Should Counselors Question the DIY Model When it Comes to Design?

Updated: Dec 3, 2018

3 reasons why counselors and mental health professionals should reconsider the DIY model when it comes to designing a website, building a logo, or decorating their space.

Should Counselors DIY?

The DIY (Do It Yourself) model has increased in popularity over the past couple decades due to increased access to information via online means. We know more about things than we ever have, and what we do not currently know we can Google, Pinterest, or ask Siri. We live in the age of technology, where anything we want know is at our finger tips.

So, most of mental health professionals decide that they should DIY. Why pay a ton of money for someone to do what you can ultimately do yoursefl? To be honest, I thought the same for a number of years, but have come to hold a different opinion.

Here's why...

The Table

I recently had the opportunity to build Chelsea (my awesome wife) and I our very own farm house style table, inspired by a Restoration Hardware (we love that place, but it's expensive!). I was thrilled at the chance to try my hand at woodworking, as it seems like all the cool guys and gals are doing it these days. A buddy of mine had all the tools and the overall blueprint necessary, and since he had already built one himself, I was confident that, with his help, I could create a masterpiece.

What started as a short garage project meant to last a couple weeks spanned the course of 4 months. I had no idea what I was doing, and I depended on constant evaluation from my friend. When he was not in the garage, I was lost as to how I was supposed to join two boards together or use a miter saw, and was slightly worried I would lose a finger in the process.

My friend provided constant support and direction, and with his help I built a pretty impressive table. I was proud of my work, but I was exhausted, in addition to learning a valuable lesson...

Not everyone should DIY. There, I said it.

Not Everyone Should DIY Because...

1.) Information alone does not lead to success.

Let's face it, we have more access to information than ever before. With the help of the internet, you can look up whatever you want in a matter of seconds. If you do not have the skill, time, and tools to accomplish what you want, you can just google it.

Having information and knowing how to use it are two very different things. I have a ton of information about how to do a handstand, mainly because I find the idea of being able to handstand awesome, but I do not have the time, capacity, or current training to fully put that information into practice.

Simply having information available does not automatically lead to success. In fact, it often sets us up for disappointment, because we should be able to do it ourself.... I mean, we have all the info!

Instead what we find is that information tends to lead to confusion. Everyone seems to have a different approach regarding the "best" way of doing things, and sometimes these approaches are contradictory.

Take the fitness industry for example... we have more info about how to be fit than EVER before, and are simultaneously less healthy overall. There are a hundred different work out strategies and a hundred different diets, and we are not sure which will actually lead to the fit/healthy body we desire. We are often paralyzed by indecision or redirection. But if we are well coached and directed, we have opportunity to receive the clarity we so often lack and enjoy the change we so often seek!

2.) Without help and guidance most of us will flounder.

I wholeheartedly believe that I could have built this table myself... after being trained as a carpenter. In all seriousness, I couldn't have built what I did without the incredible support and time of my friend, without whose expertise, patience, and skill I would have made something significantly less appealing and functional. I would love to take credit for it, but the reality is my friend did the majority of the work. He led me through a process I did not understand, in order to use tools I had never used, to build something I had never built.

I have heard countless therapists recount stories of frustration after spending hours attempting to create their own website or get a logo off a stock website only to be disappointed by the end result.

Hiring a professional designer, for graphics or for interior decor, is an investment in yourself and your practice. It is a willingness to admit where we need help, and to seek it from someone able to provide. If you want someone to guide you through the process of design, visit The Branded Practice and contact us today!

The good news is, for those of us that will still decided to DIY, Chelsea and I are creating an e-course! It is called The Therapeutic Design Guide, which you can learn more about here! We decided to create this to serve as a guide in the same way my buddy did. For those who prefer to learn it themselves, here is your opportunity. Click here to stay up to date.

3.) Money is not the only thing to consider.

I was so excited that I would have a table that cost me $150 total instead of $2000+, but I soon recognized that money is not the only factor. A significant amount of my time, energy, and emotion went into this project. Had I actually done it myself, then even more time, energy, and emotion would have been invested. I spent many nights and weekend days in my buddy's garage missing time with my family, opportunity to rest, and much needed time relaxing. I was spent by the end of it! I am of course quite proud of my awesome table, but I had not fully understood the cost upfront. I had only evaluated the financials, and not the time, energy, and relational resources that would be expended on this project.

Don't get me wrong, the reality is that sometimes we just can't afford to pay the additional fee to buy professionally made stuff. But all too often we simply do not evaluate things honestly. We are scared of a monetary fee because we do not realize how important a website that converts, a logo that potential clients acclimate to, or a beautifully designed office space is.

Where Do We Go From Here?

My encouragement to our profession is simple. If the mental health community wants to increase the buy in for what we do, then we ought to buy into it ourselves.

Take the time to make sure your stuff is working for you. That it is well designed and professionally presented. Let design be the promise your service ultimately fulfills.

If you want to know if your design is working for you, check out The Design Review, a service we offer to provide clarity, direction, and support.

Happy therapizing!

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