I have worked with a lot of psychologists. Too many to count, to be fair. One thing I have noticed with these clinicians is that they may give helpful advice to their clients, they do NOT take it themselves. So for as obvious as this seems, I'm reaching out to these clinicians and talking to them about self-care.
A few of my favourite suggestions:
1. Stop seeing clients that you don't want to be seeing.
Many clinicians in private practice work very hard for every bum on their seat. They hold on to referrals like they are going out of style (and don't get me wrong, they are going out of style); however, is it healthy? Are you driving yourself insane seeing clients that you don't want to be seeing? If you look at your diary and roll your eyes about a client coming in, refer the client to someone else! By allowing your diary the freedom of clients you don't want to be seeing frees you to be able to see your dream clients.
2. Don't give away free time!
This seems pretty obvious, right? But if a health insurance provider only pays you for 50 minutes of face-to-face time, then you only see your clients for 50 minutes face-t0-face. Boundaries are a key factor from your chair to them. So take your own advice!! Set boundaries and expectations with clients that if they want to be seen for a longer amount of time, then, by all means, they pay for it. You're still paying on your student loan, aren't you? Don't give away your time. Set rules around your phone calls, your letter writing, your emails. Don't allow your clients to, without realizing it, take advantage of your time.
3. Set goals.
If you want to understand how you're doing as a clinician, set yourself tasks and goals. When you do this, reward yourself. Allow yourself to enjoy something you love or even like to rejoice in the fact that you made it. Did you refer out a client you didn't like? NEW SHOES it is! Did you reach your revenue targets? Have a piece of cake. Did you meet with three new referral sources that month? Well then, by all means, go enjoy a movie!
Other oldies but goodies:
1. Schedule time for fun
2. Take a sick day!
3. Outsource any work you don't enjoy doing. *ie bookkeeping, reception, filing, cleaning your office, clients that don't fit your ideal client presenting issues
4. Create a grateful board. *Remember the good things*
Until the next time, keep the out of the box thinking up!!.