I write a lot about the practices, mindsets, and cultural norms that impact the mental health field and its practitioners. Typically, I’m naming villains - the things that get in our way or hold us back (this practice comes from Kelly Diel’s feminist marketing practice). As a new therapist, I have fresh eyes to see the mental health culture… almost like someone who visits another country. Unfamiliar with the way things are done, certain things stand out more.
I graduated two years ago, and I’m taking advantage of my “newness” to the field by examining the norms of our field and discerning which ones no longer serve us. I’ve named things like the Invisible Therapist Myth (where we buy into being “blank slate” therapists and that our own needs don’t matter), Fault-Proof Mentality (where we think it’s possible to be perfectly ethical), and Martyrdom Mentality (where we sacrifice our own well-being to serve others).
I’ve written about how I started my private practice and fell into these harmful mentalities. A year ago I realized what I was doing and started to turn things around.
And this is what I want to tell therapists: private practice is the perfect place to practice our counter-culture moves.
When I realized I wasn’t honoring my own needs, my private practice allowed me the flexibility to shift. It allowed me the space to practice and see if I could honor my own values and dreams.
I changed my schedule. I changed my client population. I changed my fees. I changed my niche. I changed so much more. I would not have been able to do that if I was working for someone else.
Our private practices can be the vehicles we need to step out of invisibility. For centering ourselves. For showing clients, our family, our friends, ourselves: THIS is what it looks like to honor our needs. To have firm boundaries. To create a schedule that works for us. To honor what we value. To show up powerfully for others and ourselves.
For all of the challenges of running a private practice, owning a business provides so much freedom and flexibility. It is the antidote to the cultural norms that bind us. Our practices can be our ecosystems for change.
Thank you for reading. If you'd like to learn more about my business consultation services for therapists who want to run private practices that honor their needs, you can do so here.