Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Do You ACT Like You Believe In Your Worth?

A few weeks ago I broke one of my own rules. 

I set up an appointment with an existing client through a new billing system, which required the client submit their payment information before the first session. 

I don't do collections, and so I always require payment up front. 

Except when I don't. 

Guess what? I didn't make the client get the payment submitted through the system, we had the session, and as of today the bill has not been settled. Especially near the holidays when it feels like I'm bleeding money, it's extremely stressful not to have that bill taken care of. 

Have you ever done this?

Bent your rules for a client, or a referral source, or a colleague? Said something was okay when it wasn't?

Why did you do so, and what was the result?

I seem to bend the rules for one of a few reasons:

  1. I feel attached to the person asking. We all want to make allowances for people we have a connection to. It feels mean not to do so. 
  2. I don't want to be a "suit." Who wants to be the soulless corporate stooge? 
  3. I forget that no one else will be as invested in my business success as I am.  It just makes sense that people have other things on their mind and they can't be prioritizing MY needs. But somehow (egocentrically) I never remember that. 
Do any of these sound familiar to you? I'd bet they do. That's because these hangups just seem to go along with the profession of private counseling. 

We all seem to go through a stage where we believe that helping people for money is mean, even though we spent $60,000 or more on our education in order to be able to help people more effectively. But grasping that what we do is valuable...that isn't even the hard part. 

It's maintaining it. 

I believe in the value of what I do. But many times I don't act like it. Such as when I bend the rules for clients I feel connected to, or allow myself to accept garbage like requiring payment up front defines me "all about the money." 

Here's the reality:

  1. It's not personal, it's business. We are not meeting a friend for coffee, we are conducting a specialized service transaction. How can we challenge ourselves to act like it? 
  2. Moneymaking is business. We cannot stay in business and continue to help people unless we run a business. How can you focus more on the income in your business?
  3. The buck stops here. No one else is accountable for your business success but you. How can you prioritize your business success without feeling guilty about it?

Part of maturing from a beginning counselor to a fully-grown-up counselor (a part I'm still working on) is respecting yourself and what you have to offer...AND ACTING LIKE IT.

Did anything here today make you reconsider your commitment to behaving in a way that backs up your belief in the value of what you do? Please share below so we can encourage one another! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Seeking Advice From Others [Guest Post By Kim Peterson]

I clearly remember one of the most difficult decisions I had to make halfway through my internship. 

The pediatric clinic I worked for throughout graduate school offered me an amazing opportunity with their company, which meant leaving my current internship at a successful group private practice. There were so many factors to consider, such as the fact that I would be changing supervisors, working longer hours away from home, and treating a totally different population.  I remember quickly getting on the phone to my colleagues, friends, mom, dad, grandmother, husband, and so on… I needed feedback from those I trusted most. It was during this time that I truly realized how much I valued the knowledge and experience from each of these individuals in my life. Have you ever stopped to think of the wealth and diversity of life perspectives you have around you, just in your own personal circle?

Interns and new therapists are confronted with challenging decisions like this every day, and often our decisions greatly impact clients and colleagues, as well as family. Seeking advice from others is a must in our personal and professional lives. We all have a great deal of people in our circles, from family members to friends to professional associations, and each individual varies in their background, education, and life experience.

Taking time to discover and learn from others is something I recommend to my clients regularly. We refer to this circle as a “support system,” but I don’t believe people always maximize the benefits of their network.

The worksheets below are intended to generate awareness of who is in one’s social circle and what they can offer. There is an adult worksheet and teen worksheet, and for the purpose of this post, I also modified one for counseling interns.

For a complimentary post and self-help worksheet, check out my blog post “Everybody Needs Somebody!

Just for fun, here are some examples of a few pieces of advice I received from my own family:

Children: Nana- Love them, teach them to respect others, make them lovable enough so others enjoy being around them, teach them good behavior, have them in church.

Aging well: Nana-Stay active and take care of yourself the best you can.

Spirituality: Dad- Without faith there is no hope.

Marriage: Mom- Communication and listening are important to meeting one another's needs and avoiding unnecessary conflict.

Difficult decisions: Dad- The easiest way to make the hardest decisions is to strive to do what is right.

Helping others: Mom- Try to practice this every day because you will feel good and your outlook each day is better.

Being critical: Cody- You will never regret withholding judgment.

Hearing some of the responses, I chuckled (because they were so typical of that person), or found myself surprised and impressed. I encourage you to use this in your own life, as well as use this tool in your clinical practice. Stephanie and I would love to hear your feedback and any questions you may have!

Kim Peterson is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor and Registered Play Therapist in Kingwood, Texas. She works with individuals of all ages with a focus on child therapy, depression, adjustment, anxiety, parenting dilemmas, and teen issues. Kim is also passionate about educating others on issues in counseling through her blog at  Kim can be reached at

Kim's name sound familiar? It should! She first appeared in Beginning Counselor in the blog post Free Worksheets For Therapists on October 3. Click the link to read.

Did you miss it? Kim gave you links to 3 FREE worksheets! Download the worksheets here. Subscribe to her blog for more great advice and free worksheets. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

[Video Post] How To Get More Clients Now (Yes, Even If You're an Intern.)

The #1 question I heard during the Mind Your Own Business Virtual Conference this summer was, "How do I get more clients?" followed closely by, "How do I get more clients as an intern?"

This video teaches you how to do all that and more. Enjoy!

This post is adapted from a written blog post from 3/24/11. If you're interested, you can read it here

Don't forget to leave your comments below!