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How Can Setting the Right Fee Help Therapists Thrive in Private Practice? With Erin Gibb

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 “I would say the very first step would be to write out what is it you need to thrive? And it isn’t about money at that moment. It is just about legitimately what do you need to thrive?”

~Erin Gibb

Meet Erin Gibb

Erin Gibb is a therapist, clinical supervisor, group practice owner, podcast host, Therapist Fulfillment coach, and early adopter of the weird and wonderful that accelerates expansion.

Erin created Therapist Expanded after years of mentoring therapists and seeing how deeply the industry conditioning goes, and how courageously living from the source of our dreams incites mental health revolution. She offers Activations, Courses and 1:1 coaching focused on therapists getting first aligned with where they need to create from for their ultimate fulfillment, before ever making another career or buying decision.

In this Episode...

Have you considered how much your private practice fee needs to be to enable you not just to live, but to thrive? Linzy’s guest Erin Gibb shares about the different ways that therapists often set their fees, and how focusing on thriving when setting your fee can help therapists avoid common pitfalls.

Erin explains the steps to figure out your thrive fee, and how to receive and manage the feelings and stories that arise with that number. Erin and Linzy then explore how this approach benefits both therapists and clients. Check out this perspective-shifting episode, and be sure to access Erin’s quiz that helps you establish your own thrive fee. 

Connect with Erin

Want to work with Linzy?

Check out Linzy’s masterclass, The 4 Step Framework to Getting Your Business Finances Totally in Order, where you’ll learn the framework that has helped hundreds of therapists go from money confusion and shame to calm and confidence, as well as the three biggest financial mistakes that therapists make.

At the end, you’ll be invited to join Money Skills for Therapists and get Linzy’s support in getting your finances finally working for you. Click here to find a Masterclass time that works for you!

Episode Transcript

Erin [00:00:06] I would say the very first step would be to write down that second step I laid out, which is what do you need to thrive? And it isn’t about money at that moment. It is legitimately just about what do you need to thrive? 


Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills for Therapist 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. 


Linzy [00:00:50] Hello and welcome back to the podcast. So today I am joined by Erin Gibb. Erin Gibb is a fellow Ontarian with me, and she is a therapist, a clinical supervisor and a group practice owner, podcast host and Therapist Fulfillment coach. Fulfillment is a big part of what we talk about today. Erin and I get into this idea of a Thrive fee, understanding what it takes for you to be fulfilled and thrive in your life and looking at your practice from that lens. We talk a lot about industry conditioning as well as our own personal conditioning and social conditioning that could keep us kind of mired in struggle and in under-earning, although that’s not a word that we use. That’s the word that occurs to me now about some of what we talk about and also talk about what would happen if the therapists, if we actually agreed to take care of ourselves and to be okay and to be fulfilled and to thrive. What that could actually mean for our industry and insurance fees and all these other things. Erin, in the work that she does, talks about creating a therapist revolution, and I’m not much of a revolution woman myself, I’m more of like, read books and listen to records and be in my garden kind of person. But I got pretty excited today thinking about what would happen if we therapists actually agreed that we’re not going to take it anymore. Here’s my conversation with Erin Gibb. 


Linzy [00:02:27] So, Erin, welcome to the podcast. 


Erin [00:02:30] Thank you. I’m thrilled to be here. 


Linzy [00:02:31] So, Erin, you and I are both Ontarians. We are in the same geographical region. 


Erin [00:02:37] Yes we are. 


Linzy [00:02:38] A few hours apart, which is like kind of novel in the online, you know, like therapist consulting business, building space. You called it just before in our chat, just before we started recording the soup that we’re all in of different folks helping therapists. Usually, people are scattered far and wide, but you and I are actually both Canadians in Ontario, so it’s nice to have a kind of more local connection today. 


Erin [00:02:59] Yeah, we’re kind of like neighbours. I actually interviewed someone recently who I didn’t realize is literally a neighbour. I could probably walk to their house. And I was stunned because I’ve interviewed people from South Africa. So it’s cool to be you know, neighbour. 


Linzy [00:03:13] It’s kind of novel. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And also the definition of neighbour becomes very generous when we’re talking about like the entirety of North America and the world. So, Erin, could you tell folks, as we dive in just a little bit about the work that you do? 


Erin [00:03:29] Yeah, absolutely. So I’ll give a little bio to tell people about myself. I’m a therapist. I am a group practice owner and a clinical supervisor, a podcaster and a Therapist Fulfillment coach. So I’m going to focus on the last part because that is the part of the soup that I’m excited about. I’m excited about all of it, but I’m jazzed the most about that. And really, when I say Therapist Fulfillment coach, my purpose there is to really focus on fulfillment. And the interesting thing is that therapists really help others with fulfillment. 


Linzy [00:04:05] Yes, all day. 


Erin [00:04:06] All day. And what I’ve seen from therapist after therapist is that actually we are really good at following rules, we’re excellent students of our culture. That helps people in our cultures be really successful. And yet success and fulfillment are not even close to the same thing. So one of the things I help people with is understanding that when you create from the conditioning of whatever was taught to you to be a therapist, most times you’re going to end up somewhere like burnout or perhaps self-sacrificing, over-responsible, these are all the things we’re taught. And so the road to fulfillment doesn’t come by moving towards the stuff we’re supposed to do. It comes from creating from what would actually be fulfilling. 


Linzy [00:04:55] You know, there was a piece there that stuck out to me that got my wheels turning. You said that we are really good at following society’s conditioning, so we’re good at helping other people succeed in society, right? Can you say a little bit more about that part? 


Erin [00:05:09] Yeah. If you look at what it takes to become a therapist, we are good at being studious. And studies, in at least the Western world at a bare minimum, are about following the information you’re given and regurgitating it and doing what you’re supposed to do. And then we’re unleashed into the world in a field where we were promised that it would be meaningful, and our work is meaningful, but meaningful kind of like success doesn’t mean fulfillment. You’ve been given these ingredients to not be well, right? So I was recently on someone else’s podcast and they were talking about therapists have this incredible difficulty charging what they’re worth, for example, all these different mindset blocks, and I see that it goes back further. So to answer your question, I hope I’m answering it. But the point here is it’s really just the conditions hijack. And so yeah, we help other people, but from this place, that’s very fascinating. What we would say to a client is often hard to live when it comes to a certain choice point. Therapists are a well bunch on some level, and we are so knowledgeable, and we really know about self-compassion and self-care. But when it comes to a choice point where it feels like we’re choosing ourselves over someone else, it becomes a really difficult thing. And I want to help therapists understand that’s normal. We were trained to do that. 


Linzy [00:06:47] Mm hmm. Right. So that conditioning then, like, you know, that training that we have, how does that show up in our practices in terms of finances and money? 


Erin [00:06:55] Oh, what a great question. Finances are what I like to focus because it’s really tangible when I do certain things. So where it shows up is how we go about setting a fee would be an example. For me, I see four different areas that people go to immediately when they set a fee. And I’m going to say before I explain this, I’ve done every single one of these, battle-tested and seen the outcome, which is we set too low of a fee and then that becomes a problem pretty quickly. But the mindset piece is here, come back to this self-sacrifice, I would say. But the first thing I see is people want to set their fee from a place of worth. 


Linzy [00:07:32] Right. 


Erin [00:07:34] And very quickly, that starts to become clear it’s about self-worth. It doesn’t take long before it becomes about: “Can I really say that out loud and feel good about it or do I want to hide?”. And so we start this kind of the wheels turning about worth, what is my service worth? And then it’s about, well what am I worth? It’s it’s a hop, skip and a jump there. And the ego gets in and gets kind of squirrely. Then we might shift to value. So what is the value of my service? What I’ve seen therapists do is say, “Well, I don’t think my service is that valuable, but it will be valuable when I get this training and this certification.”. 


Linzy [00:08:15] Yes. Yeah. Then it will be worth it. 


Erin [00:08:16]  There’s our conditioning, right? It can project the image that I’m perfect then I will be okay. But then people start setting this idea of a fee that- I will actually set a fee that will support me and I’ll get into what I call that, which is a Thrive fee – once I have all of these other boxes ticked. But that pushes the Thrive fee down the road. And actually it’s not anchored to anything, when we try to set our fee from worth or value it’s squarely, it’s a moving target and it is not anchored to anything. But then when I’ve walked people through this process, they go, okay, fine. So I get it, it’s not about my self-worth and value can’t be measured like that. But how about comparison? That’s a really, that’s the third way that’s available. Yeah, that’s available. We try to compare. And from my perspective, that’s normal or do that. And we’re excellent students of our culture, so we’re going to look around, but we have no idea how someone else set their fee. 


Linzy [00:09:20]  Mm hmm Yeah. 


Erin [00:09:21] They’ve set it from their sense of self-worth that maybe isn’t where they’d like it to be. Did they value their services as a moving target of when they get more training? Do they have a completely different financial situation than us? I can give you an example of that. I have a clinical supervisor who has been doing this for 48 years. He’s a psychologist, he’s an older gentleman. And when people in my clinic, when I coach them or people around me and I’ve done workshops and coach them, they’re like, “How could I possibly set a fee that’s higher than his?” And I said, I get that. That’s about self-worth. It’s about value, it’s about comparison. But I ask them, “Do you think he has his house paid off?”. And they’re usually like, “Probably, but I don’t know”. And I said, “Exactly, you have no idea why he’s genuinely setting his fee the way he is”. 


Linzy [00:10:14] Right. Right. 


Erin [00:10:15] Comparison doesn’t really work because most of us are choosing to set our fees in one of these ways. It is very uncomfortable to set those fees. But the fourth thing I see is the derailer a fee setting is the fantasy, what I call it. And that is where we imagine what other people can pay. 


Linzy [00:10:32] Right. Yes. 


Erin [00:10:34] Again, and just like comparison, we have no idea what a person that they’ve never met would pay. In fact, it goes as far as we probably don’t know what our existing clients woudl pay, let alone someone else. 


Linzy [00:10:46] Right. Yes. 


Erin [00:10:48] The value of the work we do, once you do a consultation with someone isn’t about the money. It becomes about can you actually hold a container where I’m seen and heard and valued and held in this caring relationship? If all we did was tell people over the phone our fee, then that would be their only marker of the value of the service. But once we go through a process to help them understand what we do, the money becomes less significant. But to me, the antidote to all this is really about setting a Thrive fee. 


Linzy [00:11:23] When I hear you say the fantasy fee, you know, I think previous to a couple of years ago, I’ve always thought about fantasy as a positive word, right? It’s like Fantasia, you know, like, I don’t know, that kind of fantasy is positive. But I have a friend, Tiffany McClain, who is, you know, in the therapist support space as well, and she’s a psychoanalyst. And through our conversations over the years, I’ve realized like, right, in psychoanalysis, like fantasy just means something that you’re imagining. And often it might be negative. So it’s kind of expanded that term for me, and when I think about what you’re talking about with a fantasy, they set their fee based on a fantasy. What I have seen is most therapists have very negative fantasies about the folks that we’re helping. Like we think that they are helpless, that they have no money, that they, you know, wouldn’t be willing to invest in themselves. Like I think often are fantasies of our clients, and I’m going to say this, this is a little bit harsh, but our fantasy is that they’re victims, right? That they can’t make empowered decisions or that they couldn’t solve problems. And so that’s the most common fantasy that I see therapists having about their clients that they’re unable or unwilling to pay X arbitrary amount that we’re thinking about. What have you noticed in terms of the nature of the fantasies that folks have about what people are willing to pay or able to pay? 


Erin [00:12:35] Yeah, completely. It’s a disempowering narrative. And what I found is if I go a little bit deeper because when one therapist realizes that they’re like, you know, totally, just why would I disempower, right? 


Linzy [00:12:46] Like that’s not what I’m going for. 


Erin [00:12:48] No, it is my gift to empower. What I find is if you just go a little bit deeper, it’s about if I take care of me, therapist, if I really look after me, the equation becomes someone else has to lose. It’s the codependent mantra of our society. And this goes deeper than just being a therapist, deeper than being a woman. I don’t, men experience codependent as well, but there’s this, there is this narrative of like, if I’m shining and I’m looking after me and I’m thriving. We know cognitively that if we’re thriving, we do better work. We can take care of ourselves and it is sustainable. And the alternative is something unsustainable, we know that. But it feels like to prioritize ourselves, it feels like someone else will lose. And it’s just the codependent battlecry. And this conditioning that’s in our culture, but also the conditioning we received at graduate school. I found it was like talking out of two sides of the mouth. So on the one side, it was like: you are not responsible for people, that’s disempowering. And on the other side of the mouth: you’re really liable, and if someone dies, like I’m taking it all the way to the end, if someone dies in your care, we’ll be held responsible if you didn’t do everything. So it’s this incredible bind that I think shows up right there where they’re basically like. But I’m responsible for the feelings and well-being of this person, even though if they were to think about it, they’re like, Wait, no, I’m not. 


Linzy [00:14:22] Mm hmm. Yeah. 


Erin [00:14:23] But it gets tied into survival. And the survival, I think fears are what that’s about, and this kind of. I found myself doing it when I sort of went along in my process and had decided to pull back from client work in order to focus on just supporting therapists in various ways. I heard myself saying out loud, I’m going to break the news to my clients. 


Linzy [00:14:46] Mm hmm. Yes. 


Erin [00:14:47] And this normal statement. But it was. It was this. It was this. Like, if I go after what I want and become skilled, then it’s going to hurt somebody. And so I actually think that that’s usually the deeper layer underneath the like, I’m disempowering through my fantasy is I’m going to be bad if I charge people what I need. 


Linzy [00:15:10] Yeah. And like with that, it’s kind of like a zero-sum game. I’m not sure if that’s the right language for it, but this idea that there’s a winner and a loser. Right? And also it makes me think about scarcity as though there’s, like, not enough. So if I have more, it must mean that somebody has less. Right? And all of these, kind of silent, implicit beliefs about, I mean almost like how energy and the universe works to, like really put it out there, that there’s idea that there’s like not enough for everybody. To me, it sounds like it is interwoven, unconsciously, into all of these, you know, we have these objections come up in different ways, but ultimately there is this belief that there’s not enough for all of us. We can’t all be okay at the same time, or we can’t all thrive at the same time. 


Erin [00:15:52] Yeah, exactly. And I think for me, when I think about the message I put out into the world with Therapist Expanded, with my podcast and my social media and all that, it is all about that mental health revolution, which I believe I have a hard time meeting anyone who is like, “Oh yeah, we need a mental health revolution”. Everybody believes that mental health could improve, the field, the system itself. But when I say “Well, but to me, mental health revolution is therapists living fully and freely”. Because we move ourselves further, we get well. We then, it takes our clients so much further. It’s fascinating what happens when we truly go for it. Yeah, we don’t have to say anything. The exchange with our clients changes. And that means we are less likely to work in broken systems when we really start taking care of ourselves. Less likely to accept insurance that we don’t want to accept. And the list goes on. And what happens is we uplevel ourselves and it changes the field in micro ways which turn into macro ways. 


Linzy [00:16:51] Hmmmm, I just had this fantasy of like therapist uprising and like just pushing insurance companies to pay more because I was also at the American Counseling Association. They had a conference in Toronto on Friday, so we went to check it out and it was like very interesting. I felt like I was going to America, but I was in Canada, because of the conversations that were happening and the folks that were there and the vibe. But a lot of people were talking a lot about reaching marginalized communities, you know, lifting people up, addressing all these gaps in care. And like all these things are really real. And sometimes I think that we only end up having to dissociate from these things in order to take care of ourselves where we’re like “but I can’t fix that, so I have to focus on me”. But when you say that, I’m like, right, But the next step is that if therapists were just unwilling to work for exploitive fees, insurance companies would have to change. 


Erin [00:17:38] Bingo, Mike. Drop of a century right there. They would because people wouldn’t accept it. The other thing is the beauty for me, and I’ll explain what I mean by Thrive Fee because it explains this. Social justice gets woven in there when we look even before insurance companies, we’re talking about the earlier conditioning. When I take on interns at our group practice, when we take them on, we find literally a workaround to pay them. We actually have to do a workaround so that we can pay them, so that their universities do not come down on them. That is insanity. Interns should not be slave labor. So that mindset of how we start having trouble really setting fees, for example, or doing certain things, remember, we were conditioned in that we were expected to work for free. Right there that excludes people who do not have as much financial means from entering this field. 


Linzy [00:18:33] Mm hmm. 


Erin [00:18:34] Because if you don’t have enough to work for free and to pay for your schooling, then you can’t even enter this field. So, that also, I believe, needs to change. But that’s an aside. So we’ll come back to that. Yeah, we were working for free and then we accept lower insurance rates perhaps. Yeah. And you were right, when we stop doing that, something changes. So when I talk about setting a Thrive Fee to put it into the most basic terms, the first thing I suggest people do is write out what you need per month on average to cover your basic needs. And basic needs will mean something a little different to everyone. But I’m going to just leave it there. Then the next thing you do is, this is not a financial numbers game yet, you write out what you need to thrive. Do you need to save for retirement? Do you need five vacations a year? I mean, no one can tell you what you need to thrive, you know. Do you need five massages a month? Whatever it is? Do you need money put away for when your kids get sick and write that all out, then apply a financial amount to it and try not to play a game. Try to be legit here, right? It’s really compelling to start fudging the numbers at this point. Try not to, make it real. Get a monthly amount then that will be what you need to take home. Once you average that out per month. For many people, it’s a little shocking but then you work out how many hours can you work in a week where you’re still thriving. 


Linzy [00:19:54] Yeah. 


Erin [00:19:55] So we’re talking Thrive again don’t watch the numbers. 


Linzy [00:19:57] Yes, yes, yes, yes. 


Erin [00:19:58] Legit. Can you work? Be real with yourself. This is the fun part, although it’s a little scary at this point. Then you’re taking what you need to take home and dividing it by the hours you will work. Taking into account that there are weeks you won’t be working, average in the middle. Here’s where you want to then bring in an accountant if you need some help, which is then on top of that you need to look at what are you putting away for taxes? 


Linzy [00:20:20] Yes. 


Erin [00:20:20] People talk about a different percentage based on where you are. What are your general expenses in your business? You need to look at that. Then you’re going to get a realistic amount of money and you’re going to divide what you need in a month by how many hours you’re going to work, and then you’re going to prepare for that. You might be pants-scrappingly scared. And that all those those four things I talked about will start to come in rapidly. So I’ve done this with a number of people now and myself, and those four things come back in. I can’t charge that, I’m not worthy, so different things might come in. So then you get your number and then you may have your reaction and you’ll start to hear your thinking. Go back to “But only if I have more trainings, I could I charge that”. “I don’t know if other people can charge that”. And people will pay. You’re armed with the knowledge that that’s going to come up, but that’s when you decide also in this calculation of: are you going to give back in some way, so will you have some pro bono thought? Will you have some sliding fee or will those be the spots that you actually accept that really low insurance for them? Then the rest you work out, it’s probably going to be somewhat private pay. 


Linzy [00:21:29] Yeah. 


Erin [00:21:30] Where people often feel confused about value is they’re like, “But what about my market?”. And here’s what I like to say that’s a little controversial: in our current world, in our current context, look at what you need to thrive first, because anything other than that will start to become an issue soon. Then figure out your market. Honestly, your local market probably would bear a higher cost than you’d think in the fantasy. But also the world can be your oyster on some level. But for Americans, I’m thinking of our American friends, some of them have constraints around the states. But your socioeconomic pocket does not denote where everyone is at, virtually, in your entire state. So, the Thrive Fee to me comes first and then you start working out your market and it’s amazing what you can do. But most people’s market actually seems to be able to bear it in their local area, turns out. But it’s built into this, we don’t have to not serve the underprivileged. We just have to make sure we’re not doing it from a broken-down place. 


Linzy [00:22:34] Yeah, well, and, you know, it makes me think about another word that has not come up today, but now comes to mind is, is martyrdom. Right? Like, I think we, we can really deeply identify with the folks that we serve. And I do think that there can actually be this belief that we should also be suffering. Right? That like, we should kind of be in it with them. And this is something that I’ve noticed and this is one of the reasons actually that I stopped doing complex trauma work is, I think you do become kind of mired in your niche. And it becomes, I think, it can really start to distort your worldview. That you forget that there’s like all these people for whom complex trauma is not an issue or for whom eating disorders are not an issue. Right. And like but we get so into like our world and we kind of over-identify with clients. Or commonly we’re in our niche because we have experienced or are experiencing the same things that our clients are experiencing. Right? So we’re kind of like sitting in the muck, with them. And I think there can be a kind of a badge of honor that we can wear sometimes of being in the muck and like struggling and that life is of struggle. But like that is vicarious trauma or that is actually your trauma that you need to be working out with your own therapist, not just like colluding in with, you know, with your clients that things don’t get better. And I do think about that dynamic, too, of like how sometimes we are kind of repeating or keeping ourselves stuck in our own healing work by setting up practices where we are exhausted, start to feel resentful, feel used, like maybe feel all the things that we felt our whole life. How there can be other complexity to that dynamic too. 


Erin [00:24:09] 100%. For me, the blanket of conditioning, it has a lot more nuance. Which that, that’s what we’re talking about, our personal conditioning then that’s how that compounds with our professional conditioning that often says, “Oh, you were always a pleaser and people always valued how you looked after their needs and not yours”. I mean, that helped you survive with all that amazing empathy that you have, kept you safe. There are a lot of us entering this field, myself included, who use our empathic gifts, who use our ability to please and smooth social situations and be really liked and maybe martyrs and codepending in order to survive as children. Absolutely. Our client is often us at some point in our life, of course, and so we can get so mired down. Absolutely. This week for my email list, I wrote this email and it was about how the most cherished lies within ourselves, we will fight to keep. And when we talk about therapist empowerment, therapist fulfillment, it’s all of these things people want to shout from the rooftops at first of like, “No, but I have to do what I’m doing. I can’t. What about all of my poor clients? Or what about?”. But it’s amazing because it doesn’t take long or a savvy bunch to realize, “Wait, is that an empowerment?”. But at first we have to come out of the gate with our most cherished lies and the idea of giving them up, the idea of realizing we are stuck in the muck and that’s not really helping us or the client. The idea of us only taking clients as far as we’ve gone, that’s all we never do. Yes. So at first therapists often fight this. I’ve seen it many times. There’s like a, they come out of the gate like, but what about, and it’s what you’re talking about the vicarious trauma, the burnout stuff, our own history, who we’ve been surrounded by. And then luckily therapists can often go, “Oh yeah, that’s my stuff”, or “That’s their stuff influencing me”. 


Linzy [00:26:14] Yes, I love that point too, of, we can only take our clients as far as we’ve gone. And I certainly felt and experienced that, you know, in my years doing therapy as I moved forward in my own life. Like you just have so much more that you can draw on when you’re doing work with people. It’s kind of like your sense of possibilities has expanded and therefore your sense of possibilities for your clients also expands. But until you actually step into that space yourself, you can’t authentically help anybody else get into that space. 


Erin [00:26:44] Yeah, it’s not even available psychically. I’ve seen this with training interns. I will ask a question of like, that was really an interesting intevention. Yeah, I wonder why they said this, and you didn’t, you didn’t go into that area and they’re like, “Ah, it didn’t even register for me”. 


Linzy [00:26:59] Like they didn’t even hear it. 


Erin [00:27:00] Yeah, it’s not available. And then when I dig a little deeper, sometimes they’ll be like, “Yeah, actually that’s an issue for me. I couldn’t touch it. I couldn’t go there. It isn’t something I can go in myself or feel”. So all of this happened unconsciously, it was just a closed door. 


Linzy [00:27:17] Yeah, a fraction of a second. Yeah. And I mean, I think about that obviously, with money. And, you know, when we have all this closeness around money and where we’re pegging our work to our sense of self-worth or value and all of these things that we’re talking about, it also means that we’re we’re missing opportunities for financial conversations with clients. Like I mean, therapists are terrified often to talk with their clients about money, and that shows up in fee settings. That’s when we actually have to do it, right? But like I found too, when I started doing this work, back when I had my clinical practice, suddenly I started being able to have financial conversations with my clients, which before I might have, just like again, it might have just glossed right by me. But then I was like “Oh no, we could actually like look at your bank statements together if you want, and like, be present with what’s happening”. And suddenly I had this intervention available to me that wasn’t available before I started really expanding myself into this space. So I also think about that financially, like there’s just this black box that happens when we have all this stuff around money. We also cannot help our clients at all with their stuff around money. 


Erin [00:28:15] I think about this episode I did my podcast about asking clients about their sex life, but I think even harder it’s asking clients about their financial life. And I think that’s another place where this like, “I’m doing something wrong” can come up for a therapist because if then we ask if the client says they have financial issues. And it’s like, “Oh, am I my part of that?”. 


Linzy [00:28:35] Yes. 


Erin [00:28:35] Or am I helping them to better like, we can go into all that. So, yeah, sex and money are often not directly asked about but… 


[00:28:45] Which is so interesting though that we take responsibility for that. And this is not a parallel and I’m going to talk this out and maybe it won’t make sense. But when I think about it, like if you ask your client about their sex life and they’re like, actually, my husband and I haven’t have sex in three years and it’s a huge issue for us, and ta dada dada. You’re not going to feel personally responsible for that, even though you could have been helping with that in therapy, you’re not going to be like, “Oh, it’s my fault” that they haven’t had sex. Yet, if you ask them about their financial life and they’re like, “Yeah, actually we racked up this credit card debt, we don’t know what to do. I’m like, not making enough money for my life”, then we can jump to like, “Oh, I should… Am I part of their financial hardship? like, should I be offering a sliding scale?”. Like I can totally feel and remember almost from my earlier therapist days, how I could have spiraled into that spot. And it’s so interesting that we take, like we have this over responsibility in that space, and yet logically we would know that we’re not responsible for like their sex life or their ability to do art or all these other aspects of their life. 


Erin [00:29:44] So it’s deeply conditioned into us that fantasy we were talking about earlier. But why do we look at clients like they’re broke and all these different things? I really believe that that was something we were taught. Is that, for me, the biggest change here or the biggest thing I think is an asset, and I don’t know where it came from and I’m so fricking grateful, is that I resisted looking at human beings as flawed or broken or diagnosable or any of that from the beginning. I did a Masters in the States where my counterparts in the states they diagnosed, and here in Canada, as a psychotherapist, we don’t, right? There I was trying to diagnose, a lot of abnormal psych. It was a much larger focus. But the whole time I was like, okay, to me and this might be controversial, but the DSM is just the myriad symptoms of how trauma and attachment distress play out. To me they’re not, I can’t look at a person like that. Because what I see is the sun that’s behind the clouds. I’m always looking for that and to show them the sun that’s behind the clouds. So I think it helped me in this way to not disempower. But I’m so very grateful for wherever that came from. However, I saw people and I look back on my childhood growing up in Parkdale, Toronto in the nineties. For anyone who knows that very difficult place to grow up as a child, very dangerous, very scary, you know, all because of a mental health crisis. They opened the doors of an inpatient psychiatric facility one day. 


Linzy [00:31:22] Just let everybody out with. 


Erin [00:31:25] Nowhere to go. And so I learned as a child like it, it was scary. But I was so grateful that I internalized the message of people who needed help but that they weren’t broken. I don’t know where that all came from, but it felt important to tell you that that has been the thing that’s helped me because all of these different things we’re talking about, I’ve experienced them too, the moments where a client says they’re struggling and I think about my fee and I’m like, okay, you aren’t here to rescue them. They will ask. Soothe yourself, love yourself. They need it.  


Linzy [00:32:00] Yes.So for folks who are listening and who are like. Okay. I want to take a little bit of this. Some of this has resonated. This has made sense. What would you suggest as like the first baby step that someone could take towards moving more into this like thrive fee space? 


Erin [00:32:16] I would say the very first step would be right down that second step I laid out, which is what do you need to thrive? And it isn’t about money at that moment. It is legitimately just about what do you need to thrive? And you can look at that in several ways. Sometimes people get sick a lot in this work. And well, you know their body and sometimes the subconscious saying like, I need more breaks. I need way more breaks. So think outside the box. And what do you need to thrive? Do you need a day? I’m going to project here, I’m going to talk about myself I guess, I need to meditate in the morning. I need time for that. That’s really important for me. So I’m not seeing a client first thing. I’m not seeing anyone first thing, right? What I need to thrive starts there, and it isn’t about, the mind will start to talk “But that’s not possible”, open up a different place in yourself, and just, just look at what you need to thrive. Whether it feels, quote unquote, logical or not. 


Erin [00:33:13] Another piece I would add is about, it’s hard for me to say all this, and I’d be remiss to not mention fulfillment. That what I focus on is fulfillment. And actually a lot of questions can be answered only from that place, I find, of knowing what would fulfill you and what will help you thrive. It’s really interesting, I have a quiz that I’d love to put in the show notes. And it’s interesting how the different ways people answer. Like some people need predictability and security, for example. They’re who I call vanilla, and they have a lot of different vanilla varieties, but that’s cool. They need a slow light, they need predictability. And so some aspects of fee setting and business building and fulfillment, they’re genuinely going to look a little different than the people who want really value creativity, freedom and independence. So that’s going to be a little different. So I recommend that for people and that actually I think might help people understand what do I need to thrive because the results of that are pretty tailored to the individual. There may be something there. 


Linzy [00:34:19] Yeah, and I love that too. And we will link to the quiz in the show notes so folks can jump over the show notes to get that quiz. I love that idea too, of identifying that we need different things. Right? Because I think that also within, you know, broader structures that we have of like capitalism, like what I find is that often when folks think about money, they think about, like luxury, right? Because like, that’s what we’re sold is like when you’re successful, you have a yacht and it’s like, in my own life, I hate boats. I don’t really like consumerism. So a yacht is not going to ever make my life happier. Like no matter how much money I have, a yacht will never be in my plans. And I use a yacht because it’s a bit like, you know, hyperbolic, but, you know, it’s really owning your own needs and what’s really going to, you know, as you say, bring fulfillment into your life. And it’s so personal. And I, I love the idea of really owning your own fulfillment because some of those things, too, like you say, you know, those voices that are going to come up, those voices often have such a lack of imagination and something like what you mentioned of like having a spot open every morning to meditate from an outside perspective anybody else can see is completely doable and you can completely set up a schedule like that. But we’re going to parts of us that get afraid. So love this suggestion of just like getting that all down and like, folks can go and grab your quiz and dig into what this means for them. That’s a great gift. Thank you, Erin, for sharing that with the audience who are listening today. 


Erin [00:35:41] My sincere pleasure. 


Linzy [00:35:42] So, Erin, if folks want to find you, connect with you. Where can they do that? 


Erin [00:35:48] Well, the quiz is kind of a choose your own adventure. And actually, part of what I suggested is that once you fill it out, it’ll give you your personal results to you, and then it’ll give you podcast episodes that are tailored like to what is going on for you. 


Linzy [00:36:03] Beautiful. 


Erin [00:36:04] So that I find is the best way, because we are a society right now that has a lot of information coming at us. So when I thought about that, I thought about like, how could I curate something that’s like, here, if you’re interested, it’s, it’s for you. So that would be my suggestion. But other people are really big podcasters. Therapist Expanded. You could just check it all out rather than waiting for it to come to you. Yeah, that’s another place as well. 


Linzy [00:36:28] Great. Awesome. So the quizz is there gateway into kind of personalized content from you or Therapist Expanded is your podcast. That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much, Erin, for joining us today. 


Erin [00:36:39] It was a gift. Thank you. 


Linzy [00:36:53] I so appreciate my conversation with Erin today. And I also appreciate the energy and conviction that she has about this, the presence that she has around our rights to thrive as therapists and to be fulfilled and to create lives that serve us. It’s very much an embodied feeling from her, and I think so many of us would be well-served to take on even some more of this. And, you know, it’s exciting to think about how different our lives could look and how different practices could look and how different clinical work could look if more therapists really leaned into having fulfilling lives. There’s a lot of power there. So appreciate Erin coming on the podcast today. 


Linzy [00:37:36] You can follow me on Instagram at Money Nuts & Bolts. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, please jump over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a review. Google reviews are also welcome. I got a Google Review the other day. I was like, “Oh yeah, Google reviews are also a thing”. Google reviews and Facebook reviews are also welcome. So I should mention that if you like me, are not an Apple user and so you cannot leave reviews on Apple Podcasts, which I’ve tried and could not figure it out, leaving me a review on Google just on like our profile or on our Facebook profile is also a great way to just get more eyes on the work that we do and help people know what you find helpful and what your experience with the podcast and, and the work that I do is. Thank you so much for listening today. 

Hi, I'm Linzy

Hi, I'm Linzy

I’m a therapist in private practice, and a the creator of Money Skills for Therapists. I help therapists and health practitioners in private practice feel calm and in control of their finances.

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