Just keep moving forward...

I love it when inspiration strikes at the most interesting moments. Making the 15 hour drive from Northern California to Seattle I had a LOT of time to just be, think, ponder, dance.... and listen to some NPR! I was listening to this really intriguing story about echolocation and blind individuals being able to use sound to skateboard, ski, and mountain bike. Seems completely salient to our clinical work right? You can check out this awesome story here

A few of the blind mountain bikers said some things that really resonated with the lessons for therapists reading the Private Practice Blog: 

1. When someone lets you know there is danger or risk to one side of you, i.e. a cliff, do you move towards it or away? 

It was so interesting hearing a man say that there was a sense of empowerment and accomplishment as he moved towards the edge- getting as close to the edge as he could. Why? So he could learn how close he could be and still keep himself safe. 

When it comes to liability and ethics we tend to steer WIDE of anything that could possibly get us into trouble- and I think that is wonderful! As a clinical supervisor for interns and trainees- I want them to "see" possibly issues from a mile ahead and be able to navigate around them. 

However, what happens when something is an unknown area (like marketing), or when the needs of our client puts us into an area that isn't clarified yet? 

Marketing a private practice feels very "grey" to many therapists in private practice. 

Therapists struggle with wanting to pull away from something that feels unknown, scary, and with multiple possible complications.

What would it be like to trust yourself to keep yourself safe as you move towards something that feels scary?

Can you trust yourself to identify true ethical or legal issues when you come towards them? 

There are far fewer regulations and ethical considerations for marketing a private practice than therapist assume there are. As new opportunities develop and new platforms appear- we need to be able to explore them and trust that we can ask questions and make sound clinical judgments. We need to learn how to trust ourselves in areas that are unknown! 

2. When you feel yourself get off the path, if you keep making forward movement, you will usually get back on to the right path. If you try to stop and backtrack- you will crash. 

The blind rider who shared this tidbit really intrigued me as well. He talked about the initial panic that ensues when you feel yourself get off the trail, and that panicking, stopping, or trying to reverse usually ends up with a crash. 

However, he shared the realization that if you can keep calm and moving forward- things will often quickly right themselves. The idea that we can keep moving forward and that you will be able to right yourself is inspiring. As therapists, in many areas, we are taught to pull back, while this mimics more of what we share with our clients- leaning in to the hard stuff. 

Have you ever tried to turn a bike at a complete stop? 

Marketing a private practice from a complete stop is quite difficult. It is almost always easier to adjust the focus, realign, or shift to the left if you are already moving forward in your marketing. In most cases, any movement is good- even if it is wobbly, awkward, or a bit slow. As you clarify and get confident, you can easily adjust, settle in, or even build up some speed.

What about you? Where are some unlikely places where you have had insights about your private practice? Whether these are marketing insights or clinical insights. Share below- we'd love to hear about them!

Also- another free training scheduled for next month! You can learn more and sign-up for this amazing training here- we somehow convinced Joe Sanok of www.practiceofthepractice.com to come and join us for a free private practice training!  

Miranda Palmer

I have successfully built a cash pay psychotherapy practice from scratch on a shoestring budget. I have also failed a licensed exam by 1 point (only to have the licensing board send me a later months later saying I passed), started an online study group to ease my own isolation and have now reached thousands of therapists across the country, helped other therapists market their psychotherapy practices, and helped awesome business owners move from close to closing their doors, to being profitable in less than 6 weeks. I've failed at launching online programs. I've had wild success at launching online programs. I've made mistakes in private practice I've taught others how to avoid my mistakes. You can do this. You were called to this work. Now- go do it! Find some help or inspiration as you need it- but do the work!