Interview with Joann Toporowski
“Like attracts like” and Dr. Joann Toporowski is no exception with multiple degrees, executive success, and an avid weekend warrior to boot! Dr. T is a force! She also aligns with us on the importance of self-care, an essential aspect of health and success.
How did you find your patients?
“I didn’t look for my patients. They found me, like attracts like. I work with a lot of successful, driven, high achieving people. I have two degrees. I have a private practice and my coaching business. I’m married, I’m an active weekend warrior. I’m just like my clients and dealing with the same things, trying to manage home life versus work life and seeking that balance and trying to still have energy and the resources to give to others when you are a caretaker yourself and a business owner.”
How do people connect with you?
“My private practice patients find me on psychologytoday.com and then my coaching clients online.”
There are going to be good days and bad days. Just as I say to my patients, things/circumstances/our ability to cope vacillates between awesome to awful. When it’s awesome, really appreciate the moment. When it’s awful, hang on for dear life until it swings back to awesome because we all know that nothing stays all good or all bad all of the time.
Being a coach vs being a therapist?
“It’s two different hats. Two different businesses. It’s the same population. In my case in therapy, I’m going deeper and further back into childhood and these long lasting deep issues that have come from childhood that are still impacting my patients today. The presenting issue is anxiety and depression and with coaching its solution focus. We’re looking forward, we’re leveraging your talents, we’re translating skills from business to home. It’s much different flavors.”
How important is self-care?
“You have to be reasonable and realistic and compassionate with yourself. You can’t do everything in 24 hours or a week. You know, the answers aren’t going to come in a week as to what am I going to do for the rest of my life. That’s not going to come very easily. We’re not without thoughts. And so being proactive, yet compassionate towards yourself.”
What to look for in a good therapist/coach?
“You want to find someone who speaks your language. And the same for the coaching because everyone has their website. You have to get a feel of that person. And if they are speaking your language on the website, then that’s a start.”
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How do you handle expectations?
“I can’t find you a fiancée in eight weeks. I’m not a dating coach. I’m not going to bulk up your muscles. I’m not a fitness coach. I’m an executive coach and a psychologist. So I can help you with the mindset and management of feelings and help you to be solution focused.”
How to market yourself?
“If you read all of the profiles online, you still need to sit quietly and figure out what are my strengths, you know, how do I work best with others and what do I have to offer? You have to create your own words. You’ve got to find those there. They’re already inside. You just have to pick them.”
Final thoughts on your profession?
Therapy is such rewarding work, especially when a patient finally experiences a breakthrough after months and months, or when you hear a patient’s kind words during a termination session. At the same time, therapy can be such heavy and draining work. I have found when I take care of myself in the same way that I empower my patients to take care of themselves, then I have the physical and mental energy to weather the ups and downs. When I get enough hours of sleep, when I exercise consistently, when I connect with loved ones and friends, when I practice yoga, when I practice breathing exercises and listen to guided meditations, then I’ve set myself up for success. And when all of the self-care measures still don’t offset the work stress, then I have a good cry, yell, turn my brain off by watching things that make me laugh, or shower myself with self-compassion. There are going to be good days and bad days. Just as I say to my patients, things/circumstances/our ability to cope vacillates between awesome to awful. When it’s awesome, really appreciate the moment. When it’s awful, hang on for dear life until it swings back to awesome because we all know that nothing stays all good or all bad all of the time.