Whose Website Is It, Anyway?

I had no idea that creating a website would become a psychological snakepit for me and a Rorshach test for my friends and family. To prepare, I studied hundreds of websites. How hard could this be? Hmmm.  I started with colors and was drawn to the strong ones but I imagined those neon greens triggering seizures and panic attacks. By contrast, the pastoral, peaceful colors seemed snoozy – that isn’t therapy and it isn’t me. Then, I had to think about layouts. I was bored by the ultra conventional layouts and horrified by the buttons, bells, and whistles that screamed, “buy me!”  I have a super web developer but these sorts of decisions had to be mine.

 I almost cancelled the whole thing after a colleague entertained me with an hilarious monologue about photos of  peaceful ponds, waterfalls, winding paths, bridges, butterflies and blossoming flowers that hope to imply safety, journey, growth and healing. As a group, we clinicians suffer from sincerity and earnestness. It is almost impossible to say, “I will try to help you,” in a way that doesn’t sound hackneyed.

My preliminary ideas became a Roshach test for everyone who reviewed them. I got some lies, “Great, great,” some avoidance, “Ah, nice font.”  My original text was,  “Ooooh, chilly, too formal,” and the revisions were “too wordy,” and “too corny. Do you want to host a radio talk show?”  One friend called the photo, “A resume shot,” but another loved it, “So warm and inviting.” “I hate the coffee cup” got as many votes as, “I love the coffee cup.” Formal friends liked the formal elements, the new age friends liked the schmoozy ones, and everyone hated the things they always hate.

 I realized that it has been many years since I felt confined by my profession.  Going public made me increasingly self-conscious as I struggled to create a site that looked inviting, competent, and professional. Portraying me became harder than actually being me.

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