Category: Starting a Practice

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?

Perhaps this example will make it easier to understand.

My favourite local coffee shop is PS Coffee Roasters. It is run by two brothers who are passionate about coffee. Recently, as I sipped my coffee and snacked on their guilt free flapjacks (no wheat, no dairy, no processed sugar, and still good to eat!!) I noticed a blackboard on the wall which set out their philosophy about their work.

What do you stand for? What values support your practice? How do you express these?

I took a photo, and asked one of the brothers if it was okay for me to use it in a blog post. He came and sat beside me for 10 minutes as I drank my coffee and explained his business to me. Meanwhile, my husband was cringing with embarrassment beside me!

Simon (the coffee shop owner), told me that he and his brother are coffee roasters (the clue is in the name!!) He showed me the map on the wall which showed where they sourced their coffee, described how they roasted the fresh coffee in a very particular way, then ground it to the appropriate coarseness or fineness for each of a dozen different types of coffee makers (many of which are available in the shop). He explained to me the subtleties of the different coffees for different tastes, and so on… Everything he said, and every bullet point on his blackboard speaks to who “PS Coffee Roasters” is. The heading says it all, “What makes us PS Coffee Roasters?”

Simon is absolutely clear about the business he is in. He knows it inside out. It is not the same business as Costa or Starbucks, although perhaps it might initially appear to be so. Although all three organisations sell cups of coffee, each has its own distinct identity, that separates it from the others. This helps potential customers to differentiate between what’s on offer, and to choose a supplier that’s right for them.

When I’m buying a cup of coffee, it’s a brief encounter, lasting just a few moments, although I can repeat it many times over if I wish. On the other hand, when choosing a therapist, when I’m thinking of investing my time and money in the relationship, and trusting someone with the most personal aspects of my life, it is so much more important for me to be able to ensure that’s it’s a good fit for me.

I put “Knowing Your Practice” as the second pillar, because from your knowing of who you are as a self-employed

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therapist flows how you present yourself through your promotion, how you manage and look after yourself and your practice in the work, and how you value what you offer your clients. It is the ground from which you make so many choices about how you want your practice to be in the world.

For example, knowing who I am as a practitioner helps to give me ground in marketing my practice. I don’t need to divulge personal information to potential or actual clients unless I choose to, but I can allow my choices of marketing channels, colours, language, images and so on to speak about me in a way that conveys to them a sense of who they will be working with. I can choose to work with clients that are a good fit for me, because I know what works for me. I can be clear about my boundaries in the work, because I know where those boundaries are and how they support me in my work.

If you would like to explore this more in relation to your practice, please contact me here for your free 20 minute consultation or to make an appointment.

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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

Ten Things You Need To Know About Setting Up Practice

Setting up in practice as a therapist for the first time, there’s a lot to think about. If you’ve never been self-employed before, it can be a bit overwhelming. Where should you start? What should you give priority to? The client work is really important, and it’s what you want to do, but it’s not the only thing you need to consider. Perhaps you’ve recently qualified, or you may be working towards accreditation. Whatever you circumstances or background, you need to start somewhere. Here’s a list of ten essential things you need to know to get you on your way. Read more

A Business Mind Set

In his classic series of E-Myth books, Michael Gerber speaks of the entrepreneur mind set, and in particular the distinction that he sees between those who succeed in business and those who don’t.

The E-Myth of the title, is the entrepreneur myth, that anyone who starts a business is an entrepreneur. He then goes on to debunk this myth. Everyone who is in business spends time working in the business. In the case of therapists, we spend time working with clients. However, that time is not spent attending to the needs of the therapist, or of the therapist’s business. And there lies the distinction that Gerber draws between those who succeed in business and those that don’t.

Those who succeed spend time, not just IN the business, ie attending to the needs and affairs of the clients, but also spending time working ON and thinking ABOUT the business, ie attending to the needs of the therapy business.

So what does working ON the business of therapy look like? Read more

Marketing Your Practice on a Shoestring?

Starting out and in the early years, most people don’t have either the financial resources or the confidence to commit a large amount of money to marketing their practice. Some investment is needed, because even though you might feel the whole world is looking at what you do, in practice, there’s so much information out there, and so many services vying for attention, that you have to shout quite hard to be heard over the noise.Photo no (48)

So you want to start promoting your services, but you have very little money. So what do you do? Read more

Help! What Do I Say to my GP?

You’ve made an appointment to talk to your local GP, or indeed anyone who might be able to refer work to you. What now? When you’re there, sitting in front of them, what do you say?

No knowing what to say to people is often what holds us back from talking to them. So if you find yourself in this position, here are a few thoughts to help you: Read more

I Just Can’t Do the Marketing Stuff

free ads “I just can’t do this marketing stuff! It’s not me.” That’s what the therapist said to me. And she was right. So I asked a question, “Do you want to do it?” She smiled and said, “That’s a good question. I don’t know. But I need more work, so it feels like I don’t have much choice.”

And I think that’s a position many therapists can relate to. They want to do the work of meeting clients and helping them, but don’t really want to do the promotion and marketing. But they’re caught in this bind, because we need a flow of work in order to pay the bills and put food on the table. Read more