I spent 10 years building my private practice as a Therapist. I loved the work that I did and I had a thriving practice. I took 10 different insurances and I was continually being referred to work with clients, from Doctors, from other Therapists, from my clients recommending other people to work with me. So, why did I mess all that up?
Well, this is a big question with complex answers. What I saw, as the writing on the wall, was a vision of being in private practice that was going to get harder and harder over the coming years. Insurances, for profit insurances, began to use Medicare as the guide for their reimbursement rates. This is a huge problem for Independent Therapists, or really any Independent practitioner in the medical field. As most business expenses go up each year, having reimbursement rates go down, well it sets you on a unsustainable course. I even joined a group of other Therapist’s in an attempt to have conversations with insurance companies, but in the few years since I left my private practice, even these groups are having trouble making a dent in the insurance wall of reimbursement.
So, I started to think a lot about what I wanted to create as a new business model. I decided that I would no longer take insurance. To that end, I also closed down my business in New Mexico and moved to Washington State. This served several purposes. I opted out of all the insurance panels that I had been on. Then I started looking at creating an Untethered Business Model. When I moved, I lost most of my clients, many had insurance, many needed therapy and therapy is best served in person. If I was going to be untethered, then I was going to have to start to look outside my field…
I had taken coach specific training in 2008, with David Rock’s Results Coaching Program. I have to say that there was a part of me, in fact for full transparency a very big part of me, that felt that I really didn’t need coach training. I had a Masters in Social Work, I had been a practicing Therapist for almost 20 years at that point. I was pretty sure I understood the differences between Coaching and Therapy…
I was wrong…
I have heard some fairly superficial explanations of the differences between Coaching and Therapy, Coaching looks forward, Therapy looks backwards, or Coaching is goal driven, Therapy goes on and on. Really these are very simplistic. There are many places that Therapy and Coaching overlap and there are some significant differences. And, I will discuss these ideas in a blog post very soon.
But, what was clear to me was that in order to have an Untethered Business and ultimately an Untethered Life, I was going to need to embrace Coaching. So, I spent the past 4 years developing my coaching practice. Getting more education about Coaching and developing a keen understanding of the differences and similarities between the two professions. I have, along the way, fallen in love with Coaching.
I love working with my clients, I love working with Therapist’s who are looking at these very same and very real concerns about the changing climate in medical reimbursement rates. If you can’t afford to be in private practice, how will you continue to serve the greater good? You can always get a job working for an agency or organization that inspires you, and that is a great option.
For some of us, we like to work for ourselves, we are entrepreneurial and we want to stay that way!
So, what’s a Therapist to do? Well, I don’t have an absolute answer for that. But, it probably behooves you to take some time and contemplate what you want. What are you passionate about? What kind of life you want to create? What kind of business do you want? If you were deciding for yourself, what would work/life balance look like? And, then when you have a vision, we start working in the direction of what you discover you really want to do to bring your intelligence and brilliance to and find the people you want to work with.
If you are interested in Coaching around the transition from Therapist to Coach, please let me know. I would love to work with you as you make a pathway into a new career. We can work together to help you make it happen!