Episode 53 – Dorm Room Counseling

Episode 53 – Dorm Room Counseling

December 18, 2017

Hello and welcome to the Online Counseling Podcast. I’m your host, coming to you from the chilly but sunny New York City. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Sandy and I had an amazing time with family and friends. And when going around the table to talk about what we are thankful for in 2017, I said I was thankful for you, for all the support and encouragement that I get from the listeners of this podcast and for the incredible privilege of getting to talk with some of the leaders in the field of online counseling. I am inspired by all of you and I want to personally thank you for making 2017 an amazing year for us.

 

CC: We now have 35,462 downloads of this podcast and that just blows my mind. You know how Facebook has that section where it says, “On this day… ” And it shows you posts from the current day but a year ago? Well, it was just last week that it showed a post of mine from a year ago that we were celebrating 10,000 downloads and that seemed incredible. So thank you for listening and for supporting us, and I hope that we’re adding value to you on your journey of growing an online practice.

 

CC: And I want to give a special shoutout to Diane Hediger who is a new member of the online counseling directory. You know how you can binge watch TV now through Netflix or whatever, just sit there and watch the entire series over the course of a weekend? I got a voicemail from her the other day saying that she had binged listened to all 52 episodes of the online counseling podcast. You poor thing. I can’t imagine. I don’t think my mother has done that. So, thank you, Diane. That’s really cool.

 

CC: A quick update on the online counseling directory. As you know, this podcast is an extension of the directory. It is similar to other directories out there like goodtherapy.org and Being Seen. Our entire goal is to help therapists grow their practices. Counselors pay a small monthly fee to list their profiles and then when someone is looking for their particular specialty, their practice is shown to them and email goes out, and hopefully you have a new client.

 

CC: We have two different plans. One is a month-to-month fee of $24.95 a month and you can stop at any time. And we have decided to keep the year-long membership active but we’ve had to raise the price just a little bit. So instead of, I think it was $150 a year, it’s now 225 and this still comes out to around $18.75 cents a month when you pay for year upfront. So it’s still a pretty good discount. So check us out, onlinecounseling.com and click on list my practice.

 

CC: Okay. So let’s talk about today’s guest. As many of you know, I love hearing about therapists who approach their practices in a unique way. Years before I started doing online counseling, I started the walk and talk approach. So I love it when other therapists are doing something unique. When I came across Marc Lehman’s practice, my eyes widened a little. Here’s a guy who saw a need and created a practice to meet it. It’s called Dorm Room Counseling and his focus is on clients who are going off to college and struggling with the process. So needed. I have family members who are going through this right now and I can attest, it’s a hard adjustment. And campus counseling centers are overwhelmed and not necessarily equipped to handle this particular situation.

 

CC: It just makes sense. And how does he connect with his clients? You guessed it. Online counseling. These kids, maybe we should say young adults, are so comfortable with technology, they really expect to be able to get services like this and it’s incredibly effective. He is truly changing lives and helping to prevent his clients from flaming out which can take years to repair. I’m so happy I got to know him and I hope you find this interview helpful.

 

CC: Hello and welcome to the Online Counseling Podcast. I am thrilled to have our guest today, Marc Lehman of Dorm Room Counseling. Marc, thank you so much for joining us.

 

Marc Lehman: Thank you for having me.

 

CC: And you are in West Hartford, Connecticut, right?

 

ML: That’s correct.

 

CC: Alright. So I have been following you a bit on social media and also you’re a member of the online counseling directory so thank you so much for your support.

 

ML: Absolutely.

 

CC: Tell me a little bit about how you got into the field and then how did this develop into this really cool idea of Dorm Room Counseling?

 

ML: Sure, sure. So in my office, I am one of the three partners in a group practice and within that, I have my own practice as well. And in my practice, I’ve been seeing middle school, high school and college age kids for quite some time now. And over the last three to four years, began offering video sessions for many of my students that were in my practice and graduating, and going off to college. And the initial offering was made as a result of knowing that these students would have so many things thrown at them in terms of challenges of just new school, new geography, new kids, new living situations, new classes, really new everything that I thought, “One thing that I could at least assist on not changing is keeping their counselors.”

 

ML: And so, initially, what I was doing was offering that out and kids would begin finding a time that worked where their roommate was not around and we could have a session from the privacy of their own room. What I’ve been realizing was, as I was offering that to kids and suggesting that they still connect with an on-campus either counselor or advisor ’cause, certainly, I don’t know the ins and the outs of all the universities and colleges out there. Students were doing that and then at their request, wanting to maintain our connection and our relationship. So many of those students began seeing me on a weekly basis and much of what was discussed was this transition. And for a lot of kids, it was not academic focused, it was really the transition of what they were dealing with, so…

 

CC: I think we forget, ’cause it’s been so long for me.

 

ML: Yeah.

 

CC: Of what a massive change it is for a person that you’re in, generally, a high school, you know people, you know your role. You’re at home and you know all the rules, and people are taking care of you. And now you’re thrown away from your home away from everything that you know and with some pretty big requirements in study, and every aspect of their life is turned upside down with a lot of new pressure.

 

ML: It’s just huge, and it’s… I’d add to that, Clay, some of these kids are going to school with large scholarship so there’s some emphasis on their GPA requirements, and most of these kids have never lived with anyone. The communal living piece of dealing with a roommate and dealing with a public bathroom and dealing with… Some of these dorm-style situations are co-ed by room. So you’ve got females and males on one floor. Just the nuances of all of that are incredibly difficult. I think for some kids.

 

CC: Okay yeah.

 

ML: And they’re just new, they’re just new. No one I know lives like that in high school, so. Unless they’re off at private school. Most kids if they’re in their parents homes, they’re living in a very different format.

 

CC: Right, right. So they’re struggling, and you’ve come up with this idea of connecting with them using technology. So what kind of process did you go through in getting familiar with doing online work with these college kids?

 

ML: Yeah, so as you know online counseling is fairly new, and it is… I feel like there’s a new development every week that we’re learning about as providers. And I went through that as well, and I think that the initial push was, “Let’s talk to students on their own platform.” Because they’re on either a phone, a tablet, or a computer most of their day, so they’ve always got one available. And so that’s really where the genesis was created of Dormroom where we began using that format. And it evolved, Clay, from simple chat sessions to full-on counseling sessions with kids, with support. So those students have access to me via text or email in addition to these sessions.

 

ML: So, I have some students that will see me for a weekly visit, and then they will either have a short phone call throughout the week, or text support, sometimes every day through this transition time. And for those students, I found it’s very helpful for them to not only troubleshoot difficulties that come up, but also to have some weekly goals of things that they could work towards.

 

CC: Yeah, I’ve seen the same thing. Is that that structure of they can do it themselves, they just need a little guidance of, how do you set goals and then measure your progress? So most universities, I think, have a counseling center. Is it that what you’re finding is that you’ve had a connection with these kids before they leave, or is the counseling center just really overwhelmed and not providing this kind of support?

 

ML: That’s a great question, it’s a little bit of all of that. I think that initially this started with my current patients, and it’s really flourished into families and students reaching out and wanting to start counseling with me while they’re away.

 

CC: So it’s not somebody that you knew previously, you start with them online?

 

ML: Yeah, I’ve seen some students where they’ve begun the while they’re away, and some students that I knew before they left and transitioned with me. Most of the students, like you said, are at colleges and universities where they have counseling centers. And the counseling centers, many of them are doing wonderful jobs with kids, but the sheer numbers and size of assistance needed for kids is overwhelming. So, I’ve had many phone calls over this past year from students and families where they’ll either… It’ll either be a student who just plain doesn’t want to walk in and take those bold steps of trying to make an appointment with a counseling center, or they do go and they find out that there’s such a backup wait that unless they’re in an eminent crisis, which most students aren’t, then they’re waiting, they’re waiting sometimes as much as a month or two.

 

CC: Wow. That’s a lifetime in the timeline of an adolescent, 20, 21 year old.

 

ML: Yeah. Especially when they’re at the place, Clay, where they’re actually asking for help. Pardon me. And I think for an adolescent to do that, you know that things are piling up on them pretty good. And they’re waiting, so…

 

CC: So are they… My experience doing this, is that anyone under the age of 30 is incredibly adept at technology. And I don’t want to… I’ve got clients that are 80 and they love connecting for online therapy. But certainly these kids grew up with technology and iPads, and so it seems like that this would be something natural for them. Has that been the experience for you?

 

ML: Absolutely, absolutely, I am certainly overt about the fact that all of my teenage patients know more than I do about technology and are constantly teaching me which is nice. And I am certainly learning about the different platforms out there that exist, and how to talk to kids in ways or use certain platforms that are out there that work best. And have sort of evolved myself over the last few years in terms of HIPPA compliancy, and just being able to use platforms that don’t have glitches or freeze or that type… Yeah, absolutely, the students that I work with, their knowledge of… That’s all they’ve known. So their knowledge of technology is amazing.

 

CC: That’s incredible. Are there any platforms that you prefer for online counseling, or what’s your experience been? You’ve been doing this for a few years now, what have you learned?

 

ML: Yeah, so it’s a great question. I’m using doxy.me now.

 

CC: Okay.

 

ML: I really like that platform. Really, clay, when I developed Dorm Room, officially developed I should say, about a year ago, my thrust was, “I wanna make this easy.” I know that when kids are experiencing difficulties of any kind, whether it’s psychiatric or non-psychiatric difficulties, there’s so many obstacles that get in their way of them seeking treatment. And I think one of the biggest ones is that it’s difficult. And so in working with my developer to develop our website and looking for platforms, I wanted something that was nice and easy to access and Doxy is super easy.

 

ML: Kids will go on. Initially, they have some paperwork to fill out for me in terms of consent forms and stuff like that. But beyond that, really what they do is they’ll go on a regular web address, get on to Dorm Room, and essentially, they’re in my cyber waiting room. And so I will click on my cyber waiting room and within seconds, boom, they pop up on my monitor.

 

CC: Yeah, yeah.

 

ML: It really couldn’t be easier. I’ve got students… Geographically, I’ve got students, let’s say, at Yukon. Which is about 40 minutes away from our office here. And for them, they can get on, they can see me, they can have a session and never have to leave campus. So for a kid like that to have to seek counseling, they’d have to go out of their way a lot more to do that. And it ranges everything from the kid like that to a kid much further away who, obviously, it would require quite a bit more for them to have to reach out to seek help.

 

CC: Have you ever had any problem with them finding privacy? Because as the therapist, we can have control over our office but they’re in a dorm room, they may have roommates or… Has that ever been an issue?

 

ML: Similar to when you and I were talking earlier, Clay, and you had your headset on, alls they need is earbuds and a phone or earbuds and a tablet. And I’ve had kids say to me, yeah, they’ve had difficulty with… They’ve told a room they’ve got a meeting and the roommate suddenly pops up and the roommate needs to be in the room. So they just simply grab their phone, their earbuds, and they leave. So alls they really need is a nook somewhere on campus where they can be comfortable and nobody can hear me speaking ’cause it’s coming through their earbuds. So, yeah, no, I’ve had patients call me from their car, for example, and they’ll say they just couldn’t get privacy today.

 

ML: A good majority of the time, I would say eight out of 10 times, roommates are really respectful of that. And most of my clients will just pick a time when their roommates at class or they’re at lunch. But, certainly, I’ve had many occasions where roommates walk in during a meeting and my student will just say, “Hey, I’m on the phone with my therapist. Can you give me 10 minutes.” And they walk out. It’s not a problem.

 

CC: Okay, yeah. Now, what fascinates me, and I was talking to some of the leading online therapists in Ireland, and they talked about the different levels that sometimes a client will initially engage maybe in chat/text, graduate to email counseling, then maybe go to phone as they get more comfortable, and then Skype with the camera turned off, and then… Or not Skype but you know what I mean. And then full on we could see and hear each other. It’s this gradual getting to know one another and getting comfortable with the process. What’s your experience been with that? And I imagine that some students are wanting or prefer one level over another.

 

ML: Yeah. No, it’s another excellent question ’cause I’m thinking, as you’re talking about that, my clients in my office. And I certainly have that whole range of client coming in initially where I have some clients come in and they won’t talk for sessions until they’re feeling good and comfortable, and they trust, and they feel like there’s a good connection there.

 

ML: Quite honestly, I haven’t experienced that yet in online work. And the good majority of kids, again, are either past clients of mine or they’re already motivated. They’re at a point where things have reached a negative place for them and they really want assistance. So there’s some level of motivation there that I think really propels them to be okay with doing a video session. So I’m anticipating that that probably will down the road, Clay, at some point be an issue with some clients and they may need to ease into it more. But up until now, I haven’t experience that.

 

ML: The other really important piece to note about Dorm Room is that because it’s done on their format they’re so much more comfortable than adults are on video chats. And when you talk to kids about Snapchat and Skype and other things that they’re using, they’re using it, literally, every hour. And so for us to use it, say, a few times a week or as an online therapist more than that, they’re using it way more than any of us are.

 

CC: It’s fascinating. They actually grew up with this.

 

ML: That’s right.

 

CC: And it’s so normal. So for us to meet them where they are, this is just part of their life.

 

ML: Yep. And, Clay, I will say too, as a therapist, I’ve gone through some transitions with that piece. And that, initially, as a family therapist, I had many visits over the years with families wanting to talk about technology. They still do. And how their kids use technology too much. And how do we manage it, how do we keep it safe? All of the difficulties that families experience around technology. For me, it was a real mental shift to sort of say, “Okay, I’m going with them on this.” I know that there’s lots of kids out there on the college level that need help and, to me, this isn’t a fight we should have about using technology. They use it so much that we may as well use it as a vehicle to assist them. But I remember thinking, “Wow, this is a fight I’ve had with so many families around the use of technology and yet kids use it. They use it all the time.” So you may as well put it into the mix of assisting kids.

 

CC: Yeah, this is their world.

 

ML: You got it.

 

CC: And, I’ll also just say I think most listeners are aware, I’m here in New York and we’re gonna hear the whistle across the street and the horns, and now we’ve got an additional noise today. The radiator is kicking in. So that’s the clinging in the background. But that’s a nice segway of some of the challenges that your students are facing. I told you, I’ve got some family members that are just starting college and I’ve got my practice. For some reason, just in the last couple of months, has exploded with this age range of 20, 22, 24, and they seem to have some common themes. A lot of it is video games, how do you manage your time, how do you set goals, how do you not get sucked into distractions, YouTube and whatever. And it’s almost like I feel like I need to offer a course on adulting. It’s like these kids have not been, “This is how you be an adult.” And I guess developmentally, that’s appropriate. This is when they should be learning. But I’ve also been thinking, “Why haven’t you figured that part out yet?” So what are some of the challenges that your clients are facing and what you’re learning about this generation?

 

ML: Yeah, it is an ever-evolving topic I think. The phrase I find myself using way too much with this age bracket is self-care, and what does it mean to manage oneself? And really everything, Clay, from getting up in the morning and brushing one’s teeth, and putting on some fresh clothes, and making sure you’re not forgetting the particulars like deodorant and washing and combing your hair, [chuckle] and stuff like that, to getting to class and to advocating for oneself with a teacher. To keeping your door open so people know that you’re friendly, to keeping your head up and not… Keeping your earbuds out of your ears some of the times so that people know that you’re accessible. Looking people in the eyes.

 

ML: I can’t tell you how many times through video sessions I’ve gone through and we’ve role played what you might say to a new student as you meet them. Because many of these kids, not that they have necessarily social deficits, but they’re coming out of schools for 13 years where they’ve never had to meet new kids. You then hit the reset button, you then put pressure on them that school costs many, many thousands of dollars, there’s academic pressure, there’s newness. So kids are going into these formats of colleges and they’re just being challenged in so many different ways. And the self-care piece to me is a huge one. And that, oftentimes, I just see that fall by the wayside. I see kids not showering as frequently as they did before, not being as friendly as they normally are. And some of the basics that they did pretty well actually in high school have changed. So that’s a huge one that I talk to kids about quite a bit. And some kids are better at it than others.

 

CC: Yeah.

 

ML: Even the idea of managing oneself around using substances. That if a student is abusing themselves but they’re around it, what’s that like? What’s that like having kids come back to the dorm at night after they’ve been drinking? What’s that like being in a room with others when they’re using substances? Because for some of these kids, it’s the first time thing. They’ve never been in that situation.

 

CC: Wow. A lot to manage.

 

ML: Yeah, the self-management piece, the self-care piece is huge. It’s just a humongous category that for many kids, especially first time freshmen, that I find to be a really large piece. I think added into that, Clay, you were referencing earlier the notion of technology. Technology is a wonderful thing but it’s a double-edged sword.

 

CC: Yes.

 

ML: You’ve got some kids that will go to school and instead of getting out there and meeting people, they’ll hibernate in their room and they won’t breath a word to anybody because they’re on their computer playing games or playing Xbox, or doing this, or doing that.

 

CC: And I’ve seen that too. They’re playing games but they’re playing games with their old friends back in high school who are on these multi-player games and they are able to stay stuck in that world and not engage and embrace a new world. And I think that, yes, they’re very good at technology and how to connect with another person online but I’m having to teach my guys, how do you go talk to a girl.

 

ML: That’s right. [chuckle]

 

CC: How do you date and talk to your classmates and work on projects together, because they’re just not good at it.

 

ML: Right. And one really great example of that, Clay, is when I’m working with young people that aren’t quite college age, they’re 16, 17, 18. They’re just getting into the working world. And around March, April, parents are trying to be on top of it. They’re saying to their kids, “I want you to get a summer job.” Okay, reasonable idea. So their kid ventures out to stores and the stores that have the ability to employ kids under 18, many of them will say, “We do online applications.” So the kids will actually get up the courage to go in and we’ll role play on how you do that and how do you ask for the store manager and what do you say? And then they’re turned down. They sort of said, “Well, go home and fill this out online.” And then they have to, again, go back in and sort of follow that up. So the times are really changing with regards to the direct contact stuff.

 

CC: Yeah.

 

ML: And even with the dating, Clay. I find kids are asking each other out through text and Snapchat. It’s not necessarily in person quite the same way it was when we were younger. So I think as a result of that, for kids, it would just make sense even that the Dorm Room piece fits in for them and that this is the way they communicate. And we are asking them to do things. When they go to college, we’re asking them to do things, quite frankly, they’re just not experienced at.

 

CC: So something that comes to mind is how much work or contact do you have with the parents? I’m seeing a lot of the parents that are fish out of water here and don’t know what to do and maybe they’ve done too much up to a certain point, and held their hand, and did their laundries and advocated for grades and made sure they got their paper done on time. And the helicopter parent. And now the kid shows up, mom and dad’s not there and they don’t know how to do this themselves.

 

ML: Right, right. It’s an excellent point. Initially with all of my students, I have to have contact with parents because kids really can’t come in and set up a format like this without some assistance. I think what you’re talking about though is, how much detailed conversation am I having with them. It really ranges some, some more than others, depending upon my student. Some students really don’t want me to have much contact. What I try to explain to parents is if you’ve been that helicopter parent and your child really doesn’t know how to do things necessarily on their own, let me become that person for you temporarily, and so your child will reach out and they’ll text me, or I’ll text them sometimes every day, and little by little I’ll wean them off of that so that they’re becoming more independent within their social network and their college environment. Most parents really like that because parents just wanna know that their kids are okay.

 

CC: Yeah.

 

ML: And I’m having contact with them, able to double back and have contact with the parents to reassure them and let them know that their child is okay. But it is a transition for parents as well in that this kid goes off and sometimes parents know that their child is not necessarily ready for the jump, but they’re crossing their fingers and they’re hoping for the best.

 

CC: Right.

 

ML: I try to have as much contact as students will allow me with families. I’ve begun to do… And it’s interesting, but it really works pretty neat. I would say it works pretty well. I’ve begun to do some online family sessions. Last week, I had two parents in my office, their child’s at school, so they were live in my office and their child was doing online therapy.

 

CC: Wow, that’s great.

 

ML: It’s really cool because it really tied a lot of things together, and again, for that student, they didn’t have to leave their area at all. They got the assistance they needed within an hour. So I think it benefited both sides and it’s something I’d like to continue to do with some of the students that I work with.

 

CC: Now, a lot of what you’re talking about, it seems like your approach is certainly bordering on coaching. And before the call you were talking that this, your service may be expanding a bit and your approach here. Talk a little bit about that maybe.

 

ML: Sure. Yeah, so we are actually expanding to Dorm Room Counseling and Coaching. And the reason for that is having done straight up clinical work for 20 years in my office, what I’ve come to really find out is that my work with students online, as I look at sort of the criteria if you will for coaching versus counseling, is much more coaching than it is counseling. And the coaching aspect, as a therapist, I’ve come to really enjoy. I’ve come to find that I’ve got some real talent in assisting kids that way. And so I will be taking on a partner in the organization over the next month or two who is a really experienced coach in a variety of different areas. And between his background and my background, our hope is to be able to offer that out to students in a format and a way that really assists kids and coaches kids through this really, as you were saying earlier, massive transition.

 

CC: Yeah.

 

ML: ‘Cause we’ve seen, both of us have seen, when there is an assistance offered and those students are at school and let’s say they don’t get help. Oftentimes what happens is they don’t reach out to home to tell them they’re struggling and things just go down hill and there’s a lot of money lost in terms of tuition, there’s a lot of emotional loss as far as the student goes ’cause they come home just really, really upset. So for us, our purpose, our goal, really is to find those students that need that assistance, give it to them, help them stay at school and feel good about themselves.

 

CC: And it’s so needed right there at the beginning. Because I’ve seen kids that have gone down in flames, that first semester, that first year, and the impact on the self-esteem of, “What’s wrong with me? I can’t do something simple that everybody else is able to do of brush my teeth and go to class and somehow I’m a failure.” And that seed being planted so early, and you’ve worked and spent so much money, and you’ve worked so hard to get there, and for that to fall apart is just devastating.

 

ML: Yeah, and I’ve treated those kids, Clay. So another large part of what went into creating Dorm Room was I’ve had those patients come home and there’s times where it takes me two, three, four years to get them back into a zone where they even wanna try again. And we’re talking about students that are really high achieving 3-5 plus students in high school, they’re really smart kids. And they go to school and regardless of their intelligence, they crash and burn.

 

CC: Yeah.

 

ML: And so some of those kids that I’ve worked with, they come into my office after that’s happened, and just to watch the effect on their self-worth, to come home and be that kid who’s at home when most of their friends aren’t at home, to have to sort of explain to their peers that they hadn’t succeeded or done well at school. It is a really, really hard thing for kids to go through.

 

CC: Yeah. Well, I think that this is so needed, and such a brilliant concept and I’m all about doing things a little different, and have been my entire career. So that’s I think what initially drew me to you when I saw this idea of, just the name, Dorm Room Counseling. I’m like, “Oh, that’s smart.” Let’s talk a little bit about marketing. How are you growing this, how are you getting word out about your practice?

 

ML: Well, one of the reasons why I’ve chosen to expand and take on a partner, is that marketing’s been challenging. Most people when they hear about Dorm Room, love the idea. And I found my best referrals for Dorm Room, very similar actually to my private practice, have been through word of mouth. So as much as I initially wanted to believe social media was going to be the vehicle, or just telling a few people about it would be the vehicle, it really has been more for kids that have worked with me and succeeded and talked to friends and neighbors and relatives and really spread the word that way. That’s been probably, I would say to date, one of the better ways of marketing Dorm Room. Eventually what we would like to do is to bring this more into the proactive area. So to be able to talk to high school guidance counselors, to be able to do presentations and talk to families around what are those things that high school seniors should be aware of with regards to this transition, and be able to get kids adjusted to what’s coming. Are there things that they could be doing senior year to kind of prepare and get ready? That’s definitely one of the next, I would say, goals of Dorm Room as we’re expanding.

 

CC: Yeah.

 

ML: But marketing has been tricky in that there are some individuals out there that I will say really continue to maintain that things are done in office and anything outside of that may have its negative qualities. And I guess I challenge that in that the kids that I see and the work that I’ve done, to me, one of the real benefits is that it hasn’t taken them out of their schedule. It’s allowed them to remain in their routine, in their environment, get the assistance they need and continue to stay on track. ‘Cause as we know, school is… School life is like being on a treadmill.

 

CC: Yeah.

 

ML: And it starts in September, and it doesn’t really turn off until the end of the year. And so really what we’re doing is we’re coaching and we’re offering that assistance so that they can remain in their zone and in their environment and succeed.

 

CC: It’s like I’m listening to myself. ‘Cause the whole walk and talk therapy thing, people… Any time I mention that at a party or whatever, getting to know someone, it’s that, “What a great idea. Oh, my god, that’s wonderful.” But the marketing of it, it really comes down to word-of-mouth of past clients or people that I’ve gotten to know professionally. It’s a tricky piece, I think, to market a private practice. And then one that’s unusual, because now you’ve also got to educate of, “This is how it’s different.” And why different is good.

 

ML: Well, I have to tell you, I’m one of your biggest fans, Clay, ’cause I walk and talk a lot. And interestingly enough, we’re out… You asked me where we were geographically. We’re in a, really a suburban area, that we walk with our clients quite a bit.

 

CC: Really?

 

ML: Oh, yeah.

 

CC: Oh that’s great.

 

ML: Yeah. And we found… It’s funny, there are some clients, and I know you know this, that if you sit in your stale office and you’re doing one the one straight across couch to seat therapy, it just doesn’t work.

 

CC: Yeah.

 

ML: You take them for a walk and you find out 10 times the information because they’re outside and they’re distracted, and they’re enjoying themselves. So, we will frequently go down the street and get a cup of coffee or a donut or something like that with one of our patients. And when we heard about walk and talk, we said the same thing, “What a great idea.”

 

[laughter]

 

ML: So yeah, no, we’re big fans out this way of your practice. And certainly enjoy that as well.

 

CC: Oh that’s nice to hear, that’s nice to hear, but I think that we are all struggling to come up with something unusual and different and to niche. And you’ve certainly done that. But it is a struggle to then market that. And I’m now experimenting with Facebook ads. Did the Google Ad thing. Social media is certainly good, but it’s a learning curve. They didn’t teach this in grad school.

 

ML: That’s true. That is true. I say frequently, along with my partners in the office here, that we’re not business people, we’re therapists, and we’ve become business people, we’ve become certainly more savvy over the years. But I really feel a very strong passion around Dorm Room, and I’ve seen the results. For me, whenever I talk about it people will frequently say that, “You sound really passionate about it.” Because I am. And I know that for families, just like myself, I have a daughter who’s heading into college. I know that there’s plenty of families out there that could benefit from this. And to me, most importantly, could keep their child in an area where they wanna progress towards their own passion and be able to continue toward their degree.

 

CC: Yeah.

 

ML: And so for me, there’s nothing better than watching or hearing about a kid who’s struggling, helping them, and finding out, “Wow they’re able to stay on that path and remain at school and working towards what they wanna work toward.”

 

CC: Well, I know a lot of our listeners are all over the country and internationally located, so I’m assuming that you being licensed in Connecticut, this is a service for Connecticut residents. But now that you’re moving into the idea of coaching, if a therapist is like, “Hey I’ve got… I’ve heard about my client’s son who’s struggling in whatever.” Would they… Are you all going to be working outside of Connecticut now in the coaching?

 

ML: You read my mind, Clay. We are definitely doing that. That is… That’s definitely one of the larger reasons why we’re moving into incorporating online life coaching. And not only is that specifically really more of what we’re doing anyway, but it does allow us to do things outside of Connecticut and even outside of the country. So we’ve had kids really all over the world. And it’s one of those things that, as we were saying before about marketing, hard to reach families to let them know, but once families do reach us, they come to find out it’s very easy to set up and the assistance offered is something that can be really remarkable for their kids.

 

CC: Yeah.

 

ML: So, absolutely, that is… We’re hoping that in early January, February, once the partnership goes through and becomes official that the assistance can be offered outside of the state and to kids really all over the place.

 

CC: Great. Well, I thank you so much for coming on. Any final thoughts maybe that might be valuable to some of the listeners?

 

ML: Well, first, thank you for having me, I really appreciate it and respect your work, Clay, and really enjoyed our conversation around this. As far as Dorm Room goes, I just want families to know and understand that there is assistance being offered on all college campuses. And I think that many of those schools are doing fantastic jobs, but I think the amount of kids that are out there that are struggling is just simply too large. We’ve got kids that… In the 40th percentile of kids that have anxiety issues, in the 30s of kids that have depressive issues, sizeable depressive disorders. And they’re going to school and they’re really, really struggling. And those are kids with psychiatric needs. We’ve got kids with non-psychiatric needs that really just need some coaching and assistance. And those kids that get it frequently will do well and are able to remain on track. Those kids that don’t are the kids that really suffer, and oftentimes end up back home, and really frustrated and confused as to what the next steps look like.

 

CC: Yeah.

 

ML: So our hope is to offer that assistance to families that are out there and connect with them and assist them in ways we’re able to do so.

 

CC: That’s great. And Marc, what’s the best way people can get in touch with you?

 

ML: Here. So, directly, they’re able to call me at 860-214-7583, so 860-214-7583. Or feel free to email or jump on our website. Our website is just dormroomcounseling.com or you can send an email at support@dormroomcounseling.com.

 

CC: Alright. We’ll have all that in the show notes. Marc, thank you so much for coming on the show, please keep us updated on how things progress.

 

ML: Absolutely, thanks for having me, Clay.

 

 

www.dormroomcounseling.com