I have now come to an even “greater” conviction that there is only one way to prevent the exploitation of ourselves as therapists; and to prevent the exploitation of our clients. “That” way (as I see it) is for trained, ethical, hard working therapists to gather enough strength, stand up, and open their own practices. (Or, at least diversify, and have a side practice as a safety net for themselves.)
Stand up and walk. Walk to a destination beyond our comfort zone. We also need to learn. Sure we are scared because collage only taught us to work for someone else and not for ourselves. Yes, sometimes we need to move beyond our comfort level. Sometimes we also have to get mad enough, depressed enough, and “shocked” enough; we take our negative energy and do something different. We need to muster up courage.
By mustering our courage, even if it means channeling negative energy, we must learn how to run our own counseling practices. By running our own counseling practices, we are no longer contributing, perpetuating, or reinforcing the sociopathic system, which exploits us. Opening our own practice is a form of protest and self-protection. Furthermore, when we do muster our courage and open our own practices, we provide options for our clients.
Our clients (or perspective clients) are also tired of contributing, perpetuating, or reinforcing the sociopathic system. However, sometimes our clients are smarter than we are. They already know they are being exploited but they cannot find options. We still believe we are contributing to the “greater good”; meanwhile we are going down. We drown in our desire for altruism. Sure, we are scared but we cannot help people if we get our spirit, confidence, energy and life force is sucked out of us.
Interestingly enough, besides our clients, nature often possesses wisdom we do not. A mother bird always saves a few worms for herself. This is because nature’s wisdom automatically knows the mother cannot help her babies if the mother is dead. Similarly, we cannot help others if our life force is dead. Stand up. Learn. Move out of your comfort zone. Prevent the exploitation of yourself and help others.
At the risk of sounding elitist, I will sound elitist!
If you are an Arkansas LAC, LAMFT, LPC, and/or LMFT…you have passed some of the highest credentialing in the nation. You are more than just another spoke in the wheel. You are more than just another cog in the counseling industry…
You are “Crème Du La Crème”, the cream of the crop. You are part of an elite group of mental health therapists who have fulfilled Arkansas’ high credentialing. So have faith in yourself and stand up.