Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

Restructuring My Therapy Private Practice to Honor My Needs

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.


An acrylic painting by Tucson Art Therapist Jackie Schuld of a purple cartoon octopus with a purple background.
"Happy for Changes" Acrylic Painting by Jackie Schuld

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

  • Adopted a dog

  • 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.

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