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A Private Practice That's Regenerative as Well as Profitable: Taking Care of All the Parts of You.

Jan 10, 2023
"I'm so sorry for the download. I just need to get this all out of my head."

And then they take a breath. It's all good, I tell them. I'm here to listen.

Every week, I have coffee chats with psychologists in private practice to discuss how we might be able to support them. I offer practitioner development programmes and coaching; I don't work as a therapist - yet most people booking a coffee chat need to get things off their chest.

The most common experience they relate to me is that of being overwhelmed and, to a greater or lesser degree, burnt out.

Not necessarily with their clients though.

They're burnt out with how their practices are functioning, and the impact of that shows up in loss of meaning and purpose in the profession of being a psychologist.

They know something fundamental needs to change. They can't keep practising the way it's been done so far. But it's a knotty problem.

When we're overwhelmed, disillusioned, and exhausted, how can we find the energy to change and innovate?

We know that creating a regenerative private practice, one that we can work in, play in, and be restored to growth, is a way to move beyond what ails our practices but it's also one of our greatest challenges.

Why is this so?

Moving From Extraction to Regeneration.

Firstly, I believe, it's because so much of the business training, coaching and learning available to us as psychologists in private practice is based on current business paradigms that are inherently extractive. Get more out of people for less money and resources.

Similarly, most of the public and private sector organisations where we may have been employed before private practice are extractive. These environments focus on maximising productivity, minimising costs, and creating standardised systems that will scale with minimum effort. We bring this way of being into our private practices with us and inadvertently recreate the conditions for overwhelm.

Contrast that with creating a regenerative practice.

Regenerative practices change and grow over time, following an organic model of development that fits the way we want to live—building skills that are part of our daily life, accomplishing goals we care about, growing from a place of well-being.

It’s not just a different way of doing things. It's a different way of being in private practice. Best of all, it's a paradigm that is closely aligned with how we can meet society's health and well-being challenges.

Meeting the Challenges of Making Time for our Practice.

The first step towards creating a regenerative practice is making space and time to make the change. However, one of the greatest objections overwhelmed practitioners have to making this change is that they ‘don't have time.’

When you're feeling overwhelmed, it's hard to see how adding more to the to do list can lead to feeling restored and regenerated.

The simple fact is that to change your current situation, you need to make time to make the change. (Through our Psychology Practice Accelerator programme, we've worked out a deeply meaningful change can be done by carving out about half a day a month as a minimum.)

Making time for our practice involves committing to periods when we work on our practice, including making ourselves accountable for action. Even on its own, making time can help us move forward and bring new ideas to the market in service of our clients.

Yet, making time for working on our practices is a necessary but not sufficient condition for transforming our practice and creating a practice that is regenerative as well as profitable.

Moving Beyond the Spaces We've Inhabited

In private practice it becomes apparent quickly that the only limits to our growth are the limits we hold for ourselves. Exploring and expanding these limits requires inner work, and engaging with that inner work means holding space for it, for the inner challenges that arise, for moving through liminal fields of transformation, and for the transitions that drain our inner resources

That means as well as making time we need to design in practices that help us hold space.

Much of the change that is needed and possible to grow our private practices regeneratively involves moving from managing discomfort, to honouring it.

In other words, we need to learn how to be with the Parts of ourselves that we've previously pushed to the outer reaches of our mind, to be with all our Parts, to really give them attention as they arise in us and look at what they are saying.

This work requires holding space for Parts of ourselves that do not get a lot of attention. As we do this work and become more conscious, our ability to the understand complexity of ourselves increases. To truly change we need to shift the relationship between our 'inner leadership team' and our authentic Self because only from this transformation in Self-trust can new possibilities emerge.

How would it be to hold a conversation with all the Parts of you that might be feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and lonely, as well as all the Parts of you that are holding hopes and dreams, that are brimming with creative ideas, and that love the freedom and sense of safety that private practice offers?

Listening to all the voices, to all the Parts of you that:

- feel concerned about money.
- are working hard to support children.
- are holding family members in mind.
- are disillusioned, angry or hurt.
- hold hope for a different way of practising.

Going beyond the points above, there is work to do and inner resources we need to nurture. Liminal space and transition are all at play in our personal lives and can also occur in our professional lives. Everything changes. With this knowledge in hand, we can breathe through the shifts, the transitions and changes in our practices with curiosity, openness, and compassion for ourselves and others.

How Holding Space for Our Practices Leads to Transformation In the Service of Clients

There's a saying in psychological practice that we cannot support our clients in going further than we are willing to go ourselves. Whilst we might challenge the limits of this belief, it's arguable that, when we take care of ourselves, we develop new capacities to meet the diverse demands that our clients often make on us.

This helps us stay in balance with all the Parts of us so that we can offer services in a way that keeps us resonant with the true meaning and purpose that fuels our work as practitioners.

Not only can we become more aligned with practicing in ways that restore and replenish us, but we increase our capacity for regenerating our practice in the face of escalating uncertainty and increasingly complex needs.

In short, it is possible to be both regenerative and profitable as a practitioner.

Making time to work on our practices may be the first step to creating a regenerative practice but it is not sufficient to take us where we want to go.

It is necessary to both make time for new ways of meeting our clients' needs and to hold space for how we show up when working on, as well as in, our private practices. In fact, it may be the key to creating regenerative practices that can be sustainable in the face of increasing demands and uncertainty.

All of this is easier when we engage in partnership with one another. Whether that's a peer-supervisor, business coaching or therapy, engaging in partnership with someone else helps us to hold space for the inner challenges and experiences of working on our practices.

It's necessary for growth programmes to help you to make time for working in your practice, holding you gently accountable for taking meaningful action. However, when the focus is on increasing profit at the expense of the whole system, leading to overwhelm and burnout, the programme is extractive.


We also need programmes that help us to hold space for working on our practices, for all the inner challenges that arise when we question our paradigms; for the experience of moving through the liminal fields of transformation where confusion or self-doubt raise themselves again; and for the daily and seasonal transitions that pull on our inner resources.   

We need developmental experiences that help us move to being regenerative in how we practice, as well as profitable.