How can you get your numbers working for you as a group practice owner? In this episode, Linzy dives into the steps group practice owners need to take to make your numbers start working for you.
Addressing Burnout and Finding Your Passion Coaching Session
“I think the piece that really gets me so excited is being able to mentor and be, in a way, that anchoring and grounded person for somebody else [who is] encouraging and inspiring. For me, I had that. I left agency work, and I started in a group practice with an old colleague of mine, and she said, ‘Let me show you the way! Private practice can be so amazing! You don’t have to be burnt out with agency work working all these hours and not getting paid enough.’ And so I had that as a model, and I would love to be able to do that for other people, and especially for clinicians who are working moms.”
Ilene is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Registered Yoga Teacher, and Owner of Discover Peace Within in Denver, CO. She supports women in their 20s and 30s navigate life transitions and changes. Ilene combines traditional talk therapy, EMDR, and Yoga Practices to help her clients gain a deeper understanding of how their past impacts their present day. By doing so, they can heal and let go of what doesn’t serve them and move forward into the future with intention and mindfulness. As a working mom running a Group Practice, she strives to uplift and empower other working moms who want to engage in good clinical work, and then go home to their families. Ilene is a proud mama to a 3 year old human baby and a 9 month old fur baby. She and her husband live in Denver, CO where they enjoy hiking, biking, and being outdoors.
In This Episode…
Are you considering growing a group practice or looking for ways to address burnout? In this coaching, Linzy and Ilene focus on Ilene’s current state of burnout, and they work through what it would look like for Ilene to expand her group practice in order to make space for a significant reduction in the number of clients she personally sees each week.
Ilene shares about what she loves about being a group practice owner and what she hopes to offer therapists who join the group. Linzy and Ilene get into the practical numbers needed to help her reduce her caseload while also supporting the other members of her group practice, and they also work through the emotional components that arise when facing this transition. Don’t miss this coaching episode perfect for all of us who are facing or trying to avoid burnout.
Are you a group practice owner who’s tired of feeling overwhelmed and stressed about your finances? – Do you feel like you’re doing all the work for none of the money and are tired of constantly worrying about your bank account?- Do you want to create a group practice that is financially stable, reflects your values, and takes good care of you and your team?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re going to want to hear all about my brand new course Money Skills for Group Practice Owners! This six-month course will take you from feeling like an overworked, stressed and underpaid group practice owner, to being the confident and empowered financial leader of your group practice.
To learn more about Money Skills for Group Practice Owners click here.
And to book a call with Linzy to talk about whether the course is right for you, click here to get in her calendar now. She looks forward to chatting with you about it!
Ilene [00:00:02] The piece that really gets me so excited is being able to like, mentor and be in a way like that anchoring and grounding person for somebody else, but encouraging and inspiring. And I think for me, I had that. I left agency work. I started in a group practice with an old colleague of mine and she’s like, Let me show you the way. Like, private practice can be so amazing. You don’t have to be burnt out in agency work and like work all these hours and not get paid enough. And so I had that as a model, and I would love to be able to do that for other people and especially for clinicians who are working moms.
Linzy [00:00:45] 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. Welcome back to the podcast. So today’s episode is a coaching episode with Ilene Gold. Ilene is a licensed clinical social worker. She’s a registered yoga teacher, and she owns the Discover Peace Within Counseling Center in Denver, Colorado. She is a graduate of Money Skills For Therapists and she’s also – as we mentioned in our conversation today – in Money Boss, which is my level two program after Money Skills, Money Boss Mastermind. So we reference that a little bit. You’ll hear in our conversation today. And today, Ilene and I dug into burnout, which is a topic I’m sure that many of you are familiar with, and specifically about starting to expand the group practice part of the work that she does so that she can produce for clinical work. So if you’re someone who’s been considering group practice or if you already have a group practice and are looking for ways to start to decrease the clinical work you do, and think about kind of that that equation and transition into supporting your clinicians more and bringing money into your group practice rather than clinical practice. This conversation is exactly for you. But I think it’s also relevant to all of us who are experiencing some burnout and starting to look for what are other ways to work and what are ways to adjust the way that we are working to heal from and prevent future burnout by thinking about what else is possible in the way that we’re doing our clinical work and what else can we add? Here’s my conversation with Ilene Gold. So. Ilene, welcome to the podcast.
Ilene [00:02:47] Thank you. Thanks, Linzy.
Linzy [00:02:49] I’m excited to have you here. We actually just had some time together, like literally half an hour ago because you are in Money Boss, which is my level two program. So we’re having more time together lately and I’m excited to be able to do this podcast with you to dig into something that is going on for you. And as I’ve seen you before, this podcast is very much like what we do together when we have one on one calls in Money Boss or in Money Skills For Therapists. So tell me about what you’re bringing to our call today. What do you want to get my support with or have more clarity on today on the podcast?
Ilene [00:03:20] Yeah, I think for me, what I’m really starting to recognize in our work together in Money Boss is I’m clinically burnt out and at the same time I have a lot of excitement and energy and passion for keeping my feet in the therapy world, but expanding in other ways. I started a group practice in November of 2021. It’s very small still and I think in large part it’s me remaining small because I’m seeing too many clients. So maybe some support around how to start to shift what my day to day looks like, saying goodbye to some clients, helping them kind of transfer to maybe some of the new therapists in my practice, kind of terminating and just figuring out how to kind of move in that direction of building the group practice.
Linzy [00:04:09] Okay, so thinking about this just gave me a sense of kind of where you are. I’m sure, first of all, burnout is something that I’m sure many people listening have either been through or are experiencing right now, because it is definitely a hazard in our profession right now. How many folks a week are you seeing clinically?
Ilene [00:04:25] So I’m seeing on average about 25.
Linzy [00:04:27] Okay. Okay. That’s that’s a lot. That’s a lot.
Ilene [00:04:31] It is a lot.
Linzy [00:04:32] That makes me feel very sleepy when you say that. Okay. So 25 clients and what do you want to be seeing right now? Given where you are? This might be a different number than what it was like six months ago. Right now, if you think about what would be kind of a sustainable week, recognizing that you are feeling burnt out and probably need to recover, how many clients a week do you want to be seeing?
Ilene [00:04:55] I think if I could see four a day.
Linzy [00:04:59] Okay, okay.
Ilene [00:05:00] Maybe even less right now. I feel like that still feels like a lot. Okay, maybe, maybe like three a day or maybe, you know, some days I have five, but others I have two. Okay.
Linzy [00:05:13] Yes. So let’s start with that. So do you work five days a week?
Ilene [00:05:16] I do.
Linzy [00:05:17] Okay. So with this question, what I want you to think about is what is a day that, when you work it, you go home and you still have energy, you still have spark for your life. You’re like excited to see your family. You’ve got some play left in you, some creativity. What is that amount of clients per day?
Ilene [00:05:36] Okay, a gut check is three.
Linzy [00:05:38] Okay, great. Okay. And three, five days a week. Is that still kind of leave you feeling that leftover extra energy at the end of the day or does that start to wear you down towards the end of the week? What does that look like? Thinking about- yeah.
Ilene [00:05:53] Yeah, that’s a good question. I think because I don’t have that right now, it’s hard to know what that would actually feel like on a Friday. I think for now, let’s go with three a day, for five days.
Linzy [00:06:03] Okay. So you’d be going down from 25 to 15. Mm. Okay. Okay. So that’s helpful for you to think about where you want to go as you’re scaling up. Like there’s a bit of an equation here, right, of like thinking about what needs to happen to start to replace that clinical income for you. What do you need to start doing to help folks in your practice generate income so that you can start to work less clinically right now? I mean, just to give me a sense of like, how quickly do you need this change to happen, thinking about your burnout.
Ilene [00:06:32] Like three years ago.
Linzy [00:06:34] Like yesterday. Okay, great. Yeah.
Ilene [00:06:35] Yeah.
Linzy [00:06:37] Yes. Which makes a lot of sense because you are in burnout. What I’m hearing about is like this is not a change you want to make over necessarily six months. It’s like, what can you start to do now? So tell me about your group practice as it stands at this moment.
Ilene [00:06:49] So I have two clinicians that work with me that are very much in part time mode. One works another full time job and one works a part time job. And so in the fall she is looking to build out her caseload. So she’s seeing about three clients a week. And I think that she might bump up to like ten or 12. And then I’m hoping to recruit another at least 10 to 12 or more. Or a therapist that could see ten or more clients a week.
Linzy [00:07:19] Okay. So you would kind of have like clinician 2 is going up to like 10 to 12 people a week in the next couple of months. You have somebody else- what was that second number that you mentioned there? About the same?
Ilene [00:07:29] Yeah. So hopefully I could hire a third clinician.
Linzy [00:07:31] A third clinician. Yeah.
Ilene [00:07:32] Yeah. About ten plus.
Linzy [00:07:34] Ten plus per week. Okay. And your first clinician, how many are they seeing.
Ilene [00:07:38] About three.
Linzy [00:07:39] Three per week. Okay. Yeah. And that’s how it’s going to stay.
Ilene [00:07:41] I believe so.
Linzy [00:07:42] This is their part time, like on top of full time, stuff.
Ilene [00:07:44] Exactly.
Linzy [00:07:45] They’re extra. Okay. So, I mean, thinking about this, what is the split that you have with the folks who work for you?
Ilene [00:07:51] So I pay them 60% and my practice takes 40. Okay.
Linzy [00:07:55] So they get 60, you get 40. The reason I’m asking you these questions is to figure out how many of their sessions would replace your sessions. So that’s a little quick and dirty, but it just can start to help us like wrap your mind around what would be required for you to replace this money that you’re getting from clinical sessions? Is your fee the same as their fee? Is it higher?
Ilene [00:08:18] I kind of did a fee increase when we built a website for the group practice, and although like my fee says one thing, I’m actually charging the same as those clinicians and I felt like if I took anybody new on, it would be at a higher fee.
Linzy [00:08:34] Okay. Yes.
Ilene [00:08:35] So I know that kind of isn’t a very direct answer, but.
Linzy [00:08:38] Yes, yes. So you have a higher fee for like new folks who would come in. But your your clients are all the same level as your clinicians, which actually makes for easier math. So that’s kind of convenient in a way, because what we need to think about is basically what it means is when one of your clinicians works ten sessions, there’s money coming into the practice as though you’ve worked four, right? Because you get 40%. So for every ten that they work, there’s four sessions of money that comes to you. Does that equation that makes sense?
Ilene [00:09:06] Yes. Yeah.
Linzy [00:09:07] So that can help us start. I think about how many sessions to your folks need to be working, your therapists, who work for you, for you to replace that ten. So it would be if they do ten sessions, that’s four. So when they do the next ten, that gets you up to eight. So basically, once you have your team doing 25 more sessions a week, that replaces the ten sessions that you would drop down. So thinking about that, the idea of supporting your therapists and going up another 25 sessions a week between all of them. What do you notice?
Ilene [00:09:41] Oh, it’s not as bad as I thought.
Linzy [00:09:43] Okay, that’s good. Yeah. Not as bad as you thought. Yeah.
Ilene [00:09:46] Not as long as I think in my mind that number was going to be higher, actually.
Linzy [00:09:51] Yes.
Ilene [00:09:52] But if clinician B goes to 10 to 12 and if clinician C comes in and is seeing 10 to 12, I mean that about.
Linzy [00:10:01] You’re pretty close.
Ilene [00:10:02] Pretty close.
Linzy [00:10:02] Yeah. Okay. Yeah. And then are you bringing folks on as contractors or employees?
Ilene [00:10:07] So they’re contractors right now. Buy my hope is – and this is something, you know, maybe podcast recording number two, or in one of our one-to-ones and we can talk about like the cost of a W2 versus the cost of a 1099, how much profit I would need in my business to, I think, transition to W2.
Linzy [00:10:30] Yeah. Because with that, I mean, part of the difference of having an employee versus a contractor is with an employee, you can set more expectations about how they work or when they work or whatever. And as a boss, you get to still decide what that looks like. It doesn’t mean you have to be rigid, but you are able to say, you know, in order to be fulfilling your employment contract, I need you to see 12 people a week, which is certainly not- it would certainly not make you an exploitive practice owner.
Ilene [00:10:54] Right.
Linzy [00:10:55] Right. That would be one of the benefits of employment. But yeah, we could look at those numbers and compare a contractor versus W2. What I’m hearing is your first response to 25 more sessions is like, Oh, that’s not as bad as I thought. What do you notice comes up around thinking about possibilities of how to make that happen? Do you already have kind of a game plan set out? I mean, I guess already there’s some natural changes you’re looking for. A third clinician will be part of that. What comes up when you think about looking for that third clinician and just supporting your clinicians and getting those 12 clients a week?
Ilene [00:11:24] I think one thing is like, why would somebody come work in a group practice versus just starting their own private practice?
Linzy [00:11:30] Yes. Mm hmm.
Ilene [00:11:32] One thing that comes up for me, especially if this is going to be their primary source of income or if they’re spending more time in my group practice versus whatever other side things they are doing or part time work they’re doing, why would they want to come work for me? Or why would they want to come work for a group practice rather than just starting their own?
Linzy [00:11:51] Okay, so you tell me. If I’m a practitioner, I’m thinking about maybe working for group practice. Why should I come work for you? I mean, what do you offer me?
Ilene [00:11:58] What I believe I offer. I think what’s important to me and my group practice is that we’re all mothers who are also therapists.
Linzy [00:12:05] I said I’m a mother who’s a therapist. That sounds nice.
Ilene [00:12:08] Yes. So I think something that is really important to me when I bring on clinicians is knowing that we all get it. We all get what it means to be a working mom. We all understand that like things come up, we’re flexible, we’re understanding, we’re compassionate. We have that sense of like mindedness and understanding of those struggles. And I think especially being a working therapist in the pandemic, as a mom as well, like how much that weighs on you? And I think that there is like that sense of we understand and we get it. We want to support you in being able to come to work, do your excellent clinical work with your clients, and then you go home like you don’t have to worry about the marketing, you don’t have to worry about the billing, you don’t have to worry about the networking. You don’t have to work your business. You can just come and be a clinician with a bunch of other clinicians who also get it.
Linzy [00:12:59] Mm hmm. Okay. Right. So they’re getting emotional support of having, like, a community of like minded people. They’re getting the practical support of having, like, the marketing and admin support those sound pretty appealing.
Ilene [00:13:10] Yeah like I want you to also like work when you want to work and not work when you don’t. Different from working in an agency or in a nonprofit setting that they’re going to tell you when you need to work and how often you need to work. I think and especially with the 1099, I’m not really allowed to say how many hours. Right. So especially the way that the group practice is set up now, I’m sort of like, hey, you work when you want to work and don’t when you don’t. And we understand that and that’s cool. And that we do that here, you know?
Linzy [00:13:38] Yes. Yes. Okay. So it sounds like a value for you as an employer is giving your- or your contractors autonomy.
Ilene [00:13:44] Yes.
Linzy [00:13:44] Right. To be able to choose when they work and when they don’t and something to be mindful of, something to notice as your group practice continues to develop and grow, is are there boundaries that are required for your practice to be well and for you to be bringing enough money? Because especially as your income increasingly relies on your contractors and not on yourself, it does mean that if you do have a month where everybody takes vacation, suddenly the bulk of your money is not coming in anymore.
Ilene [00:14:11] Right.
Linzy [00:14:12] Right. So that’s something to just kind of be aware of in terms of balancing those values. Because if you’re going to be working less, then you don’t have the option to just like, work more to make up money if you’ve reduced your own caseload.
Ilene [00:14:24] Right.
Linzy [00:14:24] Right. So that’s something that you can- and, you know, we’ll continue to explore this together in Money Boss. Thinking about fine tuning your numbers. But that is something that’s kind of picking up on my radar. Just thinking about when you’re making your practice more reliable on your contractors’ income, what are also maybe some of the things that need to be minimums that would be more like employee stuff just to keep your practice running and healthy and keep the money coming in so you’re not losing money on certain months in a big way.
Ilene [00:14:48] Yes. Linzy, and thank you for saying that, because I think that’s important for me as I move forward into this sort of new role as a business owner. And thinking about this as a group practice owner is that I’m not really good at those sort of like anchoring, grounded, sort of like, let’s logistically look at this and let’s talk about it because I can be like, Oh, I have this great idea. Let’s just like go for it. It’ll all work itself out. So that’s really helpful to think about.
Linzy [00:15:13] Yeah, I’m used to being a bit of a buzzkill. It’s kind of like a bit of my role in life. So that was maybe a bit of a buzzkill for you. But like, you know, in Money Boss, we talk about this this visual of kind of like keeping your feet on the ground, while also like being expansive and in giving yourself that ground because that would be a grounding piece, is just understanding what needs to be happening in the practice to make everything good. And then that expansion is like bringing in the values, bringing in the right people, like really letting your therapists be humans in the workplace or whatever those values are that you really want to be living out.
Ilene [00:15:43] Yeah.
Linzy [00:15:44] So I’m curious, you know, Ilene, and this is also for folks listening because I think I’ve done a couple podcast recordings now where I’ve talked about how I often talk people out of group practice, and I’m not doing that with you. And I’d love if you can share with me and with the folks who are listening. What do you love about being a group practice owner and what draws you to running a group practice?
Ilene [00:16:05] I think the piece that really gets me so excited is being able to like, mentor and be in a way like that, anchoring and grounded person for somebody else. Like I’m also good at it myself. For myself. But I can be that for somebody else. Yeah, right. But encouraging and inspiring. And I think for me, I had that. I left agency work. I started in a group practice with an old colleague of mine and she’s like, Let me show you the way. Like, private practice can be so amazing. You don’t have to be burnt out in agency work and like work all these hours and not get paid enough. And so I had that as a model and I would love to be able to do that for other people and especially for clinicians who are working moms. I started my solo practice full time before I had my kiddo, and in fact the week that I went into my private practice full time, like the second week later, we found out we were pregnant. So I had to learn a lot real quick about how to save for taxes, how to have a healthy profit in the business, how to see clients in a way that still helps me feel energized and sustained energy at home for my kid. And I would love to be able to do that for other people, to give them an opportunity to not be so stressed.
Linzy [00:17:27] Yes.
Ilene [00:17:28] Just do their clinical work and go home to their families.
Linzy [00:17:31] Yes. Yes. And we were talking earlier in a workshop that you and I just did together this morning, where we were kind of laying out financial projections and what’s possible about like following what excites your body, right? Like tapping into that, that wisdom that you also have. And I can see like you have such spark around this. This is something that, like, you want to lean into. So there is like this real kind of embodied Yes that you get when you think about leaning further into group practice. Yeah. Which is very different than the like. Well, people tell me to and it’s an easy way to make money because of my practice as well. I’ll just pass them on to other people, which is sometimes where it’s not always the most- the best reason to take on group practice, because group practice is a lot of work.
Ilene [00:18:11] Right.
Linzy [00:18:11] Which I think you were talking about earlier too.
Ilene [00:18:13] That I’m finding out like there’s a lot of moving parts and pieces, which also feels exciting because again, like kind of going back to what we were saying at the beginning, it keeps me anchored in clinical work without having to be the clinician.
Linzy [00:18:26] Yes, yes, yes. I 100% get it. That’s kind of where I live now. Yeah. It’s I’m not a practicing therapist, but I get to support therapists and like still bring in my clinical lens, but without doing that direct clinical work at the moment. So thinking then about where we started, come back to the beginning. You’re talking about feeling burnt out. We talked about this idea of going down to 15 clients a week. When you check with your body about going down to 15 clients a week and doing more work instead to support your clinicians to get them up to 25 more sessions a week, what do you notice?
Ilene [00:19:01] A lot of guilt and having to say goodbye to current clients. Because I love working with them. And I love the work we’re doing together and I feel like I would let them down in some way or like, how am I gonna choose like which 15 stay with me and how do I get to help the others transition on? Like there’s a lot of guilt that comes up there.
Linzy [00:19:23] And what is the guilt? Like, what’s the narrative? Why do you feel guilty about things like that?
Ilene [00:19:28] I’ve committed to this relationship and I’ve committed to our work together, and then I’m supposed to, like, stay in it until they’re ready to say goodbye.
Linzy [00:19:36] Okay. Right. So you’re committed indefinitely.
Ilene [00:19:40] Indefinitely.
Linzy [00:19:40] 20 or 30 years, if that’s what it takes. Okay.
Ilene [00:19:44] I see where you’re going with this Linzy.
Linzy [00:19:45] I’m curious, did you have you closed on your practice before? Have you gone through this experiance? Like with mat leave? You probably didn’t say goodbye to all your clients, did you?
Ilene [00:19:55] No. But we took a four month pause because it took four months and then I went back part time for the first year of my daughter’s life.
Linzy [00:20:03] So yeah. And what was that experience like?
Ilene [00:20:05] It felt easier than this for some reason because I was doing it for her, you know, like I was taking the time off for my daughter.
Linzy [00:20:13] It was for somebody else.
Ilene [00:20:14] It was for somebody else.
Linzy [00:20:16] Okay. Okay. And what makes it easier about it being for somebody else and not for you?
Ilene [00:20:21] Feels like there’s, like, no room for a client to, like, not argue. Not that a client would be argumentative, but they’re- like a client could see that that would be totally justified. Like, Oh yeah, see, over these last six months, like, your body is changing and you are growing a human, like, of course you’re going to take time.
Linzy [00:20:37] We all see what’s happening here.
Ilene [00:20:38] Yes, of course. You take time off to be with her and then we’ll see when you’re when you’re back. But this sort of feels like I am saying I need more time to grow this thing. Well in a way like I’m growing another thing and just not a human. But so it feels like it’s just not as justified, I guess. Hmm.
Linzy [00:20:55] Okay, so I’m curious, like, for the folks that you work with, do they struggle with doing things for themselves?
Ilene [00:21:01] Yes, they do.
Linzy [00:21:02] So clinically, how could this actually be maybe a positive thing?
Ilene [00:21:08] Yeah. Modeling that, like, permission to take time for yourself to do the things that excite you. Yes. That parallel process is very clear.
Linzy [00:21:17] And what do you notice thinking about that?
Ilene [00:21:19] Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Linzy [00:21:20] Yes, yes. Yeah. I mean, like, I think I’m very passionate about closure. I’ve closed my practice twice now. Yeah. And I’ve also taken a six week leave before, like for my honeymoon. We went to Europe for six weeks. So I’ve done like that where it’s like a long pause and then I closed it for mat leave. And when I went on Mat Leave, I really closed it because I was gonna be off for a year. And then I kind of reopened my practice, but kind of didn’t and then said, Actually, never mind. And then I closed that down, right? And so I think the closure process is underrated, something that I personally noticed clinically. And I don’t know if this is something you agree with, but I think a lot of people don’t get good experiences of goodbyes in their life. A lot of goodbyes are abrupt or confusing and disorienting or just sad, and there’s no chance to actually like close it off. Right. And something that we’re able to offer as mental health clinicians when we know that a change is coming, is we’re able to offer people a different experience of goodbye, right, a goodbye that is intentional. That leaves space for all the emotions and all the grief that comes up right a goodbye that is respectful, where you actually get to see the things that you want to say and express, like the gratitude, but also maybe the frustration, the space for all of it. We usually don’t get space in our lives just as people for that kind of goodbye. Is this resonating with you, what I’m saying?
Ilene [00:22:41] Yeah, absolutely. I talk about closure and termination in my first meeting with a client.
Linzy [00:22:46] Yes.
Ilene [00:22:47] It’s very intentional part of my practice.
Linzy [00:22:49] Yeah. The end is there at the beginning. Exactly. Yes. Yes. So this is actually an opportunity for you, if you accept this framing, to give them this experience that most people don’t get this kind of intentional, thoughtful goodbye. How does that idea land with you?
Ilene [00:23:04] I think, you know, what I’m noticing is just like the sadness in my own heart about my own experiences with goodbyes not being helpful and meaningful. And that could possibly be the barrier to some of, you know, like my inner child is having a hard time thinking about saying goodbye to these clients. And it’s not really about my clients and their challenge with saying goodbye, but maybe even more of my own. And I’ll have to talk to my own therapist about.
Linzy [00:23:28] Yes. So content for therapy, which is always helpful to find. But yeah, like, I mean because we do have our own experiences and our own traumas around goodbyes. But I have certainly found in my own experience at least, that having these experiences of goodbyes is so healing and refreshing, both for the client and and for you as a therapist. Right. To be able to give both of you an experience that is intentional and thoughtful, that’s maybe less coaching more than me, like being like But this… But so I’m hearing there’s that piece, the goodbyes like, you know, sometimes goodbyes are hard. I also was hearing about kind of how do you choose what clients stay and what clients go? Tell me more about that piece.
Ilene [00:24:05] Well I think because when I think about my caseload. There are 50 people on my caseload. I don’t see them all weekly. Obviously some are as-needed basis, some are once a month, some are every other week. Some are weekly. If I’m only reserving 15 slots a week, how do I even choose that? How do how do I do that?
Linzy [00:24:23] Well, I think this goes back to your needs, thinking about this kind of new I want to say upgraded. However you want to think about it, this new intentional version of your practice that’s going to help you recover from burnout and give you the bandwidth to help other therapists be expansive and reach and do their best work. For you as a clinician and a person, how often do you prefer to see clients? What is the piece that makes sense for the work that you do in the way that you work?
Ilene [00:24:49] I mean, I think weekly makes sense. Yeah, I think that’s how you really gain momentum. That’s how I want it. I like to see my therapist weekly. I think it makes sense with the with the in-depth type of work that I do. Yes. I mean, that weekly makes sense.
Linzy [00:25:04] So that would be the first place to look is like who’s weekly? Who wants to be weekly? If you just count those folks who are weekly and are really doing the work and that way, that feels really productive and clinically helpful for you. How many folks is that who are in that category? And that’ll let you start to see like, I mean, this is an opportunity for you to really decide as a clinician, what are your boundaries, what is the best way that you work? Because you can’t work all the ways when you’re only seeing 15 folks.
Ilene [00:25:29] Right.
Linzy [00:25:30] What do you notice when I say that.
Ilene [00:25:31] It kind of goes back to this like interesting boundaries idea around like, oh, yeah, I haven’t seen you in six months. Come on in for a session and check in and like this. Well, that can be helpful for the client. I don’t know that if moving forward, if I’m really going to try to create bandwidth and energy and time on my calendar to grow the group practice, if I can just be available to anybody at any time.
Linzy [00:25:54] Right. Okay. So that’s good information for you because that will also help you start to see like kind of whittle down who’s doing the work that you really love to do and that you do best and who is looking for more like occasional or check in or biweekly that actually one of your therapists might love to do that kind of work.
Ilene [00:26:12] Right. Right.
Linzy [00:26:12] Because we all have kind of our difference, just kind of like frequencies and styles as therapists. Like, I know for me when I was practicing, I was totally fine with biweekly work doing EMDR, which I did. Some folks who do EMDR are like, No, never biweekly, always weekly. Like, we all have our own thing. And so sometimes the, you know, the style that doesn’t work for you might work perfectly for your therapist on the whole.
Ilene [00:26:33] Mm hmm.
Linzy [00:26:34] So that would be a starting point. And the name is popping into my head right now. To Ilene is Jelisha Gatling. Do you know Jelisha?
Ilene [00:26:40] I don’t.
Linzy [00:26:41] She used to be a coach at Money Skills For Therapists. She’s done workshops that I’ve offered to Money Skills grads. She’s awesome. She also used to coach in Lean In Make Bank. Jelisha.
Ilene [00:26:51] Yes, yes, yes, yes. I know her.
Linzy [00:26:53] Yes. So she does work in this area around like as a clinician, setting your boundaries and being clear about like your boundaries and expectations and creating a practice that really serves the way that you work. So she’s also someone to look to for resources like specifically on this. This is like her niche, but really putting yourself and your needs at the forefront of the work that you do. Mm hmm. Because sometimes with burnout, too, burnout happens when we haven’t been doing that.
Ilene [00:27:18] Yeah.
Linzy [00:27:19] Am I saying something accurate?
Ilene [00:27:20] You are hitting me so hard here in my heart, like. Oh, yeah, I’m not. I’ve not been doing that. Yes.
Linzy [00:27:28] So coming towards the end of our conversation today, I mean, what are you taking away from our time together?
Ilene [00:27:33] So breaking down the numbers and seeing how many clients a week feels sustainable to me. What’s really helpful then? Thinking about that next piece of, okay, how do I then help my group practice replace those hours, and then eventually grow past that and expand past that? But hearing the number like yeah, though that will require work- marketing, networking, you know, I’m not naive to think that that will require work to get those clients and fill my clinicians case loads. But it didn’t feel like overwhelming. It wasn’t as high as I thought. Yeah, so that felt good. And then thinking about this piece around saying goodbye, really coming back to some more like intentional and sustainable boundaries for my clients because all really good stuff for me to play around with moving forward.
Linzy [00:28:22] I’m excited for you, I think you’re going to build something awesome. Thank you, Ilene, for joining me today. This conversation with Ilene today makes me really think about just like listening to where your excitement is in your practice. So in her case, you know, the clinical work, she said that she knows she maybe hasn’t been holding her own boundaries, kind of working more sessions that she wants to are working in ways that aren’t actually how she really loves to work as a clinician. And now she’s experiencing this burnout. But when we talked about the idea of her, you know, working ten less sessions and supporting her clinicians in working 25 sessions, it was like, oh, that’s easy. So noticing where that kind of like ease is and where you do have energy for it, because I think sometimes when we’re experiencing burnout, sometimes it’s total burnout, of course, and everything just feels like blunted and difficult. But sometimes it’s that we have too much of a certain thing on our plate and we’re like burnt out on clinical work. But there still is actually a spark and interest kind of going out in different directions. So rather than moving into an all or nothing space of like, I need to stop being a therapist, I need to shut this down, which is like definitely where our brains can go when we’re feeling so exhausted. It’s being curious as to are there still places that you do feel spark even within the work that you’re doing? Or are there things that feel exciting to pursue that are like a little bit beyond or outside? And noticing where that energy is, there’s definitely a difference between the work that you actually kind of know what it feels like and escape fantasy. Ilene and I talked was it in this episode it might have been beforehand about, you know, that fantasy that you can have of like, I’m just going to go start a new profession that’ll solve everything. And often that’s an escape fantasy and doesn’t actually really represent what it would be like to be in that profession. I think when we think about making massive overhauls, sometimes it’s good to pause and ask ourselves like, Is that actually going to solve my problem? But in this case, where Ilene already knows that she likes doing her practice work, she’s already in it, she’s already doing marketing, she already has folks working for her. She actually knows she’s already living what it’s like to be a group practice owner, and her body is saying yes to doing more of that. So there’s a lot of wisdom in that Yes that she’s getting. If you are enjoying the podcast, follow me on Instagram at @moneynutsandbolts. I’m sharing content on there all the time about the practical and emotional sides of money. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, please jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. It is, as I’ve said, the best way for new therapists to find the podcast. Thanks for listening today.
How can you get your numbers working for you as a group practice owner? In this episode, Linzy dives into the steps group practice owners need to take to make your numbers start working for you.
How can you get your numbers working for you as a group practice owner? In this episode, Linzy dives into the steps group practice owners need to take to make your numbers start working for you.
Do you sometimes wonder if you made the right choice by starting a group practice? Do the finances feel like they just don’t work? There are lots of great things about running a group practice, which Linzy explores in this episode, and there are also unique challenges that make being a group practice owner challenging.
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