One of the greater successes in my practice came to me as a mindset shift. I noticed how often I sat in a place of fear and scarcity and I knew I didn't want to operate my counseling practice from that headspace.
It felt out of integrity for me to invite clients to work through their fears if I wasn't facing my own.
It was easy for me to see one of the easiest targets for fear in my life was around money. This is probably true for many small business owners, but I think it is unique to therapists in many ways. Because our work is so often an extension of ourselves, it is especially challenging to untangle our worth from our work, and our worth from our income.
I was referred to Kate Northrup by my own therapy business coach when I started working on my money blocks in practice. Kate has created a really unique approach to financial abundance that aligns spirituality, gratitude, and serious reframe to her clients' relationship with money.
I watched her Wanderlust Speakeasy talk years ago and it has transformed the way I think and interact with money in my practice. Many other therapists have commented on my financial approach- calling it generous, or abundance-minded, but always noting how little space I allow for fear around money.
I am including Kate's talk below because I believe this mindset is critical to transforming our work as therapists in private practice, our income in counseling practice, and our relationships with clients. When we are troubled in our own relationship with finances we are far less likely to talk about it easily with clients (and far more likely to get caught up in serious transference).
Critical Reframes About Money for Therapists
I'll outline my favorite points from Kate's talk below. These have had significant impact on my practice and my work with clients around money.
Notice what shows up for you ask you watch the video and leave a comment letting me know how this connects with your own work- I would love to hear from you!
Writing out your money truths
I love three of the tools Kate outlines here. First, she talks about creating lists around financial expansiveness, and restrictions.
I created a worksheet for you to complete this activity- you can download it here.
Thinking more specifically about our financial stuck points creates opportunities for us to change our behavior patterns around money.
Where are your private practice financial leaks?
Kate also talks about writing out financial agreements in her business partnership with her mom. Although her situation is very different, I cannot tell you how many of the counselors I work with do not write out the payment agreements with clients (especially sliding scale clients). Not only does this create real liability for your counseling practice- it moves you further from the financial clarity you (and your clients) need.
Take a minute today to write out a list of your financial agreements- do you have them in writing? Can you create agreements with these clients and partners in the next two weeks?
The final exercise Kate mentions very quickly is about writing out a list of places in your life where you feel financial freedom. One of the biggest money blocks for many folks in mental health is not having an idea of what financial success might feel like. Knowing what brings us excitement and pleasure around money- again with specificity- can help us get in bring that vision closer to reality.
Reframing your vision of private practice profitability
Truthfully, I cannot say enough about the power of creating a clear vision of profitability and financial security. I spend a lot of time envisioning what I want and getting clear about the action steps I want to get there.
However, sometimes (as Kate says in the video) I don't actually want to do the work to get there. I would love to have a clinic and a research institute named after me- but do I want to do the work to get there? Nope. So I need to make sure my vision is something I am willing to do the work for.
Let your money shame out in the light
"Shame cannot survive empathy" - Brene Brown
It's true, shame likes to keep us isolated, quiet, and small. By telling the truth about our money to empathetic folks (the folks who love us not in spite of our imperfections, but along with them) we create space for empathy and learning.
Early in my practice I started a mastermind group for therapists focused on financial wellness. Kate suggests finding a group of friends to talk through money problems with. Bringing our money concerns out in a shame-free environment can be incredibly healing and empowering.
Who do you trust and respect enough to invite to this conversation?
Sharing with empathetic friends and colleagues also creates space for self-compassion. As therapists we know shame is never a motivator for behavior change- and yet many of us shame ourselves about money all the time.
Self compassion means giving ourselves kindness- speaking to ourselves the way we would a loved one.
How would your financial experience be different if you treated yourself with kindness?
Financial sustainability as a spiritual practice
I love Kate's outlook on money as energy exchange, gratitude, generosity, and abundance. Many of the therapists I work with see financial wealth as truly separate from meaningful connection to clients. Kate's reframe helps me see the exchange of energy in money, care, and expertise in much better balance. I hope it helps you in your work as well.
Again, let me know what you think of this video here, or in the Authentic Marketing for Therapists private Facebook group. I look forward to hearing from you!
Gina Senarighi is a business coach for therapists, social media strategist, and author. With careful planning and strategic marketing, in under one year she lead three thriving therapy practices.
Gina has quickly become a trusted voice on authenticity in marketing as an author, teacher, and guest expert on local and national media.
Due to her successes in therapy business she's been coaching other therapists to grow their counseling practices with ease and integrity.