For those who don’t know, the summer is the slowest time for therapists. People are busy being outside and I guess the sunny weather makes people feel better. It can get so bad that therapists have traditionally taken the month of August off. Sigmund Freud was the first to do this, so even he had a drop of productivity in the summer. Although I would never take a whole month off my practice, I do take a vacation in August and try to stay busy during the rest of the summer as much of possible. The therapist social networks are lighting up already with messages like “Help! My caseload is shrinking! What do people do to prevent the summer slow down?” I think the truth is that there really isn’t much you can do to prevent your caseload from shrinking in the summer. It’s always going to happen at least a little. My solution is to turn to activities that don’t involve clients.
Why turn away from trying to get more clients in the summer? Well, simply put, we have no control over whether people want to be in therapy during the summer or not. Of course, this would be a really smart time for people to enroll in therapy: no waitlists, therapists that have the time to be more responsive and attentive, prime pick of appointment times, etc. But, in my experience, people don’t think of things like that when they decide if now’s the right time to enroll in therapy. So, you have to ask yourself, if I can’t convince clients to do therapy right now, what can I do? This is how I’ve always spent the months leading up to the slump. What can I do to be more productive this summer?
Last October, on the anniversary of my private practice, I wrote a blog post on my counselingwithmarina.com site saying that I had big plans for the coming year. One of those plans was to create a blog devoted to the interests of other therapists and create the subreddit r/therapists, since there weren’t any easily accessible resources for therapists out there. There was another big project though that I’ve had in mind. Too big to work on while I was still scheduling 40+ clients per week. The nice thing about the summer is that it gives me a break from my work with clients to work on other exciting projects. And this upcoming project is my most exciting one yet, but I’m not going to give anymore details on it until it is finished (Hopefully in September) so you’ll just have to stay tuned!
The summer slow-down doesn’t have to be a bad thing. This is a great time for you to do your continuing education, get some extra certifications, go on a speaking tour, write books (I wrote all my books during the summer months!), reach out to the community, try new marketing strategies, and start new projects. The focus for me has always been, what can I do this summer to make me a better therapist and a stronger candidate? Because I have that focus, I’ve found that each Fall I bounce back even better than the year before and the next summer slow-down isn’t as bad.