This Business of Therapy

Therapy Academy would like to introduce our first external online course provider, Jude Fay who specialises in ‘This Business of Therapy’ which focuses on the business side of running a practice.

Who am I?

My name is Jude Fay. I am a practising Psychotherapist and Counsellor, working in Naas and Celbridge, Co Kildare.

I also help therapists of all types with the business aspects of therapy practice. Typically, this means providing information and support around issues such as:

· Setting up a therapy practice: Practicalities, what’s involved and how to get started

· Marketing a practice: How and where to source clients

· Money issues: Relationship with money, handling money, healing money wounds and traumas

· Changing to a different form of practice or winding down: Handling client issues, selling on your practice

I provide support through my blog, through workshops, and in one to one work. I am the author of This Business of Therapy: A Practical Guide to Starting, Developing and Sustaining a Therapy Practice, available in Kindle and paperback from Amazon and in libraries.

An Introduction to The Business of Therapy

In this short course, I introduce you to the basic building blocks you need to get started on creating your practice. It is an introduction to becoming self-employed, whether you wish to have one client or many.

We look at the basic business tasks that you will have to complete, and we look briefly at the emotional issues that may arise for you.

This course is ideal for those who are starting out and have little business experience. It will introduce you to the idea of your practice as a business, and guide you through the steps you will need to take.

The course invites you into the work by providing exercises and examples that help you to make it personal to you and your circumstances.

The Business of Therapy: An in-depth look at the creation of a successful therapy practice.

In this series of workshops, we expand on the introductory work started above. Using the “Six Pillar” structure from my book, “This Business of Therapy: A Practical Guide to Starting, Developing and Sustaining a Therapy Practice,” I break down the practice development process into its component parts, and focus on each in turn. This allows students to choose those areas most applicable to them for further study, and to work through them in the order that suits them best.

The six pillars are:

· Owning your practice (or taking ownership of it)
· Knowing your practice (each practice is unique, what will yours be like?)
· Growing your practice (every practice needs clients, who are they and how will you attract them?)
· Managing your practice (keeping it ticking over)
· Minding your practice (keeping it safe)
· Valuing your practice (acknowledging your worth and the value of what you offer clients)

Each of these areas or pillars has three layers to it:

Information

What we need to know

Skills

The things we need to learn how to do and get used to doing

The Internal Journey

Our emotional and psychological response to the previous two

The three layers are equally important. There is information that you will need to know, about being self-employed, about early practical tasks you need to focus on, about marketing yourself, and managing your practice. There will be new skills to learn and to practice, just as there were when you trained as a therapist. We don’t learn these overnight, they grow and develop over time. The internal piece is also important, and often it’s what stops us from learning what we need to learn and then putting it into action!

Supported by exercises and templates, students are invited to make the material specific to their own practice. Each part of the series looks at the internal process of the therapist and invites further exploration into the resistance that gets in the way.

Why I Do This Work?

Did you imagine when you started your therapy training that you would be self-employed? Were you thinking that far ahead? Being self-employed is very different from being employed by someone else and you need to go into it with your eyes open. For lots of reasons which only become apparent when you set out on the journey. You are going to need to invest your time, energy and your heart in your practice, and not just in the service of your clients.

I hear you say, “Couldn’t I just do my own thing without having to learn all this business stuff?” Yes, of course you could. And if you only want one or two clients, you’ll probably be fine. However, if you want to replace in whole or in part the income you currently earn from a salaried position, you need to see and treat your practice as a business. Being in business will be your job. And you wouldn’t expect to do a job without being trained for it, would you?

As I have explored this issue, in my own life, and with my therapist clients, I have gained these insights:

· Many helpers and healers do not come from a business background

· Often, they come from another helping profession such as nursing or social work, where they will have been part of a larger organisation that provides a lot of support

· Usually, they have previously worked for someone else rather than being self-employed, and may know no-one who is self-employed. They are often unprepared for the unique challenges of self-employment

· There are few salaried opportunities for therapists, especially for those who are ineligible or unwilling to work for the HSE

· Few have consciously chosen self-employment as a channel to provide their services, but many find themselves facing that option

· Most books about small business don’t translate well to small private therapy practice. The language is often alien, and the emphasis on a profit motive can be off-putting

· Therapy school is great, it’s interesting, challenging, expanding and much more, but it doesn’t teach you how to earn a living!

As a result, many therapists qualifying for the first time, find themselves moving into self-employment when they are under-prepared and under-resourced for the challenge. Others, who may have been in practice for years, find they cannot move beyond a subsistence level of income.

Online Learning

This material is particularly suitable for online learning. Each student is starting from a different place, and has different levels of business knowledge and experience. Each student will find some parts of this journey easier than others. Online, you can access the information most relevant to you, when it’s relevant to you. You can learn at your own pace, at a time and place that suits you, without having to fit in your learning to the tutor’s availability. While it’s great to get a condensed block of learning in one day at a workshop, there will be parts of the material that you don’t need right away, and other parts you might find you struggle with, and need to revisit again and again. Learning online gives you the flexibility to access each section as you need it, and return to it as often as you like.

Hopefully you’ve found something useful — and have learned something about Jude in the process. If you’d like to get in touch with Jude, check her out on Twitter, Facebook or through her Website.

Jude’s course will be available when Therapy Academy goes live at the end of this month.