Coach, Consultant, Psychotherapist? Or simply Change Agent?

freud1I hate networking groups. I’m one of those who can easily get up in front of a room full of people and speak for a whole day on a topic. I shine on camera and love radio interviews, but put me in a room where I have to tell you from my chair inside the room in 30 seconds what I do as a therapist and I start to shake, literally.  I usually fold my hands in front of me (bad body language) so the crowd (who are all looking at me when I stand up to introduce myself) won’t notice the tremor.  When I’m talking about something I’m passionate about, I can talk for hours, such as “how to anticipate change is coming”. Talking about myself is a little more complicated.

My biggest problem is describing what I do in thirty seconds.

There are those who are hypnotherapists and what they do is easy to describe: they help people lose weight, quit smoking, or manage stress better. There are those who are career coaches and, well, that is pretty obvious. There are those who work strictly with relationship issues. And there are those who help people make big transitions in their lives.

And then there’s me. I do all of the above and a few other things like dream interpretation and guided imagery as well. On the credential level, I’m a licensed psychotherapist and sometimes going deep into the subconscious realms is appropriate. Sometimes, what is being called for is pragmatic problem solving, and I am also called in to work with CEOs occasionally to consult on their business.

And just when I was getting the hang of describing all the many hats I wear, a new one appeared with the release of my first book: “Crisis Management Expert.” I have been working in the field of crisis intervention for 25 years and have given interviews to the media on this subject for awhile now, but it wasn’t something I announced. They just came to me when they needed me.

I liked it in the old days (the ancient 80’s) when it was enough of a credential being a psychotherapist and all I had to say was “ I help people overcome their fear of change and reduce the need for crisis as a motivator.” Heh, maybe that’s the sound bite. Just forget all the labels. Hmm-Thirty seconds may start to seem like a long time.

Dr. Toni Galardi has just released her first book, The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to thrive (not just survive) in These Times of Personal and Global Upheaval, which can be purchased through her website at