While we invest in our helping skills education and our business education to succeed in our private practice, there is an incredible amount of wisdom we can learn from our own therapists and coaches (good and bad). Today I'll share what I learned from working with my first therapist, from why I chose him to what was helpful. These lessons were big contributors to growing a successful private practice and I am sure they will be helpful for you as well!
About the 6-Figure Practice Program:
The Six Figure Practice with Sasha Raskin, is an online program and community for helpers such as counselors and coaches, who are building their private practice. If you’re looking for a clear, step-by-step road map for creating and marketing your private practice, you're at the right place!
Free resources to grow and market your counseling private practice or coaching business:
Free 22 minutes crash course - "How to Create a Thriving Counseling / Coaching Private Practice": https://www.the6figurepractice.com/free-22-minute-crash-course
Free resources about marketing for therapists and marketing for coaches: https://www.the6figurepractice.com/blog
Free 30-minutes strategy session with Sasha Raskin: https://www.the6figurepractice.com/schedule-a-free-30-min-strategy-session/
Our accelerator program for creating a 6-figure business:
The 6 Figure Practice Program: https://www.the6figurepractice.com/the-6-figure-practice-program-accelerator/
More ways to connect:
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2174406112863019
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/the6figurepractice
Chat with me on messenger: https://m.me/the6figurepractice
Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCITSmYvj-vpwuWrOuwqYr5w
My name is Sasha Raskin. I’m a Number 1 Best Selling Co-Author in 12 Countries, a Doctoral student in Counseling Education and Supervision, a coach, a psychotherapist and an adjunct faculty at a graduate counseling program at Naropa University.
One of the things I’m enjoying the most is helping other therapists and coaches build their successful private practice so that they could actually help the clients they were taught to help, and thrive themselves. I’m almost always fully booked, so my ability to work with individuals is limited. That is why I’ve created this program to deliver powerful results and create a community where you will feel supported by each other!
This program's primary goal is to help you build a thriving private practice, in a fun and authentic way. Counselors and coaches invest an incredible amount of time, money, and effort into building their helping skills. However, when their training ends, they usually find themselves lacking the business skills that are needed to start and run a successful private practice, feel isolated, discouraged and not knowing where to start.
I believe that to be truly helpful to others, therapists and coaches have to learn to thrive themselves and definitely know how to get clients whom they can help.
This is where this program comes in. If you're willing to learn and work hard, a 6-figure private practice is within your reach in a year - 2 years. This program will give you a clear outline, and detailed instructions on how to get there.
What I learned from my first therapist
Who are watching and listening to this, I'm Sasha Raskin from the 6 figure practice, and also good morning to all the participants and members of our private practice accelerator, the 6 figure practice. So I want to talk today about what I learned from choosing my first therapist.
The first part, you're probably very much aware of it and you probably heard it but I think it's very important to say again, first, always, always, always invest in your own therapists and coaches for a few different reasons - one, definitely you should be practicing what you're preaching, right? So if you are a therapist in private practice and/or a coach and you don't have your own coach or your own therapist, well, I think it's a bit of a double standard, right? If you expect your potential clients to sign up with you for you helping them and you don't have or you don't think it's important/affordable for you right now to invest in yourself that would maybe not directly show up in your consultation calls, for example.
Another reason is just basic self-care, right? Helping others is not the easiest thing to do. So helping yourself to stay grounded and supported during all the ups and downs of your private practice including sometimes difficult clients, including sometimes your business being rocky, it is super important.
Now another reason why you should invest in your own therapist or coach is it's a wonderful way to learn, by seeing what works and what doesn't as a client. And coaching and counseling training goes so far. You will learn even more by seeing what works for you and what doesn't from different people. For example, this Friday I went with my wife to Equine therapy which was incredible, and I go there once in two weeks or once a week, depends on my week schedule. Well, I think it's like four or five hours I'll have an intensive with one of my coaches which is a group coaching program helping business coaching to help others.
Half an hour ago I finished a call with my other coach about social media marketing. Again, I'm a part of his group. And it's incredible to invest in different people that can help you achieve what you want. So leading by example for your clients is extremely important and it's very important for yourself.
Now I want to make sure I keep it short because I have my next client in 10 minutes from now.
So what I learned from my first therapist I think it was about, well, definitely more than a decade ago or maybe 15 years or so, and first of all was the choosing process. I got five names for my insurance company and I have no idea who they are and what they are. Internet search wasn't very, very big then, maybe it was 20 years ago, I don't remember right now. But I just got their names and their phone numbers.
So all I could do in terms of basing my first initial impression was on their first initial response to me. So I called all of them which is by the way exactly the same process or similar to what your potential clients are going through, they probably are contacting other counselors and coaches and not just you, so that's important to keep in mind. And they are comparing you to others - your website, your communication process, your consultation call not just your prices as you might be thinking.
And four out of those five counselors felt extremely unprofessional to me or at least in the state of mind that I was at. I was pretty depressed back then and I just needed someone to talk to about that. I was kind of isolated and therapy seemed to be a good step. But I've never done therapy and I didn't have any idea even though I was studying psychology in my bachelor's degree.
One of the therapists I contacted never returned my call, another one returned my call maybe four days after, another one answered but was extremely, extremely busy, something like he was rushing and was, "Just call me later." That was his response.
So those were pretty bad first impressions. But the therapist that I ended up choosing he ... I don't remember if he answered right away or if he called me back like half an hour later, but he gave me like 20 or 30 minutes of consultation time, answered all my questions. In the consultation what was really helpful is I asked him, "Well, can you help with depression?" And he said, "For my other clients, by all means it was helpful for them," right? So he didn't promise anything but he gave this glimpse of hope based on his work with other clients which was very ... it's, well, extremely important for me to hear that there is hope at the end of the tunnel here.
He also said something like, "You can just schedule a first session, see how it is. And like you're not stuck with me," right? "You can compare with other therapists and if it doesn't work for you after the first session you don't have to continue." So that relieved a lot of pressure for me. So that's in terms of choosing.
First session, it was exactly what I needed. He was just very attuned to what I needed at each part of the therapeutic process. In the first session I just needed to talk, and talk slowly. He wasn't pushing me, it was super, super gradual. And he was quiet like for almost 50 minutes which is exactly what I needed then at that session. Later on, maybe half a year later I found out that his style was very dynamic, we had much more engaged conversations later on, but he knew exactly what I needed. And that first session was where I was actually making a decision to work with him or not. So that was extremely important.
Now during the sessions there was a gradual process. At some point I think half a year later he introduced DMDR, I was briefly mentioning a trauma I had in the past and he didn't pushed it but he kind of introduced it. And we did it which was incredibly helpful at the point where I was ready. So again, he was attentive to what I needed during each part of the process.
And gradually there was a transition towards wins, right? The things that I was accomplishing as I was moving out of my depression. And that was great. So it was much more positive psychology-oriented towards the end of our work together.
What was extremely helpful as well for me to learn from him that I use till this day in my private practice is clear boundaries. And the fact that he had very clear boundaries just modeled to me that it's possible to be a good human being and still have clear boundaries which I not just use till this day in my private partners but also in my other relationships. So for example, I have ADHD, sometimes I was late to the sessions, half an hour late, or just forgot about it. And guess what? He just very, very politely said that he needs to end on time or he needs to still charge me for that late cancellation or no show. And in my mind I was like, "Come on, dude. You need to understand me, right? I have ADHD or whatnot." I didn't say it but that's what I was thinking. And it was very helpful for me to see that he is very strict with that.
Also with the outside communication, he was very short with his text messages and it was just around scheduling always even though I wanted to open up to bigger, larger themes. So that was his decision in advance and he kept to it.
The way he did gradual transition from insurance, co-pay to private pay - so I got 12 sessions and I had a small co-pay with my insurance and I wanted to continue working with him, so he introduced this I think four sessions before my 12 sessions insurance package ended that he will need to increase his price. I think my co-pay was maybe 70 but his full price was around 300. And he said that he understands it's difficult so if I want to continue he will be increasing it gradually, right? For a month it would be, for example, 200 ... sorry, 150, another month 175, then 200, 250, 300. That was extremely helpful and for me it felt like easy transition.
What else? Also he did was he followed up when I wasn't scheduling like two or three weeks ... a week sometimes would pass and he would gently follow up. What I learned from it is what not to do actually. So at the end of the sessions I ask my clients if they want to book the next session and we book it then and there, because life gets busy and it's just easier to schedule the next session at the end of each session and then there was a continuation. And if your clients don't want to book they'll tell you.
He was also very attentive to when I was ready to finish therapy and he just ... I think like I didn't show up like for a month, I didn't schedule anything. And he said, "Well, it looks like maybe you are ready to finish therapy." And I thought about this and I was ready and he said, "Well, let's do a final session then." And that was extremely helpful for me, we did this final session, it was a good summary, I felt I got closer. And also that final session is also what brought me back to him when I needed therapy again a year later, right? So getting that closure initiated by him was extremely helpful.
So I'm going to answer my next client. I hope it was helpful. If you're not a member of our private practice yet, feel free to schedule a call with us in the link below. I hope you have a wonderful ...