Think about your therapy practice for a moment. Is there anything about your work that you dread week to week? Is there any part of your practice that drains you over and over again?
If you're living with an aspect of your business that you dislike and you're not taking steps to change it, RIGHT AWAY, what gives?
You probably believe you don’t have a choice.
You’ve told yourself that in order to make your practice work, you’ve got to live with things as they are. Your practice is happening to you instead of you choosing its course.
You've forgotten that you're the boss of your therapy practice.
You started this career with an internship in which you didn’t have many choices about which clients you would work with, your hours, your location, or your therapeutic methods. All of that was probably OK at that point. When you’re starting out as a therapist, getting stretched outside of your comfort zone makes you more flexible, more resilient, and better able to understand a wide range of clients and problems.
You started a private practice so that you could choose to work the way you wanted to, but you inadvertently set up your practice as if you were working for someone else. You were accustomed to adjusting to the rules of your supervisors and your internship, so you forgot that you’re in charge now.
I once asked a therapist who was working out of three offices: “Do you like working in three offices or would you rather narrow down to working in one or two?”
She told me about the circumstances that landed her in three offices and explained the availability of the offices and why this scenario works well for her clients. She talked about how certain clients would have a difficult time adjusting to a different office. After we examined the situation with the lens that her location is her choice, she acknowledged that she would like to work out of just one location.
We created a step by step plan to get her into one location within less than a year.
Some therapists are on insurance panels they wish they could get off of and don’t believe they can.
Some therapists don’t like the office they’re working in and believe they’ve got to stay.
Some therapists work hours they dread and believe they can’t shift their schedules.
Oh yeah, I did that.
I used to believe that I had to work at least 2 evenings a week because I wanted to work with couples. There was a grain of truth to this. My evening hours would often fill up faster than my daytime hours. Potential clients sometimes said they needed evening appointments. After several years, I felt dread about working in the evenings. I loved the client work, but I didn’t love my schedule at all. I was missing out on bedtimes with my kids and downtime with my sweetie. I felt energized on the days when I started in the morning and finished by the afternoon. Some therapists enjoy the rhythm of working in the evening, but not me.
I finally realized that my schedule was my choice, made a plan to shift off of evenings, and kept my practice full during the transition.
Weaning off of evening appointments took a while. I stopped offering certain hours. When clients graduated, those hours came off of my schedule permanently. I eventually gave several months notice that I would no longer have evening hours. Finally shutting down those evening hours was scary at first, but it improved my quality of life.
I haven’t had an evening appointment in several years.
Your turn. If I can do it, you can do it.
Is there a sense of dread anywhere in your business?
Identify a situation in your business that you don’t like and want to change.
- Do you work hours you don’t like?
- Do you work with any clients you dread seeing?
- Do you resent your fee with any clients?
- Do you feel stuck in networking relationships with people you’re not enjoying?
- Are you on an insurance panel you believe you can’t get off of?
- Do you work in an office you don’t like?
Maybe it seems like the choice you’re making is helping your business. If that choice is creating dread, it’s not going to help you in the long run. If you continue to live with choices that leave you resentful, you’re not the best therapist you can be. When you feel joyful in your business, you can grow it with enthusiasm.
When you feel good about the choices you make in your practice, you make MORE money.
There’s a path to get unstuck. The path can be gentle and slow if it needs to be. The key is to start taking steps.
Your fears may come up as you even consider making changes.
You worry that if you make a change you’ll be negatively impacting a client.
Your step by step plan should give your clients ample warning about anything that affects them, like a fee raise, location change, schedule change, or you removing their insurance panel. Once you get clear on your change of direction, you can focus on starting a conversation with your client about that change in a clinically sensitive way. In many cases, you can find a way to continue working together, and in some cases you’ll help them transition to another therapist.
You worry that if you make a change, your practice will topple. You believe you won’t get enough clients if you don’t keep doing things exactly this way.
Create a step by step plan to make this shift in a way that doesn’t pull the rug out financially. Perhaps this will include an overhaul of your marketing strategy.
Let me repeat: When you feel good about the choices you make in your practice, you make MORE money.
That area of dread is sapping some of your energy. Make a plan to let it go.
You don’t have to figure this all out alone. Don’t miss any of my articles or free trainings. Sign up below and you'll have them dropped in your inbox. We’ll never share your email, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.