Friday, September 12, 2014

What You're Afraid Of Right Now

The results are starting to come in.

The most common Beginning Counselor fear is fear of lack of personal ability. Running right behind that (less than five percentage points behind) is fear of failure.

Do you identify with that as well?

I certainly did. Last week, I sent Beginning Counselor members an email talking about how fear of screwing up a client reduced me to a nervous mess before my first session. I invited Beginning Counselor members to take an anonymous survey on what fears they struggle with on a regular basis. (If you haven’t yet, you can take the survey right now, it’s still open.) 

Over 60% of those polled described their professional anxiety as ‘moderate’ – meaning regular (although not constant) worries about their future or professional abilities. The most common result of those worries, so far, is the “genuine worry that [they] will be unable to make this career work.”

While this is not a scientific survey – I cannot guarantee a random sample or eliminate other factors as influential in the results – I think it calls for further research at the very least. And a frank discussion of what this means for us, even with the caveat of it not being a fully scientific research study.

Respondents to the study shared comments about their concerns that their fears would impact their work with clients. They said things like:
  • I'm “freezing up mentally with clients due to my negative thoughts like, ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.’”
  • I’m worried I will begin “overstepping boundaries with clients that I begin to care a lot for.”

They shared worries about their future career options, saying things like: 
  • “I fear I will not be able to get enough hours to pass, and then if I do graduate can I afford to live on being an intern and will I have to pay for supervision, too”?
  • I know “if counseling was my only profession I would have to get another job to survive financially for awhile, based on other beginning counselors I know.”
  • I’m concerned about, “not being able to repay my student loans…not being able to start and sustain a private practice.”
  • I’m afraid that, “my goal is unrealistic.”

As for me? Here’s what I worry will happen if we don’t address this within our community.

Due to fear or lack of support, I fear we will lose good counselors.
  • If you’re afraid you can’t make a living…
  • If you’re afraid you won’t be able to help…or may even hurt your clients…
  • If the pressure gets overwhelming…

It would seem a logical concern that you might consider leaving the field somewhere down the line.

That, to me, is unacceptable. 

So what can we do about it?

There’s really only three options:
  1. Do nothing.
  2. Wait and see.
  3. Do something.

Here’s a hint: the first two options are the same.

Can I guarantee that doing something is going to be doing the right something? Heck no. But I prefer the option of trying something to the other two.

So here’s what I suggest as far as “doing something.”
  1. If you haven’t already, click on this link and help us get more accurate data to work with by taking the survey on professional anxiety. (Paying special attention to question #8 which tells me what I can do to help you in the future.)
  2. Share your fears with another beginning counselor you trust, to normalize the anxiety and offer support to someone else.
  3. Attend “Beat Private Practice Anxiety! How To Get Rid of Your Business Fears Once & For All,” October’s FREE MYOB webinar. Even if you’re still in training, if your private practice is way down the line, or if you’re not sure whether you’ll start a private practice at all, you still need to come. 

For one thing, the earlier you prepare for practice success, the more likely you are to have it. For another, I’m going to be talking about how to have confidence in yourself as a professional as part of how you can have success in private practice. So either way, you need to make sure you will be there!


Friday, August 29, 2014

5 Ways To Broaden Your Training Experience (Even If You’re In A Single-Focus Internship)

Thrilled with your current position as an intern at a domestic violence shelter, a hospital ER, or a faith-based counseling center, but wishing you had the chance to explore more of the variety that is out there in the counseling field?

Here’s your guide to getting the most out of the time you have in training – no matter what your internship focus is!

1. Multitask. Whatever you’re doing for hours now, think

about how you can get the most possible experience for your time there. Can you spin your work with preschool play therapy into some parent coaching sessions? Can you develop and use different sets of skills with the same group of clients, like trying cognitive-behavioral & EMDR-based methods on your trauma clients?

2. Observe. Other interns in different specialties. Your supervisor. Any other counselor that will allow you to watch them in practice. 

3. Read. Case studies, journal research articles, autobiographies, memoirs, counselor-authored practice books. Here’s some possibilities to get you started:

Journeys To Professional Excellence: Lessons From Leading Counselor Educators And Practitioners 
Ariadne's Thread: Case Studies in the Therapeutic Relationship 
On Being A Therapist 
Inside the Session: What Really Happens in Psychotherapy 

4. Volunteer. Any kind of social services agency will work!

5. Man (or Woman) a Hotline. Sexual assault recovery, crisis pregnancy, suicide prevention, LGBT, domestic violence – there is a hotline for almost any specialty you might want to explore further. While you would likely be a volunteer in this position, it’s still worth your time to pursue if it’s of significant interest to you. 

Right now, you may be feeling stuck, or out of options. But you have more flexibility than you realize. This is literally the only time in your life when you are new to the field of counseling, AND you have the assistance of a trained supervisor to help you with any and all of your counseling-related questions.

And that’s the key that’s going to make the suggestions above work for you. Any of these suggestions on their own might do you some good. But if you consciously filter these new experiences
 that you’re having through that lens of new counselor experience you will have insights you’ve never gained before and some you’ll never have again. If you take notes back from these experiences to discuss with your supervisor, or practice with a fellow intern, you’ll find your intern experience to be both diverse and more rewarding than you ever thought it could be! 

How do you suggest finding diversity in a more narrow internship experience? Comment and share below!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Who Else Wants to Measure Client Success?

Ever wonder if your efforts with clients are getting anywhere? Are you making the difference you hope to with your interventions and techniques, or are they falling flat? 

How do you know if you’re being effective in your client work?

This time in your life (practicum & internship) is all about trying new things. You’re supposed to be experimenting and finding your own personal style. But in order to do that, you need to measure the results of the new things you’re trying.

You can test the effect of your interventions on client’s stated goals by looking for these key signals as a sign that something is happening. You might not know what it means yet, but you will be able to identify that there is a reaction that means something.

The client asks specific questions about your intervention. Example: “How long do we take a time-out? What should I say to my partner when I need a break, so that they don’t feel abandoned?” This means they are engaged with the logic of what you’re suggesting and seriously considering putting it into play. The real test, of course, is to see if they…

Come back and tell you about trying it. Example: “We did this and it really worked! We were able to communicate so much better afterwards.” This is one of the most straightforward and welcome ways for you to recognize the benefits of your work…it helps your confidence a great deal when a client can specifically tell you about what worked and didn’t work. If they do not do this on their own, I encourage you to come right out and ask! It will show them you care and help you monitor your progress as well as theirs.

The client is super-quiet, even still. Example: You suggest something they could try to alleviate a symptom of their problem. A normally chatty, even bubbly person, may become quiet and not move. He/She may look at the wall or their hands. This is a sign of contemplation, obviously, but at another level like a kind of shock, indicating you may have shared with them an idea that is new to them and needs to absorb. When the client does this, consider simply mirroring them until they speak again – if it is quiet for a long while, you might also reflect the situation back to them. “It seems like you got really quiet there. Did something about that hit a nerve?”

The client starts making jokes. Example: You say, “Have you thought about telling your family you’re taking medication now?” They say, “Oh, sure, I’ll can’t wait to tell them I’m on drugs!” While a little dark humor can actually be a healthy way to process (seriously, they’ve done research) it can also be a way to deflect from feelings of fear or confusion. The fact that they want to deflect is a sign you’ve hit on something that matters, so follow up on it with them.

The client gets angry or belligerent. Example: When you suggest something, they say, “That seems like a terrible idea. It doesn’t make any sense. Why would you waste my time?” etc. Like inappropriate humor or sarcasm, this is a way to push you away and get you to focus on something else rather than what you suggested. This aggressive behavior could be physical, verbal, manipulative (passive-aggression) or sexual (flirting or come-ons) but the point of it all is the same. You got to something they want to protect. If at all possible, it’s important to not react and stay focused on the problem they’re covering up. Stay safe, but if you can, try to connect with them before they lead you off the track. 

These are signs that you are making progress in counseling. The ultimate sign of progress, of course, is when you run out of things to talk about. You know they’re not holding back, they’re simply done with their goals. That’s when you can begin to ease them back into a more independent process of self-exploration. But until that point, these clues above can help you know you’re on the right track.

What signs do you look for to measure client successes? Comment below!  

And join me on Sept. 2 for a

Thursday, August 14, 2014

If you could whisper directly in my ear...

What would you say?

It's the time of year again when it's good to evaluate and re-focus as we go into the next school year.

I know you have a lot on your mind as you start another class, finish summer courses, or perhaps even enter your very first practicum.

You're probably excited, and maybe also a little worried. There's a lot that is required of a Beginning Counselor:

  • Finding a practicum site, or a site for a clinical internship.
  • Passing the NCE or NCMHCE.
  • Getting the proper training and credentials. (Should I do a dual LMFT/LPC? What about the certification in Critical Incident Stress Management?) 
  • Finding a good supervisor, or coping with an unhelpful or abusive supervisor.
  • Serving clients well when you're terrified that somehow you'll screw them up. 
  • Having proper boundaries with clients in this busy information age. (Should they be allowed to email me? Text me?)

I WANT TO HELP YOU with all these things and more. I don't want you to EVER feel like you're alone. That's why we have the Beginning Counselor community. 

But in order to help you, I have to know what's most on your mind, and I've created a simple way for you to tell me.

Just click in the box above and answer the three questions in a way that reflects YOUR Beginning Counselor needs. That will tell me what's most important to focus on for you guys in blog posts and other free support in the weeks ahead. 

Click here to view survey as a separate web page. 

You don't have to do it alone. Just click on the link above or fill in the embedded survey form to share with me what's been on your mind. I review each answer, and they're completely anonymous, so I can simply respond to the community needs as a whole without anyone worried about being singled out. 

The best thing I could hope for as a result of your reading this today is that you take 3 minutes, fill out the questions above, and allow me to respond to you with the solutions you've been longing for. 

You have too many people out there that need your help to waste your energy stressing out about this stuff alone when I'm here to help.

With hugs & encouragement,


P.S. I promise, it's really easy. 3 questions. A few dozen words. And you could be on the way to finding the answers you've been seeking. Share your needs with me now!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

[Guest Post] Beware of Warm Body Supervision

If your supervisor has this much energy,
run away. Quickly.

Receiving quality clinical supervision is so important for new therapists

In fact, it is a requirement for independent practice for every mental health license I can think of in the US.

That tells you just how important it is: it is a best-practice standard.

So what happens if you end up with a warm body supervisor?

A warm body supervisor—what’s that?

It’s just like it sounds: your supervisor is just a warm body who signs off on your hours.

It’s really sad, actually. Most supervisors don’t start off as warm bodies. They usually started off excited about their profession and prospects.

But somewhere along the way, things broke down. The causes of warm body supervision are various.
  • Your supervisor might be overworked and not have time for you. 
  • They may be burned out. 
  • Maybe they’ve just lost their motivation or interest in supervision—or clinical work. 
  • Perhaps they had a warm body supervisor themselves and don’t know how to raise the bar.

Regardless of the cause, having a warm body supervisor can really damage your professional development.

Read on to learn about 5 red flags to watch out for…

Five red flags

So how do you know if you have a warm body supervisor?

Here are a few clues:

1.) They don’t remember details.

Not everyone has an incredible memory. That’s ok.

But if your supervisor can’t remember even the basics about your caseload from week to week– and doesn’t bother to take notes to help themselves remember– you’ve got a problem.

2.) They make you do all the work.

Part of developing clinical skills means taking initiative. Your supervisor may take a back seat for certain tasks to help build your autonomy. This is normal.

But if your supervisor’s response to most every question you have is, “Hmm, I’m not sure. Why don’t you look into that and let me know what you find?” — you’ve got a problem.

3.) They’re gone.

Whether it’s for an emergency consultation or your scheduled supervision hour, warm body supervisors are often unavailable.

You have to fight to get your weekly hour of supervision. 

“Just catch up with me if you have questions,” they may say.

Or your supervisor may be absent in other ways: answering the phone frequently during your hour, falling asleep, or doing other work while also “listening” to you.

If your supervisor has to interrupt your supervision to attend to something else, it should be the exception, not the rule. You deserve someone’s undivided attention during your supervision hour.

4.) They don’t give you feedback.

You have to fight to get a performance evaluation.

All their comments about your work are vaguely positive platitudes.

“Nice job!” they say. “You’re doing great!”

But when pressed for details about specifics on your work, they can’t come up with any.

This is because they really don’t know anything about your work.

They’ve never looked at any of your documentation.

They’ve never reviewed any audio or video tape of your sessions.

They have no idea who is on your caseload (see #1).

5.) They are unethical.

An inherent part of any supervisor’s job to take interest in your work, to pay attention to what you are doing. Warm body supervisors are neglectful of their supervisees. This represents a lack of professional integrity.

You may stumble across other problems of ethics with these supervisors. They may tell you it is okay to fudge your hours or notes. Or they may be chummy with you because they want to be liked. Or they may ask you to keep secrets. Or they act like your requests for supervision are burdensome.

We must hold boundaries as therapists so clients have safe space to do their work. Supervisors have a similar obligation to their supervisees.

What you deserve

You deserve better than this.

I should be really clear here.

These are merely my own opinions about a supervisor’s obligation to a supervisee.

Each licensing board does offer some guidance about supervision. But it’s certainly not this specific.

Not everyone will share these standards.

The warm body problem is pervasive.

I find that this is more likely to happen if you are receiving supervision for free or via an agency, where a staff member is not receiving any additional compensation for overseeing your work.

But even if you pay privately, you may end up with a warm body supervisor.

The simple fact is that many beginning therapists do not know what to expect from supervision. They defer to their supervisor. So I wrote this article to inform you about your options.

I want you to feel empowered, to seek out supervision that meets your needs.

Be cautious

Before you write off your supervisor as one of the warm body kinds, make sure you’ve thought it all through.

Have you been clear about your expectations?

Have you offered feedback about what you need and if so, how did your supervisor respond?

If you are considering changing supervisors, it is important to try and discuss things with your current supervisor.

I would hope that your supervisor checks in periodically for feedback from you. But you may need to take initiative on these conversations.

If your supervisor is acting towards you in a way that is unethical—being threatening or abusive, for example—you may choose not to take the issue up with them directly but seek other help via human resources, or private consultation with another therapist or trusted colleague.

Consider: is this a matter of having different styles or values?

Some people prefer supervisors who are more directive. Think to yourself: could I imagine other people feeling okay working with this supervisor? If the answer is yes, you may be encountering a stylistic difference.

Final thoughts

The best antidote against warm body supervision?

Interview more than one supervisor.

Have an honest, open discussion up front about your expectations—before you enter into contract with a supervisor.

If your agency furnishes a supervisor and you aren’t happy with the quality, seek additional mentorship elsewhere.

You deserve quality supervision! So don’t give up until you’re satisfied.

Ann Stonebraker is a counselor in Austin, Texas who helps folks quit people-pleasing. She writes weekly for her own practice blog at Labyrinth Healing, as well as at her latest project,, a resource site for counseling students, interns, & therapists in private practice. This blog post was originally published here

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Are we there yet? Part 2

Are we there yet? Another way of saying, "Have we arrived?" Well, we all know the counseling profession - like the practice of counseling - isn't about a destination, but instead is closer to a scaffolding of levels. Today, we're talking about how you know when you've arrived at the level of readiness for professional practice, agency or private. I've scoured the archives of some of the best counselor bloggers out there to help me arrive at the right answers. Here's what I've come up with since Part 1. 

Before you have reached the level of a counseling professional, you must: 

Know how to communicate your value as a counselor to others. Many of us stumble when it comes to asserting our own value. Especially where you are now, it feels like you are barely competent sometimes. But you DO offer your clients value, and you need to know how to identify and develop that. One great way to practice demonstrating value (and attract clients in the meantime) is to start a blog. In "Ten Types of Blog Posts for Your Therapy Website," Becky DeGrossa nails the many different ways to express yourself and develop your self-confidence through blogging. 

Be comfortable with the financial compensation you earn as being commensurate with that value. This is where the process can really break down. You may be able to accept that you have value, but putting a price tag on that? Ouch. Whether it's accepting a salary or setting a private practice rate, you need to overcome "Counseling Fee Shame," as this outstanding video by Camille McDaniel demonstrates. 

Match your daydreams with reality. This may not mean what you think it means. It is important to balance the more unrealistic dreams you may have with the reality of everyday life. But it is EQUALLY important not to limit your daydreams because you think that it's not something you can accomplish. You are called at a deep level to serve others. It is okay for that to follow a non-traditional format if that's what it takes to fulfill your soul calling. In, "The Dirty Secret Behind Success," Elizabeth Doherty Thomas shares her 10 steps to real, self-actualized success. 

Do you find any of these goals intimidating? Do they feel less than possible for you? 

Part 1 was about professionalism at a surface level. In Part 2, I want to encourage you to take your thoughts on professionalism to a deeper level.

What does it mean for you, to be a counseling professional?
What limitations do you think you have as a counseling professional, and why?
How do you define success for yourself?
What is your biggest professional daydream, and do you think you will allow yourself to achieve it? Why or why not? 

Professionalism is not an event. But it can be a paradigm shift that is a turning point for the rest of your career.

I would love for you to put one of the answers to the questions above in the comment box, so as a community, we can support you in your professionalism. Would you do that right now?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Are we there yet? Part 1

With the upcoming Mind Your Own Business Conference Challenge: Clients Unlimited, private practice has been ON THE BRAIN. 

I'm collecting tips and picking brilliant people's brains (want to interview geniuses? Host a conference) and all I want to talk about is making your counseling dreams come true. There's nothing like talking to these private practice leaders to make it feel like the future you've always wanted is right within your grasp. 

But some of you aren't AT your future yet. You're still thinking about it someday down the line, after you get your license, or after you've worked in an agency for a while. Some of you want to consider it part-time, some of you want to know what you can do RIGHT NOW as an intern to get started.

If that sounds like you, what you need to determine today is what needs to happen either BEFORE you're in private practice or in order to know you're ready for private practice.

In the spirit of my conference preparation, I'm pulling from some of the best minds in the business together to tell you how you can make sure you are more prepared before you step into your own amazing private practice someday. 

But what if I don't know if I want to go into private practice or not? What if I want to work at an agency?
If that's true, don't stop reading. These practices are necessary steps for your success as a professional counselor, no matter where you work! 

Research your market.  Tamara Suttle walks you through market research for therapists on her blog post, "Do You Know What Your Colleagues Are Up To? Market Research in 9 Simple Steps." This is not to foster competition, because you know I believe that we don't have to compete with others to be successful. You have something to offer that no one else does, and researching your market helps you highlight your unique gifts and offerings. 

Have an idea of what you want to DO in your practice. In "10 Signs You Are Ready To Go Into Private Practice" Amy Flaherty says that you need to start with having a business plan before you try to open your doors. I agree. (And I didn't do that, by the way...and wished I had.) If you don't know what you want, how will you know when you get it?

Have a solid self-care plan in place BEFORE you start.
Working for yourself is HARD. That plus a business that is about giving to others on a daily basis is a recipe for DISASTER without a self-care plan. In "10 Self-Care Strategies for Private Practice Shrinks," Julie Hanks gives you ten practical ways to do just that. 

Create SYSTEMS to prevent yourself from working too hard on the wrong thing or doing the same thing over and over again. Oh my goodness this was so hard for me to learn! I tend to be a big thinker but an in-the-moment doer...and that doesn't work long-term. You'll end up stressed and avoiding things you don't like to do, which, contrary to expectation, won't make those things go away. Tracey Lawton solves that problem in her article, "5 Systems For Success Tips."

Be okay with failure. Failure happens, so there's not much point in taking it personally. Besides, it's all in how you define it. In, "Have You Failed Lately? 7 Reasons You Should Try To Fail..." Miranda Palmer gives you seven excellent reasons failure is not something to avoid.

These are just some of the important things to have in place for your private practice before you start! 

Again, if you are thinking about going into another line of counseling work, don't think these don't apply to you. Every professional counselor needs to have a goal for their career (like Amy says) and practice good self-care (like Julie told you!) These are important pieces of preparation for life as a professional mental health therapist. 

Watch this spot next week for more steps to professional success in "Are we there yet? Part 2."

What is your dream for professional success? Comment below! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

*Cough* *Cough*

That's pretty much what I've sounded like for the last two weeks. On a Monday, I came down with a vicious 3-day cold that turned into bronchitis. Right now, I think I'm almost over it, but time will tell.

Two weeks out sick is no fun...period. But if you're a private practice counselor, it can mean it also severely impacts your business. Cancelled clients mean loss of income, not to mention the worries about letting down your own standards of professionalism by late canceling or having a coughing fit in the middle of session. 

When you're "sick & tired," it's even hard to manage the things you have to do to just be sick. You have to cancel client appointments, field new calls and emails and often put off important items on your to-do list. Even if you have the support of a group or agency taking care of the calls, there's networking events you may have planned on attending or an email newsletter you were scheduled to write. 

It's a lot! And it feels like a lot more when you're sick, cause everything feels harder. 

My method of coping with this problem mostly consisted of feeling guilty and panicking at 4 a.m. when I realized I didn't follow up on the steps I needed to transfer my domain name. (All my marketing materials pointed there and Google finally likes me...what if I lose it?)

It's not an approach I'd recommend. In fact, it was really stressful! What I should have done was prepared a plan of action before I ever got sick in the first place. But I didn't think about it...just like probably many of you never thought of it either. It just doesn't seem like a big deal, until it is. 

So that's why I created a free download for you, a done-for-you plan of action for therapist illness. It's just a few simple steps with pre-scripted outgoing email responses and voicemails, but it will save you a world of headache when you are drugged up on cold medicine and your head feels like you're wearing a hat 3 sizes too small. 

Download it now, and save it in a place where you can find it easily the next time you're sick. Read over it first, as there are a few steps you can take now to greatly increase your success with the done-for-you system. 

When you're sick (and come on, everyone gets sick) you need to be ready and able to focus on taking care of yourself, not trying to haphazardly extricate yourself from obligations and check off items on your to-do list. Get this free download now to avoid all that nonsense. 

Check it out! 

What do you think of the download? Comment below and let me know! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Are you afraid to be specific?

Have you ever had a client that just wasn't getting a concept you KNEW that they needed to understand to complete the transformation they desired? For example, when a borderline client absolutely refuses to see a situation beyond one extreme or another, and you KNOW if you can just get
through to them that it doesn't have to be an absolute, it will completely change their life? You just want to shake them and say, "Just because I'm saying something you don't like, it doesn't mean I don't care about you! In fact, it's BECAUSE I care about you that I share things with you that you just don't like to hear." If they could just get that, here's what would open up in their life:
  • A profound sense of freedom from the emotional ups and downs of borderline personality disorder.
  • Realization of the love and support from people in their life that they thought were enemies.
  • Freedom from the desire to self-harm or self-sabotage.
Can you think of what that would mean for a client? Just think about all that would open up for them. Now think about how hard it is for a clinician, like you or I, to watch that happening while KNOWING that freedom is just around the corner.

That's how I feel when I see a counselor (private practice, agency, or otherwise) insisting that they want to serve "everybody." When I have time I coach counselors in marketing, private practice profit, and creating a business that serves them, not the other way around. Recently I had an introductory session with a counselor that I just knew right away wasn't going to be a coaching match for me.

Because she didn't get that it was okay to be specific in what you wanted to work with.

Let's face it, there are clients that just don't float your boat. And there are clients that you speak with that give you this super-profound feeling of connectedness to a divine purpose, satisfaction and completion when you work with them. If you're being honest with yourself, you'll know I'm not exaggerating. You've had that feeling - sort of a combination of the exhilaration of a roller coaster ride, a rush of energy, and relief, because you know you fulfilled your purpose today.

It's okay to hold out for those clients.

I'm not a fan of discrimination or refusing to serve those you are qualified to help. But here's what I am a fan of:

  •  Actively attracting those you love to work with.
  •  Sharing your excitement about these groups with your bosses and potential referral sources. (People LOVE to send you clients that you really want to see.)
  • Choosing not to invest your energy in attracting "everyone" because ultimately it wastes resources you could be using bringing in those you love to work with.

If you're advertising, it's a waste of money to put out the ad for 'general counselor looking to serve every Tom, Dick and Harriet.' (This phrase really should include some extra x chromosome.)

If you're talking to referral sources, it's a one-way ticket to the trash bin to hand your card to someone who doesn't know the people you just love to work with.

If you're in a multi-counselor agency or group practice, you're heading for burnout if you don't make your preferences known.

But here's why people (i.e. YOU) often don't want to be specific.

  •  I'm afraid it will drive clients away. You're right. It will drive away the ones you don't want anyway. It will bring in more of the people you do want.
  • What if people don't feel like they can call me because they're not in my specialty? Trust me, they'll do it anyway. Ask anyone with a specialty. Anyone. You still get "regular clients."
  • What if I change my mind about what I like to work with? So what if you do? You can have multiple specialties. I do. (Teen anxiety, premarital counseling, sexual abuse…and counselor business coaching!) Just focus on one at a time. You don't have to eliminate anything,
  • But I need money/hours. You have to make your own decision about how hard of a line you take on this, but I want you to consider this fact: every non-ideal client you accept is taking the space that an ideal client could be filling. Ideal clients generally stay longer (more money/hours) and give you more job satisfaction to work with, extending your energy and staving off burnout. Think about it.

Seeing counselors afraid to be specific is the biggest heartbreaker for me personally as a coach/mentor. Because I know it's keeping them - keeping YOU - from your counselor mission.

That's why I want you to consider today challenging your fear of being specific OR further defining your ideal client here for me below. Comment in the box about who that client is and why you feel passionate about working with them.

If you're not 100% sure yet, don't let that stop you. Share who you want to work with now. You will refine that, and it may change with time. That's okay. But writing it down here today provides accountability that you are not going to be one of the counselor generalizers. You know who you're here to work with and why.

Who is that client… for you?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

You're the first to know!

It's here.

The 2014 Mind Your Own Business Conference Challenge: Clients Unlimited. 

And you're the first to know!

So? What's the big deal about that? (You may wonder.) 

Maybe you're thinking, "But I'm still in graduate school." Or, "I work in an agency." Or, "I'm still earning my hours." Or, "I can't afford training now."

"So..." you say, "why does this matter to me?"

It matters to you because:

Every counselor needs clients. 
If you're in private practice, that's how you earn your living. If you're working at an agency, you need to up the numbers OR you want to reach more people with your services. If you're an intern, you need hours.
The earlier you learn, the less time you'll spend stressing about it later on. 
All in all, I'd say I spent 2 1/2 years reading every business book I could get my hands on, buying advertising, testing copy, learning to talk about what I do, and falling flat on my face before I reached a point at which I felt I had a "pretty good handle" on business as it relates to client attraction and growth. If you're just starting your graduate program, or your internship, you are actually AHEAD of the game if you start learning now. By the time you really need client attraction to happen, you'll already be an old pro.
It's FREE. 
Registering for the conference gives you an all-access pass to:
  • Six free, live video webinars with top private practice experts. (Recordings will be available for purchase, but everyone will have ample time to listen for free!)
  • The exclusive MYOB Facebook group, which only opens admission once a year. (After this we'll close it till 2015!)
  • Free gifts from me and the speakers (no one is selling during this conference - instead, we'll be giving something away at each event!) 
  • The MYOB Conference Challenge, a community accountability exercise I'll be telling you about a little closer to the start of the conference. (Which will begin in July!)
How many more reasons could you need? Everyone who's involved in the conference will get:

  • Real, actionable tips you can put to work for you tomorrow.
  • Friendship and community with other counselors just like you.
  • Tons of free gifts and goodies, as well as the inside track on our favorite services and private practice tools. 

Sound good to you? Then get in on the action here!

FREE 21-Day
Mind Your Own Business
Conference Challenge!


Sign up now to get free access to pre-conference activities, the Facebook group and of course, all the details about how to sign up to attend the webinars! Only registered members will be sent information about how to attend each event for free. So don't wait, or you might miss out! 

Register here.

Important: If you registered last year, you are probably still enrolled for this year. To re-register, you don't have to do anything, just look for the emails. (The first email, "Welcome To The Conference" will go out today.) If you are registered and don't wish to be for this year, no problem. There's an unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email. 

Will you be attending the conference? Share in the comments section below!