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Building a Practice as an Eating Disorder Specialist – with Therapist, Jodie Gale – Episode 55

Building a Practice as an Eating Disorder Specialist - with Therapist

Show Notes

Jodie Gale is a Soul-Centered Psychotherapist and Eating Psychology Specialist who lives in Sydney, Australia. In this interview, she talks about her experiences being in therapy, which led her to return to school to become a therapist. She’s had successful practices in the UK and Australia, and currently has a long client waiting list in Sydney. Jodie also discusses her business practices and how she splits her time as a therapist, blogger, and full-time mum.

Interview Highlights

[1:50]  Jodie talks about how she became a therapist. She started her training in the UK. Jodie had a peak spiritual experience swimming with a dolphin that changed her life direction.

[3:37]  Jodie started her own course of therapy in 1995, in long-term psycho-synthesis sessions, and in 1999 started training to be a therapist.

[5:05]  Jodie explains how she runs her therapy practice. She has a home office and works with women, especially around their psychological health and eating disorders. Right now she’s working part-time and is a stay at home mum.

[7:02]  Saturday is Jodie’s main work day, and she works a few evenings a week. She only takes clients who are committed to long-term therapy. Once she starts with a client, their slot will be filled for 3-4 years, so she doesn’t have to worry about filling her schedule every week.

[8:52]  Jodie discusses her client base. She attracts people who have eating disorders, with childhood neglect and trauma underlying the eating disorder issues.

[10:05]  Jodie has a lengthy wait list. She only takes clients willing to work weekly and for in-depth therapy. If clients are not open to this, she refers them to other therapists.

[11:16]  Almost every woman Jodie has worked with has food and body issues of some kind. Half of her current clients fall on the eating disorder side of this spectrum (bulimia, anorexia, clean eating).

[12:45]  Jodie talks about starting a practice in London. It was easier there because psychotherapy is better known and accepted in the UK than in Australia. When she moved to Australia in 2006, there wasn’t a heading in the yellow pages for psychotherapy.  Her colleagues were calling themselves counsellors. The Medicare system was not helpful, it was ad-hoc and restrictive.

[15:30]  When her children were small, she’d put them down for a nap and start blogging about psychotherapy. Her passion was for long-term depth psychotherapy. She blogged about the benefits of it, and her practice took off.

[16:26]  Jodie’s first blog post was shared by a psychotherapy association in the US, which helped spread the word. Australian Wellbeing magazine found her through her website. Sharing on social media also publicized her practice. Other therapists shared her blog as well. She did a post about the inside of 25 psychotherapy rooms, which went viral—900 shares from her own website. She was asked to guest blog on Psych Central and About.com.

[18:38]  Her mission for the last 6 months has been to build her email list. She’s in the process of writing an ebook, with the intention of using it to increase her email subscribers Jodie has had a Facebook page for her business for 10 years, and she gets a lot of traffic from Pinterest. She’s written over a hundred blog posts on women’s issues.

[20:00] Jodie also does some consulting via Skype. She offers what she calls, “soul sessions”. These are art-therapy based and goal oriented, they can be themed towards what the client needs.

[22:22]  Jodie has ranked #1 in Google for the last four years. She thinks her blogging is behind it.

[23:10]  Jodie talks about waiting lists, which are a good but a difficult problem to have. 3 or 4 years ago she was getting too many new client inquiries which led to taking her phone number off her website. Her practice has been full since then.

[27:50]  Jodie talks about the therapy training she leads. She consults with a rehab center in New South Wales.

[29:08]  Jodie’s upcoming ebook is on women and their relationship with food. She’ll offer it free, and she’s released the first chapter on her website already.

[30:00]  Jodie explains some of the challenges in building her practice. When she started, it was her inability to offer Medicare because of rules in Australia. She had to shift her focus to accommodate people who were not interested in getting Medicare to pay for their treatment. Jodie doesn’t subscribe to the mental illness and disease model, she doesn’t like to label people in that way.

[31:50]  Jodie offers her advice to new therapists: walk the talk. She knows what’s she passionate about and focuses on that. She says to focus on really good, classic psychotherapy training, and it will shine through in your work.

[33:40]  Jodie states that many therapy training courses tell you “don’t love the client”—rubbish, she says. If you don’t love the client, who is going to? She asks herself: how can I be present with this client and emphatically love them anyway? How can I teach them how to love themselves?

Jodie also stated that building a private practice is hard work—she’s sat up blogging until two in the mornings sometimes.

BIO – Jodie Gale, Therapist – Sydney, Australia

Jodie Gale Soul-Centred Psychotherapist + Eating Psychology Specialist in Sydney, Australia.

She is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological, and spiritual health & wellbeing.  She has been in private practice for over 15 years, and is the Disordered Eating Consultant for Nungkari Treatment Centre and former Assistant Clinical Director of a Sydney Eating Disorder Outpatient Treatment Program in consultation with Dr Anita Johnston.

Jodie’s extensive work experience in the eating disorder field includes stints at the Eating Disorder Association of NSW (now The Butterfly Foundation) and in the Eating Disorder and Feeding Unit of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London. She regularly appears online, in print and on National radio regarding her work with women and disordered eating. Jodie’s first eBook, ‘Befriending Your Body’ will be out later this year. You can find out more about Jodie at: http://jodiegale.com/.

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Replays of past episodes can be found here.

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