I recently joined a private practice! I know, exciting right :) !
It was always an eventual goal of mine to work in private practice. However, I never really had a clear timeline or plan; it was honestly just one of those things I mentioned when I spoke to people about my career goals or even ones I wrote down as a long-term type of thing. I guess my sometimes self-defeating thoughts that would scream out “you’re not allowed to do that yet” kept me from identifying a clear time-line. And then again, my faith in God and belief that He does everything in His timing and that all I have to do is be faithful to my current season was also at work. Whichever the case, this opportunity came when I was least expecting it and when I was just being faithful to the present season of my life.
A former colleague and friend informed me that the practice she was working at was searching for new Clinicians and she thought I’d be a great fit. With some shock that she would consider me (engineering smallness) and nervousness to put myself out there, I courageously (at 2am might I add) crafted my ‘letter of interest’, brushed up my curriculum vitae, and sent it off to the director of the practice. With even more shock and excitement, I received an email back requesting a date to meet. It was sort of unreal that this was actually happening considering that I hadn’t done much to prepare, I hadn’t taken the ‘master classes’ on how to build your private practice, and I hadn’t even been consistent with building my own brand. All the things that the “experts” say are necessary, but I just know that God works. (P.S. no shade to master classers, motivation subscribers, etc. – some things just aren’t for me or as realistic for me to do). Anyway, I was happy that the things that I had spoken about and believed God for were finally coming into fruition.
I attended the meeting (“interview”), hella intimidated because I hadn’t been on a formal interview in over 6 years! I was grateful to find a kind, down to earth, intelligent, and welcoming individual who was just as interested in having me work for her practice as I was transitioning into the private sector. She made me feel valued and helped me to remember all that I had to offer; she asked me questions about my niche and client issues that I am best with. She challenged me to think more about my gifts and those specialties that I had been taking for granted. She saw me. And more than that, she was grounded enough in her sense of self that she wasn’t threatened by what she saw but instead she chose to pour into me to help me grow more. Our conversation was casual and unintimidating, and I had that “wow, this is really happening” moment.
Among some laughs, asked & answered questions, and shared experiences, she asked me something that forced me to be vulnerable and also challenged my previous beliefs about goals, independence, success, and “making it”. She said: “you’re already licensed and have experience in the field, why not have your own private practice?” Something I thought about but had never fully answered for myself. With somewhat of a crack in my voice, fearful of what it fully meant to not go for the gold, I calmly said “because that’s not for me”. I went on to explain my challenges with self-defeat, discipline, and consistency, not to mention my negative belief system that tells me I need to have EVERYTHING together first before actually executing. (And although I’m actively working on these things – if I waited until they were all “worked out” I’d never do them). I was also transparent about my lack of desire and resources to run a business at this time in my life. And my limited desire to learn how to. I was being courageously honest with her and myself and it felt liberating. I didn’t have to pretend that I was working towards something that I didn’t actually want. I wanted to work in private practice, but without the burden of running the business. We all have different roles and purpose and I okay with not have those responsibilities.
As I drove home I was bombarded with thoughts about things I’ve heard and seen on the dreaded internet regarding ownership, independence, entrepreneurship, and every other self-made concept crowding the timelines of millennials. And don’t get me wrong! These concepts are great for those who they’re great for, but everything IS NOT for everyone and I think we ought to be more realistic about what is for us so that we can get out of this cycle of ‘overcompensation à shame’’. I believe in the importance of ambition, hard work, and accomplishing goals – but I also know the power of social media (propaganda) and how it forces us to follow what the masses are doing instead of assessing what feels authentic for ourselves. It causes us to feel inadequate, “motivates” us to take on someone else’s behavior patterns, work incessantly to feel competent, and then when we don’t get the same results we experience shame and feelings of inadequacy. But all of this is because we weren’t being true to ourselves from the jump.
Before I came to this clear understanding, there was that pressure to prove and perform, to have the bragging rights to say “Hi, I’m Edie and I have my own private practice”. To be able to portray this idea that “not only am I a competent Clinician, I’m also savvy enough to run a business, disciplined enough to make my own rules, and confident enough to break free from the chains of managed care”. Real or imagined, this was the perspective that I had. Me being the mindful Clinician I am, it was important for me to take it a step further to understand where all of these pressures came from. I realized that ego, pride, impression management, and self-sufficiency were all at the core of the pressure to do and have something that I didn’t actually want. Realizing this was the key to me moving forward to accept the position at the private practice. It freed me from the pressure to perform or pretend. It reminded me that the work I do is important with or without my own practice. And the person I am is valid with or without the bragging rights of owner. This doesn’t mean that I’ll never do my own thing, it just means that I am being authentic to who and where I am right now.
So as of March 2019, I officially became a Clinical Specialist with Spilove Psychotherapy. There are offices in located Bryn Mawr, West Chester, and Center City (Pennsylvania). I absolutely love the team there and I feel confident in my choice to accept the offer. Some of my specialties include: emotional abuse & trauma, dysfunctional relationships, and EMDR. If you’re interested or know someone who could benefit from therapy, reach out to me. I’d be happy to assist you in your journey.
In addition to this, I chose to go part-time at my primary job as a drug and alcohol therapist (community based agency) and I’ve accepted an adjunct position for the Fall. This new step in my career feels right. And I’m especially grateful for my willingness to be courageous and put aside the ego and pride that could’ve driven me elsewhere. More and more I’m being reminded that the authentic me is better than the perceived or performance-based version that often tries to dictate my behaviors. That if I just commit to being who I am and serving the present assignment of my life, I’ll gain access to all the things I’ve always wanted and more.