Preventing Burnout in Private Practice

Building a private practice is not a short-term endeavor thus sustaining your energy is important for thriving in your business building adventure. We want to see you succeed. After all, owning your own business is meant to create more freedom and joy in your life.

However, look around you, and I am sure you will find some amount of burn out, cynicism and overwhelm, all of which are serious issues for mental health professionals. Past studies have shown that there has been little to address these issues for social workers and counselors, even though a majority of clinicians have experienced the burn out at one point or another.

Private practice owners are not immune. In fact for those struggling with burn out, others may not know because they are on their own in their offices without the support or accountability. This begs the question,  Why do we create businesses that contribute to these issues? And more importantly, how do we prevent it?

I would suggest some of our own frustrations in private practice come from us replicating what we learned in the non profit world and applying it to our for profit  private practice.  Reduced fees, working weekends and evenings – doing whatever it takes to get someone through the door can contribute to the burn out and resentment.  These are often habits that have to be undone with the therapists in our bootcamp.

What is worse, is when the private practice doesn’t sustain the livelihood of the clinician and thus when they encounter the stress of this work, they feel unable to afford what is needed to help them cope.

Before we get to the point that we need an intervention, what about focusing on prevention?

How can we ward off the burn out that can creep slowly into our lives?

Here are just a few quick tips of how to cope:

  • Create – When I put my paintbrush on the palette or sit down to play a song, my heart lightens. I find when energy is sucked dry, my creativity is the first thing to go. I feel stuck and unable to think through the options. Feeding my creative force gives me life and energy. Think about what creative things you do that keep enlivened.

  • Move – Yoga, walking, kick-boxing…the list is endless. Being present in our bodies is especially important for those of us that sit for a living. Moving awakens our mind and our spirit. It’s great for your health too!

  • Be still – meditation, prayer, and silence. Sometime we hear people’s stories all day with small gaps of space in between. Those in between times are key in building our energy for the next space for us to hold with our clients.

  • Grow – I love to read and not just all the stuff that is going to agree with me and make me feel comfortable. I want to read stuff that challenges me to think outside the box. Intellectual growth should never end.

  • Surround – Energy feeds off of other energy. When you are in a group of supportive beings that love on you and support you, your cup will overflow with that same love to give to others. I also enjoy reading inspiring stories of others. Those stories act as reflections of possibilities in my own life.

  • Talk – We listen but we also need to talk. Find someone to talk through all the stuff that sits in your mind all day and that you never have time to pay attention to. That stuff is important. I find some of my biggest business revelations have come from the digging into the most obscure places of my psyche. For some of you this means finding a coach, a mentor or a therapist.

  • Evaluate – Take an honest look at what could potentially lead you to burn out and ask yourself – is this necessary for my business to survive? For me to have an amazing life? If it isn’t necessary, then don’t do it. Some might evaluate and discover that private practice is not what is best for them. That’s ok. There are many ways to help people. But the sooner you can come to this realization, the sooner you can relieve yourself of the difficulties you are experiencing.

If anything, we need to learn to care for ourselves and each other.

The work we do is so valuable and we must treasure our craft – which means valuing ourselves.

We value you and our community. So please share. Do you have ways you prevent burn out? Post below and together we can support and encourage each other and create sustainability in our practices. 

These 3 Words are KILLING Your Practice

Words are powerful. They carry thought, emotion, perspective, and beliefs. They are used to motivate, to tear down, to educate and to connect with others. Words are a major tool for therapists. We mirror, reframe and challenge the words of our clients. I think we can all agree that words matter. 

Words don't just matter in terms of communication with others, but also with the self. So as a business coach for therapists, I try to be aware of what languaging is limiting my clients from another perspective or influencing behaviors that hold them back from their vision.

I thought it would be fun to give you three words that I commonly hear from therapists (and have used myself) that hold a major impact on their business success.

  1. "Just" - This word is a weak link in whatever you are talking about, but especially when it is referring to YOU. In fact, many grammar experts and speaking coaches will say to cut it out completely. Think about when you hear someone say, "I'm just an intern." - "Just" here diminishes being an intern, as if being an intern isn't awesome?! "I am an intern." Factual and, in my opinion, more confident. When you use the word "just" you are saying that you are not completely worthy of what you are, you don't want to offend others, or you are uncomfortable with who you are. "Just" holds you back because in business it takes an amount of confidence, an awareness that you can't please everyone, and knowledge that your dreams matter and are important.

  2. "Nobody" - When marketing your practice, remember that you can't fit your entire zip code into your office. You aren't looking to serve everyone, and many of you are only able to serve 10 to 20 people in your entire city, county, state, and country. That's it. When you start to say "Nobody can afford that, will pay that, wants this or that," you have set up a core belief of limitation in your business. If "nobody" exists for your business, how are you going to find anybody at all? Why even bother having the business? The start of a business is founded upon researching your market, understanding the need and identifying the mere existence of the people you seek to serve. I wouldn't set up my hamburger joint in the middle of the Mojave Desert or on a commune full of vegetarians (unless I only sold black bean burgers); I would set up my restaurant where there is a need.

  3. "Can't" - This word is a bit controversial. There are literal facts in which "can't" is very real. Fact - I can't eat certain foods because I am allergic to them. That reality isn't going to change. However, many times I hear the word "can't" attached to choices and perceived limitations which are in actually self-imposed limitations. "Mamma, I can't do it." - is a common daily phrase in my home. When I know my daughter can do things, but she just hasn't realized she is capable, I am there to show her how. This is when coaching is so helpful, when we need to learn to decipher for ourselves what is a choice or what is out of our control. For example, "I can't afford to invest in my business." Is it that you "can't" or that you choose not to? "Can't" shuts the door to any possibility. Even if you didn't have two pennies to rub together, what if you said: "I will make a way to invest in my business." Just by this you are opening up your mind to look at options. Be honest with yourself. What is really going on with you? What is fact and what is fiction?

When you speak, when you write, when you think, hold an awareness of these words and their impact. Start eliminating the language that holds you back and you will find yourself being more creative, confident, solution-focused, and driven. Are there other words that you or others use that hold them back? Share below!

Love your Life and Your Practice,

Kelly

3 Things To Look for in a Coach

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I am a firm believer in getting a mentor. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the influence of my mentors and coaches. Finding the right mentor is key and who I jive with isn't necessarily going to be who jives with you. So how do you choose?

I was just perusing my facebook feed and saw about 6 ads (some of them my friends) for coaching business owners. How do you know who to trust? Even coaches that cater specifically to therapists - I know of at least 10 right of the top of my head - offer a ton of options on how they can help you. They offer seminars, live events, business school bootcamps (like how I threw that in there?), intensives, masterminds, and webinars. It's easy to get overwhelmed or derailed. Some of you may have started to search and then just gave up.

I know you have been thinking about getting a mentor. I mean, that is why you read this blog, right? So I thought I would post some help in guiding you to making a decision for the best coach or mentor for your business. Sure there is a lot to consider, but I condensed it into just 3 key elements of great coaching for your business.

- Resonance - Look at the coaches you are considering. Read their blogs, take them up on their free stuff and ask yourself, "do I dig it?" There has to be value in there, not just hype and you want to feel connected and understood by them. If you don't, then move on until you find someone that does. Now I don't expect everything I say is going to be spot on for you, but you can scroll past our blogs and get a feel for what Miranda and I are about. And you can definitely attend a webinar and see our silliness and enthusiasm shine. But at the end of the day, if you don't resonate with it, then don't waste your time. Move on to find something that hits home.

- Expertise - Not all coaches offer the same kind of knowledge and support. Honestly - I don't have all the answers. I am great at sales funnels and marketing and getting your head trash out of the way so you can succeed. But if you want to know the exact way to convert your ebook into Kindle format - well I am gonna be googling it with you :) A coach out there may teach step by step how to use pinterest. If pinterest is something you decided your business really needs but you don't have the expertise for it - then that coach might be a great fit. That is key, knowing what you need. Look at your business plan, do an analysis of your strengths and weaknesses and find expertise that can help you fill in the gaps. Be strategic about your choices. Not every coach that has great business sense and expertise knows how to coach. That is a skill as well.

- Results - This is a tough one for me to talk about. I am writing this, very well knowing that results with coaching varies. You can read all the testimonials (which by the way have to meet FTC regulations) in the world but at the end of the day, if you don't implement and you don't do the work, you won't get results. I can't make my clients do anything. I can only guide and show them. However, sometimes, stuff doesn't work out like we plan. A great coach cares about your results. If they advise you to do something and it doesn't pan out, they get back in there and care enough to keep figuring it out with you. They will also have the guts to say - hey, this isn't working, here is someone that can help. It takes courage and humility to do this work. We won't ever make crazy guarantees  but Miranda and I both will talk to you about expectations. For our bootcamp, our expectation was that if you got 1 to 2 clients out of implementing the changes - then you paid for the program and you got a lifetime of knowledge to build upon. That is a great result to me. The mindset shifts that we have seen in our program have been freaking phenomenal and dare I say more valuable than having an extra client or two. When you are looking for results, you are looking for integrity. 

Maybe you have put off investing in your business with coaching. My hope is that whenever and whomever you choose, may you seek a mentor that brings out the best in you. And I hope that you don't put that process off any longer. Why do we wait til things are bad or we are in crisis? See your worth. See the people that are missing out on your valuable services. Let them or yourself catapult you forward. And if you never work with us, that is ok. Take the free stuff and apply what works for you and leave the rest. Just change something for the better.