Guidelines for Submitting Articles
Thank you for your interest in writing for the Psychotherapy Networker. As you’ll be able to tell from reading our content, articles cover a variety of issues related to all aspects of clinical work, research, and practice, as well as the culture at large. Please note that the Networker is not the appropriate place to submit academic research papers or theses. Rather, we’re interested in your personal stories as a clinician of exploration, discovery, challenge, insight, growth, learning, and questioning.
We’re especially interested in submissions for the Case Studies, In Consultation, and Family Matters departments—or creative online content of any kind. Feature articles are generally 3,500 words in length, but are rarely accepted unsolicited. We do not pay for submissions we print.
Questions to ask yourself prior to writing:
- How does this particular way of thinking about a specific topic make it fresh?
- Is the topic thoughtful and intellectually engaging?
- Will it touch the reader emotionally?
- What’s distinctive about my piece?
Requirements of the writing process:
- Use a clear, concise, engaging, and accessible style that’s free of jargon.
- If referring to research findings, explain their significance in plain terms—we do not publish footnotes, citations, or reference lists.
- Write the article in the voice and style you’d use in having a conversation about the topic with a close colleague over coffee.
- Please read through as many examples of our content as possible to get a sense of the kind of writing we publish prior to submitting your article.
To submit materials:
Please email submissions to email@example.com, and include your name, address, and phone number.
- Due to the volume of submissions we receive, it may take us between 10 and 12 weeks to review your article and contact you if we’re interested. If you don’t hear from us, please assume that we won’t be able to use your work. Unfortunately, we’re not able to give feedback on articles we’re not able to use.
- If the article is accepted, the editing process usually requires at least two revisions.
- If you have any questions about submissions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips for writing a Networker Case Study:
Case Studies are around 2,500 words and use storytelling elements and a narrative arc to engage readers in a single clinical case that showcases your work around a specific issue or therapeutic challenge with a client. Because of their unique nature, it’s important to read as many Networker case studies as you can before writing your own. Recent topics have included getting to the root of inherited trauma, the art of helping emotionally closed-off men open up in couples therapy, helping a client going through a gender transition navigation difficult family issues, recognizing when you’ve become too emotionally invested in a client.
Each of these cases focuses on the story of work with a single client/family/couple, but it’s understood that the individual case is exemplar of the challenges and techniques involved in using a certain approach, or thinking about a clinical issue, or facing a particular kind of challenge in the therapy room. Below are a few tips to get you thinking about the process.
The first few paragraphs should introduce the clinical challenge at hand and hook the reader into wanting to know more. In other words, clarify right off the bat the problem this case presents—and what’s unusual about your approach or perspective on it. In the telling of this case, you’re illustrating your own learning journey as a therapist. It’s not didactic, but a chance for readers to learn and grow alongside you. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you write the first few paragraphs:
- Why should the reader care about this case? What’s distinct about it?
- What’s the problem/challenge for therapists that it will illuminate?
- What’s the new idea/approach we’ll glean from reading it?
Getting into It
Before you delve into the body of your case study, decide on the three or four main points you want to communicate to the reader. Keep these points in mind as you structure your piece—and get comfortable with the fact that a single case will never be completely comprehensive or cover every aspect of your work with a client. Here are a few more guidelines:
- Share Your Thoughts. Rather than offering readers a distant fly-on-the-wall perspective, get intimate: let your readers sit on your shoulder to see the see the client through your eyes and get a glimpse into your concerns, clinical decision-making, and feelings.
Don’t be afraid to share your initial impressions of a client and how they changed as you progressed in your work with them. Explain your thinking around certain decision points in the case. Why did you say this instead of that? Why did you choose this technique over that intervention? If you made a misstep along the way, share that with your readers. Note any surprises that came up for you as you worked with your client. What challenges did you face? Did the case derail at any point? How did you get back on track? In general, perfect cases tied up in neat bows are not only uninteresting, but unbelievable. A narrator who can be vulnerable is the best kind of storyteller.
- Tell a Story. In essence, Networker case studies are engaging stories, ones that highlight unique ideas and approaches in the consulting room. A good case study should read like a narrative and include snippets of relevant dialogue between you and your client.
Let us hear voices and see your work in action. Avoid bogging your reader down with lots of jargon. While the focus of the case study should be on what the reader can learn from it, you still need to use storytelling tools—like concrete descriptions and dialogue—to paint a vivid picture of your therapeutic work. For example, rather than telling us that your client looked distraught, show it to us by briefly describing the client’s body language.
Wrapping It Up
Ending are hard for almost every writer, and there’s no one right way to tie up your piece. However, you should avoid concluding the piece with a simple summary of the case or a restatement of your main points. Instead, consider ending with something fresh that invites further reflection from your reader. Here are a few ideas:
- End with a moving moment that’s exemplary of the overall outcome of the case.
- End with a short description of how the case changed the way you approach therapy or your interaction with a particular type of client.
- End with a note on how the case challenges conventional notions of how to practice therapy.
Tips for writing an In Consultation Piece:
In Consultation pieces are written in a Q & A format and range from 1,500 to 2,000 words. In other words, they begin with one Q (think of the kinds of questions participants at a workshop might ask during the breaks in the presentation) and the rest of the piece is the A.
This is a concise, readable format for discussing a new clinical idea, or simply offering an inspiring way to address to a common issue for therapists and/or their clients. It should include practical, step-by-step advice, specific examples from real practice that bring an idea to life.
If you’re a first-time Networker writer, this is a great way to dip your toe into our editorial process.
Tips for writing a Family Matters essay:
Family Matters is the department in which we invite authors to reflect on anything personally significant in their lives. This is where you can take a break from clinical work or training to think more about yourself and your life—and engage in some creative writing. Family Matters essays should tell a story with a clear narrative arc. They should be around 2,000 words, and can be funny, eye-opening, thought-provoking—the full range of human emotions.
Tips for writing Networker online content:
Our online stories reach over 100,000 mental health professionals on our e-newsletter list, as well as all our followers on social media. And guess what? There’s lots of room to be as creative or as practical as you’d like—so long as it’s no longer than 1,200 words and you keep in mind the following questions:
- Is the tone appropriate for Networker readers: meaning, is it easy to read, down to earth, engaging, free of jargon, with clear, vivid examples?
- Does it include at least one good example to bring your idea to life?
- Does it have an interesting opening hook?
- Does it offer readers a practical tool to use with clients, a new approach to a common clinical issue, an inspiring idea to revigorated their work, a unique perspective on a larger issue in the issue that’s making its way into therapy room?
- Mostly, is it interesting?