Hope Kelaher, LCSW

68: Hope Kelaher, LCSW – Systemic and Relational Therapist Shares her Journey Becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New York City

Hope Kelaher originally pursued environmental engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore but quickly realized that she preferred helping people. She worked in the college’s career center as a career coach and had the opportunity to go to Cuba to study their public health system. After attending Johns Hopkins, Hope completed some internships with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva on postpartum depression. This was her initial entry into the world of psychology as she “did a lot of work in Inner City Baltimore at the Hopkins School Public Health doing family and child health research.” She then had the opportunity to go into the Peace Corp, where they commissioned her to Uganda doing AIDS Hospice work. However, when getting her physical, her doctor looked at her and said “why are you going to Uganda? You could do so much good here in Baltimore, why don’t you stick around?” Her doctor told her that hospice work is really hard and “I don’t really think this is the best thing for you.” Hope’s uncle also said the same thing. So, she decided to stay in Baltimore and worked at The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which was started by one of the founders of UPS, Jim Casey, and exists to help children thrive and survive in underdeveloped and low-income communities by providing services and grants to those in need. She also worked with the NECC Foundation and the Children’s Aid Society.

In this podcast, Hope shares her academic and professional journey, discusses why she went into social work and some of the requirements to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the state of New York. She also discusses her private practice, Hope Kelaher Therapy, located in Lower Manhattan, NYC. Hope received her bachelor’s degree in public health and sociology from Johns Hopkins University and her Master of Arts in Social Work from Columbia University. She conducted her post-graduate study in Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling at the Ackerman Institute for Family in NY.

Those interested in a career in social work or psychology may find that schooling can be expensive. In addition to internships, scholarships, grants, and other funding opportunities to help offset the cost of schooling, Hope shares how she attained funding from the Children’s Aid Society to help fund half of her tuition while attending Columbia University. Hope shares “so, Columbia and my agency had this agreement where I could, you know, go to school part-time and then work full-time, so that’s what I did.” She continues by stating “any recommendation I can give to people going into social work, social work does not pay a lot of money, so wherever you can find a deal, take it, right?” After graduating from Columbia, she decided to pursue family therapy, so she attended Ackerman Institute for Family.

When reflecting on her journey, Hope shares “so really, my journey into private practice and being more of a clinical person happened while I was working in a nonprofit agency.” After she completed the Ackerman Institute for Family’s clinical externship, she remembers doing a lot of hard work, working really long hours, and not getting compensated fairly “and so, that’s something that people have to really think about when they do this work.” Therefore, Hope started her own very small private practice in 2018 while she was still working full-time.

She explains that, in New York, a licensed clinical social worker can do therapy whereas in some other states, you have to have a PsyD or PhD. At this point, we discuss some of the requirements for becoming a LCSW in New York and share some valuable information and websites for those interested in this career path. Hope discusses some of the biggest challenges associated with opening your own private practice and provides helpful advice including making sure you “get a lot of experience working with many different people before you go into private practice because you never know who will show up.” It takes a lot of work and financial resources and support to get a practice up and running. Hope also suggests that you know your own boundaries and make them known to your clients so that you don’t find yourself working long or odd hours. She states, “people starting a private practice, they’re just so eager to kind of build their clientele that they are too accommodating.” You also need to remember to screen your clients before taking them on and remember “some people are not going to be the right fit for you and that is OK. And also having other people in the field that you can refer them to, I felt was very helpful.”

Hope reminds us that “part of being a therapist today is being a businessperson.” She says, “there’s a lot of freedom in working for yourself, but then there’s also a lot of responsibility by and thinking about the business end with cash flow, you know, paying estimated taxes, health insurance, all of that stuff that sometimes is an afterthought because people get so eager.” You can, and should, reach out for help if you need guidance. Hope also believes that it is important to focus on “self-care” because social work and therapy takes a lot of energy so consider getting your own therapist to help keep you grounded and process any traumatic event or journeys shared with you from your clients.

Near the end of our discussion, we discuss a couple of her books including Here to Make Friends: How to Make Friends as an Adult which is a Gold winner for Family & Relationships in the 2020 Foreword INDIES Book Awards and her most recent book The Resilience Workbook for Women: A Transformative Guide to Discover Your Inner Strength, Conquer Adversity, and Achieve Your Goals. She believes all of us are born with a level of resilience, but some do not know how to cultivate it. In the workbook, she provides exercises that are applicable to many different challenges a person is experiencing in their life. Though the workbook is specifically designed for women, many of the principles and exercises can be used for men as well.

When asked what she loves most about her job, Hope shares “somebody just came out with a list of the most gratifying careers and construction was the first one because people can see the end product. As therapists, we don’t always get to see the end product, but the gift of seeing somebody blossom is just, it’s the most amazing thing.”  

Connect with Hope Kelaher : LinkedIn | Instagram
Connect with the Show: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Interests and Specializations

Hope Kelaher has extensive training and experience in relational and systematic therapy. She is passionate about helping individuals, couples, and families who are struggling with anxiety and depression by examining the individual themselves and in the various contexts of their lives such as home life, work life, and community life.


Bachelor of Arts (BA), Public Health, Sociology (2005); The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
Master of Arts (MA), Social Work (2011); Columbia University, New York, NY.
Post Graduate Study, Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling (2017); Ackerman Institute for Family, New York, NY.

Other Sources and Links of Interest

Hope Kelaher: Psychology Today
Hope Kelaher: Simon & Schuster
Hope Kelaher: Ulysses Press

Podcast Transcript

00:15 Bradley
Welcome to the Master’s in Psychology Podcast where psychology students can learn from psychologists, educators, and practitioners to better understand what they do, how they got there, and hear the advice they have for those interested in getting a graduate degree in psychology. I’m your host, Brad Schumacher. Today, we welcome Hope Kelaher to the show. Hope is a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice in lower Manhattan. She provides individual, couple, and family therapy. She received her bachelor’s degree in public health and sociology from Johns Hopkins University, and her Master of Arts in Social Work from Columbia University. Hope is an author of a few books, including Here to Make Friends: How to Make Friends as an Adult, which was a Gold Winner for Family & Relationships in the 2020 Foreword INDIES Book Awards. Her most recent book is called The Resilience Workbook for Women: A Transformative Guide to Discover Your Inner Strength, Conquer Adversity, and Achieve Your Goals. Today we will learn more about her academic and professional journey, more about Hope Kelleher Therapy and her new book, and hear her advice for those interested in the field of social work and psychology. Hope, welcome to our podcast.

01:28 Hope
Hi, Brad. Thank you so much for having me today. I’m very excited to share my journey with those who might be interested in pursuing a degree in social work or psychology.

01:40 Bradley
Well, I appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to talk with us. Every single guest on our podcast has a different journey to tell, and so I know that when we looked at yours, you received your bachelor’s degree in public health and sociology, as I said, at John Hopkins, Johns Hopkins University. Tell me a little bit more about your undergraduate experiences and what eventually led you to focus on public health and sociology.

02:05 Hope
Yeah, that’s a really good question. I went to Johns Hopkins in. I graduated in from high school in 2001. So, it was right after 911 or just before 911, I was at Hopkins during 9/11. I went in to pursue environmental engineering and was just absolutely miserable. And I realized that I liked working with people. I liked being around people, I like helping people. I worked at my college’s Career Center as like a career coach type of thing, and I just I really like volunteering. And then my university had a program, it is a little sort of tangled web, but where we where we did a little bit of a study in Cuba, in Havana. And so, I had always wanted to go to Havana. And the only way I could do it was to be a public health major. And I took one look at my organic chem and the intensity of the Johns Hopkins pre-Med student body, and I kind of said screw this. I want to go to Cuba, and I want to, I want to see what their public health system is like, right? And so that is sort of like how I stepped foot into public health. And I did a lot of work, you know, after Hopkins in the public health domain and I did some internships at the United Nations. I’m sorry. The WHO, the World Health Organization in Geneva on postpartum depression so that that’s sort of like part of the entry into the world of psychology. I did a lot of work in Inner City Baltimore at the Hopkins School Public Health doing family and child health research. So actually, going into some of the homes and doing home based research in the community and what happened then is I was graduating, and I was like I’m going to go into the Peace Corps, right. And they commissioned me to Uganda, doing AIDS Hospice work. And at that time, I had this boyfriend, and he was going to New York. And my when I was getting my physical. My doctor looked at me and she’s like, “why are you going to Uganda?” She’s like you could do so much good here in Baltimore, why don’t you stick around and see, you know, hospice work is really hard, you know, for one psyche. And I’ve gone through a lot of like loss in my life and she’s like, I don’t really think this is the best thing for you, right? And so, my uncle also said that too, he’s like maybe think of something different. So, I had this boyfriend who moved to New York, and I’m sitting. I stayed back in Baltimore, after I graduated for about two years. And was working at The Annie Casey Foundation, which was started by the owner of UPS. And you know, the goal of that foundation is to really help children thrive and survive in underdeveloped and low-income communities and they do a bunch of grants stuff. And so, I was working there in their library actually while also doing research for Hopkins and it was domestic violence research that I was doing at the time. So, I had two part-time jobs. So, I’m trying to figure my life out. I’m like 21, you know, have this boyfriend in New York. My family’s from New York and I I’m sitting there trying to like piecemeal, you know, my rent together effectively. And I thought I was going to go into like a PhD program at one point. And I was like you know I really want to go home to New York, so I have this like background of public health and I’ve been working at the NECC Foundation doing kind of like child welfare work right for their library and I’m working in, you know, doing domestic violence research in Baltimore, and I went to a career fair in New York, just to test it out and I ended pp finding a job with the Children’s Aid Society, right, which is a big nonprofit in New York and one of their goals is to help families stay together. So that’s that alert, Brad. Hold on, OK? And so I went to this career fair, I got this job as a case planner, which is a case aid and the goal was for workers to go into homes where our families have been touched by the children service, children services where children were going children were at risk of being placed in foster care. And the goal was to provide them with, like you know, some basic kind of counseling, supportive counseling and service coordination.

06:49 Bradley

06:50 Hope
So, as I was doing that, you know a number of my supervisors were also therapists in private process, so they were LCSW’s which are licensed clinical social workers and they had side gigs where they had their private practice, but they were doing this really good work. So, at that juncture, I decided to go to Colombia, and I went to school part time because Colombia is very expensive for those out there. You know, I’m an upper limit millennial and student debt is a big thing. And so, I worked with my agency, Children’s Aid Society where they funded me. They funded half of my tuition, right? So, any recommendation I can give to people going into social work, social work does not pay a lot of money, so wherever you can find a deal, take it, right? So, Colombia and my agency had this agreement where I could, you know, go to school part time and then work full time, so that’s what I did. And then after I graduated in 2011, I decided to pursue family therapy, and I went to a place called the Ackerman Institute For the Family. So really, my journey into private practice and being more of the clinical person happened while I was working in a nonprofit agency. You know, government agencies in New York City. So, it was sort of a parallel process.

08:21 Bradley
Well, you covered a lot of my first questions here. You went through your journey going through your from your undergrad through almost leading up six years later going and finishing your master’s degree in social work and in between there you were trying to figure out well, should I go here? Should I go over to Uganda. The boyfriend was also a factor. And then eventually people kind of convinced you, it sounds like to do some good around here and that’s what led you to find out, hey, somebody with an LCSW or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker can actually open up their own private practice. And, as you mentioned, your postgraduate study was in marriage and family therapy and counseling at the Ackerman Institute for Family in New York, NY. And so, after that kind of bring us to the present of where you are now. So, what you know you got funded half of it was funded through that agency and then after you finished that work in 2017, what did you do after that?

09:23 Hope
In 2017, so it took me a while to kind of, you know, graduate from my postgraduate program. And I was still at a crossroads in 2017, I was the assistant director of you know, a nonprofit and it was just getting, like, really hard. You know, I was doing a lot of hard work, working really long hours, not getting compensated fairly, right? And so that’s something that people have to really think about when they do this work. My sense is that times have changed. And then in about 2018 and I started my own like very small private practice. So again, I was still working full time trying to make that transition into private practice.

10:09 Bradley
OK. And I should, I should remember to ask you, what brought you to Columbia University? There are many other schools in New York that offer graduate degrees in psychology and social work. What drew you to Columbia University?

10:26 Hope
I mean, I’m gonna be real like they had to deal with my company, right? So, I had 50% tuition off, you know, at that at that time. I think I was still making like $30,000 or something. I had a part-time job. And, and so when you’re considering social work right, you know? Sure, you want to consider the quality of the program but there wasn’t much else for me to choose right, like it just seemed like a really good, great institution and you know, thinking about the finances around it was really important. But you know, I do think that one of Colombia’s emphasis, back in the day, was on social justice and that, you know, really speaks to me even now as I’ve transitioned into private practice. And so, you know, other MSW programs, they might have a more clinical bend where they really do graduate people to go into private practice. But I think you know when I was a student at Columbia, the emphasis was on really cultivating people who have strong clinical skills, strong research skills, and who could, you know, maybe run like agencies and be thought leaders while maybe having a private practice. So a lot of my clinical, you know, skill set came after when I went and to the Ackerman Institute for The Family and some other postgraduate programs that I had to pursue. But that’s something to think about.

12:03 Bradley
Sure. The other thing to consider too, and I want your thoughts on this is many of our audience, listeners, students might reach kind of a fork in the road. I want to do some work in this area, but I’m not sure if I should go the psychology route or social work route. How did you make that decision, and do you have any advice for those students you are reaching that fork in the road?

12:28 Hope
I think it’s about, you know. Well, first thinking about what you might want your end goal to be, right. Even if you just have a schematic of what that looks like. And also like your time commitment, right? And for me, you know, finances, you know, are something to think about when you’re investing in your education. So, for instance, in New York, a clinical social worker can do psychotherapy where in some other states you have to be a PsyD or a PhD, right? And so, it’s very different. I also think you know, if you want to do more administrative leadership, then sometimes a social work degree is a little bit more diverse. If you are interested in doing more psychological testing you know, then maybe a PhD is more valuable. You know in New York, in New York when you’re thinking about developing a practice, you know insurance companies are more likely to reimburse. Or to give social workers get them on their panels because we’re cheaper, right? And so, there’s like a whole. There’s a lot of history and I’m not an expert in this in the evolution of how psychiatrists went to just be prescribers and psychologists are now doing a lot of the psychological testing. And there’s I mean. I can’t speak to it, but there’s like. It’s there, it’s. A. It’s a heated issue, I’m sure. Maybe you’ve heard of us in that in the field of the way the healthcare system has evolved so that’s something that I didn’t really have to think about it that much because I kind of fell into this path. But if it for those who are at that crossroad I would probably give some consideration to those factors.

14:18 Bradley
I’m glad you brought that up because I do have the website here for those of you who are interested in finding out what are some of the license requirements to become a licensed clinical social worker in the state of New York. While I’m kind of going through this, can you kind of recall from your memory what were some of the requirements that you needed to keep in mind in order to get that licensure.

14:40 Hope
Sure. So, I definitely had to have and it’s been a while now think it was like 3000 and I might be mistaken, and the hours might be 2500 or 3000 clinical hours being with providing counseling to patients or clients that my supervisor had to sign off of. And so that was for my clinical degree. For the LMSW, which is the first step. So, after you go to get your MSW, if you want to practice really anywhere and even if you’re in the nonprofit sector or the healthcare sector, you know, like a discharged social worker at a hospital, you really have to have your L. And so, the requirements for that, if they haven’t changed, you just have to take your licensing test. So, but the L you have to take a licensing test for the LCSW. It’s an additional licensing test, which is a little bit more clinical, and you have to have, you know, those hours that are signed off by a supervisor.

15:49 Bradley
And so, I’m sharing while you’re talking some of the requirements. And of course, we’ll share this website when we go live with your interview. But it does cover the general requirements, as you can see here, the fees that are associated with it. Some refunds if that does come into play and then some of the education requirements. Practicum hours. How many semester hours you have and then experience requirements. This gets into your supervision your supervised hours as well, and then it also gets into if you scroll down some applicants licensed in other states. So, if you’re bringing your licensure and you’re moving to New York, what are the procedures to follow there? So, we’ll of course share this with everybody, but I wanted to share that with everybody because when you start looking at the requirements, it helps. Make you it. It forces you to think about your plan and what the end goal is, as you mentioned, and how to get there. So, if it helps you with those steps. Since I’m sharing my screen, I’ll go to your private practice. Tell us a little bit more about Hope Kelaher Therapy.

17:00 Hope
Sure. So right now I am seeing people using a hybrid model. So, part in my office I have two offices, one in Lower Manhattan, one in Murray Hill. And then I’m doing the rest using teletherapy from my position where you where you guys are seeing me. I work with really a variety of families and individuals. I am something that I’ve I like to refer to myself as a systemic and relational therapist. So, I think about the relationship the individual has with themselves and then in the multiple contexts of their lives of home life, work life, community life. I work with, you know, fairly even split of individuals, couples and families. But I always do think of when I think of my practice and the people that I’m trying to support, I think of them within a larger system, right? And I think we can all appreciate that after COVID, nobody wants to not be in a system or in a vacuum anymore. So that’s a little bit more about like my approach to treatment. You know, I do think for those who are moving into private practice, having a variety of skills developed over like just before you start your private practice is really important. You know, after I left child welfare in an administrative role, I knew I had to get some more like clinic experience, which was really helpful. So, I worked with a in the mental health clinic in the Bronx that had a lot of high-risk cases you know, like very, very kind of low-income area like high crime area, lots of a lot of things. And that was I think the most invaluable experience. And so that’s one thing that I, you know, some of my mentors had had shared with me that you know, make sure you get a lot of experience working with many different people before you go into private practice, because you really never know who will show up. And so, I’m glad that I heeded that advice, and I’ve seen some of my colleague’s struggle if they haven’t had that type of exposure, right? So that’s also something just for those who are considering an MSW or private practice to think about it as well.

19:26 Bradley
And you’ve had this private practice, I believe, since 2018. So, a little over five years. Can you think back, what were some of the top challenges or biggest challenges that you had when you started going through that procedure of opening up your private practice? So, this would be applicable to anybody who’s going into private practice, whether they have a social work degree or a psychology degree. What were some of the biggest challenges you had to face when you were opening up your private practice?

19:55 Hope
Yeah. So, I definitely think, you know, I was lucky because I, you know, that boyfriend became my husband. So, he was a support like a financial support to me. But I was still working part time. And you know, it does take financial resources to get a practice up and running and. So, you know, compared to other fields our fields is or my field there’s less overhead but thinking about where you want to work. So, I initially rented an office in the same neighborhood that I worked and that can be interesting right when you’re seeing clients and you know you’re having and then those at brunch and you’re like, oh, wait, you know that person or somebody is knows your dog. So that’s something to think about, right? And how you handle that with your clients? So, renting a place, thinking about what your hours are. Sometimes, and I definitely was one of these people. People starting a private practice, they’re just so eager to kind of build their clientele that they are too accommodating, you know? So, I would have clients like 9:00 PM on a Friday and that’s not really great. Right. So, knowing what your own boundaries are. And knowing that you can’t help everybody, right? So, thinking about screening clients before. Some people are not going to be the right fit for you and that is OK. And also having like other people in the field that you can refer them to, I felt was really helpful. Getting a supervisor right. And so that’s something not sure if those who are listening are aware of this but in psychology, you always want to have a supervisor, sort of just somebody that you can, and it could be a peer supervisor or somebody you pay just to help you brainstorm clinical issues. And it’s confidential and there’s no disclosure of like the clients you know names or identifying information, but to have that support. So those are some of the things that I think are important to think about. So I started my practice in 2018 and it sort of in the spring of 2018 and then like, you know, really, I felt like I just start, I just gotten it going. I had my own office that I was paying for on a monthly basis, which is huge. And then COVID happened, and I think that was actually one of the more challenging experiences for me, my greeting from, you know, an in-person model to a telehealth model, which presents its own limitations and also just keeping up with the demand because everybody wanted therapy. So those are those are a couple things to think about.

22:31 Bradley
And I should mention the bright, you know, the silver lining or the bright side of what happened after COVID, through and at the end of COVID, if we can say that now is now agencies are allowing for people who practice in one state to actually do telehealth in other states. And so, there’s reciprocity that is happening and there is a website out there that actually shows different states that do allow reciprocity. If you’re licensed in one state, you can do telehealth in other states. So, I guess that’s the nice thing that has happened as a result of, you know, going through that we realized, hey, any telehealth is better than no, you know health available and it opened up the doors for people who to expand their business and expand their clientele if they wanted to. So that was that was kind of the nice thing that happened after COVID.

23:28 Hope
You know something else for those who are thinking about working for themselves. There’s a lot to be said about that, there’s a lot of freedom in working for yourself, but then there’s also a lot of responsibility by and thinking about the business end with cash flow, you know, paying estimated taxes, health insurance, all of that stuff that sometimes is an afterthought because people get so eager. So those are just some things that to think about, and that’s universal in psychotherapy. And then in social work, especially if you decide to work for yourself.

24:08 Bradley
You know, the one thing that I want to ask is, based on your experience, what are some valuable skills or qualities that you believe are essential for success in the field of social work, and how can students help prepare themselves if they wanted to go into this field?

24:26 Hope
I would say, like, don’t make assumptions. Don’t assume that you know everything. Really try to stay curious about what’s coming up for the clients. Like before you maintaining a nonjudgmental stance. You know, knowing when knowing. Not people pleasing, right? I think it’s something that comes up a lot for therapists. Or at least in some of the social groups that I’m in. And self-care is really important. I think that was really hard for me as a young social worker, even before I went to my master’s program. Because it’s you’re taking on a lot of energy. And there is the vicarious trauma. And so, what does self-care mean? And I know everybody’s talking about it and you know, getting your own therapist is huge. Right, having a supervisor if you’ve if you’ve just seen or heard of in a traumatic event that’s affecting you, like having your own space to process that so you can let it go. So those are just some of my, you know, my initial thoughts.

25:37 Bradley
And you kind of led me to my next question about self-care because you know, as an advocate for, well-, you know, -being and mental health, you know, there are many things that you experience and you even mentioned some during your journey is while you were working on your masters and then the pressure of working full time and going to school part time and then starting your own business, taking on clients and you mentioned one advice that I’d reemphasize is know your boundaries and share those boundaries with your clients or your other people that you’re working with as well. Have that outlet, as you said, somebody else that you can, you can basically talk to. Any other bits of advice for students on self-care while maintaining their own mental health while going to school?

26:30 Hope
I think really knowing your limits and at times I think COVID was a point for me where I didn’t know my limits right. I probably was seeing I think a lot of therapists were seeing too many people. But knowing your limits and everybody has a different everybody has different capacities and there’s no shaming or blaming in that, you know, I have a psychiatrist friend who sees 14 people a week and like he, he was like, I can’t do anymore. So, knowing your limits, and I think in you know in my work taking a lot of like breaks and time off from work is important. So, I try to like get out of and then I also live in New York City. I try to get out of the city about once a month. I try to go to nature to heal. So hiking, running, being outdoors is really helpful.

27:21 Bradley
Very good advice. You’re also an author. I mentioned a couple of books here, Here to Make Friends: How to Make Friends as an Adult. And then your newest book, The Resilience Workbook for Women. Tell us a little bit more about your newest book.

27:37 Hope
Sure. So, my newest book came. Out I believe like 2 weeks ago I. Think it’s fully on Amazon? Both the PDF and EE version should be. Linked. I’m sorry, the PDF and paper copy and so really it’s. It’s a number of exercises, some that are adapted from other thought leaders, some that I’ve devised on my own thinking about ways that we can build upon our resilience to cope with difficult times. You know I think we all are born with the level of resilience but then I’m like, how do you cultivate it, right? So, it’s, you know my hope is that the exercises in this book can be applicable to whatever challenge the person is going through. And some users might, you know, really benefit from going through all of the exercises and others might not I. I would say it’s sort of an amalgamation of positive psychology, cognitive therapy, systemic therapy and some somatic therapies. So those are where a lot of the exercises come from.

28:47 Bradley
How has writing these books helped you in, you know, your career? So, another way to look at it is, you know, how has this helped you in your career? Expand your network, expand your. It almost forces you to relook at what you learned and apply it to help other people as well. And how can you know aspiring students who want to follow in your footsteps handle both of these things because when you dedicate yourself to write a book, there are some deadlines that your publisher puts on you as well. So, talk to me a little bit about that.

29:19 Hope
Oh gosh, yes. Yeah, you know, I. Actually think that writing these books is a little it was health care for me in a number of ways, and so the first book I wrote, which came out in 2020, but I had been asked to write it in like 2019 and they were kind of like can you can you get this out quick and I’m like OK, I’ve never written a book before. I’ll do my best and but I do think it gives it you it does take time away from the business. You have to be very mindful about that, but for me it gave my mind just like some more mental exercise, right? And it was actually a really nice break and that is also part of self-care, right? So, kind of having your mind think in different ways. So, it was a nice derivation. I definitely think that now. Listen, I’m a luddite. I’m not a fan of technology. I’m not a super fan of this Instagram stuff, but I do think that, you know, we live in this world, unlike maybe our predecessors, where the therapists are marketing themselves, right? And I’m not, like a huge fan of this, right. I’d rather be like, you know, 20 years ago, old school, you get a referral. Like the person, it’s a fit. But this is just, you know, part of being a therapist today is being a businessperson, right, if we look at Esther Perel or Steve Johnson or, you know, some others. It’s really about marketing. You know, so I like the act of writing books, I think. I mentioned earlier I used to work in libraries. I love being in libraries. I love reading. This was it was a really it was sort of a gift that the universe gave me and hopefully, hopefully it’s helpful, but it is something that people have to think about writing blogs, SEO, how you market it yourself?

31:10 Bradley
And that’s a very good point. It is different than it used to be back in the day, unfortunately, if you want to, you know, a lot of people, once you get your client base built up, you don’t have to do as much marketing any longer. But if you’re new, that is one of the strategies that you can use and you know, let’s face it, after all, I if I’m new and I’m trying to build my client base I will do almost anything to do that and use any of these means to do that. I’m sharing the screen once again. You mentioned your first book back in 2020, so here was the one that I mentioned in the intro that you received that 2020 Gold winner for Family & Relationships, and this is also in paperback. And then you can listen to it as well. So, I’ll put this up on the website when we go live. A follow-up question for you is in your experience thus far, what are some of the most pressing issues or challenges facing the field of social work today?

32:17 Hope
Facing the field is that I’m not sure there’s enough of us, and I do think that a lot of the non-governmental organizations and nonprofits are facing like a real dearth of good clinical social workers, especially in New York. You know, I have colleagues who worked at all of the agencies that I used to work for, and you know it’s really hard to maintain staff because they are so underpaid, especially if they aren’t doing social work for the social justice component of it. So, I think that’s a challenge. You know, it’s interesting my colleagues and I, we talked in the private practice domain. The other challenge is that there are a number of these online platforms where they’re hiring LMSW’s and I have a girlfriend who’s in this predicament, and they’re significantly underpaying her, but she’s doing like the teletherapy mill, right? She’s like, you know, so that is also a challenge of these tech companies are creating these platforms, and it’s all nice and they get health insurance and stuff, but they are overworked and sometimes they’re not the most qualified right? You know my I know my therapist has a number of certifications and, you know, have lived experience and like is relatable and so I think, you know it’s, it’s sort of merging into this different market which you know I think sometimes can strip away the therapist’s individuality. So, I think that those are two, two challenges facing the fields of social work and also social education is very expensive, right? And so, if you’re not going to be, you know, you’re not a doctor coming out of it, right, but you’re paying at doctor prices for two years, maybe not four. Right. But it’s still very expensive.

34:07 Bradley
Yeah, definitely. The other thing to keep in mind is to continue your licensure, you have to have so many credits of continuing work as well. And a lot of people may look at that as ohh my gosh, that’s more expensive. I have to continue paying, but you should rather be looking at it as what other areas am I really interested in and can I receive more of these licenses to bring more, you know, value to my clients. And so, I know many of our guests once they get out there, they realized, Oh my gosh, I wasn’t really equipped to handle this type of situation or this type of presenting problem with my clients. And therefore, I went out and I actually educated myself, took some more classes and then got licensed in whatever area, so that’s another way to look at it.

34:57 Hope
Yeah. And I think, you know PESI, which has a lot of the continuing education credits, they have retreats, you know where you can go somewhere and you and you’re in this immersive CEU program, so you’re getting something out of it. But it’s like it’s like a conference, right? It’s somewhere, you know, I did. IFS training in Sedona, you know. And so yes, it’s a it’s an upfront cost, but if you’re running own business, talk to your accountant, you know, they’ll help you figure that out, right? Because these are all business expenses too. So don’t let that be a limit, a limitation. I think the continuing Ed for me is also part of my self-care because I love to learn.

35:45 Bradley
Yeah, definitely. And I’ll share my screen one last time here. Even though you mentioned you don’t like doing all the marketing and the social aspect of it, you do have a Facebook page. And actually, I saw this note or this Facebook post from Ulysses Press announcing your gold winner for Here To Make Friends. And then you also have a couple others here and here is your Instagram page. And then of course we will, we will share all of these pages once we go live. And then of course, if you want to look, look at Hope’s background and journey a little bit more, you can go to the LinkedIn page for her as well. But I wanted to share those. And you know the other thing to kind of summarize here is, you know, look at like you said, look at where you want to end up, what you want to do after you receive your graduate degree or degrees and then kind of make a plan to reach that goal and that will help determine what you should do, where you should go and how you should actually, you know, unfortunately, market yourself in that new area. So, Hope, what do you love most about your job?

36:56 Hope
I actually love the clients that I see, you know, and in private practice you know, you get to kind of meet people and assess if you’re a good fit and not everybody’s a good fit, right? And so, like they’re going to be people that just hate you and don’t like you. And that’s fine. They can move forward but. I love getting up every day, helping people that I really do care about and seeing them grow, it’s really, you know, I think that. Maybe it was CNBC. Somebody just came out with a list of the most gratifying careers and construction was the first one because people can see the end products. As therapists, we don’t always get to see the end product, but the gift of seeing somebody blossom is just it’s the most amazing thing. And being along their journey, if they let you and so I, I’m so grateful that I have my clients and you know I’m diligent about like doing the work but I. I really love it like I. I made the right choice for me. Um, you know and then the other thing with social work, just to like know is that there are so many different ways that that that degree and the skill set associated with it can be used. So, I have a friend who like right now is a social worker and a family therapist but they’re going to move into performance coaching. I have another friend who was like, you know what, I need really good benefits and I’m going to go into HR so it can be what you make it.

38:31 Bradley
Sure, sure. Any other professional or personal goals that you still hope to achieve in your career?

38:41 Hope
Yes, but I haven’t really formulated.

38:44 Bradley

38:45 Hope
I would like, I would like to write another book, you know, but I have to kind of flip that with you if you probably in like another two years because it is very laborious and it does take me away from self-care. You know, I would like to maybe start to do some like group work on helping people who suffer from social anxiety and how that gets in the way of them making friends as an adult and more stuff along that. But nothing I don’t have a fully formed idea in this moment.

39:19 Bradley
OK. No, that’s fine. That’s fine. At the end of our podcast, if you’ve noticed, we usually ask some fun questions. And the first one I usually ask is tell us something unique about yourself.

39:32 Hope
Let’s see what is unique? I used to spearfish. I was terrible, so that’s actually kind of unique. I I’ve petted. I’ve touched a rhinoceros. I don’t know. But what is like, really unique. I don’t know. Maybe I’m kind of basic, but I really like cooking. I’m learning Greek because my partner is he’s Greek, Australian and I was told you got to learn Greek. Because and those guys could just keep on talking about me. It’s fine like in Greek but I was told so that that could be interesting. And I used to run marathons, but I haven’t had a chance to do so since the pandemic and half marathons rather.

40:20 Bradley
Well, that’s wonderful. Any one of those by themselves may not be unique, but when you combine all of them, they do make up you. So that is your uniqueness, so.

40:29 Hope
That is true.

40:30 Bradley
Think about what your favorite term, principle, or theory is and why.

40:38 Hope
Something that I’m actually more curious about now is quantum physics actually, so I am currently just moving through my last bit of IMAGO certification, which is an older type of family therapy, and the premise is sort of based on quantum physics, right? That the and I’m, I’m really this is a little bit reductionist I’ll admit but the thing that’s fascinates me is that our thoughts and our words do have energy. And that we do give off energy and it I know it’s like, you know probably my mom would say oh. Don’t. Don’t. You know, get that RBF, you know resting bit** face off and like give positive energy. But there is something really about that. So, I’m becoming a little bit more curious about quantum physics as it relates to like dynamics in the universe and between humans because of IMAGO.

41:35 Bradley
Well, that’s interesting. My as we were talking before we started recording, my background is interpersonal communication and one of the things that has been true for a long, long, long time is when you look at pictures or live video of people that are smiling versus those who are not, you obviously receive that energy. So, it, it makes sense. And now that they’re getting deeper and deeper into it, it would be interesting to find out more about that as well. Do you have any other advice for those interested in the field of social work or psychology?

42:10 Hope
I think my recommendation would be to talk to somebody who’s doing the work.

42:16 Bradley

42:16 Hope
Right. And become curious about what the hardest parts of their journey were. Right, because people like to sugarcoat things. But I know for me, I want to, I want to be prepared. I want to know what the hardest parts are, the perspective challenges, how to overcome them, how to navigate through them.

42:35 Bradley
OK, very good. If you had the time and money to complete one project or go on one trip, what would you do?

42:49 Hope
One project. I probably. That’s interesting. I would probably want to have like a rescue dog farm. So, I say this to my friends if I have, you know, listen. I love my job. I need my job, but I wish I didn’t have to do my job right? I wish that people in the world like weren’t hurt and didn’t and weren’t in need of healing. And if that were the case, I would probably go to like rural Connecticut. I’d learn how to drive, go to rural Connecticut and have, like, just a farm for dogs that were hurt, like that’s sort of I love my dog. I love dogs, like that’s probably one project that I would undertake. You know, having like a sustainable, like communal farm with a lot of dogs that needed help.

43:33 Bradley
OK. That’s wonderful. Now, would you, I also asked if you could go on one trip. If you could go on one trip, what would you do?

43:48 Hope
So, it’s interesting because I just came back from Africa and that was sort of like my big bucket list trip. So, a friend had invited me on the safari, so I was blessed to have accomplished that. I think if I had to go to one other place. Where would it be? Maybe like Svalbard in like, kind of Norway’s kind of very remote like place. But I don’t. I don’t have that. No, I’m not. I I’ve. I’ve had the great fortune to be able to travel. So, I think I would just want to if I had the opportunity, I just want to be healthy and live for as long as I can, uhm, really.

44:37 Bradley
OK. Well, that’s good. Hope, is there anything else that you would like to discuss or bring up on this podcast?

44:44 Hope
I think I’m. I think I’m, I think. That’s it for me.

44:47 Bradley
OK. Well, again, I appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule to share your journey with us and your advice. I really appreciated hearing about all of the things that you went through in order to start your career, start your private practice, and then I loved your advice, talking about how did you decide to go the social work route versus the, you know, psychology route as well. So, thank you so much for being on the podcast.

45:16 Hope
Of course, Brad, thank you for having me, I appreciate it.

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