"There seems to be a way in which once licensed [as a psychotherapist] we feel a sense of having to do this work of growing a practice in isolation – not sharing with each other how incredibly vulnerable it is to put our own artistry in the work out there and to be held in relationship as we grow in this practice and our own vulnerability. We really can support one anothers’ work, help eachother find an authentic way to launch our business by sharing our vulnerabilities and asking for support when we need it."
|From the Mars Rover Curiousity|
Control Room! A team effort!
-Traci Ruble, MFT
Author: Traci Ruble, Psychotherapist
Let me out my
inspiration for this posting before I get started. Over the last two weeks I have had many
conversations with interns and licensed therapists alike, about their personal
sense of value in this work and what are the deeper workings at play that might
pinch our own sense of self as a professional.
Is this article only for therapists?
No. If you have ever had to put yourself out there on a date, at work,
as an entrepreneur, within the legal or healthcare system, or inside your own
family then you will get something out of this blog.
out there is fraught with risk and vulnerabilities.
What if someone doesn’t like my work?
What if I can’t make enough money?
I am an introvert so how does one market if talking to people is exhausting?
I am an extrovert so if I talk about my work people will think I am self absorbed?
Psychotherapy, as a field, is so broad and personal that talking about its value means I have to talk about my value which feels so vulnerable!
I hate technology which is how most people are marketing.
I don’t want to ask for support because I should have it together, right?
I have some
old baggage from my past that says something bad will happen to me if I feel
entitled to being successful.
therapists or interns I have talked with, this backlog of feelings and beliefs
need to be worked through in order to fully step out as a competent therapist. But working through is not a linear
process. I believe it isn’t a: let’s get
to these core beliefs and challenge them, nor is it a process of learning how
to market. Yet most of the help I hear
therapists receive narrowly focus on these two and the costs of coaching services to support
them are shockingly expensive. If you
are getting great help from this support I am all for it – don’t get me wrong .
And, will you stay with me and be curious anyway?
Why are we not
reaching out to one another for support and celebrating one anothers’ success
amongst us therapists? I see this
happening all the time. There seems to
be a way in which, once licensed, we feel a sense of having to do this work of
growing a practice in isolation – not sharing with each other how incredibly
vulnerable it is to talk about our own artistry and personal style of doing therapy. Maybe we have a belief system based on
scarcity – that there isn’t enough so “my peers are competitors so therefore I
shouldn’t tell them I am scared or ask for supportive or
whatever I feel and need”. Or maybe we have a
hard time receiving suport in general.
I certainly felt isolated when I was interning
and believed that I had to do it on my own but thought that was just my own
psychology at work. You can imagine how
stunned I was to talk to many of you who are feeling your own version of
isolation and having to go it alone.
Bottom line is, psychotherapy is profound work. We use our very selves instruments in
the room with clients and often we aren’t promoting just change but also deep
self acceptance, not always honored in this change-driven culture of ours that
says “we have to compete to survive”.
sometimes if therapists haven’t bought off on this outcomes driven, scarcity
idea ourselves even though it may not be what we advocate in the room. How?
Well here are some of the things I have witnessed. I have deep empathy for all of them and have
caught myself doing a few of them myself but find them incredibly isolating.
How are budding
therapists coping in ways that might not serve them?
Fear based marketing practices: scaring clients that if they don’t come to therapy they are screwed forever.
The Guru: serving oneself up as a Guru who is the expert but from a place of fear and manipulation rather than authenticity.
Competing with one another: this school of therapy is better than another school.
Money: money scarcity can lead to overselling, leaving clients feeling like objects.
Holding back: but opposite of above, fear of being seen as any one of the above, not putting oneself out there and embracing one’s full competence.
I came from a
corporate sales and marketing background.
Authenticity and truth are not often the first words that come to mind
when you think of a sales person or a marketing person. I have been lucky, over the years, however,
to work with talented professionals who have taught me that you can tell the
truth and be authentic in these professions with a real eye towards partnering
with your client and eachother. I became successful by teaming with my sales
and marketing colleagues rather than competing with them and in that I felt a deep sense of creative collaboration,
play and belonging in the work I was doing.
I realize the
same is true for us therapists. I am
grateful to my other Psyched in San Francisco blogmates and my co-founder, Tom
Rhodes, MFT. For we started this blog
from a deep honoring of our own vulnerabilities and a deep wish to be of
service to the community but also to one another. I am also grateful for my weekly consultation
group where we deeply hold eachother in our therapy work and grow
together. And finally, to my core
marketing support group that has just started to meet monthly and who inspired
this blog, thank you. You, my community,
have been the wind beneath my own wings.
We really can support one anothers’ work, help eachother find an
authentic way to launch our business by sharing our vulnerabilities and asking
for support when we need it, and offering support to one another.
I hope you feel supported and I hope you just might be more willing to
reach out to one colleague this week and ask for or offer support. Certainly reach out to Psyched in San
Francisco if you need a boost. We like
supporting you! We hope you will support us too!
Traci Ruble, MFT
has her private psychotherapy practice
in downtown San Francisco specializing
in working with couples,
adult individuals and mothers. She also works with therapists
who want to
learn how to grow their business from authenticity
Labels: Authenticity, Community, Practice Building, Traci Ruble, Vulnerability