OAPA Member Sara Dimerman on her fourth book, media appearances, and social media presence
OAPA’s Sara Dimerman has had a busy few months. On February 24th Sara’s fourth book, Why Married Couples Don’t Have Sex … At Least Not with Each Other! was released by Simon & Schuster, she’s completed over a dozen related media appearances, and she has still found time to maintain her in-demand therapy practice.
After tackling both parenting and couples through her writing, Sara has turned her attention to the bedroom. From her website HelpMeSara.com:
Why Married Couples Don’t Have Sex… At Least Not with Each Other! dives into the dynamics that diminish sexual desire and intimacy and exposes the real reasons so many men and women are willing to risk losing their marriages by engaging in relationships with new lovers. Sara offers frank, playful, yet practical advice (plus many resources) for married women and men who want to know why they’re no longer enjoying a fulfilling sex life and what they can do about it.
Surrounding the books release, the medias demand for Sara has been strong. You may have heard Sara on the radio, read about her online and in print, or seen her on television, including a humorous accidental appearance on CTV’s Canada AM weather report. Links to Sara’s appearances can be found here (over a dozen of them at last count).
OAPA’s President Michael Decaire (listed belowas MD/OAPA) had an opportunity to chat with Sara Dimerman about her new book, her therapy work, and her prolific media presence.
MD/OAPA: Why Married Couples Don’t Have Sex … At Least Not With Each Other! is your fourth book. We have seen you transition from the parenting sector to different aspects of spousal and sexual partnerships. What inspired this newest book and what do you hope to share with your readers?
Sara: My practise has evolved over the years to include more relationship counselling than before. And in addition, I find that even when offering parent counselling, it’s impossible not to work on the couple’s relationship too. So much of the way that parents interact with one another and model healthy relationships is relevant when parenting too. Because I feel equally passionate about parenting as I do about working towards helping couples develop healthier relationships, writing both parenting and relationship books are important to me.
From a publishing perspective, my foray into the sexual arena of relationships was not only as a result of my interest in this area of counselling, but also a marketing and business move on my part. After all, sex sells! The inspiration for the book was while I was facilitating a discussion group at a mother and babes program about Life After Baby. The discussion kept shifting to the bedroom and how their sexual relationships had changed since the birth of their babies. I had an epiphany at the meeting, realizing that this topic was one I had discussed with clients for many years. And so the seed was planted for another book.
MD/OAPA: Do you notice a shift in the type of clients you receive once you have published a book on a certain topic and begin participating in related media appearances?
Sara: Absolutely. In fact, this book has opened the door for many couples to call on me for help. Some have read the book, been inspired by it and want to delve into the topics on a deeper level. Some have just heard about the book and want to explore counselling options with me.
MD/OAPA: While most would assume that one’s therapeutic stance will influence their writings, I am curious whether you feel that the process of writing itself ends up coming back around and influencing you as a therapist?
Sara: Good question. One I hadn’t thought of before but yes, the process of research and writing influences how I approach certain topics when counselling and allows me greater insight into specific issues and dynamics. As well, my therapeutic stance and what I am exposed to also influences what I choose to research and write about.
MD/OAPA: Could you share a bit of your writing process? You must be remarkably busy. I imagine many OAPA members would love the opportunity to share some of their own experiences in this manner, but are unable to find the time? How do you balance writing, psychotherapy, and managing your practice?
Sara: I consider myself very organized and have a system for most things. Above all else, I write everything down – appointments with clients in an old fashioned appointment book, personal appointments on an old fashioned wall calendar and anything to do with writing on a calendar on my computer. I leave nothing to memory. So, if I tell someone I will get back to him or her the following week, I record that on the day I’ve promised. I also make lots of lists and try to follow them as closely as possible.
I’ve also never worked full time in my counselling practice (I work 3 to 3.5 days in my office), leaving me time in between counselling days to catch up on client files and related work, write and to take care of personal responsibilities.
MD/OAPA: You have had an impressive social media presence for many years. Can you discuss some of the benefits you see from working so hard in that sector and are there caveats or cautions you would share with peers thinking of doing similarly?
Sara: Learning about social media and its benefits has been a steep learning curve. Fortunately I have children as my guides. Twitter is a great way to promote events and new articles and books, for example. Learning how to use hashtags as a way of gathering more followers, and learning the fine art of not over promoting oneself, but rather offering useful information (from others as well), is part of learning how to navigate the Twitter world. In addition, my Facebook account (so called fan page) is linked to my Twitter page so anything I write on Twitter gets posted on Facebook too. I use Facebook to promote events and new articles/books too. My children are encouraging other social media options such as Instagram and Pinterest but as of now, I need to learn more about how to handle this. I spend about 5 minutes, two to three times a day posting new information on Twitter. In addition, I try to add content to my website every week. Every month I write a new article and produce a new podcast and then circulate these to different sites and magazines/newspapers.
Over the years, I have maintained a strong interest in working with the media (I have a degree in Radio and TV too so this comes in handy). Being accessible, able to respond to an interview request and provide answers to questions from an interviewer within hours and tight deadlines also keeps me on their roster. Although I don’t get paid for most of my media work, I consider it free advertising.
I consider my practice as much of a business as I do a place of care. So, building a HelpMeSara brand and driving people to my site and helping them learn what I do, is very important to me.
I do caution anyone interested in expanding their media/social media presence however to make sure that you don’t offer anything “off the record” when being interviewed. Interviewers may still write what you say. In addition, I often offer responses via email – this way they are less likely to misquote me. When it comes to social media, be very careful that whatever you write represents you and your profession in the best possible way.
On behalf of OAPA, I would like to thank Sara for taking the time to speak to the membership. We look forward to hearing about her success with Why Married Couples Don’t Have Sex … At Least Not with Each Other! and spotting her on her many media appearances.
Sara Dimerman can be found at www.helpmesara.com and on twitter @helpmesara