Are you working at a counseling agency you hate? Do you dread going to work? Are you feeling unsatisfied with the progress your clients are making? Do you feel annoyed much of the time you’re at work? Is this not what you thought being a therapist would be like? Well, I’m here to tell you that you can do better. You can have an office deserving of you. You can feel excited about your work again. You can be a better therapist. You can make things the way you want them to be. Just one little warning though; it’s going to take some hard work.
Back when I was working for the agencies, I was absolutely miserable. I felt like I had picked the wrong profession. I was both angry at myself and even my clients. I realized there had to be a better way. For me, it was leaving the agency and going into private practice. This was the best decision I ever made. Three years later I have no regrets. I knew I could do better than be miserable at the agency, and I did. Now I’m living the life I pictured for myself back when I was in graduate school. What did you imagine your life was going to be like as a therapist? If things aren’t lining up, realize that you can change them. You can have the life you imagined for yourself.
I feel like one of the biggest problems in this profession is how miserable most of us are. Most of us are underemployed, underpaid, and working jobs that we absolutely hate. Obviously this negativity trickles down to our clients. If we’re miserable and under-performing, they’re not going to be at their best either. Now that I’ve been in private practice for a few years, I have a certain perspective that I didn’t before. There’s a lot more that affects the success of therapy besides the therapist. Environment and expectations are huge. The agencies that I used to work for were dirty and run down. The receptionist was rude. I can’t imagine that expectations for success were very high at all. For me, the cure to all of this was to go into business for myself. For you, it might be something else.
The point is, you don’t have to be miserable in your job anymore. That’s not helping anybody. There’s a lot of things we therapists can do other than working for an agency. We can do paperwork for the insurance companies if you need a break from seeing clients. We can be in private practice of course. We can write books, do public speaking, or be supervisors. You can be better, whatever “better” is for you. You wouldn’t encourage your clients to settle, so why should you?