Category: Starting a Practice

Integrating Therapy and Business: Making Our Practice Our Own

In my last article I spoke of how the journey to create a therapy practice can also be a journey towards personal integration. In this article, I look at this journey from the perspective of the second pillar of a successful therapy practice, Knowing Your Practice.

In the second pillar, we build on our decision to create a practice by beginning to explore what our own practice might be like. For psychotherapists at least, we have all been in therapy and have worked in other practices during placement, we therefore have some exposure to what other practices look like. This may be a starting point for our own practice, as we reflect on what we like or dislike of other people’s choices.

One of the challenges of the second pillar is to make choices of our own. Choices about the type of practice we’d like to have, the clients we’d like to work with, the issues we’d like to learn more about, where we’d like to work, what we want to call our practice and so on.

Making choices is easier for some than for others. The sheer number of choices that must be made in the early days of starting a practice can be overwhelming, and it’s important to support ourselves in this process. Not making a choice is also a choice, but, as I have written about in another post, it doesn’t always serve us to allow things to go by default. Choices bring us face to face with the fear of having to decide in favour of one option, while discarding others. This can evoke anxiety about committing to a course of action the outcome of which is uncertain.

Photo: Stock Unlimited

Another issue that commonly arises at the second pillar is our relationship with identity and vision. While choosing this logo style or this colour for a website, or other marketing strategy is not a life-threatening choice, it can evoke experiences from our past where we have been judged or criticised for our preferences especially if these did not conform to the preferences of significant people in our lives. Being different, or choosing differently from others may not have been a safe experience for some. It can be challenging for some to choose what we like, without muddying our choice by imagining how it will be received by others.

Equally, we may have invested a lot in being different from something or someone in our lives. If being “not them” or “not that” has become a rule for us, we may lose the benefit or the gift that that trait or person might have to offer us. If, for example, we overly identify with our kind, empathic selves so as to avoid being aggressive, we may lose the benefit of stepping into a more empowered place, where we can take care of our own needs.

It’s particularly difficult to make a choice, when our choice impacts on others around us. For example, if you have a family, choosing to prioritise your practice may present quite a challenge if it means saying “No” to a family member or loved one. However, in order to create a practice, we will at times face that challenge.

At the second pillar, we also meet our relationship with goals and planning, and with our intentions. When we are employed by someone else, we take on their goals, their plans and their intentions. We may not like them, but at least we know what they are. Self-employed as a therapist, we must make our own goals, our own plans for achieving those goals, and our own intentions for ourselves and our practices. Not only are we responsible for deciding what those goals should be, and how we are going to achieve them, we also must commit to making them happen. If we have experienced push back from others in our life when we have tried to make plans of our own, we may be slow even to identify what we’d like to have or to be.

 

Stock Unlimited

This relationship with goals also touches on our relationship with desire. Do we allow our own desires space and expression? Or have we shut down our desires because of past disappointments? If our desire involves earning more money, either for its own sake or for the choices, power or freedom more money might give us, how do we marry that desire with our work? If we meet a client who is in need, but can’t pay, are we willing to prioritise what we want, or do we defer to the client’s need?

A related area of choice at the second pillar is around our values and beliefs, and how we would like these to be expressed through our practice. If we meet a client who has a very different value to our own, how do we manage that? Are we willing to express our value in a way that makes it clear to prospective clients what our value is? Or if we decide not to express that explicitly, how do we manage the conflict that may arise within us?

So, at the second pillar of a successful practice, where our practice begins to take the shape we want it to take, we encounter our willingness to have a shape of our own. This is the foundation work for how we will present ourselves and our practice when we come to promote and market it at the third pillar. As I have previously said, it’s a process, and won’t happen overnight. But it is a potentially life changing process that invites us to step into an expanded version of ourselves.

If I can help you with any aspect of starting or running your practice, please contact me here.

The Business of Therapy: A Journey Towards Integration?

If someone asks you what you do, I bet you tell them you’re a therapist. Okay, you might say counsellor, psychotherapist, family therapist etc, but I suspect you define your work by your client work. Am I right?

But that’s not the full story is it? Because you are also self-employed. Most therapists I know tend not to think of themselves as self-employed business owners, and of business as something that shopkeepers or entrepreneurs do. The channel through which they practice is not of much interest. I think this is a pity, because hidden in the business side of practice is an opportunity to integrate more of ourselves, to further our journey towards wholeness. Read more

Promoting Your Practice? 4 Important Questions

An Introduction to The Business of Therapy

The popular workshop “The Business of Therapy: Starting a Therapy Practice” which has been running for 5 years is

Organic.

now available on line from TherapyAcademy.ie. If you don’t have time to attend in person, or the dates or venues don’t suit you, this may the course for you.

With a full written course, and covering 9 modules including videos and slides, with exercises to make the material relevant for you, you can get your CPD at home in your own time and at your own pace.

The course covers popular topics such as:

  • What it means to be self-employed, and how this differs from working for someone else.
  • The six areas you’ll need to address in order to create a sustainable and financially viable practice.
  • Finding a vision for your practice, and a plan to make that vision a reality
  • Marketing your practice in a way that works for you
  • How to set fees at a level that reflects your needs and your costs
  • And lots more

Cost €95

 

Written and presented by Jude Fay, practising counsellor and psychotherapist, and author of “This Business of Therapy: A Practical Guide to Starting Developing and Sustaining a Therapy Practice” (available from Amazon in paperback and on Kindle).

Check out the course now!

PS, if you have a workshop to promote to your fellow therapists, you can add it free of charge at TherapyAcademy.ie.

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Knowing Your Practice: Who Am I In My Work?

Identity is an issue that is often present in therapy work. The quest to “know our true selves,” or to “be myself,” is a common theme in the therapy room. As therapists, we model being ourselves through our authenticity or congruence, and in this way allow clients the freedom to do likewise.

Identity is equally important when we are considering our practices. In the second pillar of a successful therapy practice, what I call “Knowing Your Practice,” I talk about creating an identity for your practice. I’m not necessarily talking about the branding or the issues you might work with, although these may be part of it. Knowing your practice is more subtle than that. It’s the essence of who you are and what you stand for in the work. It’s the qualities of you that you bring to the service of your clients. It’s an inner knowing of what is right for you and what is not, an ethical framework perhaps? Read more

What Sort of Practice Do You Want To Create?

What Is Your Intention For Your Practice?

I wrote recently about taking ourselves seriously as business owners when we have a self-employed therapy practice. In that article, I wrote about investing our time, money and energy in our practice, if we are taking ourselves seriously. The question then arises, “Well, how much time, money and energy do I need to invest?”

It’s a question that has no right answer, and maybe there’s a better question.

Soccer Players
Soccer Players

I find myself thinking about sports. There are many levels at which we can engage in sports. I’m not a great sporty fan, so I don’t invest much of myself in it, either at a participant or watcher level. But most of my family are keen, and their interest level reflects their engagement. So, some are interested in watching but not participating. They watch the tennis or the rugby on TV, they attend important matches, they talk about the important news stories of their chosen sport, the goals, the misses, the changes of manager, the “What ifs,” of the relative league positioning and so on. Read more

Taking Ourselves Seriously

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you’ll have heard me referring to the Six Pillars of a Successful Therapy Practice.[1]

pantheonThe first pillar of a successful therapy practice, “Owning Our Practice”, is all about seeing ourselves as a business owner as well as someone who helps other people. It means embracing the idea that we are not just there to help our clients, but that our practices are also providing us with a living (hopefully :)) Read more

Therapy Rooms To Let

anneleighcandp_logo_squareAt AnneLeigh Counselling & Psychotherapy our focus is on emotional well-being for clients and therapists. We aim to provide a warm and safe space in which clients can explore what troubles them, and receive support in exploring and moving towards changes that are right for them. Healthy relationships are at the heart of our philosophy, in which we seek to honour both the robustness and fragility of all those who come through our doors, be they therapist, client, parent or any other person.

To add to our expertise we would like to have a child psychotherapist available to clients. If you are an accredited and experienced child therapist and would be interested in working out of our practice in Naas on Mondays, Fridays or at weekends, we would like to talk to you.

We are also interested in receiving enquiries from experienced and accredited therapists who work with adults.

We recognise that not all those who need counselling and psychotherapy support will be able to afford our services, and would like to have some facility for offering a low-cost alternative. We welcome newly and nearly qualified therapists who may be seeking to work towards accreditation and would like to take on some private clients.

Please contact Jude, Jennifer or Evelyn at (085) 105 0337 for further details

This Business of Therapy Book in Paperback and Kindle

This book is now available to buy in either paperback or Kindle from Amazon.co.uk You don’t need to own a kindle device to read the book, just download the free kindle app for tablet, pc or smart phone. Paperback price €12.99, Kindle €8.99

This Business of Therapy: A Practical Guide to Starting, Developing and Sustaining a Therapy Practice
Read more

And Now I Know…

I’ve been making mistakes recently. Silly mistakes, frustrating mistakes, mistakes I wouldn’t usually make.
Driving last week, I was thinking about the workshop I was giving on Saturday, Starting a Therapy Practice, and the challenges that starting a therapy practice presents. I was thinking about how there are really two closely interlinked sides to the process, the internal one and the external one. I’ve written about these before; about how we need to move between the internal reflective, thoughtful and feeling place, and the practical, action-oriented external one, in order to make our vision a reality.
one way Read more