When we debuted the Moments of Meaning (MoM) videos three weeks ago, I sent an email to dozens of people inviting them to check out www.momentsofmeaning.org. I’m proud of our speakers and videos, I think the website looks great, and since the whole purpose of MoM is to spread the word about psychotherapy, it was time to get viral.
One of my friends, a woman with many years in the business world, replied with an interesting question:
“So, what’s your angle?”
I was caught off guard. Could she clarify?
“I mean, what are you trying to get out of this? Donations? T-shirt sales? Bumper stickers? Fame? Fortune??”
No, not really, I replied. We don’t have any t-shirts or bumper stickers (but that would be kind of cool), we’re not yet set up for donations (we have a non-profit, but, paperwork), and we’re definitely not in this for personal fame or fortune.
MoM is an event developed by National Psychotherapy Day, which has a particular mission: promote psychotherapy. Not individual psychotherapists, not one degree over another, not one theory instead of another, just psychotherapy. Psychotherapists can and do promote themselves the other 364 days of the year, how about one day to promote the profession as a whole?
“But why?” asked my MBA buddy, “physicians don’t have a day, dentists don’t have a day, lawyers don’t have a day, and we MBA’s sure as hell don’t have a day.”
A great question. Why would psychotherapy need a day?
Well, 1/4th of us will have a mental disorder in any given year. Between 20% and 25% of us are using psychiatric medications. The number of people in psychotherapy is much smaller than that, despite positive treatment outcomes with few side effects. It’s a proven way to fight mental and emotional distress. Therapy works.
And as I’ve said before, psychotherapy is underutilized. Fewer people are going. The negatives of therapy are everywhere in the media, yet the positives are hard to find. Just tell me about any other positive national campaign for psychotherapy as a means to heal emotional problems.
Pharmaceutical companies spent 27 billion on drug promotion in 2012. How much did psychotherapy spend?
Well, individual psychotherapists spent millions promoting their own practices touting their own techniques and experience, competing against one another for the few clients seeking their services, that’s fine. But do we promote the field? Do MD’s promote their own practices? Does your MD have a website? Probably not, because they don’t need one. They have 27 billion reasons not to.
Back to the point: what’s our angle? Awareness. Not individual gain, not t-shirt sales, just awareness. Psychotherapy exists, it works, it provides amazing, lasting insights and relief from crippling symptoms, and not every therapist is a nut or a charlatan, despite what your favorite series depicts. Watch our videos and you’ll see.
This is our angle – stories about therapy that will encourage people to become curious about themselves and psychotherapy. We hope a few people will give therapy a try and benefit as a result. Maybe we’ll ask for donations and sell t-shirts one day, but for now, all we want is to share stories and spread the news.
Next year, bumper stickers. Until then, share these videos!