Last year for mother’s day I decided that I needed to be my own mother. It had been seven years since my mom died and I yearned for someone to take care of me the way she did. I decided the best person for that was me.
I was just hitting the one year mark of my private practice and I was tired, with a caseload of 40+ and my fees, scheduling, and client population all over the place.
On Mother’s Day I started cleaning house. To solidify my commitment to restructure my business to fit my needs, I joined a therapist community and program by Tiffany McClain designed to do just that. It was a $200/mo commitment and it felt huge at the time.
However, it was well worth the investment. The shifts I undertook in my business were HUGE and I needed support as I moved them. In addition to the program, I began meeting with other therapists for accountability and support. The momentum built on itself and I began to tailor my business to honor my needs more are more. Here are some of the changes, with links to accompanying essays I wrote about them.
Raised my fee from an average of $84/50 min to $200/min with all existing clients.
Started accepting new clients at $300/80 min and now have a caseload solely of that
Stopped seeing adolescent clients and now solely see adults
Rearranged my schedule to my ideal schedule
Required weekly meetings for all clients.
Concluded with clients that were not a good fit for me
Created a commitment policy
Developed my niche of highly intelligent women with overwhelming thoughts and emotions
Developed niches of autism
Started providing consultation for other therapists wanting to create their ideal private practice
Increased my income while decreasing my caseload
Rented extra room at therapy office and paid to have AC installed for my office
Removed any extra meetings from my schedule that didn’t feel good
Learned about Feminist Marketing and invested in Feminist Copywriting Course
Applied and was accepted to speak at National Art Therapy Conference
Interviewed other art therapists for my upcoming book about private practice
Upgraded my art therapy studio
Offered to pay my supervisor $50 more per session and she accepted
Hired a personal assistant at $30/hr
Developed accountability buddies
As I stood up for my needs in my business, it motivated me to do the same in my personal life. I began investing in myself in ways I never had. I also had more time and space to make changes in my life, such as:
Paid for personal art therapist
Learned I was autistic (you can read about that here)
Moved my piano into my side room at the art therapy studio
Paid for an autism coach
Paid for extensive therapy dog training
Took vacations to Hawaii, California, Ohio, Oregon, and Utah
Did 100 Essays in 100 Day challenge (essay)... which led to this being essay number 141.
Felt more ease in my life than I ever had
Made monthly donations to ARCS-SPAN
Provided $5000+ in art therapy scholarships
Provided free art workshop to youth
Felt happier and more relaxed than ever have
Developed “no plan” days where I have nothing planned
It feels pretty great to see all of this. While a simple list can make it look like it happened instantaneously and smoothly, the reality is it took time and deliberate effort. There were also many ups and downs.
May-August 2021 Raising fees with existing clients and put new policies in place. It was emotionally exhausting.
August-November 2021 I was in an emotional hangover. I was exhausted from the challenging work I had done. I invested my time in marketing to increase my caseload.
December 2021 New clients came rolling in at my full fee of $300/80 min
January-March 2022 I started my 100 days of essays self-challenge and committed to no business changes at the same time. Removed extra commitments from my life. I felt incredibly energized.
April - May 2022 Went through a rough patch as I got back in the marketing game, hired a personal assistant, and became overly busy again
June 2022 - present Decided to remove extra "busy" things from schedule. Focused on doing the things I love: writing, seeing therapy clients, and providing business consultation. Felt energized again.
I present all of this so that other therapists can know it's possible and what the lived experience of implementing change looks like. While my changes have not been easy, I never could have imagined all that my life has become because of it. I have never felt more rested, nourished, and content with my life. I think my mother would be proud.
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If you’d like support as you create a private practice that honors your needs, you can learn about my business consultation services here.