Building a private practice isn’t easy.
If you’re anything like most therapists, being a “business person” wasn’t part of your training and before venturing into private practice, you’ve never started, built, or run a business before.
Suddenly, in order to do what you love most (helping others), you’re thrust into a world of things that need doing – most of them outside of your comfort zone or even in your zones of feeling completely lost or flooded and overwhelmed.
Accounting, billing, sales, marketing, technology, digital security are all categories of tasks that form your daily to-do list.
While some of the stuff is not-too-hard to figure out, some of it feels like a huge mountain that you don’t even have the equipment to start climbing. Looming over you, the anxiety runs high.
In addition to scaling mountains, you also need to get the tools and the expertise. And at the end of the day, these aren’t the things you’re passionate about.
You didn’t become a therapist to spend a Sunday afternoon figuring out quickbooks!
It’s just a lot.
And it is frustrating.
In addition to frustration, what else is coming up for you? Where do you feel it in your body?
Check in on your breathing. Is it shallow or deep? Where is it coming from?
If possible, take a deep breath all the way into your hips. Ground down into the present moment. And then do this:
Imagine one of your favorite clients there in the room with you. They are struggling with something big and new in their life. Let’s say it’s something like going to university or starting a new job.
They share that they are trying to be courageous. That they’re still excited about the opportunities, the people they’ll meet, the things they’ll learn.
But they are also scared. There’s so much to learn. It’s overwhelming for them sometimes.
They feel frustrated that it’s harder then they thought it would be.
What happens next?
- Are you curious what vulnerable and tender emotions might be underneath the frustration?
- Are you going to float their distress back to see where it originates from?
- Are you simply going to hold space for them while they vent?
Whatever that first step is, I want you to really imagine being there for that client in that moment.
And then, allow yourself the same curiosity and space when it comes to your own frustration with building a private practice.
Beyond curiosity and space, if this client asked you for advice, how would you help them find their way?
What would you advise your client, frustrated by their new life challenge, to do? How can they pursue their degree or career or that other big and difficult thing that they want to achieve?
And again, can you provide yourself the same self-guidance?
As a therapist, you’re a human too. Although I have no doubt in my mind that you’d know exactly how to be there for a client in your same circumstance, it’s not easy to turn that same holding and guidance towards oneself.
But you fully and completely deserve that same holding and guidance. I hope walking through these questions may have helped you provide that for yourself. And if you need more help, reach out to your therapist or coach. <3