Part of the beauty of our work as therapists is the space we provide our clients. It is in the space of the relationship that transformation occurs. I discuss with clients about how our time together is like a laboratory to explore the possibilities of what could happen outside of the room in the "real world." As they find their voice in session it begins to translate into their experiences beyond the therapeutic relationship.
That creative space is a place of permission. Permission to say the things you wouldn't otherwise say. It allows the client to release secrets, fears and desires and begin to form a stronger sense of self and being. Honestly, I think it is magical.
When we move to looking at our business, that space is often lost for ourselves. Being in your own business can be a deluge of emotion and thoughts. When those thoughts and feelings about our work are not expressed, we become frustrated and stuck.
This is the joy of coaching other therapists for me - to create that space of safety to explore what the business needs, wants, desires and to look at all the options for growth and change. Thus, I wanted to address something I am hearing more and more in our profession. Maybe it will resonate with you.
After speaking with hundreds of therapists I have found that there are:
Therapists that don't want to be therapists. They desire to do life, health, executive or other forms of coaching.
Therapists that just simply want to work for an agency. They want the consistency, the steadiness and the community of a group environment.
Therapists that want to go completely virtual. They wish to be more mobile and able to work from anywhere.
Therapists that want to be artists or yoga instructors or provide help and healing in other ways outside of talking.
Therapists that want to drop out of grad school or not finish their intern hours.
Therapists who hate their niche and are drained by the clients they work with but feel stuck because it affords them a good income.
What if we stopped doing the things we felt we HAD to do and started looking more into what we wanted to do? These therapists often are secretive about these desires. The secrets are held for a variety of reasons - shame, fear, confusion, or just plain ol' feeling tired.
I have even struggled with this. I was a member of a professional organization because I felt it was what you are "supposed" to do. Honestly, the benefits of the organization were great as well. When confronted with some of the agendas, the lack of support for people in their community, and a myriad of other things, I did not renew my membership. I was just tired of paying dues to something I didn't believe in any longer. I didn't shout it from the roof tops either. A part of me feared the criticism. The more you put yourself out there, the more you open yourself up to peoples' opinions.
Here's the thing - I am glad I am doing things that are more aligned with my beliefs and values, even if it means going against the grain. That is my commitment to my profession, to live more of my truth, because that is exactly what I encourage in my clients. That list I provided of what I have found amongst the therapist community - I strongly believe that is the majority. But because we don't talk openly about our desires, they have become taboo.
If you want to do coaching - do it. You are more qualified to be a coach than many life coaches out there. Your education and training is an asset that you can utilize in your coaching to the benefit of your clients. The coaching field would benefit from someone that understands our profession and how to collaborate or when to refer.
If private practice isn't your thing - that's ok. Life is to freaking short to struggle doing something you don't love. Yes, there is stress whatever you choose. I would rather be stressed doing something I was excited and passionate about than stressed over something that no longer mattered to me.
If you are an intern and don't want to complete your hours - you aren't obligated to finish. Go find what you love to do, what feeds your soul.
There is no shame in changing your course. Everything you have learned up to this point will come in handy in the future. Have ethics and integrity. Hold to your values and your passion. And if you don't know what you want to do just yet, keep exploring. You are worth the time and energy to seek out your purpose.
Not all of you need permission to do what you love and to be honest about what you want. I applaud those that have a voice. You have encouraged me. Keep speaking up for those that can't until they can.
Imagine how much more diverse and rich our community would be if we lived into our desires for how we crafted our skills and helped the world be a better place! If you want to be a part of a diverse community, filled with all kinds of people that want to encourage and support each other, join the conversations on our facebook page or check out our upcoming bootcamp. We want to support you. You are not alone.