From Flatulance to Abandonment (or Why You Should Specialize)

You’re probably wondering what someone’s farting problem has to do with abandonment issues. Honestly, not much… except that many practitioners claim they can provide therapy for that - and just about every other ailment under the sun.

What if someone told you that they could effectively help you lose weight, stop-smoking, annihilate acne, heal psoriasis, defeat dandruff, eliminate constipation plus treat:

  • Abandonment
  • Emotional Overwhelm
  • Post Traumatic Stress / Trauma
  • Academic Concerns
  • Emptiness
  • Pre-Marital Counseling
  • Addictions & Compulsions
  • Family of Origin Issues
  • Prejudice / Discrimination
  • Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions
  • Family Problems
  • Relationships & Marriage
  • Adoption / Reunion Issues
  • Forgiveness
  • Self-Care
  • Aggression & Violence
  • Grief, Loss, & Bereavement
  • Self-Confidence
  • Aging & Geriatric Issues
  • Habits
  • Self-Criticism
  • Anger
  • Health / Illness / Medical Issues
  • Self-Doubt
  • Anxiety
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Self-Esteem
  • Attachment Issues
  • Identity Issues
  • Self-Harm
  • Bipolar
  • Inadequacy
  • Self-Love
  • Blended Family Issues
  • Inattention, Impulsivity, & Hyperactivity (ADHD)
  • Sensitivity to Criticism
  • Cancer
  • Infidelity / Affair Recovery
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Career Choice
  • Irritability
  • Shame
  • Child and/or Adolescent Issues
  • Isolation
  • Social Anxiety / Phobia
  • Chronic Pain
  • LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender) Issues
  • Spirituality
  • Codependency / Dependency
  • Life Purpose / Meaning / Inner-Guidance
  • Stress
  • Communication Problems
  • Men's Issues
  • Suicidal Ideation & Behavior
  • Compulsive Spending / Shopping
  • Midlife Crisis / Midlife Transition
  • Suspiciousness
  • Control Issues
  • Mood Swings / Mood Disturbance
  • Trust Issues
  • Creative Blocks
  • Obsessions & Compulsions (OCD)
  • Values Clarification
  • Depression
  • Oppositional & Defiant Behavior in Children & Teens
  • Women's Issues
  • Divorce / Divorce Adjustment
  • Other (Not Listed Here)
  • Workplace Issues
  • Drug & Alcohol Addiction
  • Panic
  • Worry
  • Eating & Food Issues
  • Parenting
  • Worthlessness
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Phobias

Wow, that’s a pretty ginormous list. It makes my eyes glaze over. Would you believe someone marketing all that? I certainly wouldn't. Sounds like promises from a quack and a big crock to me.

Being a generalist-style therapist isn’t a wise plan.

You can’t possibly be everything to everyone, which is what these types of therapists are trying to do. They're jack of all trades and master of absolutely none.

You know the modalities you use can be beneficial in treating a variety of conditions (including flatulence) and bringing secondary gain to people's lives, but you also know you’re not a Panacea. And although everyone wants a Panacea, no one actually believes they exist.

There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” approach to therapy.

Clients are special.

They deserve special treatment, don’t you think? Part of that special treatment is being dedicated and wise enough to specialize and focus on what you do best, whether that’s being a sports therapist, a children’s specialist, or operating in a niche of pre-natal treatment.

There are hundreds of ways you could specialize your services easily. Find your strength, your main focus, and once you’ve identified that strength, market the heck out of it. You’ll narrow the field of competition for your services and attract more of the right kind of clients who begin to recognize you as the go-to person for their specific issue.

They'll benefit from the secondary relief you can provide, and maybe yes, they'll fart less after you help them with their main problem… but don't spread thin like that. Don't market that. You’ll be more successful as a specialist than generalist, and you and your clients will enjoy what you do even more.



Agree with the main concept of "can't be everything to everyone", but also believe there is a place for certain types of "jack of all trades" services. Clients ARE special. People are special. We should recognize and respect that. However, clients can have more than one legitimate issue at a time that the therapist may be able to address directly, or refer out to others - IF the information gets shared.

leigh's picture

Ha! I knew you would pick this one!

You're right... BUT in your case it's different. When you advertise that you're a jack of all trades you are actually specializing...

Let me explain my point:

Jack of All Trades are selling their flexibility and connective know how -- basically they know enough to get most things done and if they can't do it --they also know how to connect you to an "expert" who can. Jacks of all Trades are experts at filtering information. You can have excellent personal assistants and building maintenance guys -- those are jacks of all trades. What makes them excellent is knowing what they are looking at when posed with a problem or challenge.

Does that make sense? -- if your skill is having multiple skills you "sell" that skill set as a unique specialty package that others don't have.

The responsiblity of any service provider is to help the client differentiate the offerings to avoid information overload and avoid the black hole of the "paradox of choice."

Yes, actually this makes perfect sense and I'm glad you clarified - not just for me, but for others like myself who "specialize" in not specializing. Oh, and look around - this isn't the only one I "picked" - you have so much good information to share that it's hard NOT to give feedback on this site. You have no idea what a compliment that is from me.

leigh's picture

Indeed - you've been busy tonight! I'm slow on the uptake :)