One of the therapists I work with said she doesn’t have a private practice citing that she can do therapy anywhere and if she was to open her own business, she’d want it to be something fun, “like making cupcakes.”
Moments of clarity stumbled upon are especially convenient for a busy working mom who doesn’t have time to sit and ponder her life’s goals in a therapist’s office. Deciding whether I would keep my private practice going had been on my mind lately. I wanted to close it down, but I hate “quitting.” The ultimate goal as I traversed grad school was to one day have my own private practice. Over the course of the last year that I ran the practice I enjoyed working with the parents and their children (some more than others – there are some really screwed up things parents do and it’s very hard to nicely say, “Your kid doesn’t need to be fixed. You do.”
A moment that sticks out in my mind, for example, was the dad of a toddler who kept hitting her sister. In the same breath he used to articulate his anger towards her unrelenting violence towards her sister, he stated his approach to disciplining his child, “I spank her. A lot.”
Still though, I liked the clinical work. What I hated, despised, dreaded, couldn’t stand was all the business-y type work. The advertising, the networking, the promoting of one’s own self and business. Please, I used to say to the universe, just send me the clients. I hated working with an anorexic, axis 2 nutritionist just to try to promote my business and sitting at an all day fair for pregnant women only served to awaken the PTSD I had recently been diagnosed with when it came to my own infertility, pregnancy losses, and trying high-risk pregnancies.
I hated running my private practice, but kept going rewarded by parent’s “ah ha” moments in how they could better parent their own children. “I guess I need to stop spanking my child if I want her to learn not to hit others.” Well, yeah…that’s a start.
I love being back to work – even if it is in a very corporate environment where sucking up seems rampant and taking breaks is looked upon as a luxury, not a legal right and more importantly, a way to keep balance. I just sit at my desk and the universe drops a plentiful amount of clients into my lap. Some wizard behind a curtain deposits a nice paycheck into my account every other week. And I don’t have to engage in any business-y type behavior.
Spending 40 hours per week at work has made me have to set priorities and has finally highlighted for me what I care most about doing. Besides having to parent, the small amount of time left is spent cooking, working out, writing, and going to zumba. Checking my practice email brings on dread and anxiety. Please universe, don't send me any more clients. I just don't have time...
I was afraid I would lose what was important to me when I chose to go back to work – I didn’t even know what was important to me – I just had this vague sense of fear and panic that time would be too short and how would I fit all I wanted to into life. Instead, I discovered what was important. Will I stay in this job forever? Absolutely not. It’s high stress to spend 40 hours per week being transferred call after call that a customer service agent tells me, “I have a caller for you, she is thinking of killing herself/someone else/is in withdrawl from alcohol and painkillers.”
But as I pull the plug on my private practice this week, I am one step closer to taking charge of my life and asserting/discovering what I do and don’t want. I haven’t felt this much clarity since I was a mouthy, fiery teen/young 20-something.
Hello old friend, it’s nice to see you again…