I fell in to private practice. It wasn't planned at all. I was studying Spanish with the goal of becoming a bilingual counselor and had fully intended to work at a community mental health agency. I had just returned from Connecticut and was excited to get going on my career after long years of graduate school.
That wasn't in the cards. No one was hiring. At the time, agencies wanted masters level clinicians to do therapy, not psychologists. I found myself stuck.
I took a position working in a private practice in order to finish my post-doc. At the time, it felt like I didn't have much choice. Little did I know that I was beginning a journey that would open up choice to me in ways I hadn't anticipated I would need or want.
My supervisor (and boss) was dedicated to teaching her post-docs how to be successful in private practice. She modeled for me setting my fee, taught me how to set limits around cancellations and no shows, and helped me understand my new role as money-collector in all the crazy feelings that it spurred in me.
As a result, I found a job that allowed me the flexibility I needed to start a family. As a woman raised as a feminist, I had given no thought to how my family and career would coexist. Once I had a child, I realized I did not want to work 40 hours a week or the after-school hours that being a child-therapist required. A drastic shift had to happen: a shift that was easily accomplished in private practice!
Now, I finish by 2pm three days a week to pick up my kids from school so I can play and explore and cook with them; two days a week I stay late to see clients who need after school or after work hours. It's a lovely set-up I feel so lucky to be able to pull off.
The price of freedom
Nothing is free.
In this case, the cost of the freedom of private practice was needing to turn inward to understand the messages that I had about my worth, money and what success is. By doing this work, but tuning in to myself, my needs, and my stories I have carried, I was able to be clear about what I wanted our of my career and how to create it. That work isn't easy though. It's much better to have folks around you who can explore it with you and help you grow.
I choose to live out my gratitude for the support I was given by many mentors by giving back to those who face similar questions.
Do I deserve this money this person is paying me?
Am I worth it?
How do I ask for money?
How do I know I'm good enough?
So many complicated questions. Over the years I have chosen to supervise students as a way to help them in their development. More recently, I started Launch Wellness as a way to reach out to therapists new to private practice to help them feel supported, nurtured, and grounded in their journey.
The Next Step
After months of reflection, I decided the next way for me to grow in supporting others is by starting a Mastermind Group. Our first group filled quickly, much to my surprise and delight, and we start this week!
I am thrilled to give support to a group of amazing women and help them feel loved, nurtured and supported. I cannot wait to share this part of their journey with them and hold space for them to grow and explore.
As I age, my heart opens and swells with love and gratitude. It is one of the great gifts of getting older. I hope each of you finds someone to hold you when you find yourself in a tender spot. You deserve it.