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.
Being a Bad Therapist with Felicia Keller Boyle
“Me staying broke is not helping other broke people. My mom staying broke did not help her relieve more suffering. I think in my brain I had this idea that as long as I’m broke, I couldn’t possibly be causing harm. What I’ve come to realize is there are ways to have money and to spend money and to interact with money that can be aligned with my values.”
~Felicia Keller Boyle
Felicia Keller Boyle, also known as the Bad Therapist™, is a highly experienced therapist, and business coach. She is dedicated to helping her clients achieve their full potential, both professionally and personally. With a background in therapy and business, Felicia has the unique ability to help her clients overcome the challenges of building a successful practice and achieving financial stability. Her passion for empowering others is evident in her signature program, Liberated Business™, which has already helped therapists from all over the country increase their income and build thriving practices.
What does it mean to be a “good therapist,” and how can that conditioning damage our relationship to money and to living a full life? Felicia Keller Boyle, a.k.a The Bad Therapist, talks with Linzy about how the training and messaging therapists often receive deeply impacts our ability to advocate for our own needs and to charge appropriate fees.
Felicia and Linzy explore how freeing ourselves from conventional attitudes toward making money and practicing self-care can make space for more fulfillment. Listen in to hear how attaining financial growth goals can also be aligned with our values.
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!
Felicia [00:00:01] Me staying broke is not helping other broke people. My mom staying broke didn’t help her relieve more suffering. And I think in my brain I had this idea that as long as I’m broke, I couldn’t possibly be causing harm. And what I’ve come to realize is there are ways to have money and to spend money and interact with money that can be aligned with my values.
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 Money Skills For Therapists podcast. Today’s guest is Felicia Keller Boyle. She’s also known as the Bad Therapist. As we chat about, at the beginning of our conversation, I find her name so evocative, this name of the bad therapist, because I think that it immediately, you know, provokes what it’s supposed to provoke, which is that as therapists, we are trained to be good. Today we get into talking about our good therapist conditioning, to clarify, different from being a clinically excellent therapist or a professional therapist. But good therapist conditioning in the sense of like basically the extension of good girl conditioning, right, about being small, not asking for much, getting by. You know, as she mentions, not enforcing your cancellation policies. These can all be bound up in this conditioning that we get around being good. And today, Felicia and I get into how that conditioning that we get impacts our relationship with money, our financial lives, the work that we do, and what we can do to start to untangle ourselves from that good therapist conditioning and start to actually be able to build a strong, positive relationship with money, be able to earn the money that we need to earn all of those good things that we know that I hope you know, if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a little while, that we know money can bring into our lives. Here is my conversation with Felicia Keller Boyle. Felicia, welcome to the podcast.
Felicia [00:02:33] Thanks, Linzy. I’m really excited to be here.
Linzy [00:02:35] I’m excited to have you here. So what we’re going to be digging into today, I feel like is such a part of your brand and your ethos. And, I love, first of all, the name of your business.
Felicia [00:02:46] Thank you.
Linzy [00:02:47] The Bad Therapist. Because you and I notice and mean Felicia is it immediately activates all my good girl parts.
Felicia [00:02:54] Yeah, that is the intention.
Linzy [00:02:55] It’s very provocative.
Felicia [00:02:57] That’s the whole point. You know, I figured based on what I promote and what I encourage therapists to do, like the most common, like insult or criticism that gets lobbed against what I do and what my students do is I we’re bad therapists. And so I’m like, fine, let’s lean into it.
Linzy [00:03:18] Yes.
Felicia [00:03:19] Because being a good therapist – and I don’t mean like being a clinically sound skilled therapist, but being like a quote, like the quote unquote good therapist is someone who typically doesn’t have boundaries, has a theoretical cancellation policy, but wouldn’t dare to enforce it because that would be so mean and so wrong and wouldn’t have high fees because, of course, that’s what we don’t get into this for the money. Yes, we work multiple jobs in order to afford being therapists. So anyway, I see being a bad therapist is like the antidote to what’s very typical for therapists once we come through our training. Essentially like indoctrination, indoctrination into like the good therapist conditioning world.
Linzy [00:04:03] Yes. Yes. Like this good therapist conditioning. So I’m hearing like, partially like we’re getting it through our training. We are conditioned to be good – and I’m putting good therapist in quotations. Cuz as you say, we’re not talking about being a quality therapist like, clinical excellence. We’re talking about being- like it’s more the good girl or good person.
Felicia [00:04:20] That’s exactly right.
Linzy [00:04:21] I’m curious, like, do you think it’s also a preexisting condition for folks in the field, or does it really?
Felicia [00:04:28] Oh hell yeah.
Linzy [00:04:28] Yeah, yeah.
Felicia [00:04:29] Oh, yeah. I mean, okay, I say this to my friends, I say this to my students. Sometimes we’ll just be in a room together like a bunch of therapists, and we’re like, We’re crazy, right? Like, who does this? Like who makes this decision? There’s so many different jobs out here. We all decided to do this. That’s a wacky decision. I mean, God bless us. You know, someone’s got to do it. And we’re clearly the best people for the job. But I do think that good therapist conditioning usually doesn’t just start in our training. It usually starts early on in our lives. I know that, like the groundwork for being a good therapist, like you were saying, started out as being a very good girl in so many different ways. You know, I was the oldest child in a single-parent home. I was raised in the church. There were all- I grew up without a lot of money and very resentful of people who had money, very fearful of money. And just ignorant also like how to work with it. So there’s lots of fear, lots of ignorance around money. So I very much was like before I ever even decided I was going to be a therapist, I was already very much affected by like good girl conditioning. And so then when I decided to be a therapist, all of those inclinations and habits basically got reinforced by my training.
Linzy [00:05:50] Yes.
Felicia [00:05:51] With, you know, being called like being client-centered, you know, it’s like being quiet and centered. We got new language for it. Yeah, right. AKA No boundaries. And I don’t think that that’s what client-centered actually means, obviously. But I think there’s a way that will confuse what it means to actually do really high-quality work with our clients as therapists and treating ourselves well. You know, like we tend to see those two things as like mutually exclusive.
Linzy [00:06:20] Yes. Yes. Yeah. So this, you know, good therapist conditioning. How do you see this impacting therapist relationships with money and like the financial side of the work that we do.
Felicia [00:06:32] Yeah. I mean, it impacts it in a huge way. I mean, one of the things that’s true for I would say most, if not all therapists, is that we spend a lot of our time in our early days of our training, not getting paid for our labor.
Linzy [00:06:49] Yeah.
Felicia [00:06:50] So that in and of itself creates a pattern where we undervalue our labor because it has been undervalued. Becoming a therapist is a really expensive career path. You know, our trainings are not cheap. Many of us, by the time when we’re done with our trainings, have at least 100 K in student debt, sometimes multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt. And then we’re expected – culturally and by many of our elders in the field – to earn nowhere near an amount of money that would actually, I don’t know, afford us so comfortable life, let alone begin to pay back that debt. So good therapist conditioning is something that’s reinforced all throughout our trainings. And yeah, one aspect of it, like I said, is, is that not valuing our labor. And then the other thing is feeling intense fear of pricing people out of therapy.
Linzy [00:07:50] Yes.
Felicia [00:07:50] When it comes to our fees. Yeah. And just getting really stuck right there. Like, that’s kind of where our brains tend to short out. We think about raising our fees, then we imagine some people can’t afford it. And it’s almost like our our minds short circuit in that moment. And that’s the end of the end of like the the question, the curiosity. Yeah. And we don’t have the support we need to start actually to get creative about how to approach solving for that.
Linzy [00:08:18] Mm hmm. And I’m curious, like with, you know, with the folks that you’ve looked at or you’ve worked with or like generally with your observations about this, like, what does this actually end up meaning for therapists’ financial lives when we’re caught up in this like, good therapist training?
Felicia [00:08:31] I mean, it’s there’s a huge range. Obviously, some of it’s like pretty, pretty devastating. I’ve heard from so many therapists who are actually quite early on in their training. Some of them, you know, just in their first traineeship, some of them still getting their hours and they’re already like wanting to leave the field.
Linzy [00:08:49] Yeah, right.
Felicia [00:08:50] They’re already burnt out because they’re overworking and being underpaid. And when they’re underpaid they don’t have money to leverage to resource themselves in other ways. Right, right. If they were, if they were working a lot and getting paid well, at least they would have the money to maybe, I don’t know, well just – for one – not be stressed about money, which sure as hell would be really nice.
Linzy [00:09:11] That helps, yeah.
Felicia [00:09:12] And maybe do some other nice things for themselves. Maybe they would take themselves on a vacation. They would have a gym membership because it feels good to them to move their bodies.
Linzy [00:09:20] Get help around the home.
Felicia [00:09:21] Help around the home, Right. Exactly. Pay other people well for their labor, to do things in their lives. But yeah, it causes huge strain. And then you’ll have people, so you’ll have those people who sometimes like tap out super early on and then you’ll have the other people who will go their entire careers under-earning.
Linzy [00:09:39] Yeah.
Felicia [00:09:40] And they will have long, long careers as therapists and social workers and psychologists and whatever, but they’ll spend their entire life under-earning. One thing that was really impactful for me in deciding to really examine my relationship with money and not just my relationship, but also begin to educate myself about money and finance. Because like I said earlier, I was incredibly ignorant. I was thinking about my mom, who has run her own business my entire life. She was a house cleaner when I was a little kid, and then when I was in junior high, she became a massage therapist. So I’ve watched her be self-employed her entire life. And what I’m seeing now in her sixties is that her retirement plan is like, practically nonexistent. Yes. And as a child of hers, that’s really scary, you know? And so I, you know, saw that and I was like, okay, I’m going to go through the trouble of running a business. I have so many resources that my mom didn’t have. My mom, God bless her, did her very best with what she had. And because of some of the things she did, how hard she worked, I have a lot more resources than she did at the time, so I’m going to use that to my advantage. I don’t want to end up in that position. It’s something that because of how I was raised, if I don’t do something about this, if I don’t actively engage with this process, if I just continue to exist with my defaults, that is exactly where I would end up at her age because that’s everything I’ve learned how to do.
Linzy [00:11:14] Sure, yes.
Felicia [00:11:15] So I don’t want that to be my future. I have to be actively engaged in my decisions right now. So that was a huge kind of awareness for me. Once I completed my hours and I got licensed and I was setting up my business and I was really thinking about what does it mean to run a business? I was seeing how she ran hers and realizing, okay, that’s not the outcome I want. I’m going to put all this effort in. I want a different outcome.
Linzy [00:11:39] Right. Yes. I feel like your story read a thought that was in the back of my mind as I’m thinking about, you know, these impacts, like retirement. It’s like you can limp along for your working life because you can always see a couple more clients, right? Like, money’s coming in and money is probably coming in enough that you can, like, cover rent or bills and like, I don’t know, maybe like, go out for coffee with your friends a little bit. Like you can make life livable while you’re actively earning. But once we hit retirement, it’s like if we didn’t have that extra, if we weren’t planning ahead enough to put money aside that little flow that you had stops. And then I think the real impact is felt, which like I’m- folks listening, I’m not trying to stress you out. Right. But like, this is kind of like the black-and-white reality that can happen when we underearn for our whole careers.
Felicia [00:12:27] That’s exactly right. Yeah. And what you were just saying about, like, we can limp along, we can get by. And I think therapists are very much trained and conditioned to really just want to get by. For that to be as much as we hope for because there’s so much suffering out in the world.
Linzy [00:12:47] Yes.
Felicia [00:12:48] Why should we want to have a good lives like, okay, like mentally balanced. Sure. Yeah. We want that. We feel entitled to that. But like a lavish life, an abundant life, a super well-resourced life. As many vacations as we want to take life. No, no, no, no, no. There’s far too much suffering in the world for me to be concerned with having that much joy and pleasure and freedom in my life. That would be really bad. It’s not fair.
Linzy [00:13:15] Yes.
Felicia [00:13:16] And I think that for me, that that was like a huge, huge part of like what I had to undo that sense of like, it’s not fair, because I’ve got to tell you, as a little kid growing up without money, I was pissed. I was like, It is not fair. It is really not fair that my mom’s scrubbing toilets while this family is out on vacation, which that’s how it felt. Yes, that’s how it felt as a little kid. And I think I carried that into adulthood and wanted to stay allied with my younger self because I didn’t want to become the people who are out on vacation while someone else was scrubbing a toilet. I didn’t want to make that change.
Linzy [00:13:54] Yeah.
Felicia [00:13:55] Well, what I realized is that, like, me staying broke is not helping other people. My mom staying broke didn’t help her, you know, relieve more suffering of other broke people. And I think in my brain, I had this idea that as long as I’m broke. I couldn’t possibly be causing harm. Right. And what I’ve come to realize is there are ways to have money and to spend money and interact with money that can be aligned with my values. And just because, you know, five years ago, I had no idea what that looked like didn’t mean it wasn’t worth trying to learn what that could look like. I think so many people at the start of examining their relationship with money and wanting to heal it, is they kind of have this sense of, okay, okay, maybe I’ll make more money, but you’ve got to promise me that at the end of it, I’m still going to be a good person. If you give me like the five things I have to do, if I have more money so that I can be a good person, okay, then fine, I’ll do that. And because that’s what I would have really loved, is for someone to just give me a blueprint to be like, okay, here’s how you make more money and this is how you be a good person and stuff like that.
Linzy [00:15:05] Yep.
Felicia [00:15:05] That’s like the same trap.
Linzy [00:15:07] Yes, it is.
Felicia [00:15:08] The whole thing is.
Linzy [00:15:10] Yeah.
Felicia [00:15:11] And so the biggest thing that I teach the people I work with, the therapists I work with, is to educate themselves about money and finance and to be looking for ways to engage with money that does align with their values. For some- for every single person that’s going to be different. For some people, it’s going to be volunteering some of their time now that they are working less and they have more money. The way that they want to, like give the way that they want to feed back into their communities is they’re going to want to volunteer time. Some people are going to want to make financial donations. Some people are going to have family members who have been living in poverty and they’re going to actually be taking the money they’re earning and giving it to their family members. So, you know what I mean? Some people are going to be like, I’ve spent the last 30 years working in an agency busting my ass. I’m so fucking tired. I’m going to spend any extra money I have on vacations and I’m not going to feel guilty about it. You know what I mean? Like, they’re-
Linzy [00:16:08] They’ve done their time.
Felicia [00:16:09] Yeah, exactly. It’s like for every single person, there is going to be a unique way for them to feel good with the money they’re earning. And so I would never tell somebody, Well, the way to be good with money is you just donate X amount of money to causes and then you’re good. Done.
Linzy [00:16:30] Yeah. And like something that I’m hearing there, Felicia, like is the use of- two different uses of the word good right? There’s like what feels good and then there’s trying to be good and those are different things.
Felicia [00:16:41] Great point.
Linzy [00:16:42] Right? So there’s like what feels good? And like, what I’m hearing, you know, is there’s gonna be a range of what we’re even talking about. They’re like, what kind of feel good you want to feel like? Do you want to feel joyful? Do you want to feel energized? You want to feel connected? Do you want to feel generous? Like what do you want to feel? But then if we want to be good, we’re still in that same trap of like being small, following the rules, you know, like it’s still the good girl guise, but slightly modified. But we’re still really trapping ourself within some sort of like moral framework that may or may not actually be our own beliefs and morals.
Felicia [00:17:19] Exactly. Yeah, I think that’s a great distinction. The difference between being good versus feeling good. And again, I think for a lot of us it’s really funny because you would think as therapists that we would all be proponents of getting to feel good, you know, like that we would be like, of course we want to feel-
Linzy [00:17:40] We tell other people to.
Felicia [00:17:41] But like I think when it comes down to it, we actually put a lot of limitations on what that actually means.
Linzy [00:17:48] Absolutely.
Felicia [00:17:48] Like, you can feel good, but only if it’s with something that’s wholesome. Only if it’s something that you’ve worked really, really hard to earn. And then and then you can feel good with it. But if it’s too easy to get, then you don’t really deserve to feel good. Have you done your homework? Okay. And then you get to feel good. Have you been exhausted working with, you know, 35 clients this week? Okay, then you get to feel good. There’s all of this kind of the- I haven’t coined the best term for it yet, but I almost call it like a trauma competition where it’s like I feel like there’s this thing that I notice in myself and that I’ll notice amongst therapists talking to each other where I almost feel like I have to justify the good things in my life by like reminding myself and other people with all the things I’ve gone through.
Linzy [00:18:41] Yes.
Felicia [00:18:42] But the problem is that it’s almost like we could never go through enough pain to justify feeling good, because there’s always going to be someone who’s got it worse. So we’re always like, I don’t deserve this because someone else has had more pain. So who am I to get to feel good? Who am I to enjoy money? Who am I to break the mold of good therapist conditioning and decide that rather than having a bunch of low fees, I’m going to take the money, you know, the quote-unquote extra money I earn and use that to fund my parents’ retirement. I’m like, what if I’m just like, Yeah, I’m not having lower fees because I want to do that. What if that’s the reason? Or also, what if I don’t even have to give a reason? What if I don’t have to justify it? All right, so that’s like, perhaps even more radical to just decide. Well, I get to have this because I decide I get to have this. Period.
Linzy [00:19:32] Absolutely. I’m like something, you know, I think of- I also think about like, you know, goodness and containness. And something that I think about with goodness is, good is small, right? It’s like you’re allowed to have a little bit of good because you have done the right things. You’ve been controlled, you’ve been contained, you’ve been orderly, you followed the rules, and therefore you get this little bit of reward. Whereas something that I have thought about a lot in the last couple of years and really tried to work on personally is like just taking up space because you’re alive. You get to just be hungry because you’re a human and food is good, right? Like you get to just like go on a lovely walk because you’re a human who’s alive and like, what is better than having a beautiful sensory experience and like, experiencing your aliveness, right? And just no conditions being tied to it. I think that-.
Felicia [00:20:19] I love that.
Linzy [00:20:19] I wonder if those conditions are still like, it’s still those little tendrils of be good, be small, follow rules, you know, like ask for forgiveness, give apologies, like you know all of that conditioning and it’s kind of insidious, right. Like it can slip in when that’s been our conditioning.
Felicia [00:20:38] So easily.
Linzy [00:20:38] Slip in all of these ways even when we’ve worked so hard to try to claim space and try to do it differently.
Felicia [00:20:45] Yeah. I mean, this is a process that never really ends, right. It’s like we’re constantly un-peeling these layers. And something that came to mind as you were just speaking was the experience of being a woman and what it means for a woman to feel good for no reason. You know, what it is for, like, a woman to feel good in her body, to feel good in her experience. Because there is something, as you’re talking, that almost there’s like a danger to that. Yes, there’s a danger to like a woman who is unapologetically enjoying herself, just like there is a danger to how that’s been targeted. If that also comes to me, like folks of other oppressed identities, people in positions of power do not like to see people they’re repressing, having the audacity to just enjoy themselves. Right?
Linzy [00:21:40] Yeah.
Felicia [00:21:40] And there are so many examples of this. I don’t even need to say that. Like, we can- I’m sure anyone listening can think of at least one example in their own life and probably one that’s been in the news over the last few years like. This idea of people just enjoying themselves is so radical. I think it’s really radical for anybody with an oppressed identity. I think it’s really radical for therapists where that is something that is weirdly paid lip service to in our field. But like totally we get like the complete opposite messaging in terms of like what we’re actually supposed to be doing and what we’re actually supposed to be feeling. It’s like, enjoy yourselves, but also totally don’t. Like at all.
Linzy [00:22:26] And also, I think it can be like, enjoy yourself because that’s part of being a good therapist. Like you have to have a good life. Not only do you need to like, sacrifice yourself for, you know, your clients, but also you need to be living a good life so you’re like truly good therapist. And your line, it’s just like another way that you can be bad and failing.
Felicia [00:22:42] Makes me think of so early on in my career, before I went to grad school, right after undergrad, I got a job at a methadone clinic, which is nuts because I was like 22 and had no training. But that’s what we do with our most underserved populations. We give the least experienced people-
Linzy [00:23:00] Throw in the newbies.
Felicia [00:23:01] -are being paid the least amount of money to work with them. But it was very earnest and I found mentors in different places and I borrowed a textbook from one of them, like one of their grad school textbooks. And as I was saying, like the one thing that I remember from that textbook was being a therapist is a lifestyle. Even when you’re not working, like you’re not seeing clients, you are a therapist. Like every moment of every day, you are a therapist and your whole life needs to, like, contribute to that. It needs to like, when you go to bed, what you eat, like all of the things need to, as if as if you’re like a living in a monastery. You know what I mean. And to an extent I do think that is true. I think like our whole lives need to- all the elements of our life, we benefit when all of those things really do work together and every aspect support. And so like, sure, but I took that crazy literally and, you know, because again, I didn’t I was so young, I was so eager. I really, really wanted to do a good job. And I was like, Great, okay. So that’s what I do. So like, everything I do is like my whole life is actually about this. And I think that that’s an extreme version of what we’re taught. But I think that is kind of what we’re taught, that like our whole when, when you become a therapist, like you are a therapist, you basically just joined a convent, Like you’re a nun, you’re a monk. Like everything is about this. And if you do anything, anything that’s like for you, then you’re stepping on a line. And the other thing about like, that idea of, like, everything you do is about this because our work is like in service of other people, it by extension becomes everything you do is about your clients. Everything you do is for your clients. And that’s a big fucking problem for sure.
Linzy [00:24:48] Yes, absolutely. And like as you’re saying that I was, first of all, that infuriates me.
Felicia [00:24:55] Yeah, me too.
Linzy [00:24:55] I’m just like, even the idea that, like, being a therapist is a lifestyle. I’m like, Fuck that. Yeah. And part of me is like, that’s a part of me responding that I think bought into that when I was also younger and starting out in practice. But it makes me think about two stories, neither of which are about somebody being particularly daring or bad, but just about how constrained our lives can become when we think like that. One is one of my supervisors, when I was a student, talking about going to a party, and one of her clients was at the party, and leaving, like leaving the party and she was like, It happens sometimes. It’s awkward. I just kind of said, you know, my hellos and I left, you know? And so it’s like, like you’re not even allowed to, like, be out in the world and exist because you might complicate this like one therapeutic relationship. But then the opposite of that is I had a therapist who I worked with for several years doing EMDR, and she was a lot. She was not a good girl. And she was not a good therapist. And for me as a good therapist who is like very contained and my office was always perfect, like she had this flower petal stuck to the wall of her living room for fucking year. For a year. I was like, What’s on your wall? And she’s like, Oh, it’s a flower petal. There was a bouquet there and it like, stuck to the wall. She never cleaned it for the whole year. It made the good therapist and me insane because I was like, This is your space.
Felicia [00:26:10] How dare she!
Linzy [00:26:10] How dare you show so little care to the space in which like you do your client work. But she was just kind of like a lot more just relaxed and alive. And she told me about – talking about this, this conversation of balancing living in small town, running into clients. She said that she had had clients before express interest in joining the church, that she was part of this Unitarian congregation, and she told them, You’re welcome to come. I go there. I will not have a conversation with you. That’s where I live my life. So I will say hi, but I’m going to just like be myself there. That is my space and like, kind of claiming her space. And she said almost inevitably, the person would not end up joining the congregation because part of it unconsciously, on some level, that person wants to have, you know, as can maintain that therapeutic space and her just given consent, informed consent to be like, you can do it, but I’m going to be myself there and you’re going to see me being myself.
Felicia [00:27:03] Yeah, I love that.
Linzy [00:27:05] And it was like, it’s so just like honest and simple. And again, this is like her, like literally being at her, you know, her for her faith and normal. But How often do we, like, censor ourselves? Because we notice somebody is in the space who we worked with like five years ago, right? And we’re like, Oh, put therapist face on. You know, this person who I saw for one client one session three years ago is sitting over there. Like how make ourselves good and small.
Felicia [00:27:34] Exactly.
Linzy [00:27:35] To the extreme, I think, and to our own detriment.
Felicia [00:27:38] Yeah. It can really make our lives super tiny. And as you’re telling those stories, it’s making me think about like a few of the key things that happened at different stages of my career that kind of like began to break down. Because obviously I didn’t just like, wake up one day and I’m like, I’m the bad therapist.
Linzy [00:27:57] Just a rose from the ashes spontaneously.
Felicia [00:28:00] Yeah. I’m, like doing a photoshoot soon, that could be a fun photo. Not totally accurate. But yeah, it’s funny because as much as I was like- bought into this good therapist conditioning, there were cracks. I mean, part of my story is I decided to be a therapist at the age of 13. I shit you not. I remember the exact conversation I was having with my friend Rosemarie outside of our like seventh grade science class bungalow when she was, like, complaining about her friend Kristina. And I was like, trying to be kind of neutral and curious, and I was like, Oh, wow, people do this for a job. I’m good at this. I want to do that. So I decided then. I was a church girl. I taught Sunday school like, I was no sex before marriage, like it’s totally embedded in good girl conditioning. So that was super, super strong. And some of the things like were breaking and it’s good therapist conditioning. So when I worked at that methadone clinic, it was in my hometown of Bakersfield and the clinic was downtown and my house was downtown and a bunch of my friends were patients there. And so like, obviously those people not get assigned to me, to be their counselor, but like, my friends would be in the lobby and my sister’s friends would be in the lobby and like I would see people there during the day, like go out to get one of my clients, see one of my buddies in line to do this and be like, Hey, what’s up? Like, see you later, you know, see you tonight. And like, I would run into my clients all around. I would have people walk up to me and just start talking to me. So like that separation because I was- Bakersfield is not necessarily a small community. There’s actually a lot of people there. But like that community at the time, being downtown and with the people I hung out with, was small enough.
Linzy [00:29:46] Yeah.
Felicia [00:29:47] That like there wasn’t really a way to be totally separate. So that in some ways was like really a gift because a lot of the fear that I do see therapists having around that, like the hyper good therapist conditioning is something that in some ways like wasn’t even an option for me. So I feel like that that really helped me out. Yeah, I think would have been really different if it weren’t for something like that.
Linzy [00:30:09] Yeah, because that’s such just an honest situation too. I think like when we do have a little bit more distance and space, like we can tell ourselves that there’s something different between us and the folks that we’re serving, right? But when it’s like literally your friends.
Felicia [00:30:23] Exactly.
Linzy [00:30:24] In the lobby, who could be your clients, but they’re not because – obviously.
Felicia [00:30:27] Yeah, my driends come in to be a patient and I have to go tell my manager because I was the youngest person working there. So like, if a young person came to the clinic, they got assigned to me. But because I would always have to go say, Oh, that person’s my friend. And they’d be like, okay, well, sign them to somebody else. So like, I literally was like, very known.
Linzy [00:30:44] So much to dig into, but I want to- I would love to get your thoughts and experiences of how folks can start to shift this. Like with the work that you’ve done with therapists around this conditioning, what makes the biggest difference in allowing folks to start to shift their relationship with money, given all the stuff that we’ve just talked about?
Felicia [00:31:04] Oh my God. Well, it’s one thing I want to say is like for me at least, this has been a long journey and I don’t think it’s ever going to stop. I think there will always be things I am learning, things that I, you know, corners I turn and I see something I’m afraid of that I have the choice to either move towards or move away from. Like that, I don’t anticipate, is ever going to stop. So for folks who are feeling nervous or scared or stuck or just really confused about where to start or just like overwhelmed, I just want to say like, this is a long process. It’s not going to happen all at once. It’s going to be super unique to you. And one thing that was really important for me and it’s been important for my clients, something I kind of mentioned earlier, is giving ourselves permission to be students and to learn. Yeah, part of my fear around learning about money was that I would become my worst fears, that I would become totally detached, selfish, whatever, and part of what I’ve had to do in order to make the changes I’ve had to make is to experiment and to learn and to potentially be shadow versions of myself, you know, to actually start to integrate that. Like, is it being selfish or is it having boundaries.
Linzy [00:32:21] Right. Yes.
Felicia [00:32:23] Is it being selfish or is it being honest about what I want and need or desire? So sometimes I am certainly doing things now that five years ago I, you know, when I was really steeped in good therapist conditioning, was absolutely not. That’s not okay. So I would say like giving yourself permission to learn and experiment and get things wrong. You know, I’m sure there will be things that five years from now, I’ll look back on this moment and say, you know what, If I had to do that over again, I would do it differently and I’m going to do it differently today. This is a- this is 100% a learning process.
Linzy [00:32:54] Yeah.
Felicia [00:32:55] You do not have to be perfect. You were allowed to get things wrong. And I think as therapists, that’s another thing we’re really afraid of – to get things wrong. I can’t tell you how freaked out people get. And you know this. We get super freaked out about our reputations. If I do something wrong, client’s going to go talk about it. I’m going to be banned from being a therapist, you know. So afraid of getting it wrong. But I would say, like, you are allowed to get it wrong. Are some people going to be pissed? Sure. That’s fine. You can’t avoid that, right? Like you, you’re allowed to change your mind. So yeah, in a nutshell, basically, get started, find ways to educate yourself, find people who are talking about money, and listen to them, even if you don’t agree with them 100%, even if you don’t really even understand what they’re saying, start to learn and then you get to pick and choose the things that make sense to you, work for you, align with your values, but go see what’s out there so you can make the most informed decision about what’s best for you. Because there is no cookie-cutter right way to do this. You’d be well-served by just seeing what is out there. Educate yourselves. So that was probably like five. Ultimately, to educate yourselves, be willing to learn, and be willing to make mistakes, and just be down for the whole ride.
Linzy [00:34:17] Yes. And I love that, you know, like making mistakes or experimenting, like, however we want to frame it, because I think that is one of the things that can be counter to your nature when you’ve been conditioned to be good. Right. Is that thinking that there is a right way to do it and therefore there’s a wrong way to do it and you might do the wrong way and like, you know, toe dipping and experimenting and seeing what feels good. And like, you know, something that I’ve said to my students sometimes, too, is I think we can have such black and white thinking, you know, and we can have a whole other podcast about, like, I think, class and messaging and who benefits from the messages that folks at different class levels get. But this idea that like poor is good.
Felicia [00:34:54] Yep.
Linzy [00:34:55] Therefore, rich is bad.
Felicia [00:34:56] Right. The meek shall inherit the earth.
Linzy [00:34:58] Yes. And something that I sometimes say to students is like, you’re not going to accidentally become Jeff Bezos. Like, that’s not a risk that you have.
Felicia [00:35:06] That’s it! Listen, if you’re not a sociopath, it’s not going to just happen.
Linzy [00:35:11] Like, folks who are ultra-wealthy. You know who I think sometimes the people that we hold up have like but they’re hoarding wealth and they could be doing all these things. And I think all that is true. I’m there’s a line where I’m like, share that a little now. It’s not making your life better. And those folks didn’t get there by accident and you’re not going to accidentally get there. As Felicia and I have worked on our own money stories and found ways to earn more money and take up more space in the world. Neither of us has accidentally become a billionaire. Is that fair to say? I don’t know your numbers, but I would guess.
Felicia [00:35:42] I’m not a billionaire.
Linzy [00:35:44] Right. So, like, you get to play an experiment. And if you do something and you’re like, actually, that felt kind of bad, you know, like maybe, you know, you take a chance on giving to a certain group and you’re like, No, actually, I that felt better when I was start doing it again. Right? Like we get to live and be imperfect and and figure things out. Yeah.
Felicia [00:36:03] And, you know, to your point about accidentally becoming a billionaire or accidentally becoming like a monster, like own oops turns out when I make 200 K instead of 100 k, I turn into a monster. That’s the threshold where monster happens. It’s like, that’s not how it works. You know what I mean? Like if I work three days a week instead of four, that triggers monster mode. Like that is- it’s not straight, black and white, as that. It’s not. There’s so many variables to who we are as people. It’s not as if making a certain amount of money or charging a certain fee or having a certain number of days that you work or a certain number of clients you see, your people you work with, and people you don’t, automatically means you’re a monster. And if you’re ever worried about like, Oh no, will I become one? Linzy and I hold spaces for therapists to do this work in community with expert support because it is scary as shit. And we know that because we’ve both been through it. Slash are both still on the path, right? You know, so we get it. It’s like, I know I’ve had a lot of support, I’ve had a lot of mentors over the years and spaces that I’ve been a part of where that have helped me as I’ve gone through this. So the other bit of advice would be like, Don’t do this alone.
Linzy [00:37:22] Yeah. Yes, yes. Because I think too, like that being worth and co-regulation, having somebody to be like, Oh no, you didn’t turn into a bad person. You’re still yourself.
Felicia [00:37:31] Reality check.
Linzy [00:37:33] You’re still lovely and thoughtful and creative and you know, whatever it is that makes, that makes you you. Yeah. That reality check. Because there are parts of us that are very invested in staying small, staying good, whatever your certain brand of that is. And so having those external supports and guidance. Very valuable. Very valuable. Felicia, thank you so much for coming on today. If folks want to get further into your world, where can they find you and follow you?
Felicia [00:38:03] Yeah, so I’m on the Internet as at the bad therapist with underscores between each word. Yeah. So that’s where I’m at the most. You can also check on my website, which is the bad therapist dot coach. And right now I’m enrolling for my program Liberated Business, which is a- I mean, it’s extensive. It’s basically a one-stop shop for everything you need to know how to do in order to start or grow your private practice. And this year I’ve added a second learning track called the Skill Track, which is intended for therapists who already have their feet underneath them but are actually looking to scale either into group practices or online courses, coaching offers, and things like that. So I’m super excited About it. And yeah, that’s the best way to work with me right now. Folks want to get involved.
Linzy [00:38:53] Awesome. So that was liberated business. So find Felicia at the bad therapist and see if the windows open for liberated business. You can check it out and you can get in touch with her. Well, thank you so much. It’s been lovely talking with you today.
Felicia [00:39:07] Thank you, Linzy.
Linzy [00:39:21] That conditioning that we get around being good, as Felicia mentioned, it’s just so pervasive. If you experience this growing up, whether it’s through the parenting that you received or whether you know you experienced abuse. I think being good is often a response to being abused as a way to survive and get by, or whether it’s around growing up without a lot of money and being told that that is good. I mean, there’s so many ways that I think that we receive this conditioning. But, you know, when we’ve had that, it takes a long time to untangle and catch it as it comes up in these new different ways and the guise of perfectionism or what is proper and professional or what is moral and good like, I think it just permeates so many aspects of our lives, as Felicia was talking about. And I love that idea of just inviting experimentation and curiosity. You know, it’s very much, you know, the kind of research that I find can be really helpful when we’re trying to unravel ourselves from these like tight black and white relationships that we have with money and business is to experiment, try, see how something feels. You’re allowed to change your mind. I love that loosening that Felicia is suggesting that allow us to start to shift those relationships. So, so, so appreciative of Felicia coming on to the podcast today. If you’re enjoying the podcast, you can also find me on Instagram @moneynutsandbolts. We share free emotional and practical money content on there all the time, and I am also trying to do reels. You will see at the point when this podcast comes out if I’m still doing reels, but if I am being resilient and focused as I plan to be, I’m also doing some fun little videos trying to make money accessible and palatable for all of you. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, I would also appreciate if you can give me a review on Apple podcast. That is the best way for folks to find us. Thanks for listening today.
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