Taking the Long View: Psychotherapy


My daughter asked me what I was thinking about as we both sat at the kitchen table on a Sunday afternoon. I stared out the window. “Taking the long view” I said.

“And what does that mean?” she rightfully asked.

A year ago this month, I was contemplating my mortality after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Same month, a year later, I am struggling with a mobility problem after an area rug ambushed me, leaving me with a swollen, painful, non-functioning foot. Obviously a much better problem to have than cancer, yes?!

Except that my new independent psychotherapy practice is just getting started. This ambulatory issue forced me to cancel 7 appointments last week. Does that suggest a mental picture of money blowing out the window? Yes, but, more importantly, it’s a pothole on my road to success. Success involves building relationships and trust with clients and with my referral sources. At least that is how I initially considered it.

But then I considered where I want my practice to be in three years.   I am not here to scoop up every possible client looking for a therapy home. Rethinking my current situation, I realized this is about crafting and shaping a practice which works for me, because only then can I provide the quality service which every client seeking help deserves.

Therapy is not or should not be built on a fast-food-drive-through model. MacDonald’s may have a bit of everything to meet the flavor profiles of the masses, but where is their area of expertise? Hamburgers and fries. Every therapist does not have expertise with every client population and each type of issue.

Some therapists love working with kids. Some trained specifically to work with couples. Some, having soooo much patience, work with substance abuse. You should really find those professionals for those specific issues. I’ll help you find them! But I don’t have the background or the training to provide best service for each and every issue. And I won’t pretend – or try to learn on the job – just to add another client to my caseload.

I know where I want to be in three years. That’s taking the long view. Where are you going to be in 2019?

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