We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Alan Simberg a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alan, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Is there a heartwarming story from your career that you look back on?
During the earlier years of my career I had the opportunity to work as a counselor in a partial hospitalization program. My primary goal was to provide guidance and support to individuals who were recently released from a psychiatric hospital and unable to work. I provided individual and group counseling services. One of my other responsibilities was to supervise group activities.
During one of the times I was supervising a group activity when the clients were doing a writing assignment I noticed that one of the clients wasn’t writing anything. I asked him the reason he wasn’t participating and that client said he didn’t know what to write. I offered to sit with him off to the side away from the other clients so I could help him identify something he could share with the other clients.
He agreed and soon said he wanted to write about his cat and didn’t know how to spell it. I asked him to repeat the word to himself and tell me the first letter when he thought of it. He said c and as he continued repeating the word to himself he was able to spell the word cat. I then noticed some tears rolling down his cheeks and asked him the reason he was crying. He said, “I always thought I was stupid”.
I was so touched by his comment I almost started to cry. At that moment I felt so humble and so grateful that my suggesting he repeat the word cat helped him recognize his ability to accomplish what he initially thought was not possible for him to do. My hope is he remembered that experience whenever he didn’t think he could do something and use that memory to help him believe himself and do what he may initially think isn’t possible for him to do.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I became aware that I wanted to help people around the time I was about 7 or 8 years of age. While I was sitting on a piano bench one evening I heard my father tell my mother one of our relatives was going to come to our home. My mother asked my father the reason the relative was going to be there and he said she had a problem and he wanted to help her. The moment I heard him say that I thought to myself “I want to do that some day”. What helped me identify how I wanted to help people was a television show I enjoyed watching during that time of my life that had a therapist helping someone solve their problems.
Consequently, I chose to enter the helping profession and ultimately became a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. I’m also certified in Applied Clinical Nutrition. I have been providing professional help to people for close to 50 years. My private practice is virtual and my focus is to help couples and individuals overcome their challenges. Telehealth guidelines only allow me to speak with clients who live in Texas or New Jersey. The people I see have a variety of challenges including marital difficulties, alcohol and/or drug use, depression, anxiety, stress management as well as grief and loss issues. I incorporate a wholistic approach when speaking with clients which includes nutrition and spiritual concerns.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
My intention has always been to communicate what I can and cannot do, quickly identify clients’ needs and identify practical, easy to use strategies that could help them resolve their challenges. Some of my clients have told me that knowing I have 2 different licenses was helpful because their challenges were related to both specialties. They also expressed appreciation for the way I communicate about myself through professional videos that are available for them to view as well as the description of my services and background information on my website. The satisfaction that clients experience as a result of being able to resolve their challenges in a relatively simple and timely manner has resulted in my receiving word of mouth referrals.
If you could go back in time, do you think you would have chosen a different profession or specialty?
I cannot think of any other profession that I’d ever want to pursue. There is no question in my mind that I have chosen the career that embodies my values and allows me to use my strengths to help and be of service to others. I don’t think there is anything else I could do that would provide me with the satisfaction I experience when I’m able to help others overcome their challenges.
- Website: alansimberg.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alan.simberg
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alan-simberg/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=alan+simberg