Tiffany [00:00:04] It’s not just about raising your fees and earning more money. It’s about showing up as a different human in the world, a different clinician, but also a different mom, a different spouse, a different friend, a different son or daughter. You have to be different to do this work.
Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills For Therapists podcast, where we answer this question How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion, to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host Linzy Bonham therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills For Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the podcast. Today we have our final episode of Season five. That time has come and I’m really excited that my guest for today is Tiffany McLain. You may know Tiffany as a clinical strategist for therapists in private practice. Her mantra is “Full fees are the new black”. Through her program, Lean In Make Bank Academy, she helps therapists ethically earn significantly more per month while seeing fewer clients and doing better clinical work. Tiffany I think of her as the the fee person in our space, like she really owns this space and she’s been teaching Lean In Make Bank since 2016? 17? Is back when I first connected with her. Today, Tiffany and I get into why fees and money can be such a conflicted kind of a sometimes a tortured area for therapists, something that can be really hard for us to talk about. We talk about people literally fighting on her ads and arguing and winning each other over on her Facebook ads. If you see her Facebook ads go by, you can click on the comments, it’s the most dramatic comment section I’ve seen on Facebook ads in our space, in like the therapy health practitioner space. And I think the reason of that is fees are just such a loaded, loaded topic and people, you know, get so entrenched in to our beliefs about fees and what is fair and what is ethical and what is right and like what the role of therapy supposed to be. You know, folks have a lot to say. And I think, you know, Tiffany and I get in to today where a lot of that messaging has come from for us, we talk about being helpers and how that contributes to our role. And we also actually get into the topic of staying small, having folks in our life wanting us to be small, but also how sometimes maybe we can be invested in our clients staying small when we don’t do our own work around setting boundaries. Really enjoyable conversation with Tiffany. I always love talking with her. Here is Tiffany McLain. So, Tiffany, welcome back to the podcast.
Tiffany [00:03:14] Thank you. I am happy to be here. And folks who are listening, Linzy and I talk all the time. So this is going to be like, kind of podcast, kind of Linzy and I talking all the time.
Linzy [00:03:23] But we did just like stop talking. We were like, okay, we okay, well you have to like, do the thing. So this is this is not a conversation about our children. This is not a conversation about interior decorating. We’re going to talk about money. Okay.
Tiffany [00:03:35] Good. I’m ready.
Linzy [00:03:36] So, Tiffany, as I just mentioned, no pressure, but this is our season ender. Season closer. For whatever season I’m on. I think it’s season five now. And so I’m really excited to have you here and have you back because you are on season one and it’s been a minute.
Tiffany [00:03:48] I can’t believe it was so long ago that I was here.
Linzy [00:03:51] The seasons are pretty short.
Tiffany [00:03:53] This is good, consistent work. Way to go on your podcast.
Linzy [00:03:56] Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, it’s actually I’m loving it. I’m loving it. I should have done this years ago. So Tiffany, folks probably know who you are, but do you want to, like, tell them a little bit, if they haven’t heard from you or heard of you somehow, what would be your like your quick intro? Who’s Tiffany McLain? What do you do? Who are you?
Tiffany [00:04:13] Holy mackerel. I help therapists ethically raise their fees so they can have more money while seeing fewer clients and doing better clinical work. This is controversial. Therapist, if you’re listening, you might be freaking out, but that’s what I do. I really advocate on behalf of the therapists, while you therapists and clinicians are advocating on behalf of your client. That’s my job.
Linzy [00:04:36] Yes. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Yes. And I will say you might have seen Tiffany’s ads go by because I feel like your your ads are everywhere. We were just talking about your ads. Christelle, my operations manager, actually, she’s come up with a very bold International Women’s Day. And I was like, This is really bold. She was like, Well, I was looking at what Tiffany does, and I was like, Well, Tiffany is Tiffany. You’ve got some really great ads out there. So folks have probably seen those go by. And always interesting discussion on your ads, too. I feel like you have ads where people fight on your ads.
Tiffany [00:05:05] People really fight and people attack each other, they attack my appearance, but also therapists come on and advocate for each other, too. There are really thoughtful conversations, even transformations happening in the comments of the ads, which I have never seen before in other people’s ads. So I feel really excited, and proud of that.
Linzy [00:05:24] So so with this, like, what do you think that’s about? Like, what is it about this topic that is so, I mean, specifically around fees, because like I also I teach – we’re both in the money space – but I’m teaching like skills and mindset and like but you are talking directly about fees and there’s something that is so- can be so activating about that for people. What do you think this is about? Why is this so loaded for us?
Tiffany [00:05:49] I have spent, as you know, a lot of time thinking about this. And over the years I have found that there are three factors that contribute to it being so hard for us therapists to charge fees or look at fees or even talk about the exchange of money between us and our clients. There was actually a psychologist, her name was Ella Lasky back in the 1980s, and she did a survey of psychoanalysts actually, and she was looking at this difficulty with money. And one of the things she found, especially for women and I would also say people of color or people from marginalized communities. But all therapists, regardless of that, number one, serve as the helper, the role of helper in their family of origin. She found that they are more likely than their siblings to have been the one to mediate arguments. We are highly attuned to what was happening with the other family members and make sure that everybody was being taken care of, often to the neglect of their own emotional needs, wants, and desires. So if you’re a therapist, that was likely the role you served. You’re nodding, Linzy, Is this familiar to you in your business?
Linzy [00:06:52] Absolutely, yes. I think most therapists were therapists long before we actually became trained and licensed. That’s right. That’s that’s the role that we often played, you know, in some capacity, like whether it’s peacemaker or attuner or, you know, we already had that read on everybody’s emotions and we’re making sure that everybody was okay long before we actually went into the field.
Tiffany [00:07:14] That, okay, so then we take that right now and then we go into a wider society again, back to especially if you’re from a marginalized background, but even if you’re from a working class background for generations. So first in your family of origin, you’re the helper who’s putting aside her needs for other people. Then you go into a wider society that’s telling you you don’t actually deserve to make as much money as that person over there, Right? Like the quintessential person who is allowed to make money in our society is not going to likely be you, who’s ever listening to this podcast. And so we’re told that we need to be giving back first, making sure everything is- everybody’s taking care of, making sure that we’re helping our community, being accessible. Society is telling us then that we need to be putting our needs second again and making sure everyone else is taken care of so we get it in our family of origin. Then it’s reinforced by a wider society. And then of course we go into the field of psychology or social work. Yeah, well then it’s the echo chamber reinforcing these very same ideas. So again, you’ll hear from professors or colleagues, supervisors, things like, I didn’t enter this field to make money. Your job is to be accessible. It’s unethical to be charging fees that so that some people in the world can’t afford you. So you get in your family of origin, larger society, and then you go to the field of psychology where it’s just battered at you. And so, of course it’s hard! Therapists come out of this condition to not want to think about money and not want to talk about money. Not not even allowed to have the desire for money. And then they say, Now do I say charge premium fees at all?
Linzy [00:08:43] Yeah. So there’s like three layers of conditioning right there. You know, family origin, societal position, and then the actual field itself. That just weighs down on us.
Tiffany [00:08:58] Absolutely.
Linzy [00:08:59] Right. Yes. Yeah, that absolutely resonates with me. As you were talking, I was like, I have definitely talked about all these things. So I think you and I like we are we’re preaching from the same songbook, you know, for people who are listening. Then it’s like if they’ve gotten past the point of, you know, because we’re talking with this hurdle of being able to even say, I need money, I want money, like, I want to be okay. When people have started to do some of that work and they’re starting to think about like, okay, maybe my fee does need to be different than what it is. Often I think people know when it’s not working right, and that’s what I see in money skills so often. It’s like it’s like if you are having a hard time paying your bills at home, there’s no savings for the future. We often know that pain point of like, it’s not working, right? So when we’re starting to think about how to make it work and we’re starting to think about a fee, how do we actually figure out what a fair fee even is, trying to balance our values and our needs?
Tiffany [00:09:54] Yeah, I love that. So I love also that you highlighted this pain point. So therapists, I spoke a few weeks ago with a social media manager who works with therapists who’s not in the field, and she was telling me about what she did and she said- What did she say- I said, I asked her, why did you choose to work with therapists, given that this is not you know, you’re not a therapist? And she said something like, All the reasons she loved working with therapists, but then she said therapists something like They take more than any other professional I’ve ever met. They just put up they put up with more. And I was like, Oh, what do you mean? And she’s like, The therapist will just scrimp and save and take. They’ll take so much shit. Folks, before they realize like, Oh, maybe something needs to change now. Opened my eyes because I’m a therapist and I know that. But then again, to hear it from an outside professional was like, Wow, that’s right. And so I love, Linzy, that you pointed out. It takes a lot for a therapist to start recognizing, Oh, something needs to change with money. Like, I’m not able to save anything for the future or I can’t even pay my bills. Like when it gets that extreme, then sometimes therapists start having some alerts go off. Oh oh. So when that happens, the first thing I recommend, I recommend three steps. The first thing I recommend is they make space for the feelings. Because when you’re in a space where you’re really trying to help people and you’ve done everything right according to what you’ve been told, and then you’re still not even able to pay your bills or you’re not taking lunch breaks because you’re just sitting back to back to back clients. Once you start acknowledging that, it can be very shameful. Yeah, there might be guilt or anxiety about recognizing that you might want to do something different. It’s just- there’s so many feelings involved. And so before we do anything, I encourage therapists to acknowledge and make space for all of the feelings that arise in this situation.
Linzy [00:11:45] Yeah.
Tiffany [00:11:45] The second thing, the feelings don’t go away, folks, also keep doing that for the rest of these two or three steps, right? Number two, therapists have to get into reality and therapists, when it comes to money – you know this because you work with therapists around money – they avoid it. You’ve got to get real about what you need. We have a calculator. We can link to that in the show. People can go to Lean In Make Bank dot com forward slash fee calculator and we actually walk therapists through, step by step, their monthly expenses, their dream expenses. So not just like, here’s what I need to get by and suffer, but also what I need for clinical supervision. What do I need to be able to have enough time to write that book I want to write? What do I need to take a vacation every quarter for a week, right, the dream along with the needs. And then we also have therapists go through: in your ideal world where you have energy to show up, where you’re excited to do the work you want to do, how many people are you actually seeing a day? How many days are you actually working a week? So we have people do all of that work in this calculator and then we spit out: here is the fee you need to be charging if you want to have a life that really allows you to show up fully for yourself and your clients and whatever relationships you value. That’s number two. The third step. Once you do that, it’s phone a friend, you gotta phone a friend because if you do that calculator right, you’re going to have a large discrepancy likely between what you’re currently charging. Maybe that’s a $70 you’re taking from an insurance panel or you’re doing 125 or maybe even charge like 180. But that’s like one person and the rest pay like 110. Right. There is likely going to be a large discrepancy between what you need and where you’re currently at. And in that moment, I encourage you to call someone. It doesn’t have to be a therapist. Maybe even I’d encourage it not to be a therapist.
Linzy [00:13:31] Yes.
Tiffany [00:13:34] Someone who wants you to do well, someone who is excited by the possibility of you earning more, and have more luxury, and having more joy and more financial freedom. Call that person and walk through the results of your calculator and what the fee came out to be and let them know how you’re feeling at this point.
Linzy [00:13:52] You know, it’s so interesting, Tiffany, when you say that, and I don’t know if this is like if our listeners are going to have this response, too, but I was thinking about I don’t know if everybody has that person. Like, I think when you’ve been the helper, I mean, you should have that person. That’s the next step: if you don’t know that person, go make that friend. Go to a café and find that friend. Because I think when you have played that helper role, so like when you’re really entrenched in it, like when you really live and breathe it and when that’s who you are in your family and that’s who you are in your work, that’s often also who you are in your friend group. And I think you and I have both, you know, I know we have because we’ve talked about this over the years, had, you know, these experiences where we do have to kind of shift and find those people because we have actually built relationships where people are like, well, unconsciously, I actually feel more comfortable when you stay small. And so I am actually going to probably not validate these things and not want you to have luxury because there’s something about that that’s serving me. And so I’m just thinking about that, just like how much this conditioning generalizes into our life and makes it hard to make these changes because, you know, it makes you think about kind of like family of origin, like there’s a metaphor kind of about family therapy. I do not do family therapy, by the way, if people listening, you’re going to be like, Oh, she’s butchering it. But there’s kind of a metaphor of like a family, like a mobile, and when one person tries to move, everybody else also shifts and tries to keep you in that fixed position because it’s like, no, no, no, this is your role, this is who you are. And I think that happens, too, in the other relationships that we build, right? Like folks try to keep us in place. So just curious what your thoughts about that. Like what what do folks do if they realize that that’s a case? Or like, what are your thoughts on all of this, these relationships that we build in these patterns sometimes?
Tiffany [00:15:36] I love that you bring that up. It’s super on point. You’ve talked- we’ve talked about it amongst each other. I’ll say two things. I think the lack of community is one of the things that motivated me to start my program because I was wanting to talk about fees, understand what was going on interpersonally. And I looked around and the messaging I got was, don’t charge, it’s scary. Don’t talk about money. From even my supervisors. Everywhere I looked, I got that.
Linzy [00:16:03] Yes.
Tiffany [00:16:03] And so, you know, being a helper, I’m like, I’m just going help myself. I’m going to create a whole entire business where therapists do not have to be alone with these kinds of conversations.
Linzy [00:16:12] Yes, yes, yes.
Tiffany [00:16:13] I think that’s the first thing. So if if this is something, if you’re listening to this podcast and you’re like, I don’t have anyone, come to work with us because we have a whole lot of people who have to learn to have these conversations in an honest, powerful, clinically appropriate way. The second thing that came to mind is, you know, sometimes in the comments – talking about the ads I put out there for the business or the program – sometimes therapists say, well, just raise your fees. What’s the problem? Hmm. Because the exact thing you’re talking about, Linzy, that’s the problem. Our fees are a projection. I like to talk about money as a canvas. Right? So we can we can project all of our thoughts, feelings, anxieties, and all of our existing patterns. We play out in money. So raising our fee often isn’t just about raising our fee, it’s about addressing these relationships. You’re talking about, Linzy, where we are the caretakers, we sacrifice ourselves. Other people have come to rely and depend on us for that. And if we shift, whether it’s with our clients or our spouses or our family, it’s disruptive to everyone around us. And without having a clear community, step by step system, a place with people and a container – we have a yearlong container. So a container where, as you make these shifts, you can come back for help as other people and things in your life start to shift. Yeah, it’s not just about raising your fees and earning more money. It’s about showing up as a different human in the world, a different clinician, but also a different mom, a different spouse, a different friend, a different son or daughter. You have to be different to do this work.
Linzy [00:17:50] That’s so true. And that’s so profound. And I mean, it makes me think about when I found you, going back, where are we now? We’re in 2023. Would have been in 2017 that I found you. I was so hungry for that community. And to be with people who are like, Let’s be therapists. Also, let’s open our gifts and take up space and like, talk about, you know, for me, I’m like, let’s talk about money. Yeah, that’s something you and I shared back then. I flew across the continent to go be with those people. And that’s still my community of peers, like, you know, I’m planning a trip to San Francisco this year because it’s like you’re in San Francisco, Annie Wright’s in San Francisco, like, Megan’s just a little bit north. Meagan Megginson. Like these people that I connected with, through being connected with you, have become my peers who have cheered me on and like, taken up space with me, right? Because I think a lot of my – literally all of my peers – couldn’t come with me on that journey. It’s like I picked a different road and like, I think that is the power of that community. So, you know, if you’re listening and you’re hungry for this, like Tiffany’s program provides that. You know, if you’re looking more for the skill side of things. My program provides that, like, get with your people because it does take months and months and years of work to undo, you know, this conditioning that that we’ve received family of origin, society, and in our, you know, professional training. Like it really is deep ongoing work that is so much easier when you’re walking alongside people who are doing it as well.
Tiffany [00:19:16] Yeah, I haven’t felt – I don’t know if you felt that – I felt a little grief as you were talking because there was a lot of grief as well. To say goodbye to these patterns often means saying goodbye to relationships because we’re changing and it’s intolerable to other people. So even those kinds of things. This is why – back to the original question of why is it so hard to talk about? Because often shifting the way as we relate to money and our desire and ourselves taking up space, like you said, means there are people who no longer want to be in relationship with us. And that’s that’s a big change. And it’s often there’s often a lot of mourning involved, for sure.
Linzy [00:19:51] Yeah. And I will say too, there’s people that we no longer want to be in relationship with either because they don’t want us to be this new version of ourselves.
Tiffany [00:19:59] Correct.
Linzy [00:19:59] And I’ve I’ve had those kinds of discords over the last few years where it’s like every time I hang out with this person, I feel small again, right? Or I feel bad or I feel like I should be hiding my success. And then it’s like, right, I actually I don’t feel that way. So I need to make a choice. Yes. So no longer. And yeah, there is a lot of grief there. Absolutely. So thinking about fees, like I know some some folks listened to this podcast and it may be you listen to struggle with scarcity and this feeling like there isn’t enough- there aren’t enough clients, like maybe their caseload is not full and they see those empty spaces on their caseload. I’m reading their thought bubble right now, and I think one of the thoughts in that thought bubble would be like, Why would I even think about raising my fee if I can’t fill my caseload at the more affordable fee that I have right now? Like, isn’t that kind of putting like the carriage before the horse? Why would they think about raising their fee if they’re still trying to fill their practice or get the referrals that they haven’t been able to get yet?
Tiffany [00:20:57] Yeah, it’s so counterintuitive. It’s so counterintuitive to be charging $150 per session and then have someone come tell you, actually, you should be charging based on your own calculations. Yeah, $180 per session. So let’s work on raising those fees with your current clients and then a new client to call. What, Like, it’s just. It’s almost unthinkable. And on the other side of things, and the years I’ve been running this program, one of the most difficult things that I see therapists going through is when they did the marketing first and got an entire caseload of people at a fee that was too low. And now they’re realizing, Oh, I’m seeing – I really hope it’s not 40, but it could be – 40 people a week. But let’s say it’s even 25 or 30 people a week, and they’re still overwhelmed. More overwhelmed. Are totally burned out, resentful, feel so relieved when a client cancels. They aren’t enforcing the cancellation policy. Aren’t going on vacation. They’re now in a place where they feel trapped by the caseload they worked so hard to build, and they’re still nowhere near being able to pay their bills or pay off their loans or save for retirement, life insurance. And heaven forbid, you know, sometimes therapists, often, if they’re in a romantic relationship, married, let’s say, they kind of put off the reality of these things because they have a spouse.
Linzy [00:22:17] Yes.
Tiffany [00:22:17] We’ve had people in our program for whom their spouse has passed away or a health condition has happened and suddenly they’re the primary breadwinner. So really, it’s- therapists are avoiding taking these things seriously. It can put us in a difficult position. So therapists will come to us and say, I really- I realize I need to raise my fees. I can’t do this anymore. I just get goose bumps. But I don’t know how to raise fees now with these 25 people who I’m already working with, I wish I could just start with new fees, but I don’t even have room to take anyone new, much less market, much less do anything else I need to do to take care of myself, so I- we can help people. Those are those are most of the people come into our program. The people who are sometimes luckier are the folks who join the program. Maybe. Maybe they only have five or ten folks. Then they can raise their fees with those five or ten folks. And guess what? They’re now maybe they are only seeing five folks, but they’re charging 200 per hour, which gives them enough income to then have time to understand how to really market to clients who can afford the premium fees and also who they have to be as a therapist to have a conversation with somebody such that that client is confident to say, Yeah, I want to pay this therapist, I’m going to make a sacrifice to pay this therapist $200 because I truly believe they can help me.
Linzy [00:23:33] Mm hmm.
Tiffany [00:23:34] If a therapist is seeing 28 clients, burnt out, overwhelmed, frustrated, stressed, financially insecure, and someone calls them on the phone. All of that is conveyed.
Linzy [00:23:44] Yes.
Tiffany [00:23:44] All of that comes through in those no matter what marketing you’re doing. Yeah. You’re unconsciously communicating. Please, I can’t take anymore. That’s a new client. And the clients are even saying right now they feel it.
Linzy [00:23:55] Right? Yeah. Yeah. So, like, I mean, part of what I’m hearing here is, like, if you can build a machine that works in the first place, like build a practice that’s actually going to meet your needs. Because when we do build those practices at like super low fees. And I remember those days. I don’t remember – I don’t know if you ever went through this when you were building your practice – but I remember those days where it’s like, Will you be my client? Or You’ll be my client? Okay, you have a problem I’ve never dealt with before. That’s fine. I can learn how to do, you know, like I’ll look up how to do gender affirmation. Like, I’m, like, looking up stuff that is, like, so not in my, like, clinical realm because it’s just like this- there’s desperation that can happen there, right? And that’s when we’re setting our fees from that place. We can build a practice where the math will never work, the math will never work. And when you’re saying, like you said, 40 and then you said only 20 or 30, I’m like, even that makes you want to lie on the floor and cry like, that’s so, so much emotional labor. Like, it’s so much profound work that you are doing. I think it’s- there’s very few therapists who can thrive at that level of caseload. And those who do tend to be people who have super superhuman levels of energy. And maybe you could like take up rowing or something instead, you know, like they could possibly channel some of that energy to a hobby. But yeah, when you build it so it doesn’t work, you’re never going to be okay. I love this piece and I feel like this is a piece that I’ve heard you talk about more and more over the last few years of like the clinical excellence part of like when you charge a fee that makes you have to show up differently, like you’re actually a better clinician. Can you speak more to that or talk about some examples of what that has looked like for your students?
Tiffany [00:25:32] I certainly can. I’m going to just be talking about our Facebook ads all day long because there’s so much learning that happens there. There was a therapist who came on, This is disgraceful, he said about the ads and he said, I make 400,000 and I take insurance. First of all, someone checked. They’re like, there’s no way that math adds up.
Linzy [00:25:47] Awful math. Okay. Yeah.
Tiffany [00:25:49] But so when asked how many people are you seeing. So this conversation is going back and forth. And he said something like 40 clients a week. So and I think and someone added up like you, you saw 40 clients a week for 52 weeks. With this insurance rate, you’re still not making enough, so you take no time off. So we can all see in those egregious examples. Yeah, if you are seeing 25 or 30 people a week, you’re not making enough money yourself. You’re not examining your own needs, the boundaries that you would have to take on to be able to have those conversations to actually make sure you’re advocating for your needs. As much as you want to believe you’re helping your clients do that in their own life, I assert that you actually are missing something and you can’t fully help your client do a thing that you’ve never been willing or able to do in your own life. As therapists start taking the risk to see what they really need to be charging, feel all – I’m getting goose bumps again – feel all the loss and mourning and fear that comes with making that change in their own life. They start shifting in their clinical work, are being able to challenge their own clients more, really being able to go to emotionally vulnerable places when their clients are struggling with setting boundaries or making changes, they’re able to show up more fully in a way that they’re never able to do. Therapist Listening, you’re not actually able to show up fully when you’re cutting out this whole part of your own unconscious process and saying, I’m not going to look at those boundaries for my own needs in this fundamental way.
Linzy [00:27:26] Totally. Yeah. And it makes me think about how even just on a very almost obvious level, when we’re working in such a way that we can go home and have the energy to have like a great date with our partner or have some great sex or go away to a spa with friends. Like we show up the next day with a spark, right? Like that lights us up as humans, and then we’re actually maybe practicing what we preach a little bit, right? And like those days where it’s just like you have actually, like, lived life and you’re actually sometimes able to clinically even bring that in and like, talk about something that suddenly has real meaning because you have been applying it in your life, right? Or you have had, you know, an experience. You’re not telling somebody what to do. Well, you know, like working eight clinical hours a day, going home, bingeing on Cheetos. Yeah, passing out, right, like that never feels good when we’re out of alignment. And so even from that direct level, like, we all know that we do better clinical work when we’re happy.
Tiffany [00:28:26] Yeah.
Linzy [00:28:27] Right. And when we’re actually living life like there’s so much integrity there. But I also love this whole piece, you know, and being friends with you. Over the years, I’ve become more acquainted with psychoanalytic language because you and I live – we’re in different therapy. towers – I live in the like trauma EMDR parts work tower, and you’re in the psychoanalytic tower. But, like, yeah, all of these disowned things, right? Like, if we’re not even willing to think about taking a risk and think about our own needs and have hard conversations, yeah, how can we really be authentically helping our clients do that work? And how can we really actually understand what we’re asking them to do when we are coaching them to do those same things?
Tiffany [00:29:03] And absolutely 100%. There’s also something about the projections, Speaking of the kind of the psychoanalytic world and other modalities as well. When therapists say – I’m in a conversation, I have email conversations. If you will email me, I’ll probably email you back. So I’m having this along, over the period of a week, conversation with a therapist who’s saying she’s not in the program. She’s like, I could never raise fees with existing clients and we’re going back and forth about it. And even that, I haven’t asked her this yet. I may or may not. But the assertion, if you’re out there listening to this podcast and you said I can, you’re thinking I can never do it, I can never raise fees more than five or $10. My hunch is there’s a lot of your own over-identification, your own projections. You’re basing that on your own life, not the actual lived experience of the person sitting across from you. And even the even in that statement, I could never raise fees or I have to be accessible. You’re already cutting off the potential of a person across from you. You’re cutting off the possibility that they could find other ways to make money, that they may already have money somewhere, that they can actually grow and change and make a different professional choice so that they can afford to pay more in therapy where we’re limiting them because of our own fears, anxieties, and projections lately about relationships, where we’re playing in our own family avoidance. Now we’ve brought them here and we’re playing them out with our clients as well.
Linzy [00:30:34] Spot on. Spot on, Tiffany McLain. As usual. Like I- the thing that that makes you think about too. An adjacent piece to that is like we really are in that way treating our clients like victims.
Tiffany [00:30:46] Yes.
Linzy [00:30:46] It’s like do you actually believe that your clients can solve problems, grow, change? And I’ve talked about this with my students before because I’ll even see this come up in money skills where people are like, well, I can’t come to calls ever because I have a client on Tuesday at 1:00 and I’m like, okay, well, the client, have you asked them about changing times? Like, you know. But it’s like in that, here’s the belief, the belief is my client is so inflexible, they have no other availability. They’re so tied to this specific time with me that it would be damaging to our relationship for them to realize that I have other things that I do that might come into this time. Like it’s such a limited view of your client. And like, what I try to remind my students of is like, your client actually might be relieved. They might actually have been hoping to see you at four, but they think that one’s the only time you have available, right? There might be a different day that works better for them anyways. Right. We make such limited stories and I think so much of that is as therapists we sit with our clients, like in their vulnerability, in their trauma, in their shame, like we are experiencing such specific parts of them and we don’t see them when they’re like kicking ass and getting a raise at work or when they’re like really good at board games, or when they tell a really funny joke and everybody at the table laughs. Like, we don’t see those moments in their life where they’re like shining and feeling strong because that’s not what generally the content that we’re talking to them about. But they have those parts. And if we don’t acknowledge that our clients can solve problems and grow and change and as you say, even make like big career shifts and take up more space in their own life, there’s an inherent limitation to the work that we’re doing with them because maybe, maybe Tiffany, part of us wants them to stay small.
Tiffany [00:32:25] Yeah, wholly. Okay, let’s stop. Let’s pause on this for a minute. Wow. How can you wax philosophical about that for another second?
Linzy [00:32:36] Well, I think, you know, okay, this is a new idea. So we’re going to talk it out. But I do think that when we. When we’re really married to this idea of like, people really need me. They need me to solve these problems. We are invested in them not changing and growing, right? Like, you know, another language around it I think would be codependency. want to be needed. And unconsciously we might be committed to the idea that they shouldn’t change and grow, that we you know, this is what makes us feel comfortable. This is the role we’re comfortable playing. And if our role is helper, then, and if we can’t imagine ourselves being in any other role, I think unconsciously we’re going to put other people in our life into the role of being helped. Right? The dependent we are. And if We are so committed to that role of helper and we cannot do the work to step outside of it and to expand and be excited about being other things in our world. I do wonder if that is going to contribute to relationships where we don’t want our clients to go away and we don’t want our clients to have a breakthrough and graduate from therapy and maybe even do work that we haven’t been willing to do on ourselves yet.
Tiffany [00:33:46] Wow. As you’re talking, this is fascinating. This is wild. You’re making me think about the students who come into our program. Often when therapists come into our program, they are seeing their own therapist on a sliding scale. Yes. Yes. And one of the changes that a lot of them are making to their sometimes a lot of a lot of grief around it, sometimes relief, is they end up finding a new therapist who charges more. And when therapists start talking to their own sliding scale therapist about the changes they’re making in their own practice, often their therapists, sometimes they’re encouraging. And that’s great. Often they’re encouraging them to keep their fees low, stay at their agency jobs, don’t go into private practice. So this phenomenon you’re talking about, I was, as you’re talking, I was thinking, is that really true? What therapist would- yes, therapists literally, to each other, discourage them from making changes in their life that would improve their own financial situation. I would encourage our listeners to really take some time to think clearly about whether this dynamic may be going on, whether this is going on with your own clients and patients, folks. Yes.
Linzy [00:34:55] Yeah, absolutely. Because I think too, you know, an adjacent piece here is scarcity, right? So when we have fear of like, I won’t find more clients, there is going to be parts of us that are invested in our clients just sticking around for years. Right. And as a clinician, something I used to say to my clients, it’s like my job is to get you out the door. Mm hmm. I want you to leave. I like you a lot. And also, I’m successful when you don’t need me anymore. Right. And I think I would have that conversation openly because I wanted to make sure that we were not fostering a dependance. Right? That, like, we had the goal of them going. And I do. You know, that’s also a value that I have. And I don’t know how you feel about the work you do, but I actually have that value too, in the work, the money skills work that I do. Right. Like, this is why I don’t offer endless coaching and like recurring programs, even though I have folks that I love to work with and I know who would like to work with me on a repeating basis, like I want to give you the skills that you jump out of the nest and you saw a way and I’m like, buh bye! Right? Like, I want other people to also be big. But I think it’s too, doing the work on myself and being okay with myself, taking up space and doing continued work to keep pushing those growing edges out further and further. That allows me to want my students to even grow beyond what I have accomplished. Yeah, but it’s, you know, there’s there’s work that has happened there. I’m curious, like, how do you do you have a relationship to that piece?
Tiffany [00:36:20] I’m the opposite cause I’m psychoanalytic. So I’m like, I want to see my analyst two times a week at $325 for the rest of my life or hers, rest of her life, when she’s much older than me and not the rest of my life. Yeah, you’re going to have a problem. And that may change, actually. I’m sure as things change, I will leave her, but I don’t want even imagine it. So it’s definitely a different modality.
Linzy [00:36:41] Just a different modality, Yeah.
Tiffany [00:36:42] Thinking about even like currently I offer I don’t offer a forever program. Yeah, but seeing I’m thinking about offering something that goes on until I’m ready, like you said, to grow and change because it’s so hard to find continued community that is doing this work in this deep way. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I often have therapists say this: in this program was the only place I found a community that is doing this. And in fact, I went into the limb community today. It’s in the mighty network. And I saw Texas live meet up, California zoom meeting. It was even seeing them. They are continuing on their own. And if there’s a way that I can continue to create a container that folks can continue to do this work, I haven’t come up with it. I don’t know if I can, but if I could, I would.
Linzy [00:37:26] Well, and that is one of your superpowers for sure, is community building, like creating the space where folks can build community. I think like you are. You’re the best, Tiffany, I think in our space, I think that you are the best of that. So I think I also to give credit where credit is very, very due. I know you’re very, very good at that, at fostering those spaces for folks to make those connections.
Tiffany [00:37:48] Thank you for saying that. And I think I’ve still, you know, this, Linzy, I have a son in preschool now and I’m like, I don’t know how to bust into this community. How do I make friends? So really, I do think that there’s a a creating a- continuing to create a space that I want and I can do it here and help other people do it as well. And therapists, it’s very difficult for us to have a space where we can not only feel supported and seen, but give and take critical feedback to help us grow. That’s a that is a thing that I really emphasize and that I’ve really worked on cultivating. Just like I want my therapist to do with your clients, folks, I want to be able to do it with each other. Colleagues.
Linzy [00:38:28] Have hard conversations.
Tiffany [00:38:29] Yeah. Yeah.
Linzy [00:38:32] Tiffany, Tiffany, this has been really wonderful. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining me again on the podcast today. If folks want to find you, if they haven’t already, where is the best place for them to connect with you?
Tiffany [00:38:46] I’ll get folks to places because you’re listening to a podcast right now. I encourage you to search the money sessions wherever you listen to podcasts. I no longer create that podcast, but there are something like 80 episodes where you can hear therapists literally having these conversations that Linzy and I are talking about how they implemented these things in their own practices and the difficulty of it and the challenge and the other side of it. You can go hear those stories today, and if you are in the place, we’re saying, I hear you where you are saying, I think I want to take the step, but I’m not sure. I encourage folks to check out our free workshop. You can go to Lean In Make Bank dot com forward slash workshop, and you can check out that workshop there.
Linzy [00:39:33] Awesome. Thank you, Tiffany.
Tiffany [00:39:36] Thanks.
Linzy [00:39:50] Something that I appreciate so much about Tiffany. And I was thinking about it, you know, before we recorded it. You know, as Tiffany and I talked about, Christelle, my operations and marketing coordinator and I were talking about her just before Tiffany recorded, like, she’s so bold and unapologetic in her assertion that therapists deserve to be more than okay. And that does bring up kind of this conflict around her. I just really admire and love how she doesn’t waver. Like she’s just really – she’s on your side. Therapists and health practitioners who are listening, like she wants you to be more than okay. And I know that internally we can have parts of us that, you know, really get caught up and worried and guilty and unsure about what we deserve or what’s okay and accessibility. And like these are things where I think there’s lots of space to have nuanced conversation. But I just always appreciate how Tiffany, at the end of the day is just so clear that therapists deserve to be paid well for this work that we do, and then it’s valuable work, and that when we do step into a feature that meets our needs, it actually allows us to do the work better. Just so, so grateful to Tiffany for the work that she’s done in our space. And it’s, you know, you get to decide what you need, like she said, like there is no fee. You can go check out her fee calculator. It’s it’s a really great tool I think it was lean in make bank dot com slash fee calculator. Check out that tool. The number that you get is going to give you some idea of what it’s going to tell you what you need and that’s going to look different for everybody. Some people may find that that number is $300 an hour. Other folks, if you’re living in a more affordable place or if you have, you know, a joint income situation where you are not the main breadwinner in her family, it might be a much lower number and it might be a number that’s quite close to where you are. But getting clear about that number and taking those steps to actually have your needs met, it’s very powerful work. So I appreciate Tiffany coming on the podcast today. If you’d like to follow me on Instagram, you can find me @moneynutsandbolts. We post practical and emotional money content on there on the regular. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, you can use the gap between seasons now to take 3 minutes to leave me a review on Apple Podcasts. You’re probably going to have several weeks to do this, but it only is going to take 3 minutes. So take 3 minutes now and leave a review of the podcast. Let folks know what episode you enjoyed or what you like about the podcast. That helps other therapists to find the podcast and be part of these conversations. Thank you so much for listening and making the podcast just the wonderful thing that it is. I love making it and I love hearing from you folks about the impact that it’s having for you. And we’ll be together soon again when Season six comes out.