Like being an addict, I never planned on coaching until I was in it. People who read one of my books, heard an interview I gave, or stumbled upon the website would reach out. Whether it’s my compassionate heart, fear of saying no, or messiah complex, I’d try my best. A couple years ago, I realized how much time I was working for free with porn addicts, and after my second book came out, the requests for working with partners of porn addicts with betrayal trauma came flooding in.
It was at this point, I took to my website – long before I had Instagram, Twitter, etc. – to explain I was having a moral conundrum. I wanted to help people like I was doing, but my regular day job as a ghostwriter was suffering. That’s what kept food on the table. I loved helping people, traveling in the northeast to libraries, churches or colleges who were willing to host my message. And I loved writing my books and giving 5 interviews a week, but my bottom line suffered.
A lot of my great website regulars, going back years now, told me to chase the money in mental health.
That was a challenging concept. I had always been the guy getting help. The guy getting help doesn’t charge other people to provide help. Except…if you talk to a ton of mental health professionals, they started on the client side of the couch. Still, I thought my future was in public speaking. I wanted to travel the college lecture circuit, telling students my story of porn addiction and letting them know why we should be concerned as individuals and a society.
The Perfect Storm
This part of the story starts in early 2020. COVID isn’t here, but my mom’s younger brother, one of my favorite uncles, is in his last days. The cancer he fought for three or or four years won, as cancer usually does. In a weird blessing, he died in late January, allowing us to have a normal, mask-free memorial, unaware of the pandemic just weeks away.
Along with the ghostwriting projects I’d take on, I had three full-time clients who I wrote blog entries, memos, short books, white papers, etc. for that I’d worked with for years. Within a month of the pandemic really taking hold, two of them put me on hiatus. I’ve never worked with them again. Freelance writing job boards dried up and the prices people were paying were 25-50% of my going rate. This was no longer a viable option.
I began getting attention for recognizing how OnlyFans would explode during the pandemic. I’m also spending time addressing how porn addiction would likely go off the rails depending on how long this coronavirus would change our world. Unfortunately, as I write this 18 months later, we still don’t have an answer. So, while we went into lockdown around the world, I was giving more interviews than ever. My publisher heard a few and we quickly produced another book about pornography and the pandemic.
Then my inheritance came in. It wasn’t “never work again” money. It was remodel the kitchen after 20 years and pay down the credit card debt 10 years money. There was enough left over so I wouldn’t have to hustle for more freelance writing to pay the bills. I finally had a cushion.
The Perfect Storm Continues
Between finally having a little bit of money for the first time in my life and the virus making it obvious the public speaking-as-a-profession world was dead until TBA, I needed to look elsewhere. The next logical and economical step was, for the first time, to begin mentioning seriously that I’ve been coaching people and it’s where I wanted to continue heading. Sure, I’d like to split coaching and speaking, but when there are no speaking gigs, it’s got to fall to the coaching to pay the bills. In a perfect world, I could make money off both and maybe in the future I will. I don’t care who you voted for. Wear masks. Get your vaccine…twice.
Meanwhile, I hired an awesome consultant who taught me the social media ropes and continues to be patient as I live my life’s motto of “What happens if…” and even sometimes stop me before we find out not all of those questions need to be answered. I know that the time I have spent learning and using Twitter and Instagram has cut into my website output. Add me to Instagram if you want daily output. Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but much more often than these longform articles.
Meanwhile, I have started preparing for a TEDx Talk in Hartford, Conn. This was my biggest opportunity to date, so I snap it up. Between April and December 2020, when I gave the speech from a TV studio, I spent 150 hours working on it. While it was broadcast live to a few hundred people, it was banned by the TED Headquarters, never having been posted to YouTube and without an explanation.
Let’s Say Meanwhile Again…
Meanwhile, a very cool medical professional with whom I had appeared on her podcast and taught a guest masterclass asked if I’d be interested in joining her organization as a betrayal trauma coach. When Dr. Debi Silber offered to certify me after some schooling, I jumped at it. It simply made sense.
I usually don’t give free plugs. There are exceptions. if you are having betrayal trauma issues and don’t think I could help, or know you need a deeper check out The PBT Institute for their amazing programs. If you’re interested in becoming certified as a betrayal trauma coach, check out their program HERE. This is an industry that is only growing as people becoming increasingly on edge.
I started advertising my private coaching in earnest early in January 2021. I also started teaching weekly classes for PBT online and began seeing some of their clients, and client’s partners. In both cases, things slowly started building steam.
Where I’m At Now
I’m going to write another piece before the end of the year talking more in-depth about my experiences coaching, but suffice to say, it’s going very, very well, both as a growing small enterprise and as a way for me to feel like I’m doing something worthwhile with my time. As for this writing in late August 2021, I see around 10 clients weekly, and usually have introductory appointments with 2-3 other people. For only 7 months, the pace of growth has exceeded my expectations. I think I will top-off around 20 or 22 maximum. I just can’t see talking to more than 4-5 people per day and still giving each of them my all.
I’m starting to get more coaching referrals and even have people coming to me who don’t have porn issues, either as an addict or a partner. I deal with a lot of straight-up infidelity, childhood trauma and grief. While there are those who have issues that are sometimes are outside of my comfort zone or I don’t click with, I see people from anywhere from six sessions to weekly, depending on what needs are being addressed.
I’m still hoofing it on the interview circuit. I’ve made some new friends through podcasts, just like I’ve made many through Instagram. LinkedIn has been consistently good and I’m still figuring out how to flourish on Twitter. Nothing though, will beat how I was welcomed as a new person to this world of writing about mental health and addiction back in late 2017. Back then there were no books written, no interviews given, no client helped. The support of many members of this community, and several whom I know are reading this now, are responsible for much of my success for always encouraging me forward, asking critical questions when needed and giving me a sense of belonging. You know who you are and I thank you.
6 thoughts on “My Journey Into the Heart of Therapeutic Coaching”
It’s awesome that the coaching side of things is going so well.
That’s bizarre about the TEDx talk. I’ve seen TED post some extremely dubious TEDx talks, so why they would get their knickers in a knot about your talk is beyond me.
I have theories, but I’m practicing radical acceptance. I did the damn thing. Maybe it’s better this way. It would have been nice to have it out there, but maybe it would have caused me or my family trouble. Maybe it would have been ignored. Can’t change it now. Moving forward…
That’s all you can do.
I’m very happy to see all of this taking shape for you. You’ve put a lot of hard work in and It shows.
As for the TEDx folks, I think it was a lost opportunity on their end. Marlon Peterson served time for armed robbery resulting in two murders and he’s TED approved but you’re not? It makes no sense.
So why waste energy trying to make sense of it? My trust in what is supposed to happen does is not shaken.