eastern time. It just is working out better for me, like I've got my computer, my phone,


um, my zoom, all my all my calendars, are just staying at Eastern time because I just struggled with that so much. I told Stephen before I hit


record today that, you know, it's like 7am here, I still somehow managed to book myself at 70


for a podcast interview. I, yeah, I'm gonna try to be very aware of that. A, because I definitely need sleep and B,


I, I definitely yeah, I don't mind going the other way around. I don't mind if a client at two in the morning. Eastern Standard Time wants to see me. I'll definitely do counseling for vampires or people on third shift, but no, I definitely am in bed at before midnight. Yeah, no, I totally hear you. Yeah, it's, it's tough to manage. I mean, like every time I think I've got it down, something like this pops up, and like today, we have to check out of this Airbnb at 10am Mountain Time, but I had somebody scheduled at 12 Eastern so I didn't calculate that. So I had to, like, I I messaged her. I was like, Can we rebook it? She's like, that's fine, but it's like, there's always just these little things that pop up around time zones. Is just stressful. I mean, two and a half years into this, and I'm still trying to figure out time zones. I don't know, you know, I guess it'll always be this way.


Is there any way to just set it to Greenwich medium time and be like, figure it out and sell clients? Yeah, wouldn't that be nice?


I'm available. 1010, 10 mountain. You figure out when you could see me.


I think I had the same I haven't been to Nashville in in forever, but I think I had the same problem where I was like, I was just looking at my phones. Like, okay, everything in my schedule is screwed up, and it's freaking me out. I know it's only an hour off, but yeah, I just like, Oh my god. This is destroying my brain. Oh my god. You know, sitting here thinking I need to set up some sort of AI chat bot to tell me, yeah, exactly what time it is, where I am. I should do that. I don't know why I have it. I run the clinical AI club. You think I'd have some AI hack for times?


Yeah, I when you create that, I'll need to steal it or buy from Okay, I'll share it with you. Thank you. You're welcome. There probably is one already. I don't even know it, but anyway, so very cool. Thank you for updating us. Is there anything else that we didn't talk about that maybe would be helpful? Okay, so let's talk about big feelings, if that's okay, yeah. Okay. So yeah, this entire transition, and then both transitioning from apartment to Van life to full time van life to hey, let's just do this temporary thing, getting stuck and then trying to travel again in a whole new way. It's a lot, and it's like, you're for,




I love this life. I really do. It has some bad side, you know? It has some shadow sides and some downsides, but even that, it's, it's great, yeah, it's taught me so much about myself. But I'm not going to try not to swear, gosh darn,


is it a lot sometimes? So, yeah, I hear, you know, you've been doing this for, what, two and a half years, three. It's like going from one place to another, doing the transition. And you, I mean, you're the OG traveling therapist.


It's really,


let me make this more of a question. I guess is there ever times when you're like, Okay, this is wonderful. Is there ever times when you're like, I know I keep on wanting to do this, but a part of me is like, no, let me just sit here real quick and not do this ever again. Right now. We're in that right now, so,


so we have to be back in Virginia by the night, like we already have an Airbnb booked. Today is May 30, and last week we pulled into a plant fitness, like traveling from Salt Lake City to Moab, right? So we we go to Planet Fitness. I know you use plant fitness too. It's like all over the country for the showers and all that stuff. But so we pull into planta fitness. We're in there working out, and they come.


Out, and some 84 year old man has hit my car, my BMW, z4


Yes, somebody, he, he thought he was going backwards, but he went forward instead, and he, like, floored it and rammed into my car, right? So, like, holy, so it seemed like it was cosmetic, right? So we're like, alright, well, okay, we exchange information, all that stuff, and we're driving to Moab, which is like, four hours from Salt Lake City. And, you know, excited to get down to Moab and see all the national parks, everything the check engine light comes on. Mm, hmm. So it's like, oh my god. So of course, I pull over, call the tow truck all this stuff anyway. Turns out the way he hit, it made the shutters not open and closed, and it's throwing this code and all this stuff it. But then the drive train warning comes up on the on the


thing, like, two hours after that, and we stopped, we had somebody check it out. They're like, I think you could still drive it. It's just the shutters were like, okay. But then this drive train warning comes up. So of course, I own a BMW. So guess what? There's like, maybe one BMW dealership in every single state, right? Like, barely. In some states there's none. So we get to Moab, and we're like, oh we can't, we can't drive to Virginia with this engine light on, right? So it's like the nearest BMW place is back in Provo Utah, which is all the way back, almost to Salt Lake City.


So you know, we have to, we had to come back here. We're we've been stuck, like you said, stuck in Provo Utah for almost two weeks. It was a holiday weekend, Memorial Day weekend, and nobody was working. The insurance company wasn't working. The BMW people weren't working the mechanics, nothing. So we're in an Airbnb. We're like, we have no idea when this place is, when, when they're going to be able to fix it. We just keep extending the Airbnb another couple days, another couple days, and now we got the car back yesterday. They fixed it, they made it drivable. They didn't do the cosmetic stuff. But we had to be in Virginia by the night. So it's the 30th, so we have to drive basically, what, 2000 miles over the next, what, seven days. And I've got appointments in there, and every day, you know, to make it back in time to, like, be in this other Airbnb we've already booked. So, so yes, there are times it's just like, Oh my God. Like, it's just like, it, it does. It sounds like an easy problem to have, like, whatever. Okay, you're straight into beautiful Provo. You doesn't sound like an easy problem to have, no That sounds like a lot.


It's like, oh my god, it, you know, sitting here in Provo, it's like, I don't even want to leave. I'm just like, I don't want to do this over the next 10 days or whatever. Like, I don't want to, I just want to stay put for a while.


I was held that way. Sorry, go ahead. I was just saying we did book a month in Florida, like in July, just to, like, chill. You know, after we do all this craziness that we're getting ready to do, starting today at like, 10am Mountain Time, nice. So, no, I feel that way all the time, and even when I know I'm going to enjoy the experience at the end of it or during, yeah, it's like, oh my God, I don't. I don't want to, I don't, I don't want to get in the car. Yeah, I don't want to move fast. Like, the last thing I want to do today is drive to Denver, which is a seven and a half hour drive.


Man, oh, no, it's crazy. I think that's, that's part of the transition. And this is so there's the transitions you play in, and there's transitions you on, you don't plan, but you have to react as, yeah. So like, I, I decided I wanted a, you know, when I went down to Daytona, I was like, Okay, this will be a good home base. It's a small little hotel unit, 430 square feet. It's nothing, yeah, first night I get in there, I'm like, this place is terrible. I'm about to, like, leave today to go back to Pittsburgh. Then it grew on me. And then over two months, it was like, oh, yeah, this is terrible. So it, I don't want to say it's like


a sunk cost fallacy, or like wasted energy, because it's not. It's like, okay, this is you trying to get established here and then making a home base. And a certain point I was like, Okay, I'm going to basically just use this do short term rentals and move from one spot to the other, but now, but at a certain point, I was like, oh, no, that is not the way to go, as evidenced by, you know, all the stuff that happened this, I don't want to know. I don't want to go into it too much, because it's a little bit gross, yeah. But


then it's like, okay, I need out of there. I didn't want to have to spend this time, energy, attention on finding another apartment, but I did, and it was the right decision. Is this my forever home? Probably not. Yeah, it's a good home base for now. And yes, that's it. And, but yeah, it's just when you when you're looking, when you're at the bottom of the mountain, looking at.


Up, yeah, and you're just like, I just want to stay here. It's, it's,


it's so hard to start climbing. It is, oh, my god, that is, that's it.


But somehow I get the energy that it's like, Well, that wasn't too bad. I got to listen to, you know, couple podcasts. I get to listen to my audiobook. You know, we're going to drive beautiful. I think it's interstate 70 that goes through Colorado. It's gorgeous. So we'll be driving through that. But, you know, it's just like, Oh yeah, yeah. And every time it's been worth it, even when it sucked, it's like, it's taught something. And it's like, even when it's been terrible, it has been worth it. And it's like, I just want to keep on reminding myself, and that ever changes when I say, You know what? I didn't get anything out of this. I didn't learn anything. That's like, okay, now I can stop climbing. That's fine. But exactly No, that hasn't happened yet. So yeah, no, I I'm right there with you. So we'll see have you, we'll see what happens. We're going to totally chill in July, which I cannot wait, you know, place right on the ocean, down near Melbourne, Florida, which is going to be awesome. So I'm excited to just have a little break.


Yeah, I enjoy it. Yes, do do a month. And that's, I mean, that's another thing. Like,


I am very blessed, and I've worked hard for this, but I'm very blessed, and you're very blessed to you. I know you've worked way harder than for this, than I have, but just being able to take a month and be like, yeah, anywhere it's yeah, just imagine that, like, 100 years ago, it'd be like no ability to do that, yeah? Oh my gosh. I know that. That is the amazing part. It's like, okay, well, you want to be a mobile for a month. Let's do it,


awesome, and come on my way. Let's have adventures. Okay, yeah, like I said, I have a friend that lives right up there in Ormond, so she was my college roommate that tells you anything? Talk about college days?


Sure. So I've talked to a lot of people, and I've, you know, I meet friends on the road. I remember I was visiting my one friend in Richmond. This is from we used to know each other in the army, and I meet one of his friends, and I show him the original, the Eloise, the van. And he's like, Dude, you're living my dream. And I'm like, come with get a van, get the kid, pack up the kids, let's go. And so many people I meet have the same reaction, but they always say, Nope,


I'm in this community and and I'm in awe of Addie Wayland. Weland. Yes, yeahland.


Who two kids, husbands, in the in the trailer, traveling around the world, doing homeschooling, taking them to like, science centers and all this other stuff. It's like, Oh, that is so beautiful. It is. Oh my gosh, I know. I'm like, is there anything that really jumps out at you when you talk to either other therapists or other people in general, that really seems to, they really want to do it, but really stop themselves from doing it. Oh my gosh, so many things. Yeah. I mean, I talk to therapists every day about this. It's just, you know, it's the pets, it's the kids, it's the aging parents, it's the oh, I'm attached to my stuff. It's like, how do I manage financially to to maintain a residence while I'm also paying for residences other places? You know, it's just all of that. You know, what do I do with my stuff if I sell my house? You know, just all the logistics and how to like how do you manage time zones? I don't think I can do that. How do I, you know, tell my clients, my clients are going to like that, you know, just, you know, licensure, like, am I even allowed to do it? Like? That's the first step. A lot of people don't even know they're allowed to do it. And if you go to the traveling therapist Facebook group, I mean, every day, somebody tells you something different, that's not even true, you know, it's like, like crazy in here. It's like, this. This is such misinformation in this group. It's insane. Um, you know, and I try to monitor that, but you really can't. So, yeah, all of that, all of the above, and


then it's like, medical, you know, like everything, like, how do I get, you know, health insurance in Utah, when you know, my residence is in Florida, my residence, my mom's address, but you know, it's just all of those logistics just keep people from doing it.


And, I mean, we seem to be able to


do it even like, I thought about a lot of the things you said, but I didn't think about half of those when I first started. I was like, I learned a little bit. Maybe I didn't experience some of those threats yet, but it's like, okay, all the logistical things have an answer. Yeah, yeah. It's wild. I'm not, and I'm not trying to convince anyone to do this if they don't want to, like because they can figure it out if they want or not. But I have this one thing I see, especially a lot of my male clients. I have a lot of male clients who would have thought male client, male therapy.


Just getting a lot of mail clients, but it's like, okay, the call to adventure thing. But they kind of seem stuck, and they're not really willing to do it that much, like they'll go in the woods every so often, but it's not something more, yeah.


But yeah, I am trying to convince people.


How do I convince people that it's like, it's worth it. Well, it's kind of, I mean, it's not even about the life you live or I live. It's like you, you as a therapist, right? You hear people and and a therapist that coaches, therapists, you hear people they've got, like, these, this deep inner calling to, like, live a certain life, whatever that means for them. But they can't. They can't, they won't they, they don't have the courage. They the logistics won't work out. They don't have the money, you know. So I don't know about you, but me Just hearing that, like, that inner soul calling when I'm talking to people and I could, you know, it's like, oh, maybe one day when I retire, like that kind of stuff. It just, it kills me, because it's like, you, you know, you actually could do whatever, whatever you know x thing is that you're like, longing for that you can't do for whatever reason, you know, so I don't know about you, but that that's what it is for me. It's like, you know, you just hear that inner soul calling, and it's like, but you can do it. I swear, we'll figure out how you can do it. But it's the Oh no, I can't, I'm too busy, you know, all of that stuff. And that's with anything with clients. You know, when, when you hear them want to do something different, but they don't like they they stay with the same guy, or, you know, all of the same job, or, you know, caretaking for somebody that doesn't deserve it, like all that stuff. You know, it's like that stuck place where it's just, like your soul just aches to help them get out of it, but they're not ready, or they don't want to, or they can't, or whatever, you know. So, yeah, the devil you know, is still the devil.


Yeah, you can do better. Like, yeah. And I think the retirement thing is also just, and this is weird for me. I've had a bunch of corporate jobs, from the army to hospitals to academia, and I've hated all of them, yeah, or at the very least, I've been very misaligned, and it's like, okay, yes. Now running my own private practice, able to be wild and free, etc, but I've always had some sort of time pressure where it's like, I'm not going to wait for retirement to get what I need and want totally, um, I just, I just have such a hard time even thinking that far ahead, whereas other people just seem to be like, Ah, maybe one day when I'm out of the corporate gig. I'm like, why wait 40 years? Yeah. Oh, my god, yeah, it couldn't even right? Oh no, no, yeah. When I hear, when I hear that stuff, it just, it's hard not to, like, you said, like, push, push, the lifestyle, like, but you can't look, I mean, it sucks. I'm in Provo Utah. But have you seen Provo Utah? It's gorgeous. It's surrounded by mountains. It's got a lake. I mean, it's beautiful. It's a college town. BYU is here. It's so cute, you know. And, you know, I would never have even stayed here that hadn't happened with the car. But, you know? And there's, yeah, there's so many beautiful things, even just up and down 95 like, yes, yeah, Rock Hill, South Carolina, which I've only you know, it's a small little college town, but everything's beautiful, like the hills around Nashville. It's just like, I can't even explain how many little small towns with the one coffee shop that, with the one antique store, that's just like, this is so, just so energizing being there. Yeah, absolutely. Oh, I love it. I love it. I just did a reel today on my Instagram about using chat GPT as a travel hack for walking tours, because that's one of the favorite things I love to do is, you know, go to a new city and just walk and just like, check it out, just get the feel for the city. I love that so much. So I was, I was saying in the real today, if you type into chat GPT. Like, give me a walking tour of Salt Lake City. For example. I like to see this, this, this and this on a walking tour. It'll, like, create a whole thing for you. It's so cool. We did it in Salt Lake City. We're like, let's do the chat GPT walking tour and see what happens. Yes, awesome. You know, I love stuff like that. It doesn't even matter what town it is. I just like to go explore and walk around and get the feel for the town. Yeah, I was in temple terrace outside of Tampa yesterday, and I only had, I had less than two days because I just, just because of so much stuff I had to do. But I'm just like, and fortunately, it's only three hours away, but I was like, I just want to spend a week here. I just want to, I want to just experience this. It's right outside of University of South Florida. And right, it's like, 20 minutes from Tampa proper, and it's like, oh, yeah, I there was just so many little things. We went to this German bar called Mr dunderbacks.


Amazing. I was like, I would never have known this existed unless my brother recommended me. So it's.


Just the little things. Yeah, love it. Love that. I think, I guess just one more thing, it's so worth it. And if just to the audience, if you're What was I talking about, the transitions, having to do stuff like, Okay, your car getting hit, it sucks. Yeah, to do that, but you're managing and same thing. Yeah, exactly, yeah. And I'll manage, I'll manage getting to Virginia. It'll be fine. Probably be fun even, you know,


I think you're it was your podcast with Amber, I believe, where you were, like, you were either Costa Rica or you were in one of the islands. It's like, oh, this place is terrible. We had to move to another one and have to, you know, adjust things. Yeah, it sucks sometimes, but it's worth it. And hey, everyone, you can handle it. Yeah, like, exactly, Empowerments. That's the that's the thing. Whatever the world throws at you, you can handle it. That's what I'm gonna say. And when I look back now, all I remember, really, is we, we were staying in this awesome Airbnb, and it was, like, right on this little cove in Los tiranas Zip Dominican Republic. It was awesome. There were problems, but it was awesome. You know, when you look back on it, it's like that was pretty cool to be able to live there for a month and just chill like that. We had a pool at a restaurant this beautiful ocean. Yeah, so I do complain a lot, but there's also a lot of wonderful stuff that comes out of it. Yes, complaining is my favorite thing to do same. Oh yeah, I hear you.


Well, Steven, thank you so much. I hope you can go to Japan. You'll come back after and tell us how it was what you're doing. Definitely come back until you all give you all the tea. Absolutely, I can't wait. Yeah, thanks so much. Thank you. I've always loved talking with you, and I appreciate you giving me this inviting me back to the podcast. Yeah, thanks a lot. And if people want to reach out to you, how do they find you? Oh, they want to talk to you. Prosperity,, prosperity, counseling and coaching. And you can also reach out to me on Instagram and Facebook. I'm in every Facebook group under Laura, like every counseling Facebook group under Steven Memorial. And you can just message me directly. And, yeah, website, that, Facebook, Instagram, and what can you can put my emails along. We can put it in the show notes, if that's okay, yeah, absolutely, yeah. We'll put it in there. We'll put all the places to reach you, yeah, well, thank you so much. Thank you appreciate it. You.

Listen to the Previous Episode

In this episode of the Traveling Therapist podcast, Kym chats with Yudit Maros, a therapist who has creatively merged her passion for travel with her professional life. Yudit shares her journey from traditional therapy to pioneering her own therapeutic modality known as Authenticity Therapy. She details how this approach, which emphasizes the integration of inner child work and self-love practices, came to life through extensive research and is now taught globally. Yudit also discusses the logistics and inspiration behind organizing therapeutic retreats in picturesque locations like southern Italy, providing a dual experience of external exploration and profound internal healing.

**Key Points:**

1. Yudit Maros developed Authenticity Therapy after a decade of research, creating a therapeutic model that combines inner child work and self-love practices, now shared through international retreats and workshops.

2. The episode dives into how therapists can blend personal passions such as travel with their professional endeavors to enrich both their personal lives and therapeutic practice.

3. Yudit emphasizes the importance of therapists undergoing their own healing and self-discovery processes to effectively help their clients, illustrating this through her retreats that provide both professional development and personal rejuvenation.

About Yudit Maros:

Yudit is a psychotherapist in private practice, an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, and the author of Apple of My I: The Four Practices of Self-Love. She is the originator of Authenticity Therapy, a new synthesis and integration in the field of psychotherapy, based on seven years of research about what helps people get well in therapy. It is a body-centered approach that focuses on one's ability to self-parent in a caring way. 

She also lead continuing education retreats for therapists, in the US and worldwide.

Yudith travel while she teach how to stay at home within yourself, in a delicious inner connection with your Inner Child. She like to have it all!

Her favorite place is the South of Italy, where she regularly teach an experiential introduction to Authenticity Therapy. Beautiful places in the US, Costa Rica, France, and Hungary are some other places where she travel and teach Certification courses in Authenticity Therapy.


You will find my retreats posted at Authenticity Therapy Retreats and CEU's for Mental Health Professionals on Facebook.

Connect with me:

Instagram: @thetravelingtherapist_kym

The Traveling Therapist Membership:

Revolutionize Your Private Practice with AI Course:

Signup to learn more about life as Traveling Therapist:

The Traveling Therapist Facebook Group:

Bill Like A Boss Insurance Billing Community:

Subscribe to the Podcast:

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Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of the traveling therapist Podcast. I'm very excited today to have unit Morris here with us. She is very interesting, I can't wait to talk about everything she's done in her life. And she's continuing to do from developing her own therapy like modality, basically, and then teaching about it all over the world. So I want to introduce you you did and ask you the question I asked everybody, when we first start the podcast, how did you go from becoming a traditional therapist to a traveling therapist?


Okay, so that was a very organic process. Because I am from Hungary, I'm from Europe, I love to travel every year, we go back to Hungary from connect again. And on our way back to Hungary, we always start over somewhere in Europe, because it would be crazy not to and to look at Rome, or Florence or Paris on the way back home. So about three years ago, we stopped over in Calabria, Italy, in the south of Italy. And we were blown away by the beauty. This is a UNESCO protected area with crystal clear see all of that. So as we were walking these cobblestone streets with my husband, I said to him, you know, my intention for this year was to live my best life ever. And this looks like a place where I could do everything I love. Why don't I just bring some therapists here and leader retreat, resetting and maybe teaching them some of authenticity therapy, which is what I do and what I created, and which is inner child work. So why not travel, be in the most fabulous place on Earth, and then journey inward at the same time, because that's what my work is about. So I combined the outward journey with inward journeying. And that's what I do. I'm a guide, an expert guide in Italy, because I'm fluent in Italian, partly grew up in Italy, and expert guide inward to your inner child. And I know exactly how to do that in four steps. Because 10 years of research on this, oh,


I really want to get into all of that and talk about the authenticity piece and how you developed a whole therapeutic model. I think that's amazing through research, and now you're teaching it. So So you just go to this place in Italy, I guess you've never been before to that particular area. And it's just like this, this is it. This place is calling to me. I'm going to figure out how to be here more I would, I couldn't think of a more beautiful place to just teach this modality to therapists. So you're fluent and Italian? Does that mean that your retreats are run in Italian, like only Italian therapist or the American therapist? How do you how do that work?


It is an all American therapists logged into the Italian crowd yet. Also, I don't know my terminology in Italian. But yes, we just go to Italy. And I teach them it's an introductory course, while it's also a deep reset for the therapists. They connect within and they reset their own nervous system and reconnect with their own inner child with their own higher self or whatever you want to call it with the university's intelligence within us. And I know just how to do that, because I did this seven year research on basically it all started out if you want to know the details on that I


would love to because I love hearing stories like this, because part of this podcast is how do we develop other income streams based around our passions, you know, and it sounds like not only being a therapist, but hopefully we'll get into this a little bit. You've done a ton of research and you turn that into your own therapeutic modality based on your research. I think that's amazing. And there's other parts there too, that we could talk about, like you wrote a book. And you know, I'd love to just talk about all of that. So yes, please tell us how did you go from like, Oh, I'm noticing this and then like, I'm gonna start doing some research and then turning it into your own modality. I'd love to just hear about the whole process because there's probably people listening that are like, Yeah, I've got my own modality. Me too, but I haven't done anything with it. So I'd love to talk about that. Yeah,


sure. Of course, well, I didn't set out to create a modality, per se at all, actually, yes, it all started with good old fashioned shame. Because what happened is that when I opened my first private practice back in 2000, in South Windsor, Connecticut, I went around, knocked on doors, introduced myself to doctors and psychiatrist and one of them asked me the question, so what's your angle in therapy? Systemic therapies being an LMFT I didn't have a quick answer to that because I was trained in in an eclectic way like we're most of us are trained in and we just piecemeal therapy together according to my clients. Ah, so I couldn't really answer right away. And then I, what came out of my mouth is something I was horrified to hear. Which was, I don't know, but it works. Which is both ignorant. And, you know, arrogant and


I love it. Actually. I totally get it. Like, I don't know how I do what I do, but I do it. Exactly


what to do it and it works. Yeah,


that's right.


Afterwards, I was mortified. You know, and my, my very poor attempt to elicit or solicit referrals, right? Yes, right. Afterwards, I thought to myself, Okay, this doesn't fly with you that this doesn't. I have to know why it works. Because it did work. I just had no idea why. And just for my own sake, for my own conscious sake, nice to ask each and every one of my clients in each and every session, how come you're feeling better? That's how it's done. Justice, I understand. And I decided that there must be an underlying pattern. I just don't know what it is. I just took a block of yellow sticky notes and started to write very briefly down everything people said, they gave me a concise answer. Did I say something? Did you something, do something different? It's something happened in this week? How come you're feeling better? And I, I wrote it all down with no preconceptions, no sifting? Just very simple. And when I had a mountain of these, because I asked every client every session, and I started to look for common denominators. And she's down inches on them down. Are you sitting down? I did this for seven years. Because it took that long for the pattern to emerge. I mean, slowly, things started to emerge. But I didn't understand what this meant. And I knew I didn't know enough. And by the time four common denominators emerged, I knew it was done. I kind of felt it. So I then I sat down and looked at these four common denominators and looked for the interrelationship among them. How do they, you know, is that there must be a cyst, there must be a pattern here that I don't I'm not so and then it emerged, basically, I guess. And these were all four practices, that if you do in your relationship to yourself, hmm. Your feelings, your body sensations, which is how feelings are communicated to us, if you do these four things, you can't help but feel better. They're both there, all four of them are both necessary and sufficient for health. And it's all about need fulfillment in real time. Trusting the body which flies in the face of our culture, our country's horrified of trusting the body, oh my God, you're gonna become a criminal, or a an up and adulterer or a thief. If you listen to your instincts, it's not true. Just gonna version of you in love with your own stuff with your inner child in adoration in humble surrender to the truth inside of you, in real time, and this way, by doing these four things, you rebalance yourself in real time. ongoingly. And seeing little rebalancing at a time adds up into health, which feels like joy, which is another square in our culture. Joy is not something you're supposed to actually feel all the time. But it could just like babies do when they get what they need. more things than babies do. Yes,


I love that. Yeah. And just being being connected to the four things helps you probably not maybe not joy, but just feel content and authentic, I guess. Yes, yeah.


This is actually the practice of inner guidance, how to listen to your own self. In order to know what to say next, and what to do next. And what to choose next. amazes on the truth within not on what you think others expect of you, not what your brain chatter says. preys on present moment, awareness and experience, based on feeling as opposed to being numb and not feeling exactly. Authenticity therapy really leads you back to your own body's information and does away with any obstacle in the way including trauma. So trauma resolution is embedded in this in this model. And when I started to use this model in my own practice, and I was flip flopping between my old way and my new way, my old way I was floundering and you know Attending. But effectively, I mean, I knew lions dead. But what would I found out from what anticipate therapy from this whole research is that they know more than I do. But they don't know either their body knows. To my truth, I can guide them back into their own inner wisdom. And when that happens, they don't need me anymore. They can. They can, they're establishing positive self parenting, and passive self parenting is really the key to health. It's a new.


Amazing. So you discover all this through your research, and then you start using it. And you're seeing that this is really effective. It's helping my clients and, and then is the idea, okay, I need to share this with the world, I need to put this in a book, I need to start teaching this to people. So what was that process like for you? It was arduous.


And I was sitting for years with this information and bursting at the seams with it. And being always frustrated, and not knowing how to get it out of my system. And I went to this retreat center, and I met this very well known published author in the elevator and I asked her, I have a question to you. How did you write your book? I mean, how I just can't get, I don't know how to do this. And she said in a very flippant way, she said, just write it. And I was I was so mad at her for just brushing me off like that. But then what that helped me because then I realized, okay, okay, I need I need, I need to make space in my life for this. So I decided to make myself sit down at the computer every morning nine to 10. And whether or not whether you're right or not, that's what I'm gonna do. And that's what I did. And the moment I sat down at that computer, it just flew out of me. And it took a whole year. And I really think I channeled this one book because it just blew out. I mean, I decided to write it for the general audience is not for the for the legal audience, not for the profession. I think that was a mistake. In retrospect, I should have written it for the profession, and writing one for the profession now. Oh, amazing.


Yeah. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, that's amazing. Yeah, that's how I am to like, I'll get ideas, and then it just like has to come out of me like it feels so in them when I, you know, until I sit down, like you said, and really start to just like, Okay, I'm doing this, then it flows, you know, and I just love that because I feel that same way. A lot of times it just like, I can't stop until I get it out of me. You know, once I start similar, similar to and I love that like the channeling, like for my higher who knows where but I could totally relate to that. Because I get that same like inspiration myself.


I guess that's wonderful. Yeah,


I love hear that. Yeah, it's like it has to be shared. I totally get that. Okay, so the book pours out. And what's that process? Like? Do you self publish? Do you find somebody to help you publish, and I found


I, it was a hybrid, so called hybrid publish publication. So through an actual publishing company, I self published through a publishing company. So it's called hybrid. And the problem with that is that there is no advertisement I can afford advertising my book. Yes, I know what I know. I don't know anything. Yes. And this is the problem. Because now it's, I feel like, I still feel like I'm stuck with this gigantic piece of information. I feel like I'm sitting on a diamond mound, a mountain of diamonds, that's how I feel guilty, and I need to get it out. So I'm still bursting by the sun. But finally, things are flowing. You know, I've been doing the retreats and the trainings. Now for two years, I've been invited to major conferences to present it. So things are really beginning to kick in. And so, but it takes that kind of nitty gritty work of organizing channels and ways and attempts, it's to get the word out, but it's very, very frustrating and very, very slow, because I throw spaghetti on the wall, and one out of 100 maybe sticks halfway down. You know, it's like, I have to start all over. But it's beginning to I really believe that this is the next level of psychotherapy, it really integrates and pulls together. Everything that we know that works in the most potent and streamlined of ways. And it really just evolved from that one little thing that I needed to know why it works. Yeah. Ah,


I love that story so much. It's amazing to me. Okay, so So and then you were all always a traveler, but now it's like okay, now I have something I just have to put out into the world. So I'm Also I get to travel and do this with retreats. Are they always in southern Italy? Or are they? Do you go all over the world? Or how do you how do you work that? And do you try to like pick places where you can travel? Like, I'm just curious about that process for you?


So originally, I was thinking that I would do it all around the world. Yeah. Actually, I did one in Costa Rica as well. And we're in Italy, and I'm going back to Italy in a week to lead another one. But targeted through the whole thing about doing this in Italy, was came out of emotionally for me, out of lack of enough confidence in my work, even though it was it was diamond. Nobody knows about it. So how can I get people to come and listen to this unless I attach it to something irresistible, like the Saudi visa, right, that has started. And then I was thinking, I will do it in France, in Greece, and you know, all kinds of beautiful places. But now, I'm realizing I don't have to go anywhere, you know, this work standard stands on its own. I like to go places. And I like to give that experience after that experience. And it's been life changing for everybody who ever came. So I get feedback forms for the CPUs, because I have received, and it's always the life changing term is always in there. Because people get to reset it, they get to connect inwards, they get to really transform their own relationship with themselves, and then get back into their practice. Because the thing with this kind of therapy is that you can only help others to the degree that you can help yourself. It's even more true with authenticity therapy, because otherwise, we are living in our blind spots. We don't see what we don't see. Yeah. And I can only help you to connect with him to the degree that I'm connected with him. So I'm beginning to teach. So I have a training coming up in Austin, Texas in November, anything. Yeah, I'm gonna do one in Connecticut. Soon. I do one day trainings, I do 10 day trainings when it's including the trauma skills. So, which is a certification training? So I don't know, I'm having fun. And yeah, I often enjoy the joy of life, you know, it's almost like I'm letting myself being guided intuitively, just like what authentic therapy dictates, which is to live intuitively. Yes.


Yeah. I was gonna say, as you're folding more into your own method, you're realizing like you said, like, Oh, I thought I had to have these beautiful places to prop it up. But now I could see I could do it anywhere. I could do it from home and Connecticut, if I wanted to. Yes, yes. Which is amazing. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. So So what is the name of your book, we haven't even said it. So


the books name is apple of my eye, like, am I the four practices of self love. It does have the whole, the whole shebang is in this book, from A to Z. And I really feel the need now to write to write a book just for therapists. Because there's so much more to it. You know how to get people to that point. Yes, they can do this and how to undo obstacles in the way, whether it's cultural, or upbringing, or role models, or trauma, or religious or other beliefs and an act that may be in the way of us loving ourselves. And there's plenty of that in our culture. This model turns out to be this this way of thinking turns out to be really the medicine, the heirs of our Western culture, as of distraction of too much activity of consumerism, in a way as a substitute, to meet real needs to addictions, you know, not to talk about traumas, which are rampant, you know, the traumas of abuse and neglect, and other traumas. So, there's a lot to being able to bring people back to where they belong, on the right track in their relationship with themselves because when you heal that relationship, everything else falls into place, your outer ship will follow suit, because you won't put up with anything less than anything less love and care and presence and attention and kindness and soothing and communication, healthy communication and delivering to the needs mutually in ships, you know, but this is the foundation because we put up with less than when we have less than in our own relationship to ourselves.


makes so much sense. Absolutely. Yes. I will. I love that so much and I love now that you're that you've written one for the general public and now you're gonna go back and and sort of talk about, obviously what you're training on, I guess the 10 day training, putting that into a book so that therapists can learn this method to That's amazing. It did you say there's also a certification with it it to be certified in the authenticity therapy? Is that the certification? Oh my gosh, that's amazing. Yes. I had amazing accomplishment to develop the research it, develop it and then turn it into a certification. That's amazing to me that that's fantastic. Yeah, yes.


Okay. And


thank you. Yeah,


I think it's this is to in each one of our lives, our lives, you know, that things build what you do, by little by little by little, even without a vision, I didn't have this vision, it just called on its own. And it's true for each one of us, you know, what we do, it's about exercise or nutrition or, or how we speak and how we express ourselves and how we relate and how we think all these things add up and up and up and up and up and up, let alone the things that we actually do with our hands or with our minds. And then something comes out of it. Usually, you know, it doesn't have to be a book, a beautiful line out of it, which is the definition of success. You know,


absolutely. absolute peace


in our hearts, alignment, alignment between your mind and your body. Between exactly in a chat.


Exactly. And that's, you know, that's really one of the reasons I started this podcast is because I wanted therapists and anybody to know that you want to live in Italy for a month, or you want to, you know, whatever that inner calling is that you say I can't do it, I can't you know, I've got to stay in my state of licensure, I've got to, you know, only see this type of client, I've got to have an office, you know, all of these like rules that are put upon us, when really there's that inner like longing or calling inside that we don't listen to all the time. So that's part of this podcast is like, listen to these stories, these inspirational stories, like if you just tune inward and really follow what your heart wants, or I don't know, if you call it your heart, or whatever your intuition, whatever it is, once you can have what you said that that definition of success, which is a happy life, basically following your true inner calling. Yeah.


salutely I love I love your vision, and I love your passion for this. I love what you're doing. Because it's, it's it reaches for me, it's allowing joy, it's allowing harmony, it's allowing peace, it's allowing, enjoying your life, which is really the way health feels like, you know, if if traveling costs to you, because you love it because you love to explore because it makes you excited. And, and enriched. That's what you need to reach for. If you on the other hand. You see there are two main motivations for anything in life. Whether it's out of love, like what I was not bad right now, or whether it's our fear, right? People my like to travel because they are afraid of being in their own skin and feel. So they need new stimulation, new places, new environments, new whatever, to escape. Yeah, exactly. Right. And that would be disconnecting, it wouldn't be as joyful to be away, it would be just a relief to not have to feel, you know, exactly


right. Yep. Yeah, it could go either way. You're so right about that. Yeah, it could be used as a defense mechanism or a connection to your ultimate joy. Yeah, level of fear.


Exactly. And any job as therapists to be clear with our own selves, as to doing what we are doing, how are we really feeling? What is our relationship to our own feelings, because we deal with feelings we deal in feelings, that's our field, you know, and the We Are the drop in the ocean that has all the elements in it already. So we have to really take a look at the draft and understand it deeply and heal it deeply. So that we can exude that healing, whether through knowledge or actions or words or, or just energy to others effortlessly. effort alone, a lot of times travel because we are burned out because we have been left alone away from everybody and be able to tap in. That's that's actually the main reason why at this point, I do retreats abroad as well, because we sometimes we do need to get away to have silence and solitude and the ability to tap in. Mm hmm.


Absolutely. Outside of our environment. Yeah. Outside of her environment that might be family and work and all that stress that can be connected to the place that you're actually living. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Amazing. So, so how do people work with you? They want to come to your retreats or you know, we talked about your book, but where do they find your book? How do people connect with you? So


I their website www. Unit marrows that comm that's why you do it that ma R or, I have an email unit Yeah, I am highly reachable. And all my retreats are on my website and trainings. And I'm going to present at the MFT conference in Orlando in in November, and I will be certification training in November in Austin, Texas. So it's amazing, those other things coming up. But I would love I would love it if people would come because that's the thing, I'm bursting to share this. Yeah, more people need to know about this, because it will click things into place. And as I didn't finish the thought about, you know, this is a new new paradigm, it's a new culture, focusing from the external to the external from distraction to inner connection, from survival to thriving, it's a whole new paradigm from suffering to peace, you know, and, and so we are at the forefront of basically the way this is the way I see myself and my students, we are at the forefront of changing the paradigm, the cultural paradigm, not just the therapeutic paradigm, you know, to this whole new idea that thriving is our birthright, and it may is made of self need fulfillment, which is made of positive self parenting, which is love, love Safwan amazing.


Yeah, and what you're doing is so important. And I feel the same way. Like when it channels through me, I have to give it to other people because it is a trickle down effect. You know, it's like, Yes, I give, you know, time is based in Georgia travel and permission and all that. And then the therapist is happy and not burned out. And then the therapist is giving that to their clients, their clients are giving that to their families and the rest of the world. And it's this trickle down effect. And that sounds just like what what you're doing with with the information you're giving the world to it starts in your conferences and your trainings and then trickles down to other therapists and their clients. And it's just it's amazing. Yeah, yes,


we are both doing the same exact thing. And I think each each therapist every word we say everything we do, every angle we use will reverberate you know in the system of the client's family, and then outwards from there. And in our own systems.


Amazing. Oh my gosh, thank you so much. So all of your information will be in the show notes too. So hopefully people can click through and find out about your retreats and attend them and grab your book and I'll be looking for the therapist edition that comes out too.


Thank you so much. I really appreciate so much for inviting me. Thank you for coming in good luck with your traveling and with spreading the word and with giving permission and ideas to our most impacted class of citizens were just set up is yes. Or need the most positive influx of information and experiences in order to offset all the pain that we are dealing with in our profession.


Yeah, everything we see day in and day out. That's right. Yeah. Thank you. Thank


you for doing this

Listen to the Previous Episode

In this episode of the Traveling Therapist podcast, Kym Tolson chats with Colleen Kelly, a therapist whose career has taken her from American Indian reservations to the heart of Paris. Colleen shares her unique journey of integrating her therapy practice with her love for travel, detailing how she transitioned into roles that blend mental health, marketing, and technology. Throughout the conversation, she provides a wealth of insight into the challenges and rewards of moving a therapy practice across continents and explores innovative ways therapists can expand their professional roles.

Colleen's personal story illustrates the potential for therapists to diversify their careers beyond traditional settings. She discusses the importance of adaptability, the use of digital platforms to enhance practice, and practical tips for therapists considering an international move, including the critical role of immigration lawyers and leveraging technology in mental health.

Key Points:

Connect with Colleen Kelly:

Director International Marketing and Technology Development 

HapTech Holdings

(33) 06 07 11 97 23

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Instagram: @thetravelingtherapist_kym

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Hi, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Travelling therapist podcast. Super excited today to have Colleen Kelly with us. She is a member of the traveling therapist, Facebook group and super helpful. She's always offering suggestions and helpful content to the new members who are trying to become traveling therapist. So I was really excited when she agreed to come on and do an episode with us because she has a very interesting story that I think a lot of the listeners are going to be thrilled to hear about. So Colleen, welcome. And I love if you would start out with just talking about how you went from being a traditional therapist to a traveling therapist.


Yes. Okay. So my background story was originally growing up and my dad worked on American Indian reservations in New York state. So I, when I got my master's at Antioch, I worked for five years on Indian Reservation. So I worked all over from North Dakota, South Dakota down through California, I worked for the Southern California Indian Center. And then after that, I ended up making a big switch and working at Thomas's Malibu. So yeah, many years I was the Director of the Family Program, very traditional life at the time, actually, I hired my best friend who's Dr. Reza nabavi. And then we opened up resolutions after in Santa Monica. So we had an office in Santa Monica, and the IOP thing oh, there, he's doing amazing. And very traditional. And then I started working online when my husband and I I'm actually 31 year sober in AAA 30 years. Congratulations. You. Yeah, like, I guess when very, very similar souls we came to, we traveled constantly. It was my it's, it was just my obsession. So I go to Hawaii all the time. I have two daughters. Now. They're 21 and 23, which is crazy. But we grew up traveling all over California, just out of Tahiti once a year, Hawaii many times, Pacific Western Hawaii, so many times you're in Hawaii, and I. So I've been a MFT licensed MFT for 28 years. And ego I can tell you the whole time. Like when I first got licensed and my babies were tiny. And I put in that little sounds of sparse DD and sat in my office. I was like, No way. This is no way what I'm meant to do. So yes, launch along with Yeah, along with being a therapist, I've always been a therapist. I've also always done marketing and branding for treatment centers. So I Interesting. Yeah, I must have toured, I think about I think 240 treatment centers in the US and became a placement expert. So if someone needs any type of mental health, eating disorder, substance abuse, whatever it is, I can help place them and arrange that. So I've done that whole time along with being a therapist. And then we would come here my daughters and my husband I every summer for vacation. If parents it was two weeks, four weeks, six weeks, and we cry when leaving, and the girls were like, wow.


Oh, God, like I don't know


how you move here. And then once honestly, Can you swear on the podcast? Yeah,


you can say whatever you want.


We're standing by the sand when, like eight years ago, and he goes, we should we could just move here. I said, John, it would be so hard he goes, or we could just say fuck it and do it. And I said, You know what? Yeah, yeah. And it was August and we moved in September, we got an immigration Oh,


I just like in a month, you were like, fuck it. And then we were vacationing


and I got and I said, okay, and I got an apartment. And John came back in September, and we were there a couple more months wrapping up school to so that they could go they moved at 14 and 16. God bless them. Oh, my gosh, the hard time. Like how is France learn the language and they did it. But we went to an immigration lawyer and my cousin was like, I was born here at the American Hospital. And he's like, yeah, there's no 14th amendment, like no one cares. So we do what everyone did. We did a work. We have worked thesis. Okay. Here's this little different than mine. So we got an immigration lawyer, and I highly recommend it. The okay. I don't know, if every country is like this in France. It's like a phonebook of paperwork. I've heard


this yes about other countries do that, like get a lawyer


so much. It saves you so much time and like not missing one because they kind of like, they want you to miss that one form to say, come back. So you want to go with everything. And my lawyer comes with me to the prefecture I'm actually going in a couple of weeks ago, when we moved here and I originally opened an office, different countries have different rules for being a therapist, but France is very there's no regulation unless you're a psychologist. Okay? If W MFT anything, you just come here and open. But you have to get a work visa and not but the clinical side site so is a UK. So I came here and I had a little tiny private practice and office here just working with expats not good enough to work in French at the time. And I also was really lucky to hook up with Castle Craig Hospital in UK, BEST Treatment Center literally in Europe, in Scotland. And they also have smarter more castle in Ireland. And they have an outpatient Amsterdam and Sweden where it was last week. Oh my gosh. Well, I do a lot for them. I did there. Actually, this is really cool. I feel like I'm going to be speaking too much. It's fine.


Go ahead. I normally I would ask questions. For now,


we find ourselves. But they're having a big they have a reunion every June with like hundreds of people and they asked me to be the keynote speaker this year. So I'm going to be the oh, that I've worked there at Castle Craig. I've worked at their outpatient catch. And I just love that rehab. So I placed a lot of people there. And so that's my life was coming to France and starting out and either UK is very easy to I've worked a lot in the UK. Everything here. It's amazing. It's like an hour away. It's like or an hour, two hours on a flight. It's so great. We mean the girls traveled constantly. And there was a thing called icad before which was like speaker series like a conference that traveled all over before COVID. And I was lucky that Sam Quinlan asked me to be a keynote speaker and I went to like every major city in Europe at the time I was. Yeah, I was great. I spoke about the transgenerational grief from genocide in the American Indian, Northern Irish and Palestinian community. And that was my time. Yes. That is such a great opportunity right before COVID. So a year of traveling doing that. And that's what has So Craig, I worked was working for them at that point that was working for them. And I was repping as a marketer, Cirque Lodge in Utah and visions as Assistant Program. Yeah. So yeah, so I was repping them as a marketer. And before I moved to speaking Hawaii, I got to do the marketing for Pacific quest in Hawaii one year ago to Hawaii every month, and my only job was to bring five therapists with us such a dream so much. Yeah, I've always liked to blend like the marketing too. And the branding. Yeah. With being a therapist. So then we moved to France, and we're here and I'm seeing clients and my friend. I don't know if you know Dr. Steve Danziger. He's one of the biggest EMDR people. Yeah, I think I've heard that. Yeah, they've written seven books together. Jamie's I think, like the head of emdria, or something big and emdria thieve, who I knew from New York City in the 90s, who I knew as CVD with long hair as a punk rock drummer, we got sober. Lilian, wow. It's been a while you market my company. I was like, What is it, and I'm in Paris. He's like, I want to expand to Europe. So it's called start again, associates and start again, we go into a treatment center, and we train the whole staff and EMDR on the sorry that all the therapists in EMDR, get them certified. And we trained the staff in trauma, resilience and mindfulness, and then certify them as a trauma, same thing we've done and from speaking at icad, a really great guy named Patty Creedon, who's Irish saw me and reached out to me and I hooked up with him and I introduced him to Steve is now based in Ireland at the Dundalk Institute of Technology and the REIT in an incubator program for five years with things like Amazon health and a whole bunch of really cool programs. And the reason we're there, I'm trying to like fit everything into give you the other things start again has is we own we have 16 patents for a technology, which is a haptic technology. That is it started out being like subwoofers in sneakers, and you pair us you pair the music with your Bluetooth iPhone or whatever you're listening to Bluetooth wireless, and it plays a full body. So you could get up to your music or gaming or a movie or anything. It's just like,


is it like a binaural beat or something that's just playing in the background?


Do you could easily do that?


A anything you want to stream anything? Yeah,


if you do. You if you play music, it's like you're at a concert like your chest is pounding. It's an all yourself. So tech is really growing now. That's my main focus now. Yours I'm kind of leaving. I have like 10 clients left. I'm trying to wind down on the whole therapy. Yes, I understand. That half tech is my baby. And I have a contract with the Veterans Association in the VA in America. We're doing for their funding for study. is on Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, PTSD and anxiety. And so far we've been, it's proven extremely, extremely helpful in those. So there's health care information.


Yeah, yes,


get we've had it for two years now we've taken it out of sneakers, and we've made insoles with it. So you can put in any shoe. And we've made floorboards. So any treatment center can have a floorboard. And we've made thin thin floorboards. So they're using it. One of our South Korean investors is using it in theaters and movie theaters and spas. for it, so you could do a total immersive experience, even as the floors are Yeah, so it's really big in gaming, healthcare, entertainment. Yeah.


So that's so passion now, from the mental health perspective, or the impeachment perspective. How does that How did that work? Like, maybe explain that to me, so it's like putting insoles and advice through your body,


exactly. Mental rehab, I would suggest the floorboards because you don't want to have a bunch of shoes like a bowling alley. So they could just Yeah, their shoes, just put it. They can use it for grounding for resourcing for EMDR, or all kinds of things.


That is fascinating. Break up, you can


play you to a beautiful day, and sneakers and see played and he came in next week. And he's like, I had the best week of my life every time I heard beautiful, like so it's really like a complete immersion. Really great with Health Care application aiding, actually with the anxiety and PTSD and old timers. And yeah, so that's what I do now. So that's my baby now is hap tech and started again. And we have a third feature, which is our nonprofit with a 501 C three PC. AND, OR and it's called trauma 2030. And we are working cross border in Ireland with people affected by the troubles. And our goal is to work all over the world with thought leaders, governments mental health using a trauma informed language. Our next thing is as well remotely into Gaza and Palestine because I used to do a lot with us. I'm in the Syrian Medical Association work a lot in the Middle East. So yeah, so we have the nonprofit branch also. Yeah. And fascinating. So the last thing I'm doing is I


like me, it's like


yeah, what it's great to diversify the one marketing. Your marketing contract I'm doing right now is with a place in southern Spain in Marbella called Asgard. Sober Living, and it's these Icelandic guys. Asgard is the where the gods live in Norse mythology. And it's a at secondary tier at aftercare, sober living, which is just amazing on the beach in Marbella. And we're having great luck there. So I get to go to Iceland, and I was just in Sweden for them. And I get to go down to southern Spain and go swimming. It's an amazing place. Yeah, I


guess what a what an amazing life with so I'm really grateful. My goal was suppressible like,


that was my favorite thing in life. And so everything I've done, I've been like, How can I do this? Traveling? Yes, what possible?


So I'm just I'm so I want to talk about the Paris thing a little bit too. But I'm super curious just about like, marketing for facilities. You know, I I am a certified substance abuse counselor. I had been worked inpatient, outpatient, yeah, many years now, and just private practice. But you know, I had wonderful connections with different people, marketing people, slash therapists, and all these facilities. And I always wondered, like, how do they get these jobs? Because if, you know, it feels like they would just travel from facility to facility. And they also helped always helped me coordinate treatment options for whoever I was working with at the time that needed to go in. Yes. But I'm just curious, like, for therapists, listening, is this a viable option of a therapist maybe wants to get out of the direct care but want to be involved in treatment and and get to travel and share about, you know, residential facilities? Is that something that therapists can? Do? They really,


absolutely can. I think the only thing you need is somewhat of a business background. And also the sense of being really outgoing. Like I said to my husband was, I want a job where I get paid to have dinner with people and he's like, Well, honey, I don't know if that exists. And it's like, I thought you're like, yes, it does.


I guess I found it doing this


and you find programs you really believe in and I don't have to Yeah, no hurt Garvey from America from California to he's like, the marketing guru for about 40 years. He's like the most amazing wow. And he works for pch, and visions right now. He's worked everywhere. And he said to me many many years ago, he said you're a marketer, too, because I was an actor in a past life. I went to NYU Tisch School of the Arts and Mike, outgoing and I was like, No, I don't think so. But he trained me and he and Keith Berman from circle lodge arts. They're so full of integrity. No matter where any of us work, if someone called us and they belong somewhere else, we put them somewhere else. That's the marketer is you serve the client first, the clients best, and you will always work. And you know, people will trust you, because you're not like trying to put them in your place. And so that's how you get so many referrals and so many, because they know I'm always in the best place. And I know oop, America, Asia, like just where that is Thailand. Yeah. So the main thing is, like, lead with integrity. Know, everyone. And yeah, you definitely do it.


You could totally do it. Yeah. I mean, some of the people I can't even think of their names right now. I would mention them to you probably know, we have people I worked with, but that was so long ago. Now. That seems like Yeah, but they helped me so much. You know, just Yeah, patient therapist specializing in in, you know, substance use disorders or whatever. Just like, Hey, I've got this person, they've got this insurance, you know, yes. Yeah, help me get help me get them there and help me get them like, you know, connected to intake and get them going. You know, so the whole people like you that that were right there to help me along the way. So I love that. Yeah. So just going back to the parents thing for a minute. Yeah, it sounded like you said your husband was born there. So does he have dual citizenship or no? American? It means nothing. Okay. 14th amendment?


Yeah, there was no Gotcha. He's in the same position as me. But we are both applying for citizenship now. Because you as soon as we came, we want to be residents, and we pay taxes as soon as we got here. Okay. Okay. After five years, and we're here now seven, you can apply for citizenship. But the new thing is you have to be I don't know if every country has this. There's different levels of language. A one eight, D one? Oh, yeah. Yeah. They just changed it made it harder ufpb to Oh, so I'm gonna really study this year and we'll apply for citizenship. It will like everything take forever. So that's my goal is citizenship are for both of us French citizenship


by Can you just stay as long as you have that work for you?


Because keep renewing them. I have another appointment. John just got he just passed the b1 exam and got tenure citizenship. I'm not I can't pass the b1 exam yet. But you know, I mean, I live my life in French speaking French, but I can't pass the b1 written. So I have four year four year residency visa does work. If


he's a citizen now and you're married, that doesn't just like grandpa,


no. President he has tenure residency. So both applying for the Yeah, but no, unless he was born French otherwise, like his mom has Irish residency that doesn't do anything for us. Yeah,


yes. Gotcha. So as far as your business entities go, just as a therapist, are you just strictly seeing clients in France and in Europe? Are you seeing clients back in the United States? No.


I gave up on that. Because I make more just seeing my clients in California. My entry and so I'm like, Wait, what am I doing? So yeah, so I just see. See clients mostly in California, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia. Middle East. That's because


yeah, that those places pay better. I'm assuming is that is that there?


Well, yeah. The high end. Yeah, yeah. I got used to working. I mean, promises really set me up. I have them to die that


have Yeah, they're very, I mean, Italy. I mean, everybody make promises. Yeah. Oh, my God.


I went from the Indian reservations, which was the best time I like to promises, which is really funny. That is amazing. That is the same. You realize, okay, we're all on the same page. Yeah, yes.


Absolutely. Yep. Yeah. So amazing. So as far as like taxes go, do you have an address that you maintain in California and you have to pay taxes to California or


like Ramadan bliss, because I'm really lucky. We own our place. We own a so he's renting from us. And but you get an expat section, you still pay tax, but you'll get it back and we just mostly not double pay. You don't double pay at first. But you'll get it back. You don't you don't have to worry about double paying tax. But we have a thing in the US we use and we have an accountant in France, so you do have to double count to make sure everything is you know, done. Yeah, so it's art smart. Yep. And in all the work you do in I guess Europe and in the speaking and all that stuff, is that considered only taxable in France? Or is that your business? Okay,


cool. I


try to make everything go into my French accounts. I want to show them you know that you want me here?


Yeah, look, I'm bringing it. Yeah. So everything


goes into French account. Yeah, yeah. And a few things I still do. Like I still work for Reza, my best friend. I do things for him. The American but it's not that much and I get the tax back anyway. So it's fine. So interesting.


Yeah. So I'm trying to think of there anything I haven't asked you about that, that somebody might want to know a therapist that they do want to move to France?


I think on the group's I see, I mean, like anything, of course, you see a lot of misinformation. But there's a lot, it's a lot easier, they will think if you get a really good portfolio together, you're going to need to show the country you want to move to that you are bringing your business there, but you are not going to click off their system. You're not going to take a job from Spanish, German, French person, you're bringing a business and you can do it. You just have to show you make find out that country. How much do they need you to make a month and then move you're gonna make it and again, an immigration lawyer. I can't even tell you it's so worth it. We've been here six years, we still use them. He's going with the we go the prefecture and they are yelling in French and each other I could never do that. And it works out. Yeah. Wow. We have them. Yeah. It's so amazing.


Yes. Now your daughter's so when you moved there? I'm assuming they were still in school. Did you? How did that work? I'm just curious for people that might want to bring their kids like it was


I mean, you just told them in French school and it was really hard. They haven't had to pay. I can't remember what the program is called. But it's like you. They slowly integrate into French in the public school system. And they teach you slower and you kind of like integrate into main classes. Maeve, we found a great bilingual school and youngest who's like perfect French, like off the chart, like she goes to immigration. And she talks to them and they stick with your passport. And then they go You're American and Asian X I'm like damn, but he took the back the baccalaureate, international baccalaureate, she got Libya and she did amazing. And she went to a bilingual school in INSEAD right. I Paris. I remember at the time she goes, Do you know what bilingual means? And I was like, what do you what I thought was like half English, half French. She goes, Yeah, every single class is in French. Every class I take is in French. There's two extra classes in English to help people learn English and I was like, oh, sorry.


Wow, you're like, sorry.


I look up to them so much.


They must be amazing.


The French is amazing. Yeah. Wow. Really good. I sadly have got to catch up.


This is my travel. I would be in trouble if I had to learn a new language.


This age I'm telling ya. Yeah, but we just travel I can't I was the best thing we ever did. We like it's so like, every summer we spent a month down the Riviera. We spent like in con or in the sand like I get to I've been to Iceland five times. It's just I can't I love it here so much every day I'm like John said the best thing he goes you know, it'll still be life will move here. It will still have problems. But we'll be surrounded by Paris while we have Yes.


I walked around like making weight makes it way better. Yeah. So


much. Yeah. We go to the fixture and I say to them I go Jim the fans come see said they own person. I love France as if it was a person and they're like


they're like, Okay, lady, like, Okay,


do you have this form like Jesus? Oh, that's, I love to hear like, I'm still a tourist. I do. Yeah.


I love. I love when you post pictures in the traveling therapists group. You're like, oh, I can't believe I live here are these beautiful pictures at Paris? That's like, Yeah, I can't either. It's


great. But we're never going back. I've packed so few times. I even well, I shouldn't say it's all right. I love America. I'm kidding. But I say to my kids, I want to make a tick tock is a joke like me getting off the plane. And a little tick tock seeing the American flag when I visit and just oh my god. I'm kidding. I love America. But like I just I do not ever want to go back. I love France so much in the EU and


ever made really. It's so cool to just be able to just country have really yeah, they're just got all y'all need.


Yeah, we go to Italy all the time. And you remember that? Call me by your name. I was really great movie. My daughter saw it very LGBTQ amazing movie. They were like, I want grandma. It's a little town in Italy in the middle of nowhere. We last summer we went we spent a week in Chroma and went everywhere that they shot. Call me


that. Oh God. That is amazing.


It's amazing. Yeah.


I love it. Oh, gosh. Well, thank you so much for sharing all this your inspiration around the speaking in the marketing and these other products you're developing like Yes, really. I hopefully is going to inspire people listening to Nick you're just you could branch out don't have to just be a


science now. I was like 510 All the sudden Yeah. Yeah. I can relate


mine are slowly drifting, not letting anyone.


Yeah. And I also being in our own therapy, I've never not been in therapy. It's so important. Yes,


yes. Yes, absolutely. Yeah. And making that work. I mean, I guess being being grounded there in Paris, you're able to probably see somebody or maybe, where's your therapist? How do you manage that? It just curious. USA.


I have the weirdest hours. Yeah, I'll like send out an email. And so we'll be right back because it's time stamped like, is it two sets of 3am? I'm like, embarrassed.


That's how my nails are two hours.


I see people sometimes it's 7am. Or I'll have a meeting at midnight. Yeah,


I hear you. I hear you. Gosh, thank you so much. So people wanted to reach out to you to talk to you work with you. How would they find you?


I gave you all my little my website. All my little contacts here. They could see more about haptic or Asgard. I


give you all the websites. Yeah. I'll put them in the show notes. And anybody can reach out to me. I'll tell


you how to move here to Europe.


Excellent. Yeah, that's Yeah. And you're in the Facebook group, if anybody listening is in there. Yeah. Yeah. She's super helpful when people ask questions about thank you so much for making it work. Thank you for taking the time.


Thank you.

Listen to the Previous Episode

In this episode of The Traveling Therapist, Eleni Paris shares her transformative journey from a traditional therapist to embracing a fully online practice. This shift was significantly motivated by the need to better accommodate the demanding care for her special needs daughter. Eleni discusses the profound impact this change has had on her personal and professional life, offering insights into how she balances her career with her caregiving responsibilities. She highlights the importance of flexibility in her work schedule, which allows her to be there for her daughter while continuing to pursue her passion for therapy.

Key Points

About Eleni Paris:

Eleni is a licensed marriage and family therapist in the Tampa Bay area with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in marriage and family therapy, both from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She has over 20 years of professional experience, including clinical work, workshop and seminar presentations, discussion and support groups, writing contributions, collaborative work with various health professionals, and wellness coaching. Eleni is a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and have been published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.

She is married and have two daughters, one with developmental disabilities. As a stay-at-home mom during her girls' childhood, she was faced with an abundance of commitments, in terms of helping her special needs daughter, and providing the ongoing support needed for both of her daughters. Parenting a special needs child and navigating the unique challenges involved, in combination with her professional background, has enabled her to help others gain the essential skills and tools that are needed in stressful life situations to cope, heal, and grow.

Ironically, Eleni’s Master's thesis and the JMFT publication were about the interplay between our personal and professional worlds and how one positively influences the other. She know she’s at this particular juncture as an entrepreneur and relationship therapist (a dream come true) due to her family journey as a special needs parent. After taking ample time to navigate the special needs world and tend to her family in ways she could not imagine, and reentering the workforce as a Y coach at the YMCA, she was led back to her passion as a relationship therapist and expanded upon this dream by becoming an entrepreneur. Eleni’s travel includes visiting family in a different state where she can continue working, which has added such rich elements to her career. She truly feel blessed to be at this exact moment of her personal and professional stage of life!

Connect with me:

Instagram: @thetravelingtherapist_kym

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Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Travelling therapists Podcast. I'm super excited today to have a Lenny Paris here with us today. I practiced her name. I'm glad to have you here, Eleni. I would love if you would just let everybody know how you went from being a traditional therapist to a traveling therapist.


Thank you, Kim. I'm so honored to be here. I'm so excited about this. So thank you.


Thank you. Thank you for being here. Yeah. So tell us about you. Yes, I


have a little bit of an interesting journey. So I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. I'm completely you know, all online. I love it. So I talk a lot about this. I'm very open, I have a special needs daughter. And so she requires a lot of caregiving and attention. And it's been a very unique journey. And so my years have included, you know, I've been in the field for over 20 years. But my clinical work always looked a little different kind of depending on where she was at and what we were doing for her. And with her. So I did a lot of I did a lot of clinical work. And I did a lot of you know, workshops and publications and things like that. But there had to come there was a time that I had to kind of pause my clinical work and just find other ways to implement my passion for marriage and family therapy, as I tended to her and the things that she needed. And my other daughter, I have another an older daughter. So two girls. Yeah. So anyway, I was in Arizona, it wasn't like I was licensed in Arizona for a little bit. And then I realized that her needs were just so great. And I just needed to really, again, pause at that point, Clint does with my clinical work. Yeah. So still keep my foot in the door in other ways. And then we moved to Florida some years later. And there was a time a few years ago that my professional wheels started turning again, and I Oh, yeah, I really wanted to just do something more and help again, and just it's always been such a passion of mine. I was I was ready to start working with people again. And but I still didn't know if the clinical space was going to fit with my personal world. Yes. So I decided to work at my Y. I was a y coach at the YMCA. Oh, okay. Yeah, in my neighborhood. It was an amazing job. I can't even tell you. I think it was a full bridge to bring me to here now. And I love that I go work out there myself. But I also took Sophia a lot. That's my daughter's name. It took Sophia. And I loved how they worked with her. And just I thought, Wow, maybe I could just work here a little bit. And yeah, so I went and interviewed and again, so again, my wheels were turning about clinical world, I still didn't know if I was ready yet or if it would be the best. Next step. So I went interviewed, and when I went for the interview, the director said, you know, we're about to open up this position for a relationship specialist. And wow. Oh, that mean, that sounds like that sounds like me, what is that? And he's like, Well, we're about to, you know, it's called a y coach. And we need someone that will just make people feel welcome and take classes with them and show them the gym equipment and help them with their health goals. And he just described this beautiful position. And I was really excited. It was an automatic. Yes. And Oh. So it was a beautiful, beautiful experience. And during that time, then as I met with people, I had people that would say, Gosh, you kind of feel like you're my therapist. So I see like,


actually, yeah,


yeah, yes. And so right before COVID hit, I actually had a very dear friend and my mom kind of sit me down and they're like, look, we love that you're so happy with this job. But we are like, What are you doing? When are you going to go back into your clinical world as a therapist again, because we know you love it, you work so hard for it. And this friend of mine, actually, she experienced my coaching at the Y and so she was she was like, I just think this you need to dive into it again. And it kind of pushed me to think about it. And then everything all the gyms closed down. Of course it was, you know, of course, a horrible, you know, sad thing that was happening left and right, and pushed me to inquire what it would take to be licensed in Florida. And thankfully, it was


a nice, smooth process. Nice. Yeah, because he had been moved to Florida. So you might as well start seeing clients in that state instead, right? Yes,


exactly. So that's what I did. And thankfully, it was a smooth process. And I was an independent contractor at a private practice for a few months. Again, because of my world was Sophia and just some other factors. I felt like I needed to take the next step even further to be on my own and I thought I was going to move into another space and another beautiful offer to rent a space. And as I was waiting for that to be ready for me, my online practice took off to realize Yeah, and I started to realize that it really fit my personal world my it was just a great great fit for my life at home. Yeah.


Oh, I love that so much especially with a special needs daughter. I mean that can be more flexible. I would think if you're at home it needs to help her attend to her whatever is going on. Yes.


I mean, she's, you know, she's at school all day. So I had all these hours to work but it's that it's the big in the morning and the eat the when I'm done so preparing and wrapping up I find myself a lot calmer because I still have to wait with her for the bus to come get her. But I'm not rushing to get somewhere. And that's that's really been helpful. It sounds it's kind of hard to explain. But just even that little, that little transition time is really, really important.


Oh my gosh, yeah. I mean, I found the same thing. When I finally went online. It was like, Ah, I don't have to do this like commute. I don't have to like get all dressed it. I mean, you could wear a party, you know, business on top party on the bottom. And you don't have to do all that. Time and it's just yeah, I totally I love being online. I could never go back to an office. I just don't even know how people do it.


Actually. Love it. I love it so much. I didn't know I was gonna love it. As much as I love it. Like I yeah, I was always open minded about it. And I saw the good but I used to always think I would always have an in person space. So not until I was forced to do this a lot. And then realize, wait a minute, I love this. I love this. And then the afternoons as well, you know, I can wrap up and just repair and just be ready for what I call, I call it the night shift when she comes off. So yeah, and I'm full in and I just love it. So all all those hours that I am I'm working. I'm just I just feel really blessed to be here again, because I wasn't sure if I would so yes, no,


and I you know, I just love the message of this this field that we're in really, I mean, you could do a lot of different things, but and always come back to the clinical work if you want to like yes, you know, I've got other income streams now. Like I see very few clients, but I also know it a time I didn't want to do that anymore. I could just totally go back and just see clients, you know, like that's always something you can go back that you can you can reduce your caseload, you can build it back up, you can take other jobs, you can come back to private practice. I it's so flexible, especially with the telehealth. Yeah. And


I think the other experiences we have positively influenced our clinical work. So yes, I know for a fact that my years that I took a break from the clinical space to tend to Sofia and do other things, like I said, always involved in the field. But I know for a fact that coming back into it now what I brought with me is just gold, my life experiences outside have brought, you know, just so many golden nuggets and beautiful rich life experiences to you know, for my clients.


Yes, absolutely. Yeah. And I think you kind of alluded to it before we hit record, but has has this changed your niche a little bit? Are you still like the couples and all that stuff? Or is that changed because of your experiences, I know, my experiences have definitely changed, you know, my niche and who I want to work with over the years. And also being a traveling therapist, you know, I don't want these heavy PTSD EMDR case loads anymore. You know, like, I used to love when I was in the office and all of that stuff, you know, so that's


wondering, yes. I used to back in the day also work with a lot of kids, I even play therapy back in the day, so that for sure. shifted. I'm only adults now. Yeah. You know, God bless my Sophia, but I'm kind of always in that young play world, if you will. So I only work with adults. I do love working with all kinds of relationships. So So for couples I love, you know, adult parent child or, you know, parents in their, let's say daughter and son in law, you know, like relationships, family relationships, I do tend to get a lot of families now that have special needs children, a lot of couples. Oh, and works hence the Combine marital and parenting and you know that so I do. I do see that's becoming a strong niche for me for sure. That makes sense.


Yeah, I mean, I'm sure it's great a lot of ways but also very stressful in some ways on the relationship. So that's awesome. You're an expert in that now I can help other people.


And I tell them I'm because I'm very open about you know, Sofia, so of course, you know, with boundaries and stuff, but I, I just don't get it, you know, they talk and they share the mental and emotional and physical for a lot of them exhaustion, and I still get it and I'm still in it. So even though my daughter is 19 and I might have some other life experience under me from when she was younger. This was a very long lifelong journey, and I'm still in it, you know, so I get it, I get it too. And so they think they find a lot of relief and support just just knowing that. Yeah,


and I hope I hope people listening hear that because even with my like coaching clients with therapists, you know, they they feel like they can't change their niche. They have to do the same type of clients forever that you know, they can't travel, you know, they've got these like inside the box thoughts, you know, and it's just I hope people are hearing that as you Change, though, does your niche and so just you want to work with it? You know, it just happens over your career. It's normal, I think. I think that's happening.


I think you start to see what starts to fit nicely. And then you serve your clients better, you know, and it just becomes a more natural fit. So yeah, if you can kind of accept that that happens. Yeah, I used to sometimes say that I wasn't going to I'm so special needs out that maybe I wouldn't work with any special needs. Right?


I don't want to talk about it at all. Oh, that's not


it, I realize, actually, this combination of relationship therapy, and these families that have a special needs child that feels right, that feels good. That's awesome. And then, you know, as far as the traveling piece goes, What I discovered, you know, my travel is a little bit limited, again, because of my life and home. But I can go visit, for example, you know, my family that live in Virginia, and I love that I could go for I need to go for a few weeks, let's say because Sofia has nothing going on or and I need to have some help, you know, my family and I can still work and I love that working and I don't want to disrupt the momentum too much if I can. I know it's important to take breaks. But if I can still work a couple of weeks or something, too. And I love that I could do that. Yes,


yeah, absolutely. And we were talking about that, too. Before we hit record. It's just that other that that definition of what's a traveling therapist, you know, just even this part where it's like, okay, well, I could totally just go for three weeks, wherever I want. Yeah, or four weeks or whatever. You know, I could you could take your daughter with you and and also get some from your family. You know, you don't always have that. Not all of us want to be around our family all the time. But it's nice to have the option for a while. Yeah,


I think that's a word, that word freedom comes up for a lot of us. And I think being that I don't have so much freedom in many areas of my life, that it was important that I found that I found a way to have more freedom in my professional world, you know, so I could have that. It just it just fits a lot better. healthier. Yeah, yeah,


absolutely. And, you know, I'm just wondering, like, logistic wise, you said, you moved to Florida. Were you in Virginia before and you move down to Florida, or were you in a different state? Yes, I


was in Arizona. So I Oh, that's right. Yeah. Then we went moved to Arizona for 10 years. And like I said, I practice there. And they had to put on pause, and then we moved to Florida. Yeah,


gotcha. So did you maintain your license in Arizona? Do you still see people in Arizona? Or did you just end that? Okay,


I don't, I don't know. Because I let it lapse. Before we moved. I really thought and this is where I just have to pinch myself that I'm here. Again. I didn't know if I was going to get back into the clinical space. I had moments. And it's another thing for us to remember that we never you never know. Right? Yeah. Do you think we'll ever have the mental and emotional energy to do that again, after everything I'm doing now? You know, I just I couldn't I couldn't feel it or see it at those times. And then I'm, but I'm so glad I never completely dismissed it. And I knew my passion was strong. And I think because I held so much inside. I had to wait, I had to wait for that right time. But I really experienced burnout per se, because because again, I had to take that break, you know, and so now I came in with this, like loads of energy. Yeah.


You're like, I'm excited for it. I'm not burned out.


I'm excited. Totally. Like, each each stage, you know, can I guess the find the next little influence the next, you know?


Absolutely. Yeah. And I was I was just thinking, like, if we were to summarize this talk, that's the thing right there. Yeah. Yeah. It's just like, everything happens, you know, at the time, it's like, why is this happening like this, but when you look back at it, absolutely. It's guided and shaped where you are right now? Yeah. Lately,


and I've come into it in such a different I mean, I just know that my, my growth and all the challenges I've, you know, been enduring as a special needs mom has influenced my work tremendously. I couldn't learn it in school. You know, it was one of those light life things that just has definitely been a gift, I think to my work.


Yeah, absolutely. Do you think you'll travel more? The older she gets? Or I don't? I don't know. What Yeah, you know, of course ability is or anything like that. So I don't know if she can travel in all of that long distances, or if she's going to be moving on to her own independent living or something. I


know, those are questions and good thoughts. So she's, she's cognitively disabled and speech impaired. She's considered undiagnosed, actually. But she's very similar to there's some syndromes that she's similar to, you know, and a lot of them might fall under the autistic umbrella, if you will, but they would never place are there. A lot of specialists wouldn't just because of certain aspects of her social, she's extremely social. They're just certain aspects that just didn't quite fit, but she is because she doesn't talk and because she has some behavioral challenges. I think a lot of them kind of share, you know, a lot of a lot of the behaviors. So I used to fly I have with her a lot. And then she had a lot of anxiety when she hit her early team. And then it became harder. And you know what, it really became harder for me.


Yeah, I got that. I


got it was stressful, so stressful. So I took a break even from that, but she does love car rides. And he's so this past fall, I was like, You know what, Sophia, God bless her. She doesn't have a concept of time. Let's get in the car and drive to Florida, Virginia. And I had a friend that happened to be driving up there. And I was like, let's do it. I was just I gotta go. I haven't seen family. I miss my family. I've got to travel again, I can do it. Because of my work. I was thinking that I can do this. I can work from there. And she loved it. She loved. Nice. And it's a long dry, but I was so excited that I had so much, you know, positive adrenaline. That was great. I enjoyed it. Yeah.


Oh, it's great, though. And maybe after that as well. Maybe, maybe? He's older. Yeah. I mean, who does? Right?


They have stages, you have to be open to all of it. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You know, that's


just that's not a topic we talk a lot about, you know, if you do have children that have special needs, and they might be with you forever, you know, how do you adapt? How do you still if you've got like the travel bug, like how do you adjust to that and make sure that you're able to do that in your life too? Yeah, you have to


be very constantly think outside the box, you know, to to just to remain healthy about at all?


Yeah. Do you have suggestions around that? I mean, maybe somebody's listening, and they're like, you know, I've got the same type of thing going on in my life. What do I do if I, you know, have passions or dreams outside of, you know, the caregiver role? What do I do? How do I make? You


know, I think sometimes we feel like we can't, because we feel like it's going to impede on our parenting. And I think what I found is, with careful consideration, it can actually help because we are 24/7 in our mind. So like, right now she's at school, right? But it's just always there. So I've helped to balance helps to get balance, and then it helps to feed other parts of me so that I am even a better parent. I think so. But with careful consideration, because there are things you might think you want to jump into. And then you realize, oh, my gosh, what was I thinking that does not fit? You know? Yeah, let me one thing I did create, and I'm happy to share it with you, if you if you'd like. And if you think it's appropriate for your audience as Yeah, it's really just like a self care diagram. It's just like a that I created. It shows the different pieces to our self care world. And I include career aspirations as part of the quadrant one of the quadrants Wow,


okay. I'm sure listeners would love that. We can put it in the show a link to it in the show notes. And it might really help somebody. Yeah. So. And I love what you said about getting creative. You know, she might not like to fly, but maybe we can drive somewhere or slowly drive across the country one day, like, who knows? Yeah.


Always, there's always surprises I'm yeah, just like you said, I didn't think I'd be right here right now talking to you about my online therapy practice. You know, I just Yeah,


I know. Yeah. Isn't that? Well, yeah. It's, I think it's inspirational. I mean, I think your journey has been inspirational to a lot of people to realize that, you know, it can ebb and flow. And you can do different things with it, depending on what's going on in your life. And, you know, always get back into the clinical work if you want to you. And you could always take a break from it, you


can, and you can know that that break will fuel, there'll be good things that come from that break. I mean, there's just good things that come from that break. I think that my my break, has has been a blessing. I didn't know, I didn't know, I thought the break was actually going to be possibly permanent. And what I was going to bring into it, and I like I said, I think there's been a lot of a lot of positive things that have come from it.


Yeah. I love that. Yeah, I really do. Well, if you take a big trip somewhere and you work out some really creative ways to bring her along and incorporate her, let us know if you ever want to come back and share because I'm sure there are other parents in the same situation that would benefit from that, you know, that


would be great. If I could expand that was a big step for me to take her I hadn't traveled with her in about four or five years. Wow. Yeah, my husband and I tried to be really good. My mom I have an amazing amazing mom who comes to help me like comes to stay with us. Yeah, yeah. Oh, my husband I try and get away for like some two nighters and things like that, which are very important too. But with her I had not traveled in about five years or so. Yeah, then it dawned on me I was like I don't come up with something there's there's no way like I gotta come up with some some solution to this. Yeah,


right. Yeah, yeah. No, I love that mod sitting here thinking I wonder if there's like resort you'd have resorts have like the area where you could send the kids to to stuff. I just wonder if there's any resorts out there that specialize in like meat. differences or special needs, you know, let's just now I'm curious. I'm probably gonna go Google it to see. I bet you'll


I think there probably will be because I'm always amazed at these people that are starting programs for the support of special needs. Parents, I think is becoming people are becoming more aware. There's a lot out there now. And so yeah, I think I think it's very possible. It's very possible. Very


interesting. Yeah. Well, thank you for taking the time today. So if anybody's listening and they want a clinician in in Florida that specializes in what you specialize in. How would they find you?


Yes, yes. So my website is, I'll say it, then I'll spell it. It'll be W dot Eleni Paris. So that's e And best way to reach me for sure.


Oh, well, thank you so much for taking the time today.


I think you know, it's such an honor to be with you. I really love your work, and I really appreciate it. It's been so nice. Thank you.


Oh, thanks so much.

Listen to the Previous Episode

In this enlightening episode of the Traveling Therapist podcast, we're joined by Allyson Clemmons, who shares her intriguing journey from being a traditional therapist in the U.S. to embracing a nomadic lifestyle across Europe. Starting her new life initially in Greece due to a combination of love and a longstanding desire to live overseas, Allyson navigates the complexities of different visa regulations and cultural adjustments. Her move to Albania presents new opportunities and insights into the practicalities of living and working abroad as a digital nomad. Allyson's experiences highlight the nuances of adjusting to local customs, managing accommodations that align with tourist seasons, and transitioning through various countries while maintaining a sense of home and professional stability.

Allyson also delves into the challenges of managing a therapy practice across significant time zone differences, illustrating the logistical hurdles of aligning her schedule with clients back in the U.S. She discusses strategic decisions about licensing and client management that have facilitated smoother operations of her practice. Looking forward, Allyson contemplates potential moves to either Thailand or Argentina, weighing the impacts on her professional and personal life. Additionally, she offers valuable advice to other therapists considering a similar path, focusing on marketing strategies for private practices and navigating international regulations. Her journey underscores the importance of flexibility, preparation, and resilience in the life of a traveling therapist.

Key Points:

  1. Transition to Greece and Albania: Allyson discusses her move from the U.S. to Greece and later Albania due to love and her desire to live abroad. She details navigating visa requirements and the cultural and administrative challenges encountered along the way.
  2. Adapting Practice Across Time Zones: Allyson explains the complexities of maintaining her therapy practice across different time zones, focusing on the logistical difficulties of scheduling and conducting sessions from Europe with clients in the U.S., specifically Oregon and later Massachusetts.
  3. Future Plans and Digital Nomad Insights: She shares her future relocation plans to potentially Thailand or Argentina, reflecting on how each location might impact her therapy practice. Allyson also gives insights into managing a dual career, including her work in marketing for therapists and holistic healers.

About Allyson Clemmons: 

I am a licensed therapist and private practice marketing strategist for modality-based therapists and practitioners, holistic healers, and complementary/alternative medicine providers.

I help my clients learn and master the marketing skills necessary to be able to fill their caseloads with private-pay clients so that they can leave behind the hassle and headache of being in-network with insurance companies, see fewer than 12 clients/week, and achieve time, money, and location freedom.

I do this through teaching my clients how to find and speak to the type of client they’d love to fill their entire caseload with — without having to dance on TikTok or use bro-marketing strategies.

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