Minding Your Business of Therapy
Over the last week, I’ve been making suggestions about how you might use the Therapy Practice Business Assessment as the basis for making some changes to your therapy or counselling practice in 2016. So far, we’ve looked at three areas: Knowing Your Practice, Growing Your Practice and Valuing Your Practice. (You can read the blog posts in which I made suggestions in those areas by clicking on the links.)
Today we’re going to look at the fourth pillar of a successful practice, Minding Your Practice.
When they hear that phrase, most people think first about the practical steps of insurance and safety, and these are indeed important. Another important area in minding your practice is self-care, and one that is often overlooked is provision for the future. What steps could you take in 2016 to mind your therapy practice, to make it more robust, and to help create a buffer against the vagaries of life? Here are some ideas…
The Fourth Pillar of a Successful Therapy Practice: Minding Your Business
Make 2016 the year when you really start to look after your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, by practicing disciplines that help you to manage and minimise stress and tension. Meditation, yoga, regular exercise, healthy eating, and positive thinking can all support you in the work that you do. Make this the year when you begin to take your own nbeeds as seriously as you take those of your clients and family.
Check your professional indemnity and public liability to ensure that they adequately cover the practice you have now. Have you started to do anything different (work in a different way or use a different approach) that would necessitate a change to your cover?
If you haven’t made any provision for your retirement, it’s never too late to start. Talk to a financial advisor about starting a pension or other saving mechanism for your future. There may come a time when you are no longer able to work and earn a living. Changes to state pension entitlements may mean that you will receive little from that source.
Have you made a will? It’s surprising how many people haven’t. Do you know what will happen to your effects in the event of your death? Many solicitors provide a free initial consultation, and it’s worth checking out where you stand. This is important for everyone, but particularly those who are in second or subsequent relationships, or relationships not recognised by law.
Make arrangements with another practitioner for emergency cover, in case you have to take time off with little notice. In the event that you became ill, or had to suddenly stop seeing clients for personal reasons, it helps to know that there is someone who could look after your clients in the short or medium term. Many therapists work in isolation, and may never have considered this important issue. (See my article on alternates here.)
Take regular short and longer term breaks away from work. If you work with clients in the evenings, make sure that part of your day is spent in activities that nourish and support you, not just more tasks and chores! Take at least one break of two weeks or more each year, where you leave work aside completely.
Think about your support structures. The work can be challenging and draining, and because it’s confidential, there can be few outlets for talking about the impact it can have. Work with a supervisor who is open to supporting your process as well as the client’s. Make time for regular contact with colleagues, through networking, attending CPD events, and casual social contact. Just being around others who understand the nature of the work can be a huge help.
If you struggle with looking after yourself in the work, I’d love to help you! Contact me here for your free 20 minute consultation or to make an appointment.