How Therapists Can Use C2 to Build Their Practice
C2 and the Pursuing Happiness approach may be used to create or strengthen one’s private practice. It will require a paradigm shift for most of us to a focus on client strengths rather than their problems. It attempts to encourage their abilities more than treat their liabilities.
This is the approach many are taking today. Martin Seligman, when president of the American Psychological Association [1997-2000], saw that psychology’s focus was on pathology to the neglect of happiness. Thus he founded the Authentic Happiness movement [authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu] with Chris Peterson and others in various disciplines working with him. Marcus Buckingham and others apply these truths in the business world. I recommend you start by reading Seligman’s Authentic Happiness and checking his website.
Once your paradigm has shifted, here are some ways you can use C2:
1. Become an expert in working with teens. Advertise this as one of your specialties, saying that you take “a positive, strength-based approach.” This will make you desirable to large therapy practices and managed care panels, especially if you are a young therapist. Have an ongoing, “open” [adds members whenever they want to join] C2 group. Whenever you or other therapists in your group get a teen client, encourage them to be part of the group.
2. Do individual sessions with the kids to develop their lesser character strengths and to train them to use their strengths to overcome their challenges. Take them to Seligman’s website and have them take the VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire [authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu]. Teens will love you if you start by identifying their strengths.
3. Meet with their parents, explain your approach, and encourage them along the same path of developing their character strengths. Start a parents group so parents and teens are “speaking the same language” [that would be unusual!].
4. Meet with your local social service agencies and caseworkers, juvenile service organizations, and judges to offer these services. While Medicaid doesn’t pay a large amount, you can develop a healthy practice and income if you combine individual work with group and family therapy. Those who work with teens will welcome your work. A therapist could develop an entire practice working just with this population.
5. Piggy-back with any character education programs in your local schools to offer a more intense experience. Those already involved with character training will recognize C2 as a more intense, direct approach than most used in schools. Check with your local school counselors and alternative schools.
6. Talk to your local churches, pastors, and youth workers. Ask to speak at church meetings about C2 and show them a movie clip like the one from “The Pursuit of Happyness.” You might offer to do a group at their church if they can insure enough kids will come. The Christian version of C2 is available for purchase.
Please call the Pursuing Happiness office at (417) 206-9900 or Contact Us.