it's just so exciting. i'm really happy tohave so many people to share the next hour with. and we can't forgetcanada and mexico. we've got people from threedifferent countries here. wow. excellent. so we have canada,mexico, and america. i think that there's a lot ofpeople also from australia,
but because it's 3:00 in themorning there at the moment, people have registered butthey're going to view it later. well, hello into the future. i met quite a few colleaguesfrom my days at-- hi, everybody from australia. i'm just checking to seewho else has logged in. we've got oklahoma, florida,duluth, minnesota-- very nice-- princeton, newjersey, santa cruz. all right.
so i'll hand over to gretchen. and, gretchen, you are muted. sorry about that. hi. good afternoon, everyone. welcome to today's columbiaschool of social work webinar, "web-based self-help therapyand the clinical social worker." my name is gretchen knudsen, andi'll be your moderator today. to achieve the optimalexperience using adobe connect,
here are a few tips and tricks. most browsers are compatiblewith adobe connect; however, past users haveexperienced audio issues. so for a smoother experience,if you're using google chrome, please log out, closethe chrome browser, and launch a new browser likefirefox or internet explorer and rejoin the webinar. so no matter whichbrowser you're using, please sign inwith your full name
so we can see you in theroom and we know who you are. here is the chatpod, where you can interact with ourspeakers and each other. so this chat pod isyour personal tool, so feel free tomodify the text size. and this is a greatspot where you can provide your thoughts,questions, or comments. there will also bea q&a, where we'll be taking live questionsfrom the audience.
and stick around. at the end of the webinar,one lucky participant will win "8 stepsto becoming you." the best webinars have activeaudience participation, and it's easy to contributeto the conversation so we want to hear from you. in case you'd rathernot use the chat pod, polls are a good place to start. and we probably have a lot ofexperienced users with polls,
because that's probablywhat you've already done as you were logging in. however, if you are experiencingsome technical issues, please feel free to let us know. we have folks behind thescenes who can help you out. and now, let's hear frommary-lea cox awanohara. she's our directorof communications. she's also thecreator who envisioned and created this webinarseries on social work careers.
she's going tointroduce you to laurie marsden, our featured guest. and laurie's goingto tell us about how she has broken new ground usingonline as a way to deliver mental health services. mary-lea, up to you. thank you, gretchen,and thank you for being today's moderator. gretchen works in our alumniand development office.
hi, everyone, and welcometo our very first program in our new series onsocial work careers. what's a social workerdoing-- fill in the blank. today i have the pleasure ofintroducing laurie marsden, who is our special guest. welcome, laurie. i can't hear you. how's that? that's great.
ok, we've got laurie. thank you forhaving me, mary-lea. great to see you and hear you. ok, we started upthis career series, because there are so many thingsthat you can do with an msw. i don't have an msw, andthere are many days at my job here as the communicationsdirector that i wish i did. i feel a little enviousof all the people who do, because they can do so manythings with that degree.
and laurie here isa prime example. she had a career inthe fashion industry, and then she came to columbiato earn an undergraduate degree. and then she took agraduate social work degree at our school inclinical social work. and since then, she's hadher own private practice, and she's developeda therapy program for women called "eightsteps to becoming you." and then a couple of yearsago, she packaged that program
to put it on the web. and she was doingall this while being a mother who staysat home with kids and takes care of her children. so there's thisflexibility with the msw that's really, really great. but i think the bestway to introduce laurie is to show the littlevideo we made on the day she walked into ouroffice to tell us
about her eight-step program. would that be ok, laurie,that we screen this video? absolutely. that sounds great, mary-lea. thank you. i was always interestedin working with women, even before i went tosocial work school. because i had a different careerwhere i was in the fashion industry, and i realizedthat it wasn't really doing
a lot for women. so i went back toschool at columbia, and i got into mental health. and it was kind of anatural progression, because that was where ilearned so much about what women are really struggling with. i kind of knew from justbeing in the other profession, but there's nothing likeworking in mental health and really seeing women whenthey have such struggles
and they have such problemsthat they need to solve. and it was a real honor forme to be able to help them at those moments. my program, "the eightsteps to becoming you," started reallywith group work in a very old-fashioned socialwork way-- so in groups, with women sharing. and slowly i started seeingthese same kind of issues were coming up with women.
you find out that a woman'slost sense of who she is. she doesn't know whatshe feels anymore. she's kind of out oftouch with their feelings. she can't communicate her needs. she can't draw boundariesin relationships. she's not taking careof her health as much. and so those are the things youend up working on in therapy. so i created a program thataddresses those issues, and so women in a variety ofsituations can do the program
and benefit from it. i spent a lot of timein the mental health field in the traditionalsense of helping people one at a time. but i realized atone point-- i said, i can't expectwomen to come to me. i'm going to go to them. and so that's whati decided to do. i'm laurie marsden.
welcome. i've created thiswebsite for women like you-- smart, interesting,vibrant women, who juggle lots of dutiesand roles but don't have a lot of time for themselves. web-based therapy is taking off. there's been severalresearch studies that show that it is very effective. some web-based therapy, youjust kind of text people.
it's done on computer, andyou write back and forth, where i have 46 videosand a 95-page workbook. and in the videos,i talk to the women about the differentissues and the concepts, and then they canfill out the workbook. and they can kind ofdo that reflection that you would do in atherapy session with someone that you're face to face with. and there's also a communityboard in the program
where women canshare their stories, and i monitor that as well. it makes itaccessible to people. if someone can'taccess treatment because they can'tafford it, or they don't have the timebecause they're working, they can't fit itinto their schedule, i know they can't travel toget there, how do you do that? so this is why i'm so excited,because it is a new type
of intervention that's goingto reach people where they are and just bring therapy out toso many people who otherwise couldn't. that's such a goodvideo, laurie. it really is. thank you for doing that. that was great. it was lots of fun to do, too. and now that i say it again,i have to make a confession.
before i came to work atthe school of social work, i didn't actually knowthat social workers, or many social workers,make a living as therapists. so i wondered, did yougo to social work school thinking you wouldbecome a therapist? and do social workersmake good therapists? you know, it wasn't myplan to be a therapist. it was really myplan to help women, like i explained in the videoand you touched on as well.
when i got out of themodeling industry, i really had severalmonths where i could do a lot of soul searching. and i thought,well, what can i do? and i really sort of wantedto make a difference, and i wanted to do somethinggood and positive for women. so that was my goal. being a therapist was a bonus. when i was back at school atcolumbia doing my undergrad,
i had some great advisors, andi worked with different people who-- we explored thedifferent options i could do. and social work was areally great one for me when i looked into it. for those of you in the audiencewho are not social workers, social workers study abiopsychosocial perspective. so we not only look atsomeone's psychology, but we also look atsomeone's biology and at their medical history.
we look at their social place,their status in society, if they're disadvantaged or not,what social supports they have, what systems they're in. so it gives a veryholistic approach, and it's a really greatplace to come and meet people for therapywith that perspective. so it was a reallygood choice for me. now, do social workersmake great therapists? i think they makegreat, great therapists.
but i think no matterwhat profession you're in, the important thing is to havedone some of your own therapy. it's like being on theother side of the couch is really important, sothat you know the process. and it's helpfulnot only personally, but also professionally. ok and also, i know that yourfirst career was as a model. and the fashion industry,even though it's very female-dominated,is notorious for not
treating women terribly well. and i see that you came out ofit determined to help women. what are some of thethings you personally observed in the industrywhen you were a model? yeah, the fashion industry iskind of an interesting place. in some ways it glorifieswomen, and in other ways it really creates theseimages that make a lot of us feel bad-- like "who lookslike that" kind of thing. and it's not really great to thepeople who are in the industry,
either. there's some glamorousaspects, which i think the medialikes to put out there. but there's a lot ofcriticism in the industry, and it's a very brutal placeand most girls who are starting are teenagers. i mean, i started as ateenager, and for instance, when i met eileen fordfor the first time, she looked at my portfolioand she kind of handed it back
and said, "youreyes photograph too close together for my taste." and i think i was16 at the time. so five years later, sheended up representing me for seven years. but it's just kind ofthis fickle industry. it can wear you down,it's very stressful, you have to have acertain body type. i saw women strugglingwith these things,
struggling withthe stress of it. and sometimeswomen got depressed or had body image problems. or even there weresome women-- i think angelina jolie did amovie about this model gia, who had an addiction issue. and she ended upcontracting aids and dying. so i mean, that'san extreme example, but it's not always agreat industry for women,
either in it or peoplewho view the images. right. laurie, so you arethe first guest in our "what's a socialworker doing" series. so i think i haveto ask you what's a social worker doingoffering a web-based therapy program for women? because when i thinkof social workers, i think of them face-to-facewith their clients.
and i know you're good atthe face-to-face therapy, because i read all of thetestimonials on your site. and so how did you get intothe web-based therapy business? well, mary-lea,i was essentially listening to the women. so that's how the eightsteps came into being, with listening tothe women and what their mutual struggles were. but i also startedhearing a lot about,
i just don't have the time. women are multitaskers. we're too busy for our own good. we're doing this,we're doing that. we have so many rolesthat we have in our lives and in society. so women really want todo the program-- they need to do the program--but there was always something else that waskeeping them from doing it,
what we call barriersto treatment. so i wanted to takeaway those barriers, and i wanted to bringsomething to women that they could do in thecomfort of their home, at their schedule,when they wanted. and i'm finding that not onlyare women finding the program online, but i'm alsoworking with clinicians and institutions so that theycan do my program while they're doing other treatment as well.
so it ended up havingthat extra layer to it, and it's all beenvery, very exciting. ok, well, i thinki'm going to take off now, but good luck to you. and i know matthea's got lotsof good questions for you. great. thank you so much, ladies. and, laurie, it'sgreat to see you again. so let's go a little bit deeper.
today's discussantis matthea marquart, who you've seen alittle bit earlier. she's the associatedirector of the school of social work's online campus. matthea is an instructor forthe social work administration track, and she's also a columbiaschool of social work alum. she will talk about onlinemental health services and how enterprisingsocial workers can launch businesses of their own.
then laurie isgoing to come back so they can takequestions from you and offer their perspectiveson web-based self-help therapy. matthea, off to you. thanks very much, gretchen. i appreciate thenice, warm welcome. and thank you toeverybody who is here. i really am so excited tosee so many people here from all around the country andfrom other countries as well.
so one reason thati'm absolutely delighted to be a partof the online campus here at the schoolof social work is because technology is soimportant for social workers. and i'd love to hear someof your examples and chat about how you'reusing technology when it comes to mental healthsupport or mental health services. some examples arehere on the slide.
for example, socialworkers are using texting, they're using telephonetherapy instead of face-to-face therapy, alsowebinar or web-based therapy, webcam-based therapy. and then i don't knowif the last time you went to the doctor yougot your health results, your test resultsonline, but that's now a new part ofobamacare, actually. so that's going to be spreading,and that's really important
for social workers. and there are all sortsof behavior change apps for smartphones. for example, here in theschool of social work, one of our professorsis developing an app for complicated grief. so kathy shear isdeveloping that app, and that should beavailable in a couple years. and there's all sorts of other,innovative mental health-based
apps that are beingdeveloped for smartphones. so i see people are typing,and i hope that you're sharing some examples as well. oh, very interesting. carol does a singlewomen's group on zoom, which issimilar to skype. it has a hipaa compliant option. that's really good. and barbara's pointingout that remote areas make
technology really important. because if people are in sort ofremote or more isolated areas, they have accessto fewer services if they have to goin person, as opposed to being online where it thenexpands the availability. leah's using emailas part of dbt. holly offers telephonicconsultations for eap. wonderful. employee assistance programs.
i echo stephanie. these are wonderfulquestions and comments. so i'm going to tie thisinto online education now. so one of thereasons that we offer online courses is because it'sreally important to prepare students for thiskind of technology, technology is so importantfor social workers. and one way to becomegood at technology is to take online courses.
and this option's availablefor our residential students as well as our online students. our residentialstudents can take up to two onlinecourses per semester, and our online students ifthey're in the new york area can take up to two residentialcourses per semester. and in this way, we'reexpanding technology education for all of our students. this also lets us havestudents in locations
all around the country,as well as instructors all around the country. so we're able to recruitamazing instructors who lived all sorts ofplaces, not just new york. i don't think we havetime for the video. i'm going to type into chat. if you'd like to watch avideo about our online campus, there is the url. and i'd like to share withyou a little bit of a survey
that we did of ouronline students. so one of our courses we've beenrunning for a couple years now, and one of the questionswe asked our students was, what professionalskills do you want to develop as partof taking online classes? and this is beyond learningthe subject matter. so this was a statistics coursewhere we surveyed the students. so beyond learningstatistics, what did the students want tolearn in terms of skills?
and you can seethat students wanted to build their confidencewith online technologies; they wanted to developself-motivation, which is somethingthat is really important for online students;they wanted experience with virtual presentationsand collaboration with virtual teams. there's a lot that goesinto an online course, beyond just thecontent learning.
i know we have onlinestudents here with us today, and i'm really happy thatthey can join us and be part of our communityeven though they don't live in new york. so this is something that isgrowing around the country and especially in thefield of social work. there aren't that manyonline msw programs, so we're in the vanguard. and we like to say thatwe're at the cutting edge.
and i'd just like to sharethis quote from an alumni with you, because it reallyhighlights the benefits of learning about technology. and this is analumni who graduated. she had taken acouple online courses as part of herresidential msw degree and found herself supervisinga team, a virtual team. so they were locatedall around the world. she's never going to meetsome of them in person,
but she's able to managethem because of the skills that she developed online. so with that, i'd liketo invite laurie back up, and i've got anotherpoll for you. so we're going tostart to address some of the questions thathave been coming up in chat, and we're going to startoff with the question of how does one do this? so starting your ownbusiness or nonprofit.
i see that thereare folks here who already have started theirown business or nonprofit. some people are planning to. some folks are on the fence. they're not sure. there's a fewdefinitely not for me, but they're herebecause they're curious. no one needs luck yet. no one's in the process.
oh, two people, threepeople are in the process, so we wish you luck. so i'm just going todo a quick count down, and then i'm going to move on. wow, 20 already have. that's wonderful. and 15 plan to in the future. alright so then that leads toour first question, laurie. and the questionis about your story
in starting an online business. so please tell us your story. how'd you get started? how long did it take? well, it's not myfirst business. i think that's importantto make a note of. i have had a privatepractice my entire career as a licensed clinicalsocial worker. and for theparticipants out there
who have a privatepractice, they understand the businessaspect of that. so you're building your referralbases and your networking, and you have youradmin and your billing. so there's allthose kind of skills that you develop as youhave, run that business. i also lived inaustralia for 10 years, and i think i saw someone fromaustralia actually on there, on the chat.
and while i was there,i opened a business called becoming you australia. and i did that, because asi was running the program i wanted to take it sortof outside of the places that i usually ran it. so i put it on in institutionsand government agencies. and when i brought it into doingworkshops in wellness centers and in community centers-- andit was sort of on my watch-- i wanted to have a business.
so i had the structure andalso to have some protection for my intellectual property. so i don't know if we havetime to tell a little story about that or not. yes to a story. it was very important,because we all try to be good and not take thingsfrom other people or give credit whereit is required. but i did have aninstance in australia
where someone else startedto run a program called "become you," and myprogram was called "becoming you" at the time. it was in eight steps. so because i had abusiness, i had the ability to call those clinicians up andhave a discussion with them. and because i hada business, they understood thatthey couldn't use the same name andany similarities they
needed to look at as well. so something like thatis very important when you're having your business. now that being said,setting up lauriemarsden.com was a much bigger endeavor. it took almost a year and1/2 to take the program and make it intoa product and also to conceptualize andimplement building a website. now i did a lot of work onmy own, as much as i could.
and i have a creative side, sosome of the product development i really enjoyed doing. but the website, forinstance, i hired a company. i hired people as neededthe website and the building of that website was very big. if you go lauriemarsden.com,you'll look. there's lots of tabs. there's just a lotof information. and the program itself lives onthe website in a separate part
of lauriemarsden.com. so it was really avery big undertaking. i'm not sure i knew what i wasgetting into when i started. but it was a lot of hard work. but i was really drivenby this dream that i had. i wanted to make thisaccessible for women, and i wanted themto have that option to be able to be in theirhome and do the program and not have to worryabout transportation
issues and appointment timesand all of those barriers that they had told me about. i wanted just toget rid of that. so that kind ofhelped me make it through all of thelearning curves that i had in doing business. so paulette has aquestion for you about how do you dothis logistically. how do you bring in an incomewith this kind of product?
well, i charge for theprogram, so it's not free. there's a lot of things onthe website that are free. for instance, you usea lot of information. you can subscribe to mynewsletter, and i put blogs out and those are informative. so there's free aspects to it. there's an ebook as well onthe website, and that's free. but the program itselfi charge money for, and so that's howi generate income.
and holly is asking, "how doyou manage licensure rules across state lines?" i think this might notapply for your product. it does not. so let's move onto our next poll. so you were sort of alludingto this earlier when you were talking aboutintellectual property and some things being free andsome things not being free. so i'm wonderingwhat folks think
about what the unique challengesof starting an online business might be. so the risk of beingpirated or hacked is actually coming up a lot. yeah. i mean, it's a worry. you spend a lot of time,a lot of resources. people spend a lot ofmoney getting an education, and they come up with their ownconcepts and their own ideas.
and you don't want anybodyjust walking away with it. there's that guy oncnn who has often been slapped,gotten little slaps for taking people's things. i think you'd remember his name. but everybody needs to givecredit where credit's due, and i think that's important. so i understand that concern,and that is interesting. it is up to 67.
it's the highestof the challenges that people are commenting on. and another one is that there'sskepticism about the quality of online products. how do you convince peoplethat your product is a quality product? well, i think it's less aboutthat it's a quality product and more about that it'sthere and it's available. i find that people areunaware of what is available
online in this respect-- whatkind of clinical interventions are online. so i spent a lot oftime educating people about what it is andwhat my product is, and then i often bring up otheronline products and other types of interventions. and really just educatingpeople-- it's so new and so cutting edge. and it's just not in ourawareness at the moment.
yes, we use the webfor so many things, but i think there's somethingabout using it for therapy and for that type of-- it'salmost like with your school, with doing online courses. people think about goingschool, university. they think aboutsitting in the chair and listening to the professor. so there's all thesepreconceived ideas of what it is.
so for me, it's just been amatter of educating people, and it hasn't been anissue of quality at all. so we're moving on to ournext set of questions for you, which i think is going to applyto some of what folks have been asking in chat as well. so let's just move that along. so what are some of thechallenges that you face? because you could have done likea dvd and a book, but instead you chose to developan online product.
and were thesedifferent from when you were setting up yourface-to-face therapy practice? yes. well, i actually lookedat doing a dvd and a book. i considered that. but when i talk to some itspecialists in the area, they pointed out thata lot of computers no longer have theports for the dvds, and their feeling wasthat they were slowly
going to just comeout of-- you wouldn't be able to get acomputer with one at some point inthe near future. everything's in thecloud these days. so when i thoughtabout that, i thought, well, i don't want tocreate a product that then becomes obsoletebecause nobody can use it. and i think it's alittle cumbersome anyway. you have the disk,and so i just thought,
well, let's not even havethat in the equation. it's just simpler. everybody's ontablets these days and all these other devices. so another reason ididn't want to go down that route was becausethe cost of the product would have goneup significantly, and i wanted itto be affordable. the price of the "8steps to becoming you"--
it's about the same as threeco-pays if you went for eight or 10 therapy sessions, whichis about the equivalent of what the product material covers. so it's very, very affordable,and that was important for me. because i didn'twant it to be just for a certainsocioeconomic level. i wanted anyonewho was motivated and wanted to get helpto be able to get it. so i think the otherpart of your question--
were you askingabout the challenges that i had with setting it up? setting up a private practiceis a lot less complicated than creating and launchingan online product. i mean, i had the benefitthat i already had a program, and that was a big advantage. so if you didn't have that andyou were starting something from scratch, i think itwould be a lot harder. but i think i had anissue, too, that there
was nothing out there for me tolook at and to see and to use. so i have the firstweb-based therapy ever launched for women--and particularly with the way that i did it, witheverything very engaging and the videos and the workbook. so it was hard. there was no template. there was no "oh,i want to do that. i like what that persondid," and "i'll do something
with my content, but i like thestructure of that business." there was nothing. so i had to have to actuallycreate that and think about how it would all translateand then implement my ideas as they came. so there were alot of challenges, but again, i think itwas really worth it. i'm very, very pleased. so just to give folks an ideaof what we're talking about,
i'm just going to makethis a little bit bigger. so this is what thewebsite looks like, and then we're going to take alook at just a snippet from one of the videos as well. there is a plagueaffecting many women today. they look in the mirrorand see only their faults. worse yet, they see flawsthat aren't even there. they imagine themselves biggerthan they are, less attractive than they are.
the image they haveof their bodies is not grounded or balanced. it's not healthy, and sometimesit's not at all correct. people who accept theway they look and feel good about themselvesmost of the time have a positive body image. they understand thatthe way that they look does not determine their worth. so that is a snippetof one of the videos,
and with that i'm going tobring us over to the third poll. so we're going to shiftgears a little bit, and then afterthis we've got q&a, which i understand folksare getting excited about. so we'd like tothink about-- we've been talking aboutstarting a business, and you're a social workerwith a clinical background. so what kind of skills thatare related to social work might be useful whenstarting a business?
so i see peoplehere are responding, and we've got a lot of socialworkers in the room as well. the ability to conduct a needsassessment, people skills, self-awareness, abilityto understand research, the ability to understandperspectives of others. very good. so then this isgoing to transition to my final questionfor you before we get into our q&a portion.
it's just takinga second to load. so this actually was a questionthat came up in the chat as well. but what are someof the highlights that you experienced? and what did you learn and whatadvice do you have for folks that are here? i think some of the highlightswith the product development-- i mentioned i havea creative side,
and so i wanted the workbookto be very beautifully laid out like a magazine. so i would go out, and iwould take photographs. and i'd come back andi'd be doing the layouts. and i really enjoyed that work. some of the thingsi learned as i went. i never really thought that iwould be doing code in my life, like when i went to cussw. i never thought i'ddo computer code,
but i have to saythat in the last year i have learned howto write some of it. on other ends,it's so many things that i don't think i really havetime to talk about everything that i've learnedlaunching this business. but i think that as far asadvice goes, and probably people are reallycurious about that, i would say that if you'regoing to launch something online or if you're goingto do any business,
really, you have to bevery clear about what it is that you want to do. so try to be asclear and concise and narrow it downas much as possible. also, do some researchand think about who will use your intervention,why they will use it, and how they will use it. one of the things thatpeople don't like to do, but is so key to anysuccessful business,
is doing a business plan. so like i said, no onereally likes to do them, but they'reincredibly necessary. and while you'redoing a business plan, you're going to flesh out a lotof things about your vision. because anyone who wants to doa business, they have a vision. they have a goal. they say i want to do this. i want to bring this.
i want to help this typeof person, this population. so whatever thatis, that's fine, but the process of writing itdown and that clarification that happens when you'redoing a business plan and bouncing the ideas off ofpeople-- also the internet. and when i started my researchon what i wanted to do, there was not verymuch out there. now there's more andmore happening online. you see programs.
there's a lot actuallyfor addiction online. i've come across severalsince i launched. so just do your research. see what's out there,see what's available, see if you have somethingdifferent to offer, and really flush it out as much as youcan before you do anything. so that would be mybiggest advice to everybody that's here. because as socialworkers, we tend to-- we
want to get in there and help. we want to get in thereand do what we envision, but that business sideneeds to be there. and you need tostep back, and you need to say, well, how thisis actually going to work? and can i make a viablebusiness out of it? well, i think maybe it's timeto get started with the q&a, and i'm just scrollingthrough the chat. so caitlin wonders, haveyou found any issues
with setting boundaries thatmight be different from being face-to-face? no, i haven't at all. in fact, there's suchan anonymous nature to doing an online program. so i saw in chat, too. and i'm sorry we can't answer--there's so many questions, and they're all goingdown, down, down. so i don't think we're tryingto ignore any questions.
we're trying to getthrough everything, and we'd certainly love toanswer everything that we can. but the online interventionsare shown to be very effective, and the research supports that. and one of the reasons thatthey think they are so effective is that peoplelike the anonymity, and they self-discloseto themselves. and because they can dothat, they're very honest, and they make gains thatthey might not in therapy.
and it's interesting,because when you're with someoneface-to-face in therapy, even though you've set upa confidential environment and your whole goalis to make someone feel safe anddisclosing, they still might not want to do that. and people out there whoare working as clinicians know this-- that you mightsee someone for quite awhile and suddenly they'll disclosesomething months or even
years into treatmentthat they hadn't before. so it's interesting that thisonline intervention method really helps people tomake more progress earlier, because they candisclose to themselves in this anonymous way. so it seems like froma few of the questions that there's some confusionabout whether your program is like a therapy programor a self-help program. could you clarify, please?
sure. well, i'm comfortablewith either label. for me, what happens intherapy-- whenever someone comes into therapy,you really ask them questions in order tospur their own self-awareness. like a good therapist willnever tell anybody what to do. that's not the point of therapy. a good therapist willask someone questions so that they themselves dothe personal reflection that's
necessary, so thatthey will make the changes in theirlives, so that they will have those a-hamoments or those epiphanies. and then they canmake the changes to their behavior that willhelp with their mood, that will help to get them on ahealthy mental grounding. and that's the wholepoint of therapy. so when someone works throughthe eight steps program, for instance, it'sthe same process.
so on the videos iask them questions. i ask them to thinkabout certain things. i have the workbook,which supports the videos, and the videossupport the workbook around the different topics. and then the women write theirresponses or their thoughts based on the personalreflection they do. so i see it as being very, verysimilar to the therapy process. now it's also self-helpas well, because nobody's
there to prompt you. so the most importantthing for a client who's doing this program isthey have to be motivated. i have clients thatdo the program, and some take theone step a week. it's kind of recommended. and some do three steps aweek or do the whole thing and come in the next week,and they're all excited. so you have that option, too,with the eight steps program.
one person askedabout the price. do you feelcomfortable letting us know the cost of your program? it's $199 for the program. and we've got a questionfrom pia, who asks-- well, she's pointing out nasw hasadded a virtual conference this year for those who can'tmake it to dc next week. and she wonders, do youthink there's a connection? do you think this means there'sa shift in thinking regarding
the legitimacy and effectivenessof virtual therapy? you know, i think so. i was at the national conferencein washington two years ago, and there was a lot ofchatter about interventions, online interventions. and there were presentationson online interventions. and there was thisdebate that was going on whether weshould do these things or whether we shouldn't, ifthey're ethical or they're not.
and meanwhile, at the endof these presentations, there were these lists ofthese different interventions that were already happening andthen the effectiveness of them. there has been a lot of researchon the types of interventions that are currently outthere, and it does show that they're very effective. i mean, it surprises me alittle bit as well that people are gravitating to it. but it does just solve somany issues for people,
issues of accessibility,issues of affordability, and the anonymousnature of the programs. and the different things offeredonline people really like, and i think this is the waythat the world is moving. and i think therewill still be people walking indoors andsitting in chairs and talkingface-to-face as well. we've got a question aboutwhether your program is billable.
you ever have clients notpaying for your program through insurance? no, not yet. it's something thati'm looking at. i'm looking at approachinginsurance companies, but that has nothappened at this point. so anyone who does it,it's out of pocket. alana's wondering, whatabout liability issues? have you had to consideranything like that?
before i launched, of course,i thought about those issues. so i have a disclaimer. nobody can buy theprogram unless they check that theyunderstand that it's not a replacement fortraditional therapy and that they-- it alsosays that you shouldn't be doing thisproduct, obviously, if you are in crisis. it's not a crisis program.
it's not anything forcrisis management. it's not for someonewho's suicidal or who has any thoughts ofself-harm or harming to others. so it's a legaldocument, if you will, that i had run up with mylegal team when i launched. so people have to check thatin order to buy the program. so i've done what i canto sort of cover that. and black dog institute,which is a very big company in australia-- i think it'sgovernment-funded-- they
do a lot of online therapy. not quite what i'm doing,but they still offer a lot. and they have the samesort of disclaimer that you must check inorder to do their program. so it's pretty common. shifting gears alittle bit, marketing has been a big topic inthe chat thread here. do you have any tips forfolks with businesses about marketing?
marketing is alwayssomething that anyone who does a business-- theygo, wow, how do i do this? how do i market this? and it's a very importantpart of what you're doing. how do you get people toknow about what you're doing and let them knowwhy they should also be doing whatever it is ortaking part in your business? with an onlinebusiness, there are some things you can do asfar as being discovered.
so there's something calledsearch engine optimization, and if you have either onyour website or in press blogs that you write-- if youhave certain key words that come up more frequently,those will be tagged. so google looksconstantly and essentially scans all the different sitesto see what words come up. and then if you have acertain amount of words, more than someone else, you'llbe higher up on the listing if someone googles web-basedtherapy or whatever--
or depression, or whateveryour business is-- then you want to be obviouslytoward the top of the list. because very few people, whenthey do search, go to page 56. they go to page one orthey go to page two. so if you're doingsomething online, that's obviouslysomething to look into. and you need to doa bit of research. but that's a goodplace to start, and writing blogsis very helpful.
francesca asks, do you believethat online-based therapy will make mental healthresources more accessible for those who live withchronic illness and pain that may make going to an office orclinic particularly difficult? exactly. exactly right. and that's the beauty of theonline interventions that are coming up and thatare out there now. perfect.
that's exactly right. if someone is having issues,there's a barrier to treatment. they can't get out. they're home-bound. they're in chronic pain. the perfect exampleof why we actually need these is partof our toolbox, because i think sometimes peopleget concerned that it's going to take over and allthe clinicians out
there will somehowbe out of business. that's not what'sgoing to happen. but clinicians can usethese online interventions as extra tools intheir toolbox so that if they have a clientthat needs to be more focused. how many times doyou have a client-- your clinicians outthere-- and they're just all over the place. you're trying to put out fires.
if you can refer them tosomething like the eight steps program, they can do thatand that will focus them. and they can bringin the worksheets, and they can workwith you on the work that they've done on their own. so it's just moretools for them, and that's really howwe need to look at it. so we've got a couplequestions about the model, and can it be adaptedfor different groups?
so annie is wondering, can thisbe adapted for adolescents? and someone else earlier wasasking, can it be used for men? it could be. so i mean as far as modelgoes, you mean like the way that i've structuredthe eight steps program? i think that's what they meant. locally, i'm looking at doingsomething for adolescents. because one of the eightsteps is sexuality, deals with sexualityand body image,
i look at it as moreof an adult program. but of course, there'sa lot of adolescents who are becomingactive, so i'm looking at just tweaking theproduct a little bit to make it available to thatsort of upper-adolescent age group. and it's interesting, too. i get this a lot,that men say, well, is there an eight steps for men?
and i really wantedto focus on women, because that's the populationthat i wanted to reach. and we all do this in ourjobs-- and social workers, particularly. we specialize, orwe pick a population that we feel acalling to work with. so that's what i'vedone, and that's why i've done this for women--not necessarily to exclude men. and women do have--there's a lot of overlap.
women do have, i think,other specific things that they strugglewith, like body image, for instance, whichdoesn't seem to affect men that much-- although there'ssome research saying men are becoming moreaffected by that as well. but it certainlycould be adapted to other populations, yes. vanessa says that she isvery fascinated with marsha linehan's work, and she'swondering what material
you might be using thatyou drew from research or evidence-based practice indeveloping your eight steps. i'm not familiar with marsha'swork, but the second part of that question was about-- what kind of research? she's wondering aboutwhat kind of research you use when developing a model. well, a lot of qualitativeresearch, so basically a lot of interviewing ofwomen that came in
individually or in groups. so the program really developedin a very social work, grassroots way, ingroups with women and discussing all thevarious underlying issues. so in other words,people would come in with a presented problem. and whether they werediagnosed with depression or if they were strugglingin relationships where they had anxiety disorder,whatever it might be,
when you startedworking with women you saw that there werethese underlying problems. and so there was a lot of, likei said, qualitative research that i did with the womento flush out their narrative and flush out their story. and then i developed aprogram around those issues. so i also did a bit ofquantitative research when i ran the program withvietnam veterans counseling service in australia,where i ran it
for women who were familymembers of veterans and also current serving membersof the australian defense force. and i measured well-being,depression, and self-esteem. so i ran some scalesthere, and there was a big, significant increaseon all three of those measures. so that was very encouraging. so as the program hasdeveloped, i've done research, and really it's coming froma place of working very, very
much clinically, inclinical settings with women around these various issues. amaris is askingabout-- i wonder if this is a question aboutcannibalizing your services, actually, becauseshe says, can you tell us about who you workedwith in your private practice? and did any of themthen buy your product and sort of go off on their own? so they might havebeen a client and then
left to do self-help instead. left to take myproduct on their own? is that the question? no, i haven't had that happen. i haven't had that happen. steve is asking, youmentioned education as your main way of growingawareness of your program. can you elaborateon what you did for education outside ofthe free information that's
on your website? so i do presentations atdifferent institutions. so i presented tosouthampton hospital, to a domestic violence shelterout here called the retreat. i presented to east endclinical connection, which is a group for clinicians. i'm currently talking to therenfrew center in new york, so eating disorders. and there's several others.
so i go, and i sortof educate big groups of people and institutions. because it can be, again--the eight steps can be used if you have a clientand you're giving services to that client,you could also look at referring themto this program while you're currentlydoing the services. so that's justanother way that i've worked to increasemy referral sources.
well, i can tell we'regetting down to-- maybe we have time fortwo more questions. eileen asks, how do thewomen connect with you beyond watching the videos? so there is a couple ways. people can email me email@example.com, but that gets a bit busy. i also have a community board. so the community boardis broken into each step.
so while someone'sdoing each step, they can comment at thespecific board for that step so that all of the commentswould be similar in vein. so you're notcommenting on step eight when someone else iscommenting on step one. so it kind of keeps thetheme in the comments. interestingly-- i've said thisbefore-- it's not as utilized as i thought itwould be, and i think that's because of theanonymity that people
enjoy doing an online program. so the option isthere, but it's not being utilized as muchas i would've thought. and then this isa combo question. so one questionis, do you do just regular face-to-face therapy? and the other part of it is,do you do retreats or seminars? so i do. i do face-to-face.
i've gotten back to havinga small private practice, but i do keep it small. i see here in sag harbor,and i haven't gone and done a seminar. i used to do that,so that that's kind of where i decided thati needed to bring it to women. so it sort of went from groupwork to workshops, to seminars, and then it's gone online. so i'm sort offocusing on the online,
but i do look at potentialspeaking opportunities as they arise. and just one quickfollow up question. you had mentioned theanonymity component, and elizabeth is wondering,on your chat board, can women post anonymously? yes, they can. so it really depends on howthey initially register. so a lot of people choose adifferent name to register,
and so your username will show up. so not everybodyuses their real name. it's like inanything online where you have to put in a username. so that's one way tomaintain their anonymity. so i know that we are downto our last two minutes, and we had promisedto do a giveaway. so just going to pull out ourrandomizer to do our giveaway, and this is going to randomlyselect somebody in the room.
big suspense here, big suspense. here we go, drum roll. so, alexandra, if youwant to get in touch, we will connect youwith this giveaway. and thank you, laurie,for donating this. we appreciate that. no problem. it's my pleasure. and thank you, matthea, andthanks, everybody, for coming.
and it's been a great webinar. thanks very much. and mary-lea wants meto remind everybody that we had said we'd do agiveaway for the best comment, but because there were somany good comments there's no way we could justselect the best comment. so that's why we wentto the randomizer. terrific. i hope that everybody hadgrabbed some very valuable
takeaways from today. so please keep a lookoutfor the next event. before you do that, there is apoll, so please fill that out. so we have your feedback,so we can really make these online programsthe most informative for you. so if you want to take yourskills to another level, check out our online campus. you can find that onsocialwork.columbia.edu/the studentexperience/online campus.
so thanks again for joining usonline, and have a great day. thank you, gretchen.