How to Build Your Confidence in Private Practice
90% of clinicians with whom I speak tell me they want to feel more confident in their private practices.
Therapists are already raised in a culture of not good enough, waiting until we graduate, complete hours, get licensed, become supervisors, get additional certifications, supervise in those additional certifications, and until we are pretty much near retirement to feel confident.
While we hold to an an ethic to only work with people we can help, to know when to refer out, to serve those we are trained to serve, we sell ourselves short when we hope our insecurities will be held at bay as we focus on just one more thing we need before we will be confident. You are better than that.
Lessons from coaching hundreds of therapists in bootcamp have brought me to a few solid conclusions on how to build your confidence as you set out to build a private practice.
1. Celebrate your clinical work. When a client shares that something in session stuck with them or they had been brave because of the shifts they are experiencing - take note. Too often we feel there is more work to be done and yet, small steps lead up to massive changes in trajectories for the lives of our clients. Honor that. Recognize that your presence matters.
2. Stay positive. Our brains have a tendency to dwell on what isn’t working. Start being intentional with your focus and what is working well in your private practice. Maybe you handled a financial decision well or learned from a difficult situation.
3. Get external reality checks. Surround yourselves with people that care enough to be honest with you. Whether a case consult group, a group of supportive colleagues or a mentor/coach, ask what others see in you. 9 times out of 10, your perception is distorted and having the encouragement from others will give you a boost.
4. Parent yourself. Would you talk to a small child the way you talk to yourself? Now is the time to be compassionate but also clear about who you are, your heart, what you really do know, and how you express that knowledge. We allow so many other voices to enter in and berate us. Shift from bully to loving mother/father and see what truths emerge.
5. Continue growth. Knowledge is power and you are never done learning. Invest your growth and when necessary, hire experts to do their job so you can focus on your strengths. If you don’t understand finances, get help and talk to an advisor or accountant. If you don’t know how to handle counter transference with a client then get clinical consultation. Confidence doesn’t mean narcissism. It’s simply a state of solidity that allows you to know when to ask for help.