There’s no i in team

There’s no i in team . . . .

On Monday I asked if now is a good time to start in private practice, and suggested that the vague guidance of ‘sufficient experience’ could be firmed up by considering 4 elements.

Yesterday I talked about Element 1, our personal therapy. And I suggested that to be ready for private practice, 100 hours of personal therapy is a good foundation.

Today I’m going to talk about elements 2 and 3 – bonus time – I want to get all 4 covered so that Friday will be about therapists currently in Private Practice and who are wondering what to do.

And there’s no i in team was a very annoying observation made by a colleague a long, long time ago which popped into my head this morning.

My apologies if it annoys you too.

Element 2 is Supervision, supervision, supervision!!!

I can never have enough supervision, group peer and one to one. I so wish I had more time and more money, and I would have perpetual Supervision – which I wouldn’t because too much is as potential a problem as too little.

When I trained as a Counsellor it was from a background of work in big business and I’d had experience of good – and not so good – managers. And their behaviour completely influenced how I thrived in my job.

Moving into counselling, I assumed – I know, I know – never assume – that Supervision was the same as management.

And I was blown away by my experience of Supervision – being gently challenged and supported and encouraged – well, just an awesome process.

I quickly saw here was a space where Unconditional Positive Regard was modelled in buckets (if you can have buckets of UPR) which informed the safety and effectiveness of my client work, and my growth as a counsellor.

Supervision is a cost and it’s one that we need to invest in when we start in Private Practice.

I think at the beginning of our career, we need one to one supervision at a higher ratio, I do see colleagues who choose peer supervision only and I worry about this.

I wonder if a peer supervision option is driven by cost, it’s very expensive to train and I wonder if colleagues have peer supervision to save money, and I think it’s a false saving – colleagues can invest in themselves with good one to one supervision and I use invest deliberately.

The key thing that keeps us and our clients safe is Supervision – it needs to be robust, independent and frequent.

It could be we need to change or get another Supervisor when we start in Private Practice – I think it is important that our Supervisor is experienced in PP as there are tensions between the business of therapy and therapeutic work that can be lessened with support from experienced Supervisor.

Talking of support,

Element 3 – who’s in your therapy team?

As counsellors in Private Practice we will work alone in the therapy room – and in our PP, who else do we have alongside?

Friends, family, professional support. . . . . . . . .

We seem to expect ourselves to just be able to do private practice– if we’ve had a similar business – great. And the rest of us seem to think we should know how to do it . . . .

I see myself in this – I had so many blindspots with my business and yet I was a business advisor.

I think it’s important to have as a mentor someone further along the road than me. I always have a coach or mentor.

From my realisation when starting my business that some Business Start-Up training might be useful (it was brilliant) and hooking up with my mentor. Through specialist support – Selling with Heart or FaceBook Ads – I have people in my team. Some more or less permanent, others for specific tasks. Liz, the Listening Accountant, is one of the permanent ones.

Once we are clinically ready, have completed our training, then it’s about learning/being in business.

To be in business we need to invest a balance of time and effort and money. We can invest in others to help us – or spend time learning ourselves.

When I began, I had time (ish) and no money, and I found the information and support I needed – eventually. I was often exhausted and confused and frustrated.

If you’re ready to start your private practice who is in your team?

To get hold of the checklist, pop your details here:

And I’ll talk some more about support in the Live at 3:00pm


Tennis, time and teamwork – therapist challenges

I’m writing this on Monday 15th July. Yesterday was The British F1 Grand Prix, the Cricket World Cup and the Wimbledon Men’s Finals.

My first draw was the motor racing, then the tennis. And others in the house were interested in the Cricket.

The tv went on first to watch the cricket. The same channel then switched to the motor racing, with us switching between the two until the race started. Oh, and crossing to another channel to keep an eye on the tennis.

It was a good race, and I stayed with the programme for the 100 minutes or so of the race.

At its end, we dipped into cricket (England not doing too well) before moving across to tennis. Which went on and on. Amazing performances from Djokovic and Federer. Such technical ability, stamina and magic.

Feeding time for mutts, checked in on cricket  – oh dear – and a quick walk in the cool of the evening.

And back to tennis – penultimate game, commentator notes it’s good to have an easy service game to love, when Federer fights back to several break points. And finally Djokovic wins the game. One game to go in final set before tie-break. And pop across to cricket – England need 3 off final two balls to win . . . .  – stay with cricket to see England draw and the ‘super over’ process will happen. Back to tennis to find Federer held serve and the new, final set, tie break starting. Leaving me breathless.

You may – or may not – know the results. Very well done to all the winners and runners up. Amazing examples of the best in their field. Literally in the case of the cricket 😊

I felt exhausted yesterday evening – I also felt a little giddy and lightheaded from the assault on my senses of all the amazing action.

And whilst waiting to fall asleep last night, I thought that yesterday’s experiences were a heightened example of running a counselling private practice.

The motor race was (about) the length of two therapy sessions, I was dropping in to the other sports – similar to checking emails and messages from clients – and in the background (cricket) are the ongoing activities needed to run my private practice. Keeping up with regulations, keeping on top of my business record keeping.

Walking my dogs was a different type of activity -definitely part of my self-care – as well as theirs.

Yesterday was an exceptional day for sporting achievement – and yet the physiological impact on me was, perhaps, the same as every working day. Well, to an extreme level but you understand my point?

I have been reminded to have time out – to use auto-email responses and detailed voicemail message to ensure clients know when I will respond and to ensure I can have my down-time.

I have been reminded that moving between one set of skills to another requires effort and time. I sometimes discount the impact of moving between client contact, therapeutic sessions and business admin activity. Yesterday’s concentrated events are unusual, and they demonstrated to me how I feel when I put myself under unsustainable demands.

Yesterday was brilliant – I enjoyed the experience, and it was not directly client impacting.

As a reminder to note my fitness to practise and all the other activities I do, it was timely and powerful.

We are all effectively playing in the cricket world cup; racing in formula one and competing in a tennis final every day of our counselling careers.

A final observation – team work.

Every success was the result of teamwork and whilst we may work on our own, we need to have our team around us, whatever that looks like.

Let’s make sure we have the right support teams for us, as did all three of Sunday’s winners – evident in their results.

Who’s in your team, are there any gaps?

And if you have a business admin vacancy  . . . . .  you know where I am 😊

With warm wishes