All posts by Robert Plamondon

About Robert Plamondon

I'm a hypnotherapist, free-range egg farmer, and publisher. I live on a 37-acre farm in Blodgett, Oregon, with my wife and two sons. My work over the years for Silicon Valley startups has resulted in over 30 U.S. patents. When I became interested in hypnosis, I took three complete hypnotherapy courses and opened a hypnosis practice in Corvallis.

How Much Do Degrees Matter? An Engineer’s Viewpoint

Do degrees really matter? And, if so, when? Here’s my take, which is an engineer’s viewpoint. As you’d expect, that means that the practical skills you learn along the way are considered to be the main thing, while the social value of the degree is not given much weight. I’m not claiming that this viewpoint is the best one, just that it’s worth thinking about.

Three Examples

My father, Ambrose D. Plamondon, in spite of having polio as a teenager and being unable to walk far, even with a cane, spent a productive career as an aeronautical engineer. This was surveyor landerback in the early days of jets and space travel: the Fifties and Sixties. He took on the monumentally difficult task of designing the stabilization control systems for many spacecraft, including the Bluebird satellite and the Surveyor moon lander. He designed the loading system for the TOW missile. He was one of the inventors of the Hughes Magnetic Memory Drum, a revolutionary advance in mass storage in the Fifties, which helped reduce the size of computers so they could be put into fighter jets. Read More...

How To List Your Unlicensed Practice On Psychology Today

Why Advertise on Psychology Today’s Web Site?

creepy_psychology_today_coverPsychology Today is more than a just magazine with uber-creepy cover art, it’s the most prominent online therapy directory, and is always near the top of Google search results when people look for a therapist. Many therapists use it as their only form of advertising. While, as a marketing plan, this is inadequate (and does much to explain their struggling practices), it’s a start. Psychology Today does bring in some clients, and in my experience is worth the investment.

But Isn’t It Licensee-only?

The Psychology Today Web site likes to throw around the phrase “licensed professionals,” but they are not an exclusive, licensee-only club. Far from it.

This is inherent in the licensing system, which resembles a medieval crafts guild. Attention is focused on the master craftsmen (that is, licensees), but much of the work is actually done by the apprentices (“license-track” practitioners). Some of these apprentices are in private practice and need to advertise just like everyone else. This means that “license track” (that is, unlicensed) practitioners have to be accommodated even in the strictest closed guild. Read More...

Want More Clients? Use vCita’s Online Scheduling

On my hypnosis Web site, hypnosis-corvallis.com, I’ve been using the vCita lead generation/scheduling/payment system for months now, and it’s made my life a lot better! Why?

Online Scheduling is Wonderful!

  • If your Web site allows online scheduling, you get more clients. It’s as simple as that.
  • You wouldn’t believe how many clients make the decision to see me in the middle of the night! With online scheduling, they can take care of it on the spot and go to bed happy that they’ve taken the next step.
  • With online scheduling, both you and your client can receive reminders before an appointment. I’m set up to have reminders sent 24 hours before an appointment, and again four hours before. Thus, everyone shows up! I like that.
  • With online scheduling, you just set your office hours, and clients can schedule — or reschedule — anytime, without having to call you.
  • Google calendar integration means that any schedule conflict that eats into your office hours marks those hours as unavailable.
  • There’s a free version of vCita that’s not too bad, and even their fanciest version is pretty affordable.
  • It reduces phone calls to a bare minimum. Once I set up vCita, clients practically stopped calling me, but sales and client satisfaction were at least as high as before.

This is a very spiffy set of features. It’s super convenient for both me and the client to not have to play telephone tag and struggle with our calendars just to set up an appointment.

Online Payments

In addition, vCita allows clients to make online payments, using PayPal or credit/debit cards.

I started out with PayPal (that’s all vCita offered at the time), which allowed clients to pay from their PayPal account or (rather clumsily) by credit card.

Not long ago, they also started offering credit card payments through Stripe, which has a much simpler and easier-to-use interface. My clients like that! Read More...

Doctors as Referral Sources

Doctors are an excellent source of referrals for unlicensed and alternative practitionersSome people believe that there’s a big war going on between conventional and complementary and alternative medicine. But I have news for you: the war’s over!

Physicians now routinely recommend complementary and alternative medicine to their patients. No, I didn’t say, “they roll their eyes, but they’ve given up arguing.” I said they “routinely recommend.” The doctor brings the topic up. The doctor makes the pitch. The doctor refers patients to specific practitioners — if they know any good ones.

To paraphrase an article in JAMA Internal Medicine from March 9, 2011, When Conventional Medical Providers Recommend Unconventional Medicine: Results of a National Study:

In a 2007 study including 23,393 respondents, 2.9% answered “yes” when asked if they had used a mind-body therapist in the last 12 months because it was recommended by a health provider. Extrapolated to the whole US population, that’s 6.4 million successful referrals per year. Read More...

Why Join a Professional Organization?

Licensed professionals like to claim that “unlicensed people can’t be trusted because they have no formal code of ethics and no committee that hears complaints.” Setting aside the crucial issue of whether this kind of formalism has  any real effect on misconduct (and, if so, in which direction), the premise itself is false. Lots of professional organizations have codes of ethics and compliance boards.

I belong the the National Guild of Hypnotists, and it has an ethics committee that can throw me out if I do something they find unacceptable. But more importantly, if I mess up and someone complains, they’ll try to set me straight first. There are some very good people on that committee, because the best of the best always believe in the power of helping others. Read More...