Think being a therapist is only doing direct-client care? Think again! There’s a whole other world of possibilities out there and that’s what this article is all about. But first, I think I need to clarify what exactly “direct-client care” is in case some of you readers don’t know.
Direct-client care is when you work with clients directly. Basically, it’s when you’re doing the typical therapist work of meeting with clients and helping them through their problems. An example of indirect-client care would be if you were supervising or training other therapists on how to do the work. Most therapists do direct-client care and that’s it. They do this day in and day out throughout their entire careers. There’s nothing wrong with this, but what I’m hearing from other therapists is that a lot of therapists feel drained by doing too much direct client care.
If you’re feeling exhausted, drained, or like you’re burning out, you’re doing too much direct-client care. One of the sad things I see is that a lot of therapists experience this and then decide that it’s time to leave the profession. Often times these are good therapists who have gotten really good at doing therapy and just when they reach their peak they get burned out and leave the profession. I think this is really unfortunate. It’s also unnecessary.
Rather than simply leave the profession, I think that what a lot of these therapists need to do is to have less clients and to start doing things with their career other than direct-client care. Let’s take me for example. I write books. I love writing and it’s something I can do with my career that does not involve scheduling and billing insurance. Another thing I do is I provide consultation and training for other therapists. There are even jobs where you can travel around the country doing seminars. I bet you never thought you could travel in this career, huh?
If you want to take clients out of the equation completely, another thing you can do is to work for the insurance companies. The insurance companies need licensed therapists to review paperwork. It doesn’t sound exciting but it is a 9-5 salaried position and if you really feel like you need a break from seeing clients, this is it. Another possibility is to sit on a Board. It could be a non-profit or even your State Board. You could also do organizational or policy work for a non-profit. Again, these are all things you could either do part or full time.
I think it’s really good for us therapists to mix it up a little. Get creative. If there’s something you like to do or wish you could do, there’s probably a way to make it related to therapy or just do it part time on the side. Really, the possibilities are endless. There’s a lot you can do while still staying in your career.