Tag: therapist burnout

Investing in Your Therapy Practice

It can take 3 years or more to get any new practice off the ground, and even then, some struggle for ever to earn sufficient income to support themselves. Often the response to that is to “tighten the belt” or trim expenses to the minimum in order to make ends meet. However, there is another option.

You could invest more money into your practice to give it the boost it needs.Photo no (53)

A practice needs to generate sufficient income to give you what you want out of it (which is VERY important). However, there is a level of activity below which it is costing you money to have a practice. There are some costs you have to incur in order to maintain your accreditation, whether you see clients or not, such as your professional subscription, CPD and a minimum level of supervision. Until your income exceeds the costs of going to work, working is costing you money! You may still choose to practice under these circumstances anyway, and it’s a valid choice. If you’d like to read more about this subject, please see my article on the Breakeven Point.

However, if you’d prefer to earn a bit more, there are many ways that investing capital into your practice could help to make it more profitable. Read more

The Old Stories Are Still The Best…

Remember those bedtime stories you loved as a child? Remember how they made you feel warm and comfortable inside, as you knew every word and every twist and turn of the story? Remember how, even though you knew it was coming, even though you knew it was only a story, you still felt the start of fright at Grandmother’s teeth, “all the better to eat you with,” or the giant saying, “I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.”

Ah, the old ones are still the best!My beautiful picture

I was reminded of this during the week, when I was triggered, and I mean really triggered. I found myself back telling one of those old stories again. Maybe you’ve heard it? It was the one about how someone did something bad, and they did it to me, because everyone has always done those awful things to me…Get the picture?

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In Case of Emergency

red light In case of emergency…
It’s the scenario we don’t want to think about, but it could happen to any of us in the morning. If you suddenly became ill or incapacitated, what would happen to your practice? Would your family and colleagues know what to do?
During my career in the accountancy profession, on several occasions I was called on to step in to help when a practitioner became ill or died suddenly. The grieving family had little notion of how to go about handling their loved one’s affairs.
But there are things that you can do to minimise the additional stress that might be caused by this situation. By putting in place a few simple processes, you can make life easier for those who might be left to pick up the pieces. And it is especially important if you practice on your own with no partners or colleagues.
Here are a few ideas.

Read More here

5 Strategies for Having a Stress Free Practice

“Work would be great if it weren’t for the clients” was something I heard regularly in my former occupation as an accountant. It was said tongue in cheek, but really spoke to a truth about the ambivalence that many feel about their work, and not just in accountancy. We’d like it to be easy and stress free, where often it’s anything but!

Often it’s not the clients that make the practice of therapy or counselling so difficult, but the other challenges that may keep us awake at night, such as financial struggles, administrative challenges, relationship issues and so on.

There are ways to make running your practice a bit easier on you, and here are 5 strategies that I find useful:

More about strategies for a stress free practice here

Setting up In Practice: 8 Important Steps to Looking After Yourself in the Work

There is a serious danger in this work that the practitioner’s needs become eclipsed by the needs of her clients.  This is particularly so in the early years, when a therapist may not have enough clients and takes on everything that comes their way for fear that there will never be any more.It can also be a problem for those who are well established when they encounter particular clients.

However, there also some easy ways to look after yourself so that you have what you want to give:

  1. Look after your own needs, and balance them with the needs of those you seek to help. You cannot give what you don’t have, or what you don’t allow others to give you. You can’t help everyone, and you are not the only support your clients will have. There’s a reason they ask on airplanes that you put on your own air-mask before attending to the needs of others!
    Read more about self care

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 Therapy_1indeed 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…

Hang on, you haven’t read the ideas yet!

Self Care at Christmas

At a recent workshop, I was surprised to hear so many speak of the desire to step out of the frantic energy that seems to be around this time of year in the run up to Christmas. My surprise was not just that so many named it, but that I too was feeling it, and I too was glad of the pause.

For some reason this time of year seems to bring out an urgency in us, to buy presents, food and drink, to clean our houses, to 001redecorate, to lose weight, to complete projects, as if it were not just the end of the calendar year, and a holiday period, but the end of our existence as we know it. A death. And indeed, the winter and its solstice is a form of death, the shortest day, more dark than light.

Here’s More

Ten Ways to Help Keep The Stress At Bay

Most occupations have their stress points, and therapy and counselling are no exception. Sitting with clients while they talk about their lives, particularly if you find yourself tired and drained at the end of the day, can take its toll. The financial climate at present is causing huge stress for many people. Many people find that the pace of life is overwhelming, the rate of change too fast. Stress can grow unnoticed, and its effect can be highly detrimental to health.

And of course, stress at work doesn’t exist in isolation. Elsewhere in our lives, students are facing exam pressures, parents are juggling work and family, most of us encounter traffic and commuting stress and the run of the mill everyday challenges of living.stress monitor

To be effective in the work, we need to be sufficiently well. Our stress levels shouldn’t be allowed to grow to such an extent where we are unable to be present to our clients.

I’d like to suggest 10 ways in which to help keep the stress at bay:

  • Ÿ  Breathe, and check in with your body. How are you feeling right now?
  • Ÿ  Exercise regularly. Take regular breaks, and relax. Go outside, look at the sky.
  • Ÿ  Find some daily practice that encourages you to breathe more, relax, and connect with your body, eg meditation or yoga.
  • Ÿ  Take the conflicts and dramas out of your relationships. Give yourself and others the benefit of the doubt before rushing to judgement.
  • Ÿ  Count your blessings. In every challenge there is an opportunity. Be alert to the silver lining in every cloud.
  • Ÿ  Stop fighting with things or situations that are outside your control (this includes other people, you can‘t change them no matter how much you might want to.)
  • Ÿ  Take responsibility for your part in every situation. It reminds us of where we have power and choice to make changes and move forward.
  • Ÿ  Recognise and acknowledge your inner conflict. Accepting a situation is not the same as giving in.
  • Ÿ  Talk about what’s bothering you with a colleague, family member or friend. Even if you don’t see how they might help you, talking helps to relieve stress and can change the way you see things.
  • Ÿ  If a situation persists and is causing you distress, remember you always have a choice. There are no medals for enduring a situation that is painful to you. Consult a professional before your health starts to suffer.

In short, look after yourself, and you’ll have more left to give to others.

If you are finding it hard to keep the stress of therapy practice at bay, maybe I can help? I offer a range of services including a free 20 minute consultation. Click here for more details.

Technology Overwhelm?

Technology Overwhelm?Lost and Confused Signpost

Are you scared by how quickly the world is changing? Are you tyrannised by your email inbox? Daunted by the idea of online banking? Terrified of the idea of online counselling? Or are you addicted to non-stop information? You’re not alone!

The pace of change is staggering. Do you realise that it’s only twenty years since we started using the internet? That it’s only thirty years since personal computers were introduced? When I left school, many homes didn’t have a phone, let alone one for each member of the household, that they could watch TV on! News was something that came on at certain times of the day, now it’s a constant stream.

What’s the Solution? Well, technology is here to stay, and has a lot to offer the counsellor in private practice, so can you find a way of handling it that works well for you? Here are a few ideas:

Set Appropriate Boundaries

No-one needs to be available 24/7, no matter what the circumstances. Choose times in each day when you are not checking your email or voice messages, when it’s a technology free time. This might be first thing in the morning, meal times, when you’re relaxing, and not just when you’re seeing clients.

Separate The Wheat From The Chaff

Be discerning about what you read and what you listen to. The sky won’t fall in if you don’t turn on the radio when you get into your car, and listening to some soothing music will do more your stress and overwhelm than an update on the crisis in Syria. Catch up on the news once a day, or even once a week.

Weed Out What’s Not Important Or What Wastes Time

If you’re inbox is anything like mine, most of what comes in is neither important nor time sensitive. However, looking to see what’s in there and make that judgement takes time and energy. I solved this problem by having several email addresses. One of these is for stuff that is “nice-to-know” but which is of little importance. So I can happily go for days or weeks without checking it.

Switch it off

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” as the old saying goes. I know, you fully intend not to check your messages, but just in case…switch it off. If you’re a social media fan, or even a horrified observer, or an information junkie of any sort, this one is for you!

Tomorrow, I’ll continue this theme, by looking at ways you can begin to engage more with what technology has to offer the counsellor or therapist in private practice.

In the meantime, if you are struggling with technology overwhelm, contact me for a free 20  minute consultation here.

7 Ways to Mind Yourself as a Therapist

Much of our work foPhoto no (38)cusses on the trouble and pain that our clients encounter in their lives. Some days sitting with clients can be a dark and hopeless experience. It’s important therefore that our life outside the therapy room gives us some balance to that. We all have ways that work for us, but at times (usually when we need it most) we can forget to let the sunshine in!

Here are some ideas for finding a more positive place in yourself when the work gets you down:

  1. Do more of what pleases you…take a moment now to reflect: What brings you happiness? What makes you laugh? What do you enjoy most in your average day?
  2. Focus on what’s good in your life: often we can overlook the many tiny blessings that come our way each day, for example…the sun comes up without fail…I have a roof over my head and food in the fridge…I got a parking space right outside the door!
  3. Find reasons to praise others, you’ll be surprised how good it feels! Appreciate the positive in everyone you meet, and be glad for their good fortune.
  4. Forgive everyone for everything: Holding on to old hurts (no matter how justified you are) harms you more than it does those who hurt you. Letting go of what you’re carrying, resentment, bitterness and anger is a hugely freeing experience.
  5. Get out more: Experience the beauty of our world, and its animals, nature, and all its inhabitants.
  6. Listen to the quiet inner voice that says ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ and trust it.
  7. Stop judging yourself: You may not have control over how other people see you, you always have control over how you see yourself. Be kinder.