Tag: money beliefs

Reviewing the Situation

I’ve written before about my belief that money is a bit of a shadow in our profession, and probably for everyone at some level. It’s a subject I have a lot of interest in, having some money related trauma in my past, and from my earlier career in accountancy. I recently came face to face with a visual image of one aspect of my own money shadow which I thought I might share with you today.

shadowWhy is it important to look at our own money shadow? For the same reason that uncovering any shadow aspect of ourselves is important, because as long as it stays in the shadow, it uses energy to keep it hidden, and it is in danger of sabotaging us in some way. Read more

Assertive Skills to Make Your Practice More Profitable

Assertive behaviour can help to create a more profitable therapy practice. Often confused with aggressiveness, which is concerned with winning, Assertiveness is stating clearly and directly what you want or how you feel about a situation. It is a both/and position rather than an either/or, and is based in mutuality of respect for ourselves and the other person.

In any given situation, behaving assertively helps ensure the needs of both parties are met, helps you to stay firm in negotiation, and helps recognise the position of the other without necessarily giving ground.

Why is assertiveness important for profitability? Without having to defend a position in order to win, any negotiations can be conducted easily and quickly.chat 1

Situations in which Assertiveness supports profitability in a practice include: Read more

Are Negative Thoughts Holding Your Practice Back?

Do you have negative thought patterns that are getting in the way of you having the practice you’d like to have? No? Maybe? Ask yourself if any of the following are familiar?

  • There are very few clients out there
  • No one has any money
  • People are making other choices, such as Reiki, or Homeopathy, or Angels
  • Therapy is seen as an expensive way of sorting out your problems
  • No one wants to take the time it takes, they want a quick fix
  • No one wants therapy in my area?

And all of these statements are true.file0001517402088

Except for those people for whom they’re not true.
Read more here

Truth or Myth? Common Beliefs About Money and Wealth – Part 2

Did you resonate with any of those beliefs about money and wealth in my last post on the subject? Did any of them stir any thoughts or feelings for you? Perhaps you can relate to these?

  1. Money is the root of all evil. A difficult one this, as it has all the authority of two thousand years of Christianity behind it. However, it seems to be taken somewhat out of context. The first Epistle to Timothy in the New Testament says “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Which seems to suggest that it is not the money itself that is at issue, but the meaning and value we place on it. Alternative belief: Money is a tool that can be used in many ways. I choose to use it for the good of all.
    Keep reading, there’s more

Truth or Myth? Common Beliefs About Money and Wealth – Part 1

For some years now I have been interested in exploring commonly held beliefs about money and wealth. My interest is in how the beliefs that we learn growing up  may shape our actions and behaviour as adults. We are all familiar with the one about not being good enough, either in ourselves, our families and friends, or our clients. Like the “not good enough” belief, we come by our values and beliefs about money and wealth as a gradual process of assimilation. Often too, we may never subject these values and beliefs to any substantive examination, but they continue to play on in the background, like a virus running on our computer.euros

Some of the values and beliefs we hold about money and wealth serve us, and some don’t serve terribly well. Maybe it’s time to find alternative ideas that are more supportive of us. Here are some of the beliefs that I have been exploring, perhaps you can relate to some of these:
Read more

Struggling to Earn Enough in your Practice? Check Your Income Set Point

stop handIf you struggle to earn enough in your counselling or therapy practice, there may be many reasons for that. Some of those reasons may be external ones, such as the financial climate, or the location you practice in. However, there may also be internal factors at play.

The following exercise can help to identify one of the most common internal or mind set factors, our Income Set Point. This set point (we all have them) is the point beyond which it becomes uncomfortable for us to receive. It is the limit of our comfort zone. Often we can be totally unaware of where our set point lies, and the values and beliefs that hold it in place. As a result we can unconsciously sabotage ourselves and our ability to earn a decent living.

Keep reading, there’s more

In your Therapy Practice: Don’t Confuse Cost Savings with Cost Effectiveness

Photo no (48)One way to sabotage your practice is to confuse cost savings with cost effectiveness. Some costs have to be incurred in order to run your practice. Some are optional. Some costs will generate income for you down the road, others will not. Some costs will bring other benefits, such as developing your skill base, or your confidence. Be aware of where you have choices, and choose not just the cheapest option, but the most cost effective.

Keep reading, lot’s more here!

Fees and Mind Set

Another limiting fbrainactor to earning enough as a therapist is our mind set about charging an economic fee. The factors that affect what a therapist is willing to charge will include:

  • What I believe is ethical or moral to charge people who may be in pain,
  • What I believe clients are willing or able to pay (Which may not be the same as what they are actually willing or able to pay),
  • The extent to which I am influenced by the possible judgement (negative or positive) of my professional peers or colleagues,
  • What I believe I am worth,
  • My beliefs about success and wealth, and
  • My willingness to receive.

Let’s look at these one at a time:

What I believe is ethical or moral to charge people who may be in pain: This is a difficult one, because we can leave our own needs aside in order to take care of the needs we see in others. Rather than go into the nitty gritty of the values (that’s a subject for another day!) perhaps we can make it easier by just separating these two parts: I need to earn a living, and I want to help people in pain. I can do both, but they don’t have to necessarily be the same people. So perhaps I can give generously of my time to those who can’t afford to pay, through some charity or volunteer work, and as a separate issue, can attract clients into my practice who can afford to pay. Does that help you with this dilemma? Leave a comment or question below.

What I believe clients are willing or able to pay (Which may not be the same as what they are actually willing or able to pay):  Sometimes we can assume responsibility for our clients’ financial affairs. We don’t know how much clients can or will pay unless we ask. It may be more than we think. Surprisingly, clients may be put off by our fee being too low, as well as being too high. A client may decide that I don’t have sufficient skill or experience if I set my fee too low.

The extent to which I am influenced by the possible judgement (negative or positive) of my professional peers or colleagues: This is a sneaky one! What will they think of me if I charge that! Ask yourself how you’d feel if you learned that a colleague was charging significantly more or less than you. Most of us don’t like to get too far out of line with the herd, and become quite uncomfortable if we appear to be too different.

What I believe I am worth: Personally, I find this an interesting one. Pat O’Bryan (The Portable Empire) tells a joke about musicians, that they spend $50,000 on equipment, and drive in their $500 truck to earn $50 for a gig. Training as a counsellor or psychotherapist costs somewhere between €15,000 and €30,000 depending on the route you take, and many continue to add more training after they qualify. And yet, we still believe we’re not worth, not good enough, or not deserving of a fair fee for our service. What needs to happen in order for us to be good enough?

My beliefs about success and wealth: Our beliefs about wealth and success are often so ingrained that we treat them as fact. The term “filthy rich” suggests that money is dirty. “Money is the root of all evil” suggests that to have money will bring evil into your world, or that you too are evil.  “Health is better than wealth” suggests that we can’t have both. And so on.

My willingness to receive: How much goodness can I let in to my life? How much abundance? At what stage do you begin to feel that your receiving more means that someone else receives less? And then (speaking for myself) there’s the fear that if I get used to allowing this in, that I might get dependent on it, and then if it’s gone, or runs out, or dries up, where will I be?

If you struggle to allow yourself to receive adequate pay for the work you do, I can help you to sort through some of these issues and find a more supportive framework for yourself. Contact me here for a free 20 minute consultation, or browse my services here.


Earning Enough as a Therapist – Limiting Factors

Recently, I wrote about the numbers you needed to work on in order to replace your day job with a life as a self-employed therapist. As I said then, in looking at trading a full-time employment position for a full or part time self-employed position, the questions are far more complex than working out the numbers. The number crunching is the easy part. Making the choices, and dealing with the “yes but…” and the “I can’t because…” is the harder part.no outlet

So let’s look at some of the limiting factors that may be getting in the way of earning enough as a self-employed therapist. What do you think they are? In general, when I ask this question, the answer is one of the following: Read more


It was one of those defining moments, where the world turns on its axis, and everything I thought I knew and believed in started to crumble.

I was standing on a railway track looking down on the Kibera slum, just outside Nairobi, where it’s estimated2006_092206africasep0040 that anything from 200,000 to 1m people live in a maze of corrugated iron shacks and cardboard boxes.

I had recently handed in my notice at the place I had worked for nearly 16 years, supporting the accountancy profession. I had loved the job for a long time, I liked my colleagues, and had had a fulfilling and satisfying career. I could have stayed longer, no one was pushing me out the door, but I had come to question whether the work had any meaning for me.

The train track runs alongside the slum at Kibera, so close that the children play on the tracks, and people often get killed by the trains. There is an overwhelming smell of sewerage and rotting rubbish. A woman sat turning what looked like cockroaches in a pan over an open fire. The mud is ankle deep, and it doesn’t do to think too much about what it comprises.

I had gone to Africa as part of a group visiting sites helped by an overseas development agency. I think the idea was that seeing the work they did for developing countries (which is impressive!) would help me to be more invested in the work of their organisation. And in part it worked. When I first took up their invitation to help, I had lofty ideas of helping the poor and the underprivileged. I had even considered working overseas in the future, so it seemed like an ideal opportunity to test out that idea. Of course, up until then, my help had consisted in the main of sitting in an office outside Dublin, warm and well fed.2006_092206africasep0041

Alas, my ego was running away with me, painting pictures of the heroic helper, handing out patronage to the less well off. Even in this age of instant access to pictures from the other side of the world, nothing had prepared me for that day.

As I looked down on that sea of corrugated iron and drank in the stench of human misery, I became overwhelmed by the suffering and the tears poured from me. One of my companions put his hand on my shoulder and said kindly, “It’s not your fault.” He had intuited what I had never realised till then, that my desire to help was rooted in a guilt and shame that I had been born into a comfortable middle class family, in a comfortable western country, very far removed from open sewers and cockroaches for dinner. Yes, we’d had our struggles, but by comparison, they were small, and I felt the burden of being blessed with wealth and strength. My desire to help was less to do with the plight of those people, and more about making me feel better about myself.

I don’t know if it’s a peculiarly Catholic or perhaps Irish thing, this guilt about other people’s suffering, but it carries with it a sense that I owe a debt to those who are less well off than I, as if I had brought about not just my own circumstances, but that in doing so, I had also brought about theirs. As someone who tries to take responsibility (though in fairness, sometimes I fail miserably!), more often than not it seemed easier just to give in, and accept that that debt is owed because my upbringing tells me it is. And somewhere in there is a belief that I do not deserve the good fortune that I have.

What became clear to me, standing on the edge of Kibera, was that even if I gave up everything I owned, then and for the rest of my life, it would go nowhere to solving the problems of that troubled place. If I owed a debt, it was one I could never, ever pay.

I faced my utter and complete powerlessness in that moment, and overwhelming as it was, it was also freeing.

I know that years into an examination of my own values and beliefs, I’m clearer about a lot of these things, but some of the tangled contradictions remain hard to shift. The more I do this work, the more I uncover the twists and turns of my own mind, as I seek to hide from myself the dark corners of my psyche.

That experience has been in large part responsible for my starting This Business of Therapy. I became aware that I was not the only one who struggled with trying to sort through the complexity of messages I had received growing up, around money, worthiness and deserving, so I designed a workshop to help therapists explore their own values and beliefs around money.

And it just grew from that.

You can read elsewhere on this site some of the ideas that I have been sorting through on this journey to find some clarity and freedom of choice for myself. Many of them have common themes: self-worth, balancing my needs and those of others, responsibility for others. And usually, there’s an inner conflict between the “Good Girl” who wants to do the right thing and avoid criticism and judgement, and the “Rebel” who hates being told what to do.

Always, it comes down to a question of where to draw the line. Like the train track through Kibera, the lines I 2006_092206africasep0042grew up with were fixed and immovable, and consequently, changing them has been very painful at times. It has also been worthwhile. One of the things I learnt from the Kibera experience was that I can continue to live with the lines that have been drawn for me or I can re draw them for myself, in a way that suits me.

I choose the latter. And in that, I honour the people of Kibera.

If you would like to explore your relationship with money and wealth, perhaps I can help you. You can contact me here for a free 20 minute consultation or you might like to join me for a workshop. You can get the details here.