Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

For Tired Therapists Another Way is Possible


"It's Gonna Be Ok" Illustration by Jackie Schuld

Most therapists I know are tired. It makes sense. The current norm in the therapy field is for therapists to see 6-8 clients a day, five days a week.


Although it’s the norm, it doesn’t have to be.


I want therapists to know there is another possibility.


I run an art therapy private practice. My current caseload is 10 clients, whom I all see weekly. I accept self-pay only and charge $300/80 min (you can read why I require weekly 80 min therapy sessions in my practice here). I have a commitment policy so my clients have the consistency needed to experience the change they’re wanting through therapy.


I see 2-3 clients a day, on Monday-Thursday afternoons. I love my schedule. My life is filled with so much ease. I have 30 minutes between each client. I have time to download my mind after a meeting, prepare for the next meeting, and even take my therapy dog on a stroll.


I’m writing this essay for other therapists to know this is possible.


Yes, it took consistent work, but I’m living the fruits of that labor.


The biggest obstacle to create private practices that are life-enriching and financially thriving is our own beliefs and mindsets. Apart from restructuring my practice (I used to have a 40+ client caseload), the hardest part has been facing my own fears and self-judgment.


I struggled with what it meant about me as a person to not offer a sliding scale. I now know the best way to promote social and economic justice is to first meet my own needs. I then have the ability to contribute far more in my practice, such as offering pro bono services (I talk about this more in my essay “Charging a High Therapy Fee Makes You a Capitalist.” I also understand now that there are many ways I can contribute to the world besides my therapy fee. My therapy fee is not the measure of how socially just I am.


I also dove into the origins of my misguided beliefs, such as martyrdom mentality, the invisible therapist myth, and the fault-proof therapist mentality.


Every therapist who walks the journey of creating a private practice that honors their needs will face their own internal struggles and resistance.


Maybe you’re worried you won’t be able to find clients at a high fee in your area. As a resident of Tucson, I was worried about that, too. Thanks to a low caseload and a blend of in-person and telehealth clients, I’ve been able to fill my caseload (it takes intentional marketing).


Maybe you’re worried you don’t have enough experience to start a private practice. I graduate in May 2020 and started my private practice in August of that year.


Whatever fear or concern you are facing, there is a way through. There are alternative perspectives, solutions, and creativity.


It will take investigating your fears and what is behind them (I have a lot of essays about fear and private practice).


I’m not here to tell you it’s easy. I’m not here to say my structure is the best structure for everyone. I am here to tell you it is possible to create a private practice that fits your needs.

 

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