Ellen Hendriksen creates podcasts to help people live happier, healthier emotional lives

by Linda Hubbard on April 7, 2014

Menlo Park resident Ellen Hendriksen is a clinical psychologist at Stanford. She does a mix of research and psychotherapy. “I see a range of clients,” she said, “but much of my practice is in the area of behavioral medicine — people who have a medical diagnosis with a mental health problem that is getting in the way of their treatment.”

It was her research work that prompted her to start creating free podcasts labeled on iTunes as They Savvy Psychologist. “I read a lot of research papers,” she explained, “most of which will never see the light of day to a broader audience. So I got the idea of translating them in order to make them friendly and useful.”

Ellen said she stumbled on the podcast idea in a roundabout way. “I knew about Quick and Dirty Tips from Grammar Girl, and I wrote her saying I’d be willing to do some mental health tips under that umbrella, which I’ve done. It’s great because I’m given complete freedom about the topics I pick.”

The podcasts followed. Two months into her new venture, there are dozens of episodes — with topics ranging from how-to-stop-procastinating to why-am-I-so-tired. And to Ellen’s surprise, they’ve quickly caught on. “In the first week, they were number one on the education channel of iTunes,” she says. “We’ve had 200,000 downloads.”

Ellen is a relatively new resident of Menlo Park, moving here 18 months ago along with two young children when her husband accepted a fellowship in pediatric oncology at Stanford. “I’d come out to scout the area and thought Menlo Park was great,” she said. “And then I was lucky enough to find a position in the psychiatry department.”

She will continue to produce podcasts and expand her practice. “I’m lucky to be in psychology,” she says, “because it’s everywhere and applies to every one.”

Photo by Scott R. Kline

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