Is a Professional "Thank you" a Thing of the Past?

Design by BVOT art group

Design by BVOT art group

Lately I've noticed that the art of thanking professional colleagues for their support seems to be on the decline. Call me old fashioned, but I think expressing gratitude is so important - especially in our fast paced digital world.

I believe in the inherent goodness of human beings, and am extending the benefit of the doubt that perhaps some people are simply not in the know when it comes to professional etiquette. If you are reading this and have been wondering if brushing up on this skill would be of benefit to you (and others), congrats on being a professional who is willing to learn and grow! We all start somewhere after all, and each of us is a work in progress.

For those of you who may feel a bit lost on the art of expressing professional appreciation, I thought it would be helpful to put together a gratitude map with examples of how to best extend thanks toward clinical colleagues, coaches, and professional mentors.

Professional Gratitude Map

Photo credit Natalie Fox - Unsplash

Photo credit Natalie Fox - Unsplash

Credit their idea publicly - If you reach out to a business owner, colleague, public figure, author, or thought leader for help, or if you PM or email a coach with questions, and that person sets aside time for you, it is important to recognize this. Especially if during the call, text, email, PM or meeting you "pick their brain" for ideas.

And if during the conversation they give you a really wonderful idea, an idea that you go on to use, and as a result of their fab idea, you begin to receive public accolades, it is important that you credit the original source/person for this idea.

Side Note: This is a different story if you are a client of a coach. Part of my role as a coach is sharing ideas and helping my client shape their next steps.

Here's the thing, I understand this is not always easy, especially if you are new to private practice, and/or you are hungry for business. And especially if people assume this great idea originated from your own creative brain. No matter, it is still important to circle back and give public recognition to the person who gave you their time and supported you.

If you are uncertain on how this is done, no problem, as I said earlier, we all start somewhere. Here is an example (imagine this is your post in a Facebook Therapist Group after a thought leader, colleague, or coach has extended their time free of charge to you and shared an idea to help you):

"Hi everyone, I am excited to share my Wednesday Walk and Wine monthly events for therapists. We will meet at Connection Park on Main Street the first Wens evening of each month, and then walk into the village for a fun 2 hours of wine tasting and networking."

When your colleagues begin to respond with, "What a wonderful idea!" or "Wow, I love this, I'll be coming" or "Great idea, I love it!" and you suddenly realize, "Oh crap, this wasn't realllly my idea, this was my colleague's idea who graciously shared this with me during a free call/email support/text/PM that they extended to me."

In this case, simply edit your post and re-state,

"Jane Smith was kind enough to give me a half hour of her time to allow me to pick her brain as a support to my practice. During our call, she suggested that I create a monthly event called, "Walk and Wine" which I will be hosting...."

If that feels too scary, then at the very least, in the comment section add a clarification,

"Hey everyone, so glad you love this idea. I'd like to give a shout out to Jane Smith who kindly extended some time to me, and during our conversation brainstormed this idea and encouraged me to go for it, thanks Jane!"

By thanking and acknowledging the person who originated the idea and gifted it to you, the idea originator (in this case "Jane Smith") will greatly respect your thoughtful integrity and will remember you. In addition, you also highlight your honesty and transparency which goes a long way in the clinical world (and a long way with leaders in our field).

And if Jane Smith truly is a bad ass boss babe of a leader, she will likely notice the tag, jump on to the thread and turn the attention back toward you by saying something like,

"I appreciate the kind shout out, and really think you are going to make the idea all your own given you are a rock star!"

And if Jane lives in your area, she might further support your kind acknowledgement by saying,

"You can count on me to attend the first wine/walk event and I'll bring a couple of therapist buddies along with me!"

Conversely, by not thanking and acknowledging the person who created the idea, gave it to you, and gifted you with their valuable time and support, you may unintentionally send a message of entitlement and lack of gratitude (which will also be remembered); and should it come to light that you are not the originator of this idea, your reputation is then tarnished.

Additionally, after giving her time for free to you, if Jane Smith then sees you owning ideas she has gifted to you, it is unlikely she will want to further provide free support or attend your function.

Examples of Professional Rock Stars Who Model This

Recently, a coaching client that I love working with, Dara Hoffman-Fox, LPC, a Licensed Professional Counselor and a gender therapist in Colorado Springs, CO., surprised me with a "shout out" in a Facebook professional therapist group thanking me publicly for a business idea that I had shared during our coaching call.

Dara did not have to do this as that is part of the work I do with coaching and consulting clients all of the time. My coaching clients are paying me for my consulting and coaching expertise. However, Dara went the extra mile, and took a little time out of a very busy schedule to post a public thank you. And though I directed the lime light back to Dara (and deservedly so), it felt really nice to my heart and soul as a coach to have a client I respect go that extra step.

Other great role models are Dr. Traci Lowenthal, who has a thriving practice supporting the LGBQT community in Claremont, CA., and Darshana Dashi, LMFT a wonderful therapist in Diamond Bar, CA. specializing in couples counseling. Both of these clinicians regularly recognize people who have extended support to them, and do so publicly.  I see others in our community respond positively to their generosity. The result is the gratitude practice catches professional to another.

It only takes a moment to give credit where credit is due. And, eventually people will only associate you with with the idea that was given to you anyway, so why not publicly acknowledge those who have graciously and generously supported you? I promise it feels great!

Send a Thank you Card via Snail Mail

Photo Credit Alvaro Serrano - unsplash

Photo Credit Alvaro Serrano - unsplash

There is nothing like receiving a hand written thank you note in the mail. I realize this idea harkens back to the dark ages for my younger readers, but trust me on this one. In fact, I'd like to take a moment in this blog to do exactly what I am writing about, and publicly recognize a few therapists deserving of their own shout outs in writing. A public thank you note if you will...

Traci Lowenthal, PhD (as mentioned above), Michelle Farris, LMFT, Taming your Anger expert and Founder of Counseling Recovery in San Jose, CA., Nicol Stolar-Peterson, LCSW a child custody evaluator, subject matter expert, and an expert witness in Temecula, CA., Anna Osborn, LMFT, a Sacramento therapist and creator of the "Her Life Unscripted" podcast, and Amber Hawley, LMFT founder of Freemont Counseling, are a few colleagues who frequently take the extra time to send a thank you note or a thoughtful gift to others in the clinical community.


For example, Nicol and her group of mavens found out that I love mermaids and, after my support of their Las Vegas business retreat, they thoughtfully sent me a beautiful leather bound mermaid journal. After attending my Like A Boss coaching group, Nicol also sent along a really cute pillow monogrammed with "Like a Boss!" that now has a special place in my counseling office. When another colleague who had attended the last module of LAB met a professional goal, Nicol sent her a darling Like A Boss mug as well. This is a colleague who walks her talk.

Anna always manages to pick out the cutest cards that fit my personalty to a tee; having a card arrive to my office among the junk mail, advertisements and bills is like a ray of sunshine (kind of like Anna herself). Amber recently sent a hilarious calendar of nerdy men and their cats (I am an animal advocate and have rescue pets, and my significant other is a bit of a nerd so her fun calendar was spot on). This gift was an authentic expression of the great sense of humor that Amber offers our community. Traci gifted me with a beautiful watercolor mermaid journal, and a super fun kitty card that I still have in my kitchen. This thoughtful gift arrived on a day when I was feeling depleted and needed a boost.

After providing coaching support to Michelle and a fantastic group of female therapists at a recent retreat, she/they surprised me with a sweet thank you note filled with loving affirmations, and gift cards to Nordstroms (and what girl doesn't love a Nordy spending spree?). While the gift was a lovely surprise, the words from these wonderful women are what warmed my heart (thank you Alicia, Lorena, Michelle, Nicol, Robyn, Catherine, Sherry, Maelisa, Sharon, and Kate - you are wonder women doing such beautiful things in the world!).

SIDE NOTE: It is important to share (especially if you are considering working with me as a coaching client), that none of these gifts or cards were or are expected. I was paid for my coaching time, yet these ladies still went the extra mile to either publicly recognize me or privately thank me in a unique and special way. Do I need a gift or note after I provide a paid or unpaid service or support to a colleague, absolutely not. Am I grateful and honored by their lovely gestures? Yes, more than I can possibly express. Do I send expressions of gratitude out to colleagues regularly too? Yes, I sure do! And I have done this for my entire professional career.

In a hurting world where unhealthy competition is at an all time high, and sadly, where people often look through a lens of cynicism, leading with kindness is a must in my book. Some folks believe that affirming others is a thing of the past, or that we should provide our own self validation. I can see their point - it is important to give ourselves an atta' girl or atta' boy regularly. However, offering a few words of appreciation, a kind text, or a little note of thanks to someone who has gone the extra mile is still a lovely act of self care too. When I express appreciation, or give a shout out to a colleague, it feels really good for my heart and soul.

If you are new to the world of thank you notes, here are some tips:

1. Discover something your mentor, coach or supportive colleague really loves - maybe they enjoy sailing, or they love horses, have rescue pets, perhaps they have a great sense of humor, or love to travel. Then, as you are out and about running errands, standing in line at Trader Joes or Target, take a look at the card section and see if you can find a thank you card or blank card that matches up with their personality or interests.

2. The next step is to write an authentic expression of gratitude. You don't need to be Shakespeare - a simple, "John Smith, I saw this card and thought of you and I wanted to say thank you for the support you gave me on the phone (over coffee, during our coaching meeting) last week. I really appreciate your ideas regarding my website and I know your time is valuable. Sincerely, Joe Jones" will do just fine.

3. Next, look up their office address, check the spelling of their name, slap on a stamp (those are the little square sticky things they still sell), and pop it in the mail within a week or two of their support.

Mercedes Samudio, a therapist specializing in parenting support in Orange County, CA. is a beautiful role model for thank you notes. I have been the recipient of her authentic expressions and in return have experienced gratitude for her heart in this world and in our healing community.

TIP: If you are reading this and think, "Crud, I wish I would have thanked so and so for their support a few months ago" well, don't sweat it! Better late than never as the saying goes, at the very least shoot them an email (and yes, right now is a good time to do that). I understand that sending a thank you note actually takes more than a few seconds, but believe me, you will stand out head and shoulders for doing so.

Refer a Client

The best thank you any coach, business owner, colleague or mentor can ever receive is by you sending clients their way. Even if you have not been able to afford their products or services, but have received support through their blogs, via an on line group, social media encouragement and ideas, or connections or introductions from them, then the best way you can "re-pay" their kindness if you trust and respect their work, is to look for opportunities to share about their services and/or products with others.

This feels like a great time to give another public shout out! Robyn D'Angelo, a wonderful couples coach in Laguna Beach, CA. recently referred a friend and colleague my way. He and I had a very nice email exchange, and as a result, he booked a coaching session. That was the nicest form of a thank you I could have received from a coaching client. Not only does this demonstrate Robyn's trust and belief in my work, but she put her appreciation into action.

Write a Supportive Review on their Professional Facebook Page

Photo Credit Anna Demianenko unsplash

Photo Credit Anna Demianenko unsplash

This is one of the best ways to express your appreciation for a colleague who has gone above and beyond. It only takes a moment to pop over to their professional Facebook or Linked in page and write a review or provide a testimonial for their products or services.

Here is a tip: If a colleague you appreciate sends you a message to like their page, go the extra mile and write a review. This is such a simple and free way to extend kindness to another therapist. And in a world that could use more kindness, why not?


Write a Nice Comment on their Blog

If a person you respect has written a particularly helpful blog that has assisted you, take a moment out of your day to write a nice comment at the end of the blog in the comment section.

Tip: As you may know, I tend to write large content, high quality, open source, informative blogs. While it is lovely to receive feedback on my social media where I posted the blog link originally, I also so appreciate it when the reader takes a moment to add their feedback in the comments section of the blog as well. 

Taking a moment to write a kind word or two in the website blog comment section, and then commenting on the social media post is a wonderful way to express gratitude and support for a colleague.

This is very helpful in a number of ways: Website comments and interactions help improve SEO. And by then circling back with a like and comment on social media (and even better, share the blog if you love it), you also help out their social media page visibility as well. People remember kindnesses like this and will be happy to support you when you are blogging and posting on social media.

A colleague who does this really well is the wonderful Stephanie Macadaan, LMFT who has a thriving private practice in Los Angeles, and facilitates a fantastic group for women healing after divorce called, "Happily Ever After Divorce." Stephanie is an innovative thinker, a busy wonder woman, and still finds time to express appreciation to those who have supported her work. She exemplifies a clinician of integrity in my book.

Express your Gratitude in a Public Group or List serve

If a colleague, coach or mentor has been of support to you, and you have thanked them behind the scenes via private message, text or email, why not look for an opportunity to publicly post your thanks in support of their business, products or services. One of the best ways of doing this is through shared professional social media groups and/or list serves.

How this is done: If you belong to a professional group with the person who has been of support and extended time and resources to you, take a moment and post your appreciation publicly. An example would be, "I'd like to share that Peppermint Patty has been a phenomenal mentor to me in providing top notch consulting support. Specifically with my e-book and building my social media. I also use her e-book in my practice which has been so valuable. Patty, thanks for all you do for our community, you rock as a coach!"

Imagine Patty's surprise when she sees a tag, and reads this beautiful public support of her work. You know what Patty will feel? Gratitude, excitement, and joy. A few simple words posted publicly can add such a boost to a person in business. And can increase their business as well as your own!

A colleague who remembers to do this for others is the wonderful John Berndt, LMFT who is a licensed therapist doing exceptional work with couples at his practice in Culver City, Ca.  John is not one to express a public sentiment or compliment unless he really means it. And when he does, it is an authentic expression of his experience. Not only do I greatly appreciate his support, but I trust and respect his testimonials of others as he is selective and doesn't just throw out happy words willy nilly.

Offer to Bring by Coffee (or a cupcake) as a Thank You

Photo Credit Javier Molina - unsplash

Photo Credit Javier Molina - unsplash

One of the more common networking practices is to invite a person you respect or admire out for coffee. I think this is a beautiful way to establish connections, however, here is a little secret not often talked about: therapists with busy practices, coaches whose calendars are filled, and leaders in the community receive several of these invitations a month and often don't have time to meet up.  And not all (gasp!) professionals drink coffee. I am one of the rare unicorns who does not (hot coco with whipped cream is my beverage of choice).

Here is what you can do instead of the standard coffee invitation:

"Hi Mari, I really appreciated your recent blog on Multiple Income Streams. I'd love to take you to coffee (if you are a coffee lover like me, if not, then maybe tea) and connect this month and share about the work I am doing and learn more about your services. However, I also understand that your schedule may be packed these days, and in that case, perhaps I could swing by your office with coffee, tea for two (or cupcakes!) and spend a few minutes with you before your clinical day begins, or in between clients, even if just for 15 or 20 minutes. If this sounds like a better plan, then let me know what days or times work best for you. If none of the above works, then no problem at all, I truly understand your schedule is busy. In that case, again, thank you so much for the work you are doing in the world."

In the avalanche of emails and private message requests for coffee dates, you will stand out to that busy professional as someone who is willing to do something to make it as easy as possible on the person you are asking to meet with. And another plus is it also takes the awkwardness out of the person you are asking having to gently respond that his or her schedule does not allow for coffee date meetings these days.

Tip: Remember, if this is truly a coffee meeting, then the protocol is to share a bit about what you do, and learn about what they do. It is not a time to get free coaching support, or ask for a zillion favors. Start with a connection first.

Write a Testimonial

If a colleague, coach or mentor has been kind enough to provide you with free information and support, then why not offer to write that person a testimonial for their website. Many times I am PMd on Facebook with questions that start with, "Hi Mari, I really appreciate the coaching information you share. I have a business related question that will only take a moment of your time...."

Because I love supporting colleagues with business coaching, and I am a helper by nature, many times these questions require a rather long response, which used to end up in an hour long back and forth conversation (aka a free Coaching Session).

These days I have good boundaries around my time. While I am happy to answer a quick question, I no longer provide free coaching. I do my best to give as much pro bono time as my schedule will allow, and then post lots of free information and business tips in my blogs and on social media. When I do extend my time to provide a well thought out answer, I appreciate it when that person will take a moment to either thank me publicly or write a testimonial.

Tip: Please do not be that professional who reaches out for support, and once your question is answered, forgets to respond or say thank you. This is a practice that I see happening more and more often these days. And it's really not a good look for any of us.

Share their "stuff" on your Social Media

Doesn't it feel so good when you work hard on a book, service, project, or product, and a colleague shares about your work on their social media? I know it feels great when this happens to me.

My Counselors Coach Facebook page is dedicated to sharing resources from my colleagues as well as my own resources. Why would I do this on my own business page? Because the clinicians I support are some of the best and brightest, and have skills, talents and resources that I do not possess. Thus, it is a joy to share about what they are doing. And in turn, now and then, they share about my work too! A win/win.

Keep it Classy (and a little bit sassy)...

Now that we have covered what to do to recognize and thank supportive colleagues, coaches and mentors, I'd like to share what not to do. I realize for many of us, the following information will fall under the category of "no shit Sherlock!" However, you would be surprised (or not) at how many people still commit the following unprofessional, and frankly, unethical acts:

Photo shutter stock, quote CS Lewis

Photo shutter stock, quote CS Lewis

Plagiarize another colleague's website - Not only is this illegal, it is copyright infringement, and it screws over both you and the person you are copying. Why? Because the google Gods frown on websites with similar copy. By copying you may ding your SEO ranking. Please don't do this.

Copy a colleague's product idea, workshop, webinar or blog - There are folks who say that there are no new ideas. I say, not true! I am honored to work with some of the most incredible clinicians and entrepreneurs around the world, and let me tell you..these people are rocking new ideas all of the time!

During those times when I have been alerted to and/or have observed a colleague creating nearly identical products, or programs as my own (and sometimes just edging up into copyright violation), I don't feel angry, I feel compassion at this form of scarcity thinking.

It is fine to have competition in the market place, but please be respectful, especially if what you are doing/creating/facilitating is very similar to that of a close colleague or someone who has been supportive of you. If you know the person and are producing a similar product, website, workshop, webinar, etc. then do the right thing by letting them know privately. A simple e-mail or PM sharing about your similar product or service and how you can support each others efforts will go a long way.

When this has happened to me, instead of taking offense, I simply hold space that this individual is still learning to trust themselves enough not to fall back on that tired old practice called, "Copycat Marketing." I understand that it can be hard to trust that little twinkle of an idea and believe that if you build it they will come. However, what I share time and time again with my coaching clients that if you have an idea that excites you, then embrace your own unique gifts and talents, and lean into the risk of developing something new to share with the world. Don't follow the herd, do YOU!

When you do, you can be sure that there will be others who will be attracted not only to your offering, but to your originality and courage. Do you really want people whispering behind the scenes, "Wow, his/her product/service/workshop is a lot like so and so's product/service/workshop! I wonder why she/he would do that?" When you trust your own creative voice and vision, the goodness is that you then help light the creativity spark in another person so that they can pursue their own original dream as well. Copy cat or creativity cat? I'll choose originality any day!

Asking for favors too soon - Nothing will leave a bad taste in most professionals mouth more than a stranger contacting you for a favor right out of the gate. Emails asking for freebies, PMs asking for free coaching, a colleague you have never met friending you on Facebook and only seconds after you accept sends a request that you like their business page, or a person you've met once in passing sends a text asking for a testimonial. All big professional turn offs for me and for many.

It is perfectly fine to ask for help and support, and most therapists will be happy to extend this. However, take a little time to first build the relationship before you begin asking for things.

Copying out of a published book and/or sharing or receiving materials that you have not paid for: There are some professionals who are honestly not aware that copying from a published book and sharing chapters with clients or in groups is copyright infringement. As a published author it always pains me to hear that this practice still goes on behind the scenes. Here is the thing, if you really cannot afford the book, or you need a section as a handout, simply contact the author or publishing company. Sometimes they will send you a copy for free, or give you permission to copy a section for a particular event.

Additionally, if you purchase e-materials (forms, an e-book, a workshop kit, etc.), this does not entitle you to then email and share those materials around with your other colleague friends. That is illegal and also copyright infringement (and falls into the seriously not cool category).

And if you are the recipient of an email like this (example): "Hey friend, I just purchased Mari's Creative Clinician e-book, it's great, and I thought I'd share with you so you can save the $39", my hope is that you will gently remind your friend of copyright law so that integrity will prevail on both sides. Or if you receive an email from a colleague asking you to share materials or an e-book you have purchased, you will have good boundaries and re-direct them to the website where they can purchase the materials. Let's value and support each others hard work and not be that person please.

Taking a colleague's words or ideas on social media and post them as your own - You would think this would be an obvious boundary crossing, especially to therapists. Unfortunately, I hear about this happening more and more frequently and have experienced it a time or two myself.

For example, now and then I will post a question on my social media in order to gather thoughts and opinions to shape a blog (in fact, this blog sprung from such a post).

Or I have shared the book title I am working on currently.

Or my next branding focus.

Or a presentation I have given.

Or my next coaching support group or idea.

I'm always surprised and disappointed when I then see that same question, idea, title, branding focus turn up on a person's own social media page as if they are the originator of the question, idea, title or branding.

I used to feel reluctant to address this - I was unsure and anxious on how to approach that person. I did not want to come across as petty or controlling.

And then, I learned to find my voice. My respectful, kind and clear voice.

Though it is rare, when it happens these days, I gently reach out, extend the benefit of the doubt that they did not know, clarify to that person what they are sharing is intellectual property, and/or my original idea, and ask that they either A) Credit me as the author, or B) Remove the post. I do so in the kindest and most professional way possible, and while it still creates some anxiety, I take a deep breath and do it anyway. The recipient of my request will process my boundary request however they choose to process. But, I no longer allow for this kind of violation to occur. And that is exactly what this kind of unethical practice is - a violation.

Tip: My coaching clients know that I am a big advocate of copyrighting and trademarking your intellectual property. If you have a unique idea or original content, then it is wise to protect your hard work.

Snubbing, excluding, one upping, over-personalizing, or using silence as violence: Holy smokes, this is one of the ickiest pain points I see in our clinical community, sometimes what I call "mean girl" or "know-it-all guy" syndrome. I see this happening when a colleague does not know how to manage their envy, must have the upper hand of control, or is unwilling to look at the wounds or narcissistic features that inform their unhealthy behaviors.

Sadly I have witnessed (and have experienced on occasion) clinicians acting unkindly as they ice out a colleague who they perceive as competition, or they feel slighted by in some way, most often by refusing to acknowledge that person's existence in their agency, on line group, or other professional forum.

I have had coaching clients in tears sharing that even though they have been supportive to the unkind colleague in the past, once they begin to receive positive attention, or garner the respect of others, or are awarded, advanced or honored in some way, that the unkind colleague has then chosen to ignore or "ghost" them out.

When I ask if they have tried to work out the situation, I have heard everything from, "I approached the person to find out what had happened and if we could repair, only to be told that every thing was fine, and they did not know what I was talking about" to "This person is a beloved leader in our community, I am afraid of being labeled as the problem child or as an unhealthy person" to "When I asked her/him what was going on and if I had upset them in some way, they gaslit me and said it was all in my head."

Just wow.

To me, these are the most heartbreaking and unhealthy parts of our clinical community. We are therapists after all. Our work is helping people heal, teaching individuals and couples to communicate in healthier ways, and supporting growth as human beings.

And yet...

If this has (or is) happening to you, I'm am sorry you are in pain. I know that hurt first hand, and unfortunately it happens from time-to-time in our community of healers. My best advise is to keep your head up, operate with kindness and integrity, and in the words of Michelle Obama, "When they go low, we go high."

And above all remember if someone shows you who they are believe them. If you approach them to mend fences in order to try to understand what is happening, and if they choose not to be honest with you, or state that everything is just fine without owning their behaviors, but your experience and gut tells you otherwise, you are not crazy. Rather, that is a form of crazy making and I stand in support of you trusting your intuition.

Remember, a person can say whatever flowery words they want behind the scenes, but if their behavior does not match their words, if what you have experienced is the very opposite of what they are sharing, then they are not being honest. This is the very definition of "gas lighting", in that they know exactly what you are talking about, but choose to deny reality. 

When this happens, know that you are dealing with a person who likely is very wounded and fearful, or one who must be in control of others at all times due to their own hurts and insecurities. When you call them out on their actions, silence, etc. they will deny, deny, deny as part of their coping mechanism. With these folks boundaries will be your best friend.

Rise above baby, rise above. And give people like this, wide berth. No matter how many others think they are an angel on earth, trust your gut and keep your chin up buttercup! They are still on their journey (like each one of us) of healing and growing. You never know...they may circle back at a future date healthier and willing to work things out.

And, if you are a person reading this that uses silence as violence, has been deliberately icing out a person who has been of support to you in the past, I hope that you will take this as an invitation to do the healing work needed in order to move forward.

No shaming here, as we all feel "jello" from time-to-time. But if the person you are snubbing has been kind to you, or receives more attention or accolades and that has left you feeling angry or competitive in a way that you know is not kind, why not reach out and connect with that person you have snubbed, rather than making up a story about who you believe them to be, or personalizing an interaction that may have been an honest misunderstanding. Ask yourself if what you are doing is based on something that is fact, or something that is fiction, then...mend the fence. I promise there are rich rewards in doing so.

Racist, Sexist or otherwise Offensive Statements and Attitudes: It is appalling and disheartening to hear that colleagues are still experiencing the trauma of being on the receiving end of racist, sexist, ageist, gender bias, orientation bias, spiritual bias statements and attitudes in clinical agencies, group practices, and healing offices.

If you have experienced this, then I stand with you as a change maker to end this kind of behavior. I stand with you as a fellow human being, a woman, a colleague, an advocate, a therapist, and a coach. This kind of injustice and intolerance must change, and we therapists must continue to support one another and advocate for change in our communities. We must do this for ourselves, and on behalf of each person worthy of respect, dignity, consideration and regard. 

Gossiping about a Colleague: It is important to have close colleague friends, people we can turn to for advise, to share our concerns, or to discuss a hurt. This is different than gossiping. Gossiping is a form of anger. It is unhealthy. And often envy, intolerance, a misunderstanding, or a difference in personality or values systems is at the root of professional gossip. Important to remember that if you practice this unhealthy behavior, your words may find their way back to the person you are gossiping about. Let's keep is classy friends. If you have a beef with someone, take it up with that person, or go to your safe supports, but don't be a person who does this. We are better than that. And so is our profession. 

As I bring this blog to a close, the overriding message I am hoping to convey is pretty simple but worth re-capping:

  • Treat other colleagues as you would hope to be treated. Don't be a mean girl or guy.
  • Be kind and lead with the benefit of the doubt.
  • Let your words and behaviors match (if you say you are going to do something, then...follow through).
  • Extend the benefit of the doubt.
  • Avoid gossip. Reach out instead to a trusted support.
  • Give credit where credit is due. Do not copy or plagiarize.
  • Extend gratitude publicly to those who have invested in you.
  • Be the bigger person. Be a fence mender.
  • Have good boundaries.
  • If someone has supported your efforts, give back.
  • Go the extra mile.


Thank you for spending some time with me during your busy day. I love connecting with other colleagues, so please feel free to introduce yourself in the comment section below, and don't forget that I provide a ton of free information on my blog, as well as freebies (and paid materials) in my Therapist Toolbox.

Additionally, if you are looking for a tribe (instead of a herd where your voice gets lost), if you feel overwhelmed or intimated in large Facebook groups, or if you would like coaching support but cannot afford one-on-one sessions (yet!), consider joining the next module of my on line Facebook coaching community, "Like A Boss!" - this is a small group of supportive, kind, focused, and hilarious therapists who are getting things done while having fun.

My motto is to lead with kindness and support, while creating a drama free sacred space so colleagues can achieve their own professional goals. You can learn what other Like A Boss members have to say here.


Kindly and in support,
Mari A. Lee, LMFT, CSAT-S