Starting a private practice will naturally bring up many internal, personal issues. We have to face the unknown (“Will I get enough clients?”), fear (“Will I make enough money to survive?), our money stories (“How much should I charge?”), self trust (“Am I competent enough therapist to do this?”) and more.
As my own personal issues were brought to light by starting a private practice, I chose to face them and work through them. I sought the help of my own therapist (therapists need their own therapists), supervisor, and consultation groups. I also took the time to dig in myself through journaling and art. I did my best to get to the bottom of my fears, insecurities, limiting beliefs, and more.
What I didn’t anticipate was these issues coming back. When I felt fear creeping back into my thoughts about my private practice, I was frustrated and wanted to yell, “But I already dealt with you!!”
I’ve been having this same fight my entire life. I want healing to be a one and done thing. Like a miracle (I even write about it in my essay Wanting to Be Instantly Healed).
I attribute it to my evangelical Christian upbringing that told stories of spontaneous healing and faith that can move mountains. I’d like some of that please - none of this journey shit.
Yet the hard truth is that spontaneous, permanent healing is not how internal growth and change typically occur.
The thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and patterns that limit us have typically been with us for years. It will take time to unravel them. It will take effort to learn new skills and behaviors. It will take practice to implement tools in challenging conversations or relationships.
As therapists, we tell this to clients every day. And yet, it can be hard to remember it for ourselves.
I usually get upset when fear comes back (usually brought back by a situation that is out of my control). I throw a bit of a tantrum, rave about the unfairness of it all, rant to my sister, and have a good cry.
Then, with time, I calm down. I take the time to journal about why I’m upset. And only then, when I have made space for my feelings and needs, am I able to return to my place of knowing.
Which knows this is a process.
Which knows that when pain returns, it is my soul beckoning, “Hey, there is more here. More healing to be had. More freedom to experience.”
As I move through the processing work (whether in my writing or with a therapist or supervisor), I find great understanding and peace. I eventually even feel grateful that I got to uncover and heal this part of me.
Until it comes back again, at which time, I’m pretty sure I’ll throw another tantrum, wish for spontaneous healing, and eventually continue the journey of gradual self growth.