Episode Nine | Season Two

Getting Started (and Better!) In Private Practice

On this Episode of PsychBiz, we’re talking to best-selling author, psychologist and humanitarian, Dr. Chris Stout about getting started in – and getting better at – private practice.

In this interview, Dr. Chris Stout shares his insights on:

  • Pushing out of your comfort zone
  • Doing more than therapy
  • Creating a work/life balance

We also chat about his professional and humanitarian work, writing, using LinkedIn to connect with your audience, and podcasting!

And for this episode’s giveaway, Chris has been kind enough to supply us with copies of both his amazing books, Getting Started in Private Practice: The Complete Guide to Building Your Mental Health Practice and Getting Better at Private Practice.

Here’s how to enter to grab the copy of your choice for free:

  • Write a review of PsychBiz wherever you get your podcasts
  • Take a screenshot of your review
  • Email it to howard@howardbaumgarten.com with the subject line “Getting Started” or “Getting Better”

Episode 9 Transcript:

Sarah Gershone: But if you can also record that just makes me feel better, to have a backup.

Howard Baumgarten: Yeah. No, I like it. I’m getting rid of all my stuff here. You have to give me permission to do it.

Sarah Gershone: Okay. I’m sorry. Now I have to remember how to do that.

Howard Baumgarten: So I’m putting my input level at… Hello. Hello. Hello. Hello? Putting my input level at 1, 2, 3, the third line.

Sarah Gershone: Okay.

Howard Baumgarten: If that makes sense.

Sarah Gershone: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You should be able to record now. Can you see if it works?

Howard Baumgarten: Yeah. Hold on a sec here.

Sarah Gershone: So, in some of the questions, I’m envisioning using part of it as a followup.

Howard Baumgarten: Totally.

Sarah Gershone: Yeah. And if you feel I’m missing something, we don’t have to stick to it religiously, if there’s something that… Don’t feel like you can’t jump in. You know what I mean?

Howard Baumgarten: Yeah. I will.

Sarah Gershone: Okay.

Howard Baumgarten: I’ll definitely jump in if I feel… Here I want to make sure his books are behind me. Hold on one second. Shoot. They don’t look like they’re perfectly… There, how does that look?

Sarah Gershone: It looks like it’s kind of slump. Oh, well now you can’t see it because of the reflection. There you go. I think that’s pretty good. Sorry. I’m going to eat something before he comes on.

Howard Baumgarten: There we go, do those look good.

Sarah Gershone: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Howard Baumgarten: Are they backwards? Are they mirrored properly, like you can read them? Hello? You’re muted.

Sarah Gershone: Oh yeah. I was chewing. I’m sorry. I didn’t want to be loudly chewing. They look good.

Howard Baumgarten: Okay. Down preferences. I think we’re good. Thank you for putting up with my interesting narratives.

Sarah Gershone: Are you able to record now?

Howard Baumgarten: I’m recording right now.

Sarah Gershone: Oh, perfect.

Howard Baumgarten: Yup. I am indeed. I’m going to ask him one other question.

Sarah Gershone: So we had a missionary come to our door this morning, around a quarter to seven.

Howard Baumgarten: You’re kidding.

Sarah Gershone: She dropped off a booklet about how Jews are, what was the phrase? Dirty and defiled.

Howard Baumgarten: Are you kidding me?

Sarah Gershone: No.

Howard Baumgarten: What is wrong with people?

Sarah Gershone: It’s so interesting and we’re the only Jewish family on our block and she only came to us. So we were clearly targeted. It was like… And I ended up having this very disturbed… It bothers me because my kids were, “How did she know that we lived here? Do they have a list of Jewish people?” And I had to be, “Yeah, they definitely do.” And that was disturbing to them. That bothers me. But what are you going to do? There’s nothing I can do to keep them from knowing about it. She came to the front door, the dog went nuts. It’s not like I can keep that a secret, but it’s too bad that they have to feel like they’re on a list somewhere. And people are going to come to our house and tell us, “You’re going to hell.” That sucks. It bothers me a lot.

Howard Baumgarten: I’m sorry that happened. And at such an early hour.

Sarah Gershone: I know, they’re in their PJ’s, it feels gross.

Howard Baumgarten: Totally. I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit. But I got to try one more thing with…

Sarah Gershone: Okay.

Howard Baumgarten: Sarah?

Sarah Gershone: Yeah.

Howard Baumgarten: This guy, I’ve never talked to him verbally before.

Sarah Gershone: Okay.

Howard Baumgarten: We’ve always written back and forth to each other, but he is… Oh, maybe we did talk once on the phone, but he is a go-getter.

Sarah Gershone: That’s awesome.

Howard Baumgarten: He has just done so much and I’m so excited to have him be a part of our our process.

Sarah Gershone: Yeah.

Howard Baumgarten: Yeah, it’s really super exciting. Yeah. I think we can ad lib some of these.

Sarah Gershone: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Howard Baumgarten: I’m just looking over the questions that I wrote. Good. Yeah. Can’t believe that happened this morning. That’s just awful.

Sarah Gershone: That’s okay. It just bent me out of shape, right first thing.

Howard Baumgarten: But that’s the kind of stuff that throws you off, right.

Sarah Gershone: It really does. Yeah.

Howard Baumgarten: Yeah. So I’m going to do this. I’m going to actually… I’m going to meditate for about two minutes before he gets on here.

Sarah Gershone: Okay.

Howard Baumgarten: So I can get ready because I definitely need a little centering moment.

Sarah Gershone: Okay. (Silence).

Howard Baumgarte: [inaudible 00:07:19] I have an idea about the three part where I’m going to have ask him, how do you… Before we actually do the interview. How do you record your podcast?

Sarah Gershone: Oh, that’s a great idea?

Howard Baumgarten: And what tips do you have for us because we’re new. And then maybe we’ll ask him and then maybe we’ll go over the thing, if he doesn’t go over any of these other things we’ll ask him.

Sarah Gershone: Yeah. And I thought if it’s okay for the Jane interview, I’d write up the questions.

Howard Baumgarten: I was going to ask you to do that.

Sarah Gershone: Perfect.

Howard Baumgarten: For the people that you know, you can do the questions.

Sarah Gershone: Yeah. So for Jane and Samantha. Oh, that’s so loud.

Howard Baumgarten: I’ll do a little research too. I even went a little deeper into Christmas stuff as you can see by the questions, just a little bit.

Sarah Gershone: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Samantha’s a little bit nervous, so we’ll have to be super nice to her when we do her episode.

Howard Baumgarten: No worries. She’s in the UK, right.

Sarah Gershone: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I have so much trouble with the time change stuff. I’m not kidding you. I mess it up every single time. And I was even putting off sending the zoom invite because I was, “I’m going to screw it up.” And then I checked it. I was, “Nope, this is definitely right.” And I sent it and then immediately the next thing, “No, you screwed it up.” I don’t know why.

Howard Baumgarten: Because time is a constant. And when it shifts and its different times it breaks that constant up. Right?

Sarah Gershone: Maybe I’m just not that smart. That could also be-

Howard Baumgarten: Yes, you are.

Sarah Gershone: … the issue. I’m, “Why can’t I do this?”

Howard Baumgarten: I’ve just added something to the second to last question.

Sarah Gershone: Okay.

Howard Baumgarten: Okay, great. You have the Google doc open?

Sarah Gershone: I have the email that you sent me with the questions and it opened.

Howard Baumgarten: All right. Yeah. That’s another way to do it. All right. Let’s see if he’s popping in here any moment. Maybe he forgot. Maybe he got his time screwed up.

Sarah Gershone: Well, On my clock, it’s exactly noon. So…

Howard Baumgarten: I opened up my thing just to make sure that he didn’t email or something this morning, “Can’t make it.” Boy, did he put up with me going back and forth with him. “Can you do it at this time?” “No.” “Can you do it at this time?” “No.” And then he came back and said, “Actually, could I please…” Now I have to go try something else. I’m not leaving you. Don’t worry.

Sarah Gershone: I’m not. That’s fine.

Howard Baumgarten: I’m trying to make the lighting so that you can’t see the reflection of cars moving by.

Sarah Gershone: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Oh, he’s here. He’s in the waiting room.

Howard Baumgarten: Cool. Let’s let that guy in.

Sarah Gershone: I’m going to wait until you’re back in your chair.

Howard Baumgarten: Yeah. Okay. Hold on.

Sarah Gershone: Okay. Here we go.

Howard Baumgarten: Chris, Hi. Hello.

Dr. Chris Stout: Hey, how are you?

Howard Baumgarten: I’m great, Chris, how are you doing?

Dr. Chris Stout: Very good.

Howard Baumgarten: I see your photo. I don’t see you yet.

Dr. Chris Stout:

Okay. Hang on. Video. How’s that?

Sarah Gershone: Perfect.

Howard Baumgarten: Beautiful. Great. Welcome. So nice to see you.

Dr. Chris Stout: Likewise, how have you been?

Howard Baumgarten: I’ve been great. Thank you. This is Sarah, obviously you can see her.

Dr. Chris Stout: Hey, Sarah.

Sarah Gershone: Hi. Nice to meet you.

Dr. Chris Stout: Likewise.

Howard Baumgarten: We are so grateful that you are joining us and taking time out of your busy schedule. I can’t thank you enough.

Dr. Chris Stout: Oh, well you’re very welcome. You’ve always been very sweet and kind, and this should be fun. I’m looking forward to it.

Howard Baumgarten: Likewise, I have a question before we get started. We’re we’re recording right now, but we’re not going to actually do the formal interview until I just want to ask you a couple of quick questions.

Dr. Chris Stout: Sure.

Howard Baumgarten: The podcasts that you do, you’ve been doing it a lot longer than we have. So tell us any secrets that you have.

Dr. Chris Stout: I don’t know if they’re secrets. I’ve learned a little bit on my own, but everything else is you just… There’s a lot of stuff out there and I’ve tried to read it and apply it. I use Libsyn. That’s probably maybe the first thing. I don’t know what you guys use process your raw footage and stuff, so to speak. And then once the Libsyn and it’s 15 bucks a month. And they have, I think a $5 a month and then you can spend well over that. Once you set up all the links, it populates into iTunes and whatever Google’s latest platform is about, oh my gosh, probably 15 other platforms and RSS feeds. That’s nice.

I also do SoundCloud. I have a paid account for that. And then even though I don’t do video, my software is called Camtasia and I saved my audio files as an MP4. And then with a static image I’ve posted on YouTube and Vimeo. And then I by a script and it was also very to get your questions in advance. Thank you. I’ve had a couple of times where the audio dropped out, like a Skype call dropped. So we stop, we start over again and I say, “Okay, here’s where I was with my question.” And then I can just pick it back up. So, that’s been good. But overall, most of the time, whatever zoom or Skype or whatever has been pretty reliable.

And then I take after I see, because I don’t always get through all my questions. I take the questions that I’ve asked and then I tweak them down into just a narrative that describes the show. That’s fairly long form. And then I’m a LinkedIn influencer. So then I post it in LinkedIn and then I scrape it with Attribution Rate, publish it in medium and then make it into a PDF-

Sarah Gershone: Oh. Interesting.

Dr. Chris Stout: … and then post it in academia.edu.

Sarah Gershone: Wow.

Dr. Chris Stout: Yeah. The reason for all that is that people consume, maybe you guys too, you have your favorite. I like Overcast, to listen to my stuff. That’s what I always go to. Even though I’ve got five others on my phone. People rarely, I think if you love iTunes, you’re not going to go to Google. If you love SoundCloud, you’re not going to go to Stitcher. If you love Spotify, you’re not going to go to iHeart radio.

I try and be on all those platforms. And again, just kind of the way, and it’s been just an iterative every… It seems like there’s a period of time, probably about two years ago. It just seems every week I was trying to get on some other new platform. But I don’t think I’ve added anything new lately. And if I find something that’s new, then I’ll add it. But a lot of times I’ll hear that from LinkedIn, I’m sorry from Libsyn. They’ll tell me, “Oh, we’re now going to have… There’s a…” It’s like Gecko or Ginko or something. But it’s a new one that’s a podcast that’s specifically focused in India. So it’s, “Well, okay, I don’t know if I have an audience there.” But otherwise you guys probably have your ear to the rail of where podcasts are and what’s going on out there. So that’s my approach and overall it’s seemed to have gone pretty well and audiences has grown pretty well and so that’s nice.

Howard Baumgarten: Yeah. I appreciate that. That’s super helpful.

Dr. Chris Stout: And how long have you guys been in it?

Howard Baumgarten: We started at the end of last year. Sarah and I met via, she redid my website and it took me two years to… I’m so finicky about this sort of thing. And so I found Sarah and we hit it off really well. One of the things I loved about working with her, is with you Sarah, is that she interviews folks. So what she’ll do is, do a video interview with you want on your website, rather than having to write it all out and go back and forward.

Dr. Chris Stout: Brilliant.

Howard Baumgarten: And so really just got to talk and you know me, I’m interested in how things happen in the world of mental health and how to get out there and marketing and all this. And so we started then talking about doing a webinar and then it morphed into deciding that maybe we should do a podcast. We started in December and we decided for the first season to just talk about issues and then we thought let’s have other folks come on. We’re going to talk to you about it in the actual interview in a moment. I want to move forward with the interview so that we can get going. But I do need to make a quick adjustment to a sound thing on my end.

Dr. Chris Stout: Okay. Am I coming through okay?

Howard Baumgarten: You sound great. I don’t know, Sarah, does he sound good on your end?

Sarah Gershone: Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Chris Stout: Okay, great. And quick question too, on the mechanics and stuff. I know this is zoom. Do you guys post to YouTube or will this be video or we’ll just see each other, but it’ll all just be audio content?

Sarah Gershone: I think we are planning to post to YouTube as well, if that’s okay with you.

Dr. Chris Stout: Oh, that’s that’s terrific. Yeah. I collect them and put them in a spot on both, I’m all over the place, both Pinterest and-

Sarah Gershone: That’s great.

Dr. Chris Stout: … and on our Center for Global Initiatives website.

Sarah Gershone: That’s fabulous.

Dr. Chris Stout: Once you’ve got the recording. I call it content stacking, because once-

Sarah Gershone: For sure.

Dr. Chris Stout: … you’ve done it, you put so much work into it. It’s, “Well, man, lets syndicate it everywhere we can.”

Sarah Gershone: Yes, absolutely. And the thing is is that sometimes you feel like I’m repeating myself, but it’s not true. You’re just getting the message to different people, who otherwise wouldn’t get it because everybody’s in different places.

Dr. Chris Stout: Yeah, exactly. Right.

Howard Baumgarten: One thing we do is we will do a more formal introduction afterwards. Obviously because we don’t know how the content is going to go. So we’ll go back and rerecord that. And in that more formal introduction, Chris, I’ll speak more about your bio.

Dr. Chris Stout: Okay.

Howard Baumgarten: I’ll do a short, short intro bio kind of thing that I have planned. And then we really just like to let it flow.

Dr. Chris Stout: Good.

Howard Baumgarten: If we have any internet disruptions, like you were talking about where you got bumped off Skype before. We’ll just hop back on and try to do our best to start where we left off and we can edit them together.

Dr. Chris Stout: Great.

Howard Baumgarten: And then also you might notice, I don’t know how this works for you and your podcasts, but I really like the dialogue and the interaction and I tend to, mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah and I really try to not do that. I will make an effort not to do that. I don’t know if that’s an issue for you or Sarah, but it definitely is for me. And we have to also, I just try it as a reminder, you already know this, but get comfortable with the pauses in between the Q and A.

Dr. Chris Stout: Sure. Yeah. No problem. I’ll tell you a quick little story too. A week ago we could go today. I got invited, there’s an old mentor of mine that I worked with at the College of Medicine at University of Illinois. He went on to Harvard. He’s at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and he invited me to be part of a webinar. And I only had two weeks to put together my PowerPoint. So I’m just panicked. And my wife said, “Do you have to do it?” And I was, “Well, he’s a friend. I feel like I should.” Had the PowerPoints, we’d practiced. Two days before we had a dress rehearsal, the whole thing. And I kid you guys not, 58 seconds into the start of this, all of the power went out in her house.

Sarah Gershone: Oh, my God. Oh, no.

Dr. Chris Stout: I’m in the study. It’s like the lights blink. And I’m, “What’s that?” I look over and the lights blink again and go out. And I can see the little wifi router, totally black. My computer screen, totally black.

Sarah Gershone: Oh, no.

Dr. Chris Stout: It was just a nightmare. And it was for the Journal of Emergency Management. So I joked, I’ve got my phone on, do not disturb. And I texted one of the people I said, they were just doing introductions, and I said, “My power just went out.” So I’ll tell you this story if we have time at the end, I won’t waste our time now, but I got on a hotspot and I knew I could pull up on my desktop because it had battery where I was in my PowerPoints and I had it on my phone. So I’m saying, “Okay, are we on slide one? Okay, well let’s start.” It was not the most ideal and I was nervous about it anyway. Hopefully no power outages either. I feel I’m good for a while, with that.

Howard Baumgarten: I love that story even though it had a happy ending, but we’ve all been there.

Dr. Chris Stout: Yeah, exactly.

Sarah Gershone: Well, last week we were recording an episode and right before we pressed record, my lights flickered and I was, “That’s odd.” And then it seemed fine until we recorded the episode. And then my office is downstairs. And so then I went upstairs, after we finished and there was very high winds and the tree across the street from my house had fallen, a huge tree and it had…

Sarah Gershone: The house had fallen, a huge tree, and it had fallen into the power lines. There were two firetrucks and it was like the whole street was closed down, and I was like, “Oh.” The power stayed on. I don’t even know how it didn’t go out, but yeah.

Dr. Chris Stout: Yeah. Well, everybody was okay?

Sarah Gershone: Everybody was fine. It was just utilities damage from the power lines.

Dr. Chris Stout: A good bunker then for you, right?

Howard Baumgarten: Didn’t we get bumped off right after the interview with Donald? I think we did.

Sarah Gershone: Yes. We stopped recording, and then it worked out. Really, we were very fortunate. It was just during the interview that it was fine.

Howard Baumgarten: Okay. So I’m ready to do this.

Dr. Chris Stout: Yep.

Sarah Gershone: Yeah.

Howard Baumgarten: All right. I’m going to do a five second pause, and then I’ll get started. Sarah, I am so excited. We have a wonderful guest on our show today. His name is Dr. Chris Stout, and I’d like to call him my friend. We met a while back in early 2004, 2005, really a happy accident. We’ll hopefully talk a little bit about that. Dr. Stout is an amazing human being who has done so much throughout his long career. I know he has much more time and more career left in him. He is a trained psychologist, author, humanitarian, LinkedIn influencer, and so very much more, including a podcaster. We’re so excited that you’re here, Chris. Welcome. Thank you so much for being on PsychBiz.

Dr. Chris Stout: Absolutely. It’s an honor. I’m anxious to talk, and great to see you.

Howard Baumgarten: Yeah. Great to see you. I discovered you when you came out with the book that’s right behind me, Getting Started in Private Practice, and I think you published that in 2005, if I remember correctly.

Dr. Chris Stout: Very good. Yeah.

Howard Baumgarten: I was keeping my courts on private practice at University of Colorado, and looking for really just a meaty book with lots of techniques and strategies and really good resources. I absolutely loved how much information you put into that book. And then you later came out with an edited book, Getting Better in Private Practice, and it just really allowed me to build even more resources for my students. You were gracious enough to be willing to allow us to use your book, and I’d like you to share with our listeners, first off, how you got involved in a project like this.

Dr. Chris Stout: Great question. The genesis of it was sort of an iterative process. I had gone through a professional school program, and the idea of it, while there was a heavy component of academia and research and a traditional dissertation, a lot of it was really focused a lot on myself and my classmates, who were expecting to go out and go into private practice or go into some kind of practice, and probably eventually, back in that era with the dinosaurs, the big goal was to go into private practice. I was always waiting for that class. I had professional issues. I had ethics, I had this, I had that, and no one really kind of talked about deconstructing the nuts and bolts of, well, how do you actually start a private practice? So I, as a lot of people did, apprenticed, if you will, and worked in private practices as an employee. Saw experiences by virtual practicum and internship and postdoc of what it was like to work in a hospital, work in a private practice, and work in different venues.

By virtue of that, you started to learn, well, how does billing work? How does marketing work? How does lease arrangements for your offices, and all these other kinds of things come together. So that’s percolating and moving along. And then, as you know, I like to write, and I was doing a lot of research in a variety of different kinds of areas, and had some books come out prior to this and had a nice working relationship with John Wiley and Sons, and had done some prior work with them. My iterative process was, as I was also teaching in a couple of professional schools and a couple of colleges of medicine, and I would always try and insinuate the private practice aspects in whatever I was teaching. So if it was an ethics class, then we talked about marketing and we talk about appropriate kinds of billing. Well, how does billing even work, and how does insurance work?

Some people inadvertently get themselves in the crosshairs, because they’ve inadvertently tried to be good to their patients and given them a cut on what their hourly fee is, but find out inadvertently that that’s against their contract with their insurance company, who’s paying them, and that could be considered fraudulent and the various and all these other kinds of things. So there’s a big component of risk management to that as well, which I felt was very appropriate in an ethics class. When I was teaching objective assessment, I could teach people how to score an MPI and an intelligence test and this and that, but people had no idea how to build for it. People had no idea how much does it cost to have a computer program to score your stuff. What’s a CPT code? What’s the CPT code for testing? All of these kinds of things that really, again, the good part of our training, and I’m sure you’re the same, is that you learned how to do the appropriate work clinically and ethically, but you had no idea coming out of how to manage.

So I would give these talks, I would bring it into my course lectures, and I found that students really did like it. So then I started going to outside kinds of talks at our state association meetings and APA, and I’d get good feedback from other people and say, “Hey, this was good, but I am really curious about how this works or how that works.” So I would keep notes, and then I would add that to my next iteration of the next class. And then finally, got to the point of just saying, “Well, I have all these notes, I have all these class lectures. I should probably consolidate this and make it easy for people, and put it into a book.” Because I was like you. I couldn’t really find a book that was hitting on all the high notes of what I wanted to put together.

So I pitched it to Wiley. For those in the audience that are interested about writing and things like that, it’s actually part of a series. So back in the day, Wiley was very much into series. They have a series on treatment planners that Art Jongsma did. They had a series before I came along on various psychological kinds of tests. I forget exactly what they were called, but there were these small little books that was like a brief few pages. Not small, but I mean, physically small, talking about IQ testing or talking about personality testing or something like that. They had a series of 20 some odd of those. So I actually pitched them with the idea of a series of Getting Started In, and the first one was Getting Started in Private Practice, because it was kind of an umbrella.

But then there’s also a Getting Started in Forensic Practice that I did with a colleague, Getting Started in Coaching Practice that I did with a colleague, and then Wiley changed directions, and they weren’t real into the series books. So we went on for a few years with that, and then it just died a natural death. And then Wiley came back, because thank goodness, the book was still selling well and had a nice shelf life to it, because it’s one of those basics. It’s sort of like, how do you put together this? How do you put together that? A lot of people coming out of graduate school don’t know how to do that. So they said, “Hey, you need to do a second edition.” I was like, “I don’t want to do a second edition,” because if you go to Amazon and you see there’s a first edition and a the second edition, you always buy the second edition.

I thought Excel hasn’t changed, and spreadsheets haven’t really changed, and accounting hasn’t really changed, so there’s really nothing for me to say new about this. So I thought, “I really want to have a companion book where I’m not in competition with myself.” So I said to Wiley, “Let’s keep Getting Started as is so people know about Getting Started, but let’s come up with a cousin that’s getting better at it.” So I’ve already started my private practice. Now, how do I get better at it? So as you mentioned, this one turned out to be edited, because I thought times have changed and I wanted to bring in all the different, not all, but a lot of the different kinds of flavors of practice that are out there that I was not an expert in, like sports psychology.

So I went out and recruited a friend that was an excellent sports psychologist, and other people that were really great at marketing, and other people that are really good about websites and digital this and social media that and electronic medical records. So all these kinds of things, I could spend years trying to research all this and then trying to write about it, but why don’t I just tap my friends and make new friends and colleagues to have them write about that? Then they can be published. They’re the great people that then have people reach back out to them and say, “Hey, I read your chapter in this book. Could you tell me more about this? Could I hire you as a consultant?” So we wound up doing it that way. So long story for a simple question, but it’s been a nice run with them, and they’re still very popular. So I’m very proud of them. And obviously, it also creates opportunities for me to meet people like you.

Howard Baumgarten: Wow. I really appreciate what you said about the two differences, The main differences between the first and the second, because that’s why, when I was teaching the curriculum at the U, we were using both versions at one point. Because your book, the first Getting Started book that you wrote with another coauthor, was very much the nuts and bolts, like you were saying. What I loved about what you said in your answer, too, is this whole idea of how do you blend business concepts with ethical, responsible clinical behavior? That spoke to me a lot, because those are the principles that I built my curriculum on and how I do my consulting. So that became an important part of your resource, and then with the Getting Better series, I think you did a great job of not creating competition for yourself, because all of these other experts weighed in with different perspectives.

The way I look at that second book is really a series of essays on how to be better at business in private practice, and you’re right. There are so many other people involved in that project that folks from my class would go reach out to them, or say they liked this person and why, and maybe why they liked that one better than the other. It really stimulated a lot of great conversation in my classroom, and so I’m grateful to you for that. I know so many people are grateful that you wrote both of these, that you edited the second one, you wrote the first one, and of course, I’m grateful that you wrote the forward on my Private Practice Essentials book. Hopefully all three of them are so distinct and separate, because I do think that when you ask experts different ways of approaching private practice, you’re always going to get something a little bit different and maybe even a lot different. Folks need to have different perspectives, wouldn’t you agree?

Dr. Chris Stout: Absolutely. Yeah. One size fits very few. Again, right back at you with your book, it’s interesting to me to have something that was rarely talked about, certainly in graduate school when I was in, and that is so critical, because I remember I did another article called, But You Signed a Contract, about how to vet a contract and how to look at these things. There’s so many easy ways that you can be just walking down the street and get waylaid by something, because you just didn’t know what the right questions to ask. It’s not that it’s complicated, but I think through your work and through the work of the contributing authors to Getting Better, and to the fun I had with the development of Getting Started, just really does speak to how there is such variation, and there’s different kinds of considerations that you have to play in, and then there’s still some fundamentals, like the economics of it and budgeting.

Howard Baumgarten: Yeah. There’s a whole new division within psychology itself that is the business of how we run our clinical work, and I’m honored and proud to be among folks like you who have done amazing work in that. That’s not all you’ve done. I mean, that’s so little compared to so many other things. I want our listeners to learn so much more about you and how you’ve expanded your touched on society from within all who you are, from the role of the psychologist, humanitarian. So I know Sarah is dying to ask you a question, so I’m going to turn it over to her.

Sarah Gershone: Yeah. So I mean, just one of the things that we often talk about on our podcast and with our listeners is different ways that practitioners can stretch themselves and try to do different things that might be outside of their comfort zone. I think in a lot of ways, you’re an example of someone who’s done that successfully, because you’re involved in a lot of different socially relevant causes. You’re writing the Center for Global Initiatives that you founded, your podcast, you do all of these different things. So maybe you could just talk a little bit about how you’ve incorporated all of those different things and all of those different areas of focus cohesively into what you do, and been able to do so much.

Dr. Chris Stout: Okay. I don’t know that it’s been cohesive, but it feels like part of the secret of this is just living long enough and doing a lot of stuff over the course of it. For me, it’s been 35 years, so it just adds up over time. But I referred to and written about being an accidental humanitarian, and maybe that’s a way to approach answering your question. It never was I took a class in humanitarian intervention. There wasn’t a specific direction in that way, but nevertheless, I feel like it’s good to have a direction. For me, psychology personally, and I think a lot of others, gave me a lot of tools where I could go in those different kinds of directions. There were a lot of times I was like, quote unquote, the only psychologist in the room, where I could bring in some of my training that might be relevant to what was going on.

I also got very active in the American Psychological Association. I got very active in my local, which was the Illinois Psychological Association. That then got me involved in political advocacy for patients and patients’ rights and access to care. Did that on a legislative committee in Illinois, that grew into being a federal advocacy coordinator for the APA, and I did that for 12 years. That then got me to [The Hill 00:38:27]. Every year, we would go and meet with our elected officials and present, and that was kind of anxiety producing, but that then brought in with it advocacy, politics, understanding how that whole process, legislative process, went to the state and federal levels. A bit of leadership. We’re always writing a column about what you’re doing, always encouraging people back then to write, or nowadays to use some digital means to reach out to their elected officials, and feeling good about that.

That then grew to, I always had an interest in international kinds of work. The APA has a position for non-governmental organizational status, NGO status, with the United Nations. Parallel to that now, we were starting our conversation with Howard about the books. I was also writing in that arena with a different publisher, with Praeger, and was elected and made it into doing a stint with the United Nations for a year in the ’90s. This is obviously before 9/11. I was the first person to go out. I, on my own dime, would fly out to New York every month to the United nations and attend meetings and participate, which was heady and great. So my other publisher had heard about this and she said, “I’ve got a guy you got to meet. His name is Harvey Langholtz. He works under Madeleine Albright, who was ambassador to the United Nations, the Secretary of State.”

So he and I got together, and he had done a book called The Psychology of Peacekeeping. I had now, by this point, developed a nice cadre of friends and colleagues more from the psychological side. He is a PhD social psychologist, most recently at the college of William & Mary. We put together a set of talks around the psychology of diplomacy, and then we collected those talks and then put them into a book. So to your point, all of these different kinds of things, you could focus it on it from an advocacy perspective, in terms of being active and doing things. You could focus on it from more of a writing or academic perspective, of giving talks and lectures and bringing it into the classroom and then culminating it in a book.

Once you do a book, then that leads to typically more lectures and talks and things. That then broadens out your network, to be able to start to meet other people, or people that were in your book that introduce you to their colleagues, because they know that you have this focus that might be similar to another friend’s. You just cultivate that. Early on, for advice, as best as can fit to others, I was always saying yes to everything to a fault. My worst year, I think was around 1999, I was traveling so much. I flew over 100,000 miles. I missed my birthday, my wife’s birthday, my son’s birthday, my daughter’s birthday, and my wife and I’s anniversary. It was a bit too much for me and for them. So it’s like, “Okay, I need to tap the brakes.”

But I think there’s a lot of arcs in people’s careers, in their work, where you’re really grinding it out in undergrad or graduate school, or your first few jobs, and that type of thing. And then you get to a point where you try these things, see what fits, see what doesn’t fit, discard it. I probably spent mid career, probably 10 years ish trying on these different kinds of things and letting go of some and keeping some on, and keeping some on and going more full throat into it. So that’s just a generic aspect of it. The personal side, I like to climb. Again, I like traveling. So one of my goals was to try and climb the Seven Summits, the tallest mountain on each of the seven continents.

My first big climb was Kilimanjaro, which is a good starter, and unbeknownst to me, this is ’92, I met a fellow who was working as a porter. Long story short, he and I became just very close friends, and that’s ultimately come to culminate in our collaborating over the last, well, since 1992, but more seriously since probably about 12 ish years ago. We helped develop a kindergarten. We continued there. I started my nonprofit to help support them. So all of these things, the climbing leads into that. The travel leads into that. The wanting to help a friend out leads into that. All of those things, again, with a very nice, wonderful collegial network of people that are willing to roll up their sleeves and lend a hand, it’s just all been the seed planting and the saplings that now are bearing fruit.

Howard Baumgarten: With regard to what you’d said about mid-career, and I was coming back to the 1999 year of this. You were talking about balancing personal with work, and realizing what it takes to the balance, which is something I think a lot of clinicians struggle with is that work-life balance. Can you say a little bit more about that, and what you learned from that year, and how you made some different decisions?

Dr. Chris Stout: Yeah. It becomes an issue of really making some separations, having a willingness to start to say no to things. It’s always very flattering, it’s always very much an ego boost when someone says, “Would you write a chapter for my book? Would you come give this talk? Would you help me out with this or that?” If it was something, it was probably stretch goals for me with some things where I felt like, “Well, I could kind of do this, but I really can’t do it all on my own.” An example of that, back to writing.

That same publisher that connected me with the person, with Harvey at the UN. 9/11 had happened, so this is right after ’99 and all that era of being really busy. She said, “Hey, would you write a book?” I’d done a lot of work with children and trauma clinically, and she said, “Would you be willing to do a book on something around terrorism?” I said, “Well, I can talk about trauma, I can talk about kids, but I can’t really talk about that in a great way.” She said, “Well, what if you edited it?” So again, rather than me going back, like the Getting Started or Getting Better, I’m trying to become a quasi-expert or a pseudo-expert or a journalist. Reading about all this stuff, putting it into a cogent story, and then presenting that story. More journalism than expertise. I said, “Well, let me go back to my network. Let me just toss this idea out.” I did, and people were very interested in doing that. So then that led into that project.

So for me, it’s there’s downsides to editing a book, the herding cats kind of a thing, making sure it hits deadlines and all these other kinds of things. But it was one of those things where it was either no totally to the project, or kind of saying, “I can’t do it, but I can edit it. If you want me to edit it, let’s talk. If you don’t want me to edit it, then it’s going to have to be a full-stop no.” So slowing down in those ways, and having more of a willingness to say no, really then causes you to have a focus of saying, “Well, what’s really important to me? What are my priorities? What are the things?” Some things could be a priority, but I didn’t have the bandwidth to do it. So I would have these sober conversations with my wife and say, “Hey, there’s this thing.” And she’s a psychologist too.

Dr. Chris Stout: … with my wife and say, “Hey, there’s this thing.” She’s a psychologist, too, so she gets all this stuff: “What do you think about that? Should we be doing that? Should I not be doing that?” We didn’t always agree, but it was very good counsel, pardon me, to be able to suss those out. The meta-process of that then I think helped me have a framework to say, “Well, what is important? What’s coming up in my life?” and also that life happened during the 2000s. My wife, we’ve lost both of our parents, and I had a big climb planned and my wife’s mother had a heart attack, so I was like, “Well, I’m not going to go on that climb.” Again, it goes back to what your priorities are and willing to set your values and do your best to not waiver from those. At the end of the day, when you look back, you go, “Okay, well, I can always figure out a way to climb again, but this is important. This is where I really need to devote my time and effort.”

Howard Baumgarten: Wow. It’s interesting because I think you have to have a long-term vision, and even though you may not know exactly where that vision is going, an availability to the people you serve. Then you have this whole other life, this personal life that dictates choices that are made. I think when you’re running the show and you’re the owner of your own company and mental health, which is, I don’t know how your ownership works, but you own several different projects.

Dr. Chris Stout: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Howard Baumgarten: What’s interesting is if that you have to be able to make the decisions on the fly that are very important. I think clinicians, they get really… You know this, Chris, they’re trained to think a certain way in graduate school and so a lot of fear comes out of that training, like, “What happens if I color outside the lines?” Right? I know that you probably color outside the lines more than just about any trained clinician that I know. How in the world do you do that? You seem to do it fearlessly. What would you say to our listeners who might be fearful about even just broaching going over that line?

Dr. Chris Stout: Yeah. I mean, I am certainly… It’s nice of you to say “fearless,” but it doesn’t feel that way, so thank you. That’s not my experience of this. I guess I get impassioned about things, but man, I am super, super cautious about the stuff that I do. I have been sideways in quite a few international experiences where I’ve been, let’s say, caught in a country or I’ve had a border crossing that’s not gone well or we’ve been approached by someone that’s heavily armed and those kinds of scary situations. When it’s something that’s more domestic and back home, I’ve always had a very strong risk management kind of perspective.

When you do humanitarian work as a psychologist, part of my humanitarian work has been in structuring things and building things, like helping create a curriculum for a kindergarten to create in Tanzania that gets vetted by the Ministry of Education. I’m working collaboratively as a leader in that with others that have much better expertise in education and the Tanzanian culture and collaborative with people there and with people here domestically. Those kinds of things that you always have in the back of your mind this level of respect of where it’s not west knows best. There’s no hubris. You really kind of recognize your place. You’re not going to be the proverbial white savior kind of thing.

I mean, you can use the ethical principles of psychologists to be able to do that. There’s also some ethical guidelines that are out there. Just finishing up a collaborative chapter on a book for APA called Going Global, so a lot of these things have been very present. There’s a growing literature on those kinds of things, so those help you. Even though I feel like the outside of the lines has been creative in developing things that might not be parochial, per se, to some psychologists. There’s a lot of international and global psychologists that do this all the time and do it better than I do. But to be able to do that with a respect and to do that within an appropriate set of ethics guiding what it is you do and what it is you don’t do has been my guiding light with that and to always seek consultation.

I’ve always, as I’m sure with you and a lot of listeners, you have a mentor. I found it’s helpful to have mentors outside of psychology as well, in particular, law. The guy that helped me start the Center for Global Initiatives has a Harvard JD. He always has an eye out to make sure that everything’s copacetic and good and ethical and tight and then as long as you’re within those kinds of thick lines, then you feel safe in what you’re doing is appropriate and proper for people.

Howard Baumgarten: I wrote about that in my book, having in-field and out-of-field mentors and the importance of that. I agree because it gives you that extra perspective one needs.

Dr. Chris Stout: Yeah, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Howard Baumgarten: That’s right. You don’t know what you don’t know. Absolutely. Now, you’re using the platform of LinkedIn to talk a lot about the influence of the pandemic on our global community and what an amazing thing. I know Sarah wants to ask you a little bit about your use of social media and LinkedIn in particular.

Dr. Chris Stout: Sure, yeah.

Sarah Gershone: Yeah. You have LinkedIn influencer status. You have a ton of people who follow you there. Can you talk to us a little bit about how built such a following and how you’ve approached using LinkedIn as a tool to connect with more people, what you use it for?

Dr. Chris Stout: Sure. I’ve been with LinkedIn for a while now. Golly, Molly, probably 2013, I think. I mean, I’ve been on LinkedIn as a customer, user, whatever for ages, but I was writing a lot. I find LinkedIn is a really good place, any kind of social media like this, but in particular, LinkedIn, where people, you can toss out an idea, you support it. I joke now that it’s hard for me to write APA-style because I’m so used to putting in hypertext links to things. I can’t write one paragraph with like five hypertext links not being embedded in it someplace because it’s sort of like, “Yeah, here’s my point and here’s where it is and here’s my point and please do click this link because they say even more about it,” so that’s been kind of fun, and again, back in 2013, a good stretch kind of thing.

I don’t know exactly how it was other than maybe just visibility early in the years of LinkedIn. Maybe I was just a bit of a different voice because I was a psychologist writing in the healthcare space, behavioral healthcare space, the global space, a little bit of leadership here and there in those domains that I could bring a different voice to, so that was great. They invited me to be a LinkedIn influencer. Back in the day, this has changed a little bit these days, but they gave you an editorial calendar, so every month there was going to be a focus and there’s an expectation that you deliver on that focus, so then I felt like I was a stringer for a newspaper or something because, well, here’s this area that, again, back to the earlier questions of I’m acting like a journalist because I may not have particular expertise, but yeah, I can go out and research it. Then I can tell you about it, but not from personal experience or anything. Over the years, that thing sort of evolved, but it was a good writing exercise as well.

Then it comes back to, “What do I want to spend time?” There’s certain things in the past where I’ve had these itches that I needed to scratch. There would be a topic that I want to talk about and I didn’t want to wait 18 months or to get rejections because I wanted to talk first-person, that I wasn’t going to send it to a peer-reviewed journal and it wasn’t a good fit for a peer-reviewed journal, so I could post these ideas out and test them out and there’s comments and people are very willing to give you a comment, especially if it’s something that maybe isn’t as pleasant as you might be hoping for, but nevertheless helpful. That then helps you formulate your ideas, figure out other perspectives, hear other people’s perspectives and points of view and it was very educational and very growthful.

Then over time, as LinkedIn has developed, I would try and focus and have more of this niche that was in behavioral health and in research and in global health and humanitarian intervention. Then I would start to do these series because I would find myself, I was writing so much it would be like… They like long-form, but not 10,000 words or something, so I’d break things up. I did one on topical stuff like artificial intelligence and how it could not be creepy and then I would do things about… I had like a three-parter on how a lot of research that we do we find out later can’t be replicated and why is that. I found it just intellectually very curious and freaked me out about back in the day when I was doing my own studies of, “Oh, my gosh, what was going on?” so that’s all been fun.

Then LinkedIn, most recently, as Howard was referring to, has started newsletter opportunities. I used to with my Center for Global Initiatives, just had with my email list, a newsletter that I would put together on a monthly basis and send it out. It was subscribers and it’s all free and just a passion project, but then once LinkedIn did that, I thought, “Oh, this is a way easier format and platform that I’m familiar with. Maybe I can reach even other people because LinkedIn’s got a much larger audience than my email list,” so that’s been nice.

The focus was because I was so concerned about disinformation and problems and since it’s a pandemic, a global pandemic, it seemed a great overlap of what’s good science, what’s legitimate reporting versus fake news and bologna and bad science, which I’ve written a lot on on LinkedIn that I could have this newsletter where I would vet things to make sure the sources are good and reliable, go to town with my hypertext links if people wanted to go back to the original sources, give all my citations. This came from Sally Smith, who’s at The New York Times or whatever, and do that on a weekly basis.

It’s a little tough because if you’ve looked at them, they’re fairly long-form, but they’re very topical, so it’s literally week-to-week. You’re not going to read something about the pandemic that’s a month old, you’re going to read about something that maybe you’ve missed over the course of the last week. That’s really caught fire. That’s separate from the followers that I have. That’s got pushing, last check, was like around 125,000 subscribers, so yeah, that’s the kind of feedback that it’s nice to get that traction and it’s like, “Okay.” That’s very motivating if you had 10 people doing it. The amount of time that I do to put it together, I would say, “Okay, well this was a nice experiment.” You do that, too. There’s plenty of stuff that I’ve done that winds up in the trash bin. This is just survivor bias of what we were talking about, the stuff that’s publicly available because people see it. But it’s having that kind of oomph and the time now where I’m at in my career to be able to devote that legitimate amount of time.

Again, it’s this nice overlap of I want to fight against bad science or bologna science. These are global issues, so I talk about India and I talk about Brazil and I talk about the UK as well as the United States and I talk about the different biological aspects of why vaccines are legit and important and don’t have microchips in them. All of those kinds of things seem to fit and to me and my head push forward the message of what the center is. It’s just another tool to have people know this is what our center does. We vet legit science, we share it with the public, we do it for free. It’s what we call “open-sourcing humanitarian intervention.

Sarah Gershone: That’s amazing. Then you also have a podcast, Living a Life in Full, which is an interview-style podcast where you interview people from all different walks of life. I mean, that’s amazing, too. Can you tell us a little bit about that and maybe just how it got started?

Dr. Chris Stout: Sure. Yeah, everybody’s got a podcast. I mean, the old joke would be, “When you were unemployed and had nothing else, you could say, ‘Well, but I have a podcast.'” I think it’s matured and ripened a lot over those years sometime back. Part of it was, again, I’m just this nerd about wanting to get information out there, if it’s journal articles, if it’s newsletters, if it’s giving a talk, if it’s a book, if it’s a whatever. There’s a long tail, a long lead time to getting a book out, there’s a long lead time to getting a peer-reviewed journal accepted in the first place. I’ve got a wallpaper of rejections over the years.

But the nice thing about a podcast is that you can get it done, you can interact with people like I’m having a nice time talking with you guys today. It’s not like an interview where I’m trying to take copious notes and then get the quote right and all that iterative process. It’s sort of like other than post-production, once the interview is over, you’re done. As you know, we were talking off-mic beforehand, I do some write-up about that and post to places, but it’s nice to do that. You can be spontaneous this way and then you can share that information.

I recently had a guest, Guy Spier, on, and he talked about something that I’ve been trying to adopt, which is learning in public. I felt like having a podcast is a nice way for me to let people know how dumb I am with all the questions that I ask and what I don’t know anything about. It’s a magazine-style show for people who aren’t familiar with it. We have people from all walks of life from around the world, a very diverse, neat, fun group of people. Most of them still to this day are people that I’ve known and worked with in one way or another, which is fun, as well as new people, which getting to know them is fun as well.

There’s typically some kind of humanitarian thread or philanthropic thread through their work. They tend to be very complex people, which is fun because oftentimes lately it’s been because they’ve got a new book out, and so we talk about the book and we talk about how they did the book. I love getting into, like you Howard, with the nuts and bolts of how did this book come about, but also, yeah, I like to talk about them and their bios and all the other kinds of cool stuff they’ve done 10 years before the book came out, that’s kind of fun.

Howard Baumgarten: Kind of like we’re talking about you.

Dr. Chris Stout: Well, yeah. Yeah, but it’s more embarrassing for me, so that’s fun. We drop once a month on the first of every month. We’re on every platform that I can think of out there, so if you have your favorite, usually you’re able to find us. We tend to go long-form. I love rabbit holes, I love stories. Again, the people are fun and interesting and then I write it up on LinkedIn and other places with tons of hypertext links, so if they get inspired by somebody, I have shown notes on my website so they can learn more about them. They can volunteer and get involved in their projects, things like that.

It’s, again, back to the Center for Global Initiatives, it’s a way for us to kind of be out there and help spread the word, inspire people, educate people, turn them on to someone that maybe wouldn’t necessarily be… Like for all of us, I’ve learned about a lot of people I would have never heard of had I not listened to somebody’s podcast on something. I’m thinking like, “Why would I have an interest in figure skating?” Then all of a sudden, “Oh, this is fascinating,” you know? We try to be that way, and again, just opening up for people to be able to join us and to spread the word of whoever’s message, if it’s getting their book, or learning about their nonprofit, or whatever it is, to help them to help spread the word.

Howard Baumgarten: The title of your podcast is once again…

Dr. Chris Stout: Living a Life in Full. Yeah, if you come to our website, we’ve got most of them archived there in the show notes and the website is alifeinfull.org, so people are more than welcome to come to that. Again, everything’s… No paywalls, no anything like that, no premium subscriptions. It’s just available everywhere all the time.

Howard Baumgarten: Great. We’ll put all of your information in our show notes today, for sure-

Dr. Chris Stout: Thanks.

Howard Baumgarten: … so that our listeners can find you on LinkedIn and on your podcast. I know I read a local article about you about your accidental humanitarian work. In that article, it says that you are willing to help anybody that wants to start a nonprofit for good causes and whatnot. I hope that our listeners can contact you. Sometimes I get folks that want to open up a nonprofit adjacent to their private practice. Can they contact you about that?

Dr. Chris Stout: Yeah, absolutely. Can I go down a rabbit hole with that real quick with you guys?

Howard Baumgarten: Please. Yeah, go for it.

Dr. Chris Stout: Well, back in the day, my JD friend, Ralph Musicant, tip of the hat to Ralph, I was doing all this work and he said, “Do you have an oil well in your backyard? Are you funding this all yourself?” Because we were, pardon me, starting to grow and then having associated costs with it, too, like you have a website, well, that’s not free. Pardon me, do all these things, travel and whatnot. He said, “You need to start a nonprofit.”

Long story short, his wife’s also an attorney and they did it pro bono and put it together for us. Everything’s humming right along. We had about six, seven projects going on. We’re about two years into it and someone comes to us from Ukraine and they had contacted us. We don’t go search out people. We don’t throw a dart on the globe and we find them and we say, “Oh, well, let’s come be the helpers.” It’s the other way around. We threw our net back to the network. Someone says, “I heard you’re doing this,” or, “You did this.”

Anyway, they came back to us. They want to have us partner on a USAID grant to work in something called “internats” in Kyiv and Ukraine, which are sort of like orphanages for people with profound disabilities. We start to get into it. I would probably have been the key person to work on it because they wanted to do a baseline assessment in this grant of what’s called the “ward atmosphere scale.” Moos, M-O-O-S, was the author of that, yeah, which you would know.

Long story short, it was going to be a three-year grant and it was going to require going to Kyiv four times a year, once a quarter, for a period of 10 days to two weeks. We hear their pitch and we see what the grant’s all about and then I start. That’s that. They take off and the board and I kind of look at each other sideways going, “Okay, let’s do the math. Four times a year, two weeks a year. I don’t have a…” We all have day jobs.

I should also say, too, the Center for Global Initiatives is all volunteer. I don’t get a nickel from it. Everybody’s a volunteer, that does anything that they do with it, all pro bono and volunteers, myself and board of directors, everybody else included. It was like, “I don’t either, man. Even if I did, am I going to go home back to my thing,” to your earlier question, “of being able to say no to things? Like, ‘Oh, hey, everybody. We just got this new deal and I’m not going on spring break anymore with you guys for the next three years,” or whatever. It just wasn’t scalable for us.

The long story short to that story was that the grant didn’t get funded, but it was a big eye-opener for us to say we can’t. We were committed to the countries and the work that we were doing, but it didn’t require that much in-country kind of work once we got the ball rolling. It was being partners and providing resources and things to our colleagues there, so we did a pivot. As you would know from business and other listeners probably from practice kinds of things, that that’s a good thing to do. A pivot is, if you’re not familiar with the term, it’s sort of like saying, for us, I’ll just talk about it with our situation, we had done a lot. My board said, “We know how to use Web 2.0 tools,” back in the day, “to be able to do fundraising. We know how to do this. We know how to do that.”

All of that has value, so I started writing on LinkedIn about how it shouldn’t be so hard to do humanitarian work. If someone wants to go out and do a project, like if you start a 501(c)(3), a nonprofit in the United States, filling out the paperwork and stuff is not a fun nor easy task, especially if you have zero expertise in it, so we had attorneys that did that, that have lots of expertise in it and did it for free. There are fees that go along with that. We had to get registered as a company in the state of Illinois. There’s like $750. You write a check to the secretary of state and there’s all these other kinds of things and tools and filing taxes. I thought, “It’s a totally different kind of tax form than what we do as individuals or business owners,” so I was like, “Oh, my gosh.”

We found that going through all those processes that we had gone through has value to others. Back to that point of open-sourcing humanitarian intervention to say, “Can we reduce the friction? Can we lower the speed bumps? Can we take down the fences that make it hard for people that want to do something to be able to do that something?” We’ve done it in two ways. One is to say some people come to us and say whatever: “I have a friend,” “I have a family member,” “I was on a trip,” whatever it was, “We’re in this area.” There’s an agricultural start, but they have a really difficult time getting water and we would like to be able to get a well drilled in this area.

The point is that they have one specific project in one specific area. They don’t come to me and say, “Hey, I want to drill a well and I want to create a company that drills wells throughout Africa and I want a board of directors and I want to get a website and I want to wait 18 months for the IRS to hopefully say yes to create a 501(c)(3) and I want to…” Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They say, “No, I just want to dig a well. I just want to get a well dug,” or, “I want to get a road paved,” or, “I want to get a bridge built.” They might have one specific thing that’s a one-off thing that they’ve done and done so we help them do that. We put them together with other networks or we can act as a fiscal intermediary that we take no profit from. If people want to make a tax-deductible donation, they can do it to us. We keep a transparent-

Dr. Chris Stout: If people want to make a tax deductible donation, they can do it to us. We keep a transparent accounting and then provide those funds to do that job. The other kind of a group of people that come to us are the opposite. They say this is my passion. I do want to create a 501(c)(3). I do want to understand what all those hoops are to jump through and we will do free consultations on being how do I go about that? And kind of almost like you would appreciate this from a clinical perspective, like informed consent. If we’re going to get involved in this, what’s behind the curtain. So I’ll have a few conversations with them at length to kind of demystify all that.

And then what we’ve done, because we found that the one-offs we’re fine. And we continue to do that. That’s still available free anytime, but we put together a program that we have two courses available now. So one is in humanitarian intervention and the other is kind of more of a hands-on leadership course of how to go through and build your own non-profit. And if people want to… some people just want to learn that and then we do charge a tuition. The tuition then pays our… we have a faculty that’s put together, they’re all volunteer. I’m on that faculty. I’m a volunteer. We donate our time and the dollars that come in to support that go directly to our center to help support them. Because I’m a really the world’s worst fundraiser. So I thought at least I can provide kind of maybe some extra value with doing that.

I like teaching. My other faculty members like the teaching. That’s all a good thing. And then through that process, they can then start to develop… it’s kind of see one, do one, teach one, then they can go out and start to do their work. If someone doesn’t care about the certificate, doesn’t need someone grading their paper, so to speak, then all of our materials are freely available to again, just for the asking. So our entire library, our entire curriculum, people can just ping me and I can give them the links to it. So it goes again, back to our open sourcing humanitarian intervention that we hopefully… we’ve done a lot of this stuff. It saves anybody else that wants to do it from… they can Google it. They could do all this research themselves. There’s no magic to it, but we’ve just saved… trying to be a step saver and save the time and the hassle of doing all that.

Howard Baumgarten: That’s great. It’s like a clearinghouse of resources available to them at their fingertips with one person, among many others, but one you who have developed this whole concept. And again, really providing something to really help folks reduce those barriers, lower those fences, like you mentioned.

Dr. Chris Stout: Exactly right.

Howard Baumgarten: That’s amazing. Now does The Center For Global Initiatives, doesn’t it have its own website as well?

Dr. Chris Stout: Yes. Mm-hmm (affirmative). So it’s a bit of a mouthful to type in, but it’s centerforglobalinitiatives.org. So just feel free to go there. There is a ton of… I’m also proud of it, seems recent because it took so long to get done, but we’ve redone our website for 2021. I think it’s a little bit more navigatable we’ve got downloadable Express, Excel spreadsheets for things. We’ve got lectures that you can watch that are direct links to YouTube videos. We’ve got, if you’re doing international travel work, once we get beyond the COVID restrictions, discounts on airfare. We don’t make a nickel off of it, but it’s just, again, a way to kind of lower that limitation of being able to get and do things because people don’t have enough ability to necessarily pay for things out of pocket. We’ve got downloadable books.

It’s just really kind of sipping from the proverbial fire hose of all the materials there. So it’s not like you need to go through a download and read everything, but just to know that it’s a resource there that when you’re working on a project, oh, hey, maybe the center’s got something already there and I don’t need to spend 12 hours on Google to be able to get ahold of it.

Howard Baumgarten: That’s great. What a tremendous read for production that we’re so grateful offering that to our listeners. Okay. We’ve got one final question for you. I might know the answer to this, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Dr. Chris Stout: Okay.

Howard Baumgarten: Everybody needs something fun to do outside of all the hard work that we do, even when we love what we do. What is your fun thing? Can you share that with our listeners?

Dr. Chris Stout: Oh golly, this should come as no surprise. If people have stayed awake listening to me drone on like this, but yeah, there’s a lot of stuff I like to do. Most of it tends to be outside and again, it’s overlapping stuff. So I love hikes. I love running outside. I love trail running. I’ve got a gravel bike and a road bike, so I like, once the weather I’m in now and we’ve moved to Northern Wisconsin… so wintertime, it’s kind of more cross country skis and snowshoes, but so I love being outdoors. And then sometimes I also like to be on two wheels that have a motor if I’m kind of tired of peddling. So over the past few years, I’ve kind of created this weird hobby of designing and building and restoring custom motorcycles.

So had a couple of bikes that have been in some shows and done well also, so probably can be tweaking and I’ve been kind of looking for a new project bike. So just sort of kind of fun. I have this mechanical bent that I like to scratch that itch every so often as well, too. So it depends on the day you ask me. Right now I’m working on my bike. So I’m kind of thinking more about that, but I also still love the writing. Love the reading, love doing the research for the podcasts and reading people’s bios and work. So it’s varied, but you know, it still kind of circles back to the more intellectual stimulating kinds of things like that. And conversations with you guys.

Howard Baumgarten: Which we’ve so much appreciated. So you’ve given us so much information and there’s so much of you which is so amazing to get to know you. You and I have over the years emailed back and forth. And I think we had one call a long time ago and I feel like we’ve gotten to know one another and I’ve certainly gotten to know you a lot more in this interview, and I’m so grateful for you that you’ve taken your time with Sarah and I to just speak with us today.

Dr. Chris Stout: Absolutely. It’s an honor and I’ve enjoyed our relationship over the years, too. It’s always a big compliment. I feel like there’s a certain level to books or to LinkedIn or whatever that when you put yourself out there it’s sort of like it’s your baby. And it feels very anxiety producing. You hope people like stuff and it’s so nice and confirming like again, not everybody here and you’re not always everyone’s cup of tea. I get that, but it’s very reinforcing and it’s very nice to be able to have these nice benefits, to have these kinds of conversations, to develop these kinds of relationships with you. And I hope also in the future with Sarah now that I’ve had a chance to get to meet her and start to get to know her.

So it’s all those additive kinds of things. So then in the future, when something comes up and go, oh, Howard would love to know about this. Oh Sarah, this is right up her alley. Oh yeah. It’s that kind of a thing that may be top of mind, but not under foot of peoples so that they know that you’re there to help. If you have a skillset that might be beneficial or be one or two degrees separation from someone else that can… so more than happy to share these kinds of things. And if anyone in the audience there’s something we might be able to help out with or point them in the right direction. That’s what I do happy to do that.

Howard Baumgarten: We’ll have all of your information in the show notes. And of course, we’re going to be giving these two books away to our listeners-

Dr. Chris Stout: Oh. Awesome.

Howard Baumgarten: So they can have your book and go through that and help them better their private practice. Dr. Stout, we are so grateful… adventurer, humanitarian. Podcaster, so much more, psychologist. All the things you’ve done has been put a great career and you just keep going. And so thank you for sharing so much of who you are with our listeners and we’ll hope to have you back sometime.

Dr. Chris Stout: That would be great fun. Thanks again. I appreciate the time today and you’re very flattering. Thank you so much.

Howard Baumgarten: You’re welcome.

Dr. Chris Stout: That was fun. That was fun.

Sarah: Thank you so much.

Dr. Chris Stout: Thank you, you guys are good. You’re naturals at this. It’s a good thing you’re doing podcasts because it’s very conversational, very natural. I know what it’s like to be on the other side of the mic, so to speak, and it’s you guys are awesome. This was great fun.

Howard Baumgarten: Oh, good. Thank you for the compliment. For newbies like us.

Sarah: Yeah.

Howard Baumgarten: And I know I speak for Sarah too. We both are still new at this.

Sarah: Yes, we’re learning as we go.

Howard Baumgarten: And especially new at the interviewing of other subjects. You’re our second one. I don’t know if you know… do you know Donald Altman?

Dr. Chris Stout: Oh the name… I think I know Mike Altman and that’s probably what I’m confusing. I don’t think I know him.

Howard Baumgarten: If you Google him, Donald Altman, he has written about 20 books and he actually edited my book and we became friends through the book project and he’s a mindfulness expert and he lives in Portland. And so we did him a week ago. Was it a week ago Sarah?

Sarah: Yeah. Yeah.

Howard Baumgarten: And you’re our second. So I-

Dr. Chris Stout: I am really surprised because it’s sort of like I can’t even bring myself to listen to my first few episodes. Yeah. Like I listened even some recent ones that I’m thinking like you’ve got good self-awareness because you were talking about… because I’m so in mind because I just want the person to know I’m still on the other end of the line because with video it helps because usually for me it’s non video. Because I’m always staring at my notes and writing stuff. I don’t want to appear rude. So I’m kind of doing my notes on the fly or whatever. So I’ve never done a visual where I’ve actually seen somebody in all the episodes that I have. I’m sure at some point I’ll probably start to get to that. But my new experiment is to try and be less scripted because I feel like there’s a lot of stuff I want to cover. But now probably just this year where I will… I just sort of convinced myself to say this is not a five-hour show.

Over right. Yeah. Because I’m always afraid of dead air or something or it’s going to be 10 minutes when we’re done. And it’s like come on Chris, it’s not going to be 10 minutes and you’re done. These people have done amazing stuff and you know it’s your job to just ask a couple of spurring questions and then let them go to town. I’ve done that in my… I think the guy just recently posted on the first Glen Gillhood, I think it was probably pushing an hour 20. Usually mine are around an hour. And the first time I experimented with this with a guy named Guy Spier and I think we pushed two hours.

Sarah: Yeah.

Dr. Chris Stout: It’s like the fewer questions I have the longer the show goes. I said okay good. That’s good.

Howard Baumgarten: Do you ever listen to Joe Rogan? I mean, I know he’s kind of obnoxious, but he’s a great interviewer.

Sarah: Yeah.

Dr. Chris Stout: I know.

Howard Baumgarten: I watched him. I’m a big outdoors person as well. And so I totally got into the interviews that he had with the guy from Life Below Zero, Glenn Villeneuve. I would be shocked if you haven’t seen Life Below Zero. And that interview between Joe and Glenn was just amazing. He is such a good interviewer and you, by the way, I just want to say, just went into such great detail about so much of your life that it made it easy for us. We didn’t really have to work that hard.

Dr. Chris Stout: That’s good because I’m like thinking, oh my God, how long have I been talking? Well, that’s good. Well it feels like there’s permission, because I know what you mean about Joe Rogan. It’s sort of that love-hate kind of thing. But in terms of just his mechanics and being a good interviewer, he had a friend of mine on for the second time, Jamie Metzl, which is probably one of my favorite episodes of that I’ve done and Jamie’s been on my show twice. Jamie’s just like fricking amazing. And he and I become good friends. He’s made I think three referrals to my show since he and I have gotten to know each other and I won’t go into a diatribe about Jamie, but other than to say it takes me a few days. I watched the interview with him and Joe Rogan, which was like two and a half hours.

And then Jamie pings me. He says, hey, I’m going to be on 60 Minutes Sunday. So, if you can tune in. So I watch it and there’s 20… 60 Minutes has 20 minutes spots for their episodes. And Jamie was maybe one of three people during a 20 minute spot. And it was like the content that I got from the Joe Rogan show in two and a half hours obviously, because it’s two and a half hours of solely Jamie versus the little bits and pieces of Jamie on 60 minutes was fantastic. So I thought that it just sort of reinforced… the long form’s okay. You and I know there’s other people, Chris Guillebeau, his things are… he does a podcast every day and they’re five minutes long, which would kill me. So yeah. So many different ways. I can’t do anything for five minutes. So anyway, thank you guys. Sorry for the rabbit hole. It’s nice to talk to people that are in the midst of these things, because it’s… I think we have a lot of shared experiences and anxieties, so.

Howard Baumgarten: Totally. I resonated. There’s so much I didn’t say. And because a lot of things you said in the interview, I resonated with about embarrassment, about talking about yourself. I mean, it’s so funny. We’re so humble in what we do. We don’t really think about the self part of what we do. We just do it. And it’s hard sometimes to talk about those things because it’s vulnerable… we were on the other side of that all the time in our role getting other people to be vulnerable.

Dr. Chris Stout: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Exactly. It’s cliche to say it’s humbling, but it really is. And it’s very flattering but there’s also it teeters into being embarrassing. It’s, oh my gosh my mom’s going to be the only person that’s going to want to listen to this because it’s sort of like… I’ll tell you my kids it’s like I joked because my wife is way smarter than I am. And I joke that I never… anything I’ve ever written in the last, we’ve been married almost 37 years, in the last 35 years, I’ve never shown to her until it’s been published because she’ll rip it to pieces. So then I can, once it’s published, say other people thought this was good. So.

Howard Baumgarten: My wife is a social worker and we have the same dynamics. She’s smarter. And if I share anything with her beforehand, I get it ripped apart. I do the same thing. I just say I’m interviewing Dr. Stout. I’m going to show you the interview after it’s over. I’m not going to show you the questions beforehand.

Dr. Chris Stout: Yep. Yeah. And I’ll say something about like, so-and-so, because like now some of the people that I’ve interviewed, most of them were friends before, Tim Erickson and stuff like that. I’ll mention somebody that my wife knows and I’ll say, oh… then I’ll realize it go, oh, did you hear that from the podcast? She goes, I don’t listen to your show. It’s oh, okay. Thanks for the support, honey.

Howard Baumgarten: That’s great. Well, we’re so grateful. And last thing I want to tell you is, I don’t know if you ever make it out to Colorado, but please let us know if you’re coming out.

Dr. Chris Stout: I will.

Howard Baumgarten: We’d love to get together. Diane, my wife… Diane and I would love to get together with you and see you if you come out and again, we’re so incredibly grateful and we’ll send you a copy of this, obviously-

Dr. Chris Stout: Okay. Awesome.

Howard Baumgarten: So that you can use it if you want on your stuff. And then we’ll make sure we have a listing of all these websites and places. If there’s anything you want us to have other than what you already sent me, let us know.

Dr. Chris Stout: Yeah. I think that’s probably more than completed, but if there is anything that you guys need, like he talked about this or that just ping me and it’s super easy to get it to you. And then let me know when this comes live, and then I’ll publicize it. I’ve got three Facebooky things. I’ve got a personal Facebook thing. And then I’ve got 1% for Global Initiatives Group and then one for a Life In Full, a group.

And I post every Sunday, usually on a Life In Full, I usually just post… two different reasons. One, I have a Sunday breakfast club. So I post something on that every Sunday morning. And then when a new show drops, the first of every month, no matter what day of the month that is that lands on, then I’ll post about that guest. And then I’ve got a new thing. This might be helpful for you guys, too, just for spurring audience on the 15th of every month, so I don’t crash into myself. I publicize my upcoming guest. Let me tell you what I do that on. It’s an app. You may be already familiar with it, called Headliner. Do you know Headliner?

Sarah: No.

Dr. Chris Stout: Headliner is a Freemium thing. I have the Freemium because I’m cheap and you can sample. So you can take this episode on however you have it MP3 or whatever format and you can sample as long as you want. I think if you do more than 10 minutes, which I would not recommend doing for… I’m about to tell you how to use it, but I think then it costs, but I’ll do a minute soundbite. So it’s just really quick. So I’ll sample through an entire audio file and I’ll try and pick that little bit where it’s usually just all my guests, if I can do it that way, sometimes it’s me queuing up a question and then they go to town answering it, but I kind of almost make it abrupt at the ending because then I kind of want people to hear well, how they finish answering that question.

Sarah: Right.

Dr. Chris Stout: So, that’s all experimental. I’ve only been doing that maybe a half dozen times or thereabouts. And then once you have it, you can post it to Instagram. You can post it automatically in the app itself. You can do all that. And then you’ll have a link so you can copy the link and then you can embed it. You can post it as an attachment or whatever. And then I do that. So to my Instagram, that’s probably the easiest place because that’s what I use probably the least. And you can just see… and there’ll be a little… It’ll do a transcription. That’s pretty good. It’ll have little zigzag lines as the person’s voice changes and stuff like that. So I’ve just kind of stumbled upon it and I’ve been using it just as a way to publicize my next upcoming guest.

So then I repost on LinkedIn kind of just totally at random. Maybe once I’ve done an episode, I’ll probably repost it maybe once a week for the four weeks after it’s come up on different days of the week and different times of day, because there’s people in Europe or Asia or wherever might have it pop 1:00 in the afternoon when it’s 10 o’clock here. And then I’ll have a little bit of what the soundbite is from what I’ll have on iTunes. I’ll have the proper hashtags, but not too many. If the person has a LinkedIn account, I’ll let them do the ad, Joe Blow. So then they get a notice of it and then a link to the show. So you’ll see all those kinds of things as well.

And then once you send me this, if you have any copy that you want me to cut and paste into it, LinkedIn has a bit of a limit on how much you can do that. Just word count, letter count, character count. But I’ll repost it every so often. And I’ve done that with past interviews too, which is kind of fun. So I’ll help get the word out there as well, too, as best as I can.

Sarah: Thank you. That’s fantastic.

Howard Baumgarten: Well, with over a half a million-

Dr. Chris Stout: Yeah sure.

Howard Baumgarten: Followers, I would imagine that it’s not that hard.

Dr. Chris Stout: You know it’s funny. I have no idea how all the subscribers have happened. It just seems a little fluky. In the same kind of thing, I always figured that like there’s certain things I’ve gotten invited to in the past. I think they’ve mistaken me for some of somebody else. Did you mean Christian Stout or somebody that sort of a thing?

Howard Baumgarten: No way.

Dr. Chris Stout: Yeah. Yeah. I’m sorry. Is this a prank? Larry is that you pranking me again? Come on.

Howard Baumgarten: That’s funny. We’re probably going to be getting this out… we’re delaying the start because we got to finish something else up from Season One, but it’ll probably come out mid to late July, I’m guessing. Somewhere between the middle to the end of July.

Dr. Chris Stout: Okay. Yeah. Just I try and always have kind of what I call one in the can so I can kind of-

Howard Baumgarten: Yeah.

Dr. Chris Stout: Have the time to have hiccups and someone’s booked, doesn’t get to me in time and that sort of thing. So yeah, just whenever it’s out. That’s great. This is Evergreen content… so that would be awesome. Thanks you guys. I really appreciate it.

Howard Baumgarten: Yeah. Thanks for being with us.

Sarah: Thank you.

Dr. Chris Stout: Yeah. Good to see you both and take care and good luck with everything else and stay healthy.

Sarah: Thanks. You, too. Bye.

Dr. Chris Stout: Bye.

Howard Baumgarten: I find it so hard [inaudible 01:30:59].

Sarah: Yeah. I’m going to stop recording. Okay?


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Howard Baumgarten

Licensed professional counselor, author of PRIVATE PRACTICE ESSENTIALS, international speaker and small business consultant. Learn more at Howard’s website.



Sarah Gershone

Web designer and digital marketer specializing in therapist private practice growth. Owner of Strong Roots Web Design.