I’ve been hearing a lot from helpers that I’m supporting that they are concerned about going into private practice because the market is saturated. “There are a million other therapists in X town or city, and 100 of them have my same therapeutic lens/use my modality, and there’s no way I’ll get any clients because they are all probably better than me, so now is a bad time to leave my job at the nonprofit/group/agency.” Totally. I hear you.
Competition can be a scary be a Scary beast.
Checking out Psychology Today can be daunting, because we have firsthand knowledge of our “competitors”. Seeing competition from other therapists as a threat feeds our Fear. It keeps us locked into jobs that we don’t necessarily want for Fear of failure, or not being good enough, or not knowing enough, or not having enough certifications, etcetera, etcetera. It keeps us terrified that, were we to venture out into our own practice or a passion business, we wouldn’t stand out. It keeps us staying small, because we don’t think we have a voice that matters enough in the sea of smart, capable, helpful voices.
Like I said. Scary.
Guys – what if we flip the script here? What if we take the perspective that having a whole lot of us out there – sharing their unique gifts, making bank, supporting individuals in their own unique ways, helping their communities and taking great care of themselves – is a HUGE BOOST to our profession? The more of us that boldly step out from under agency work and redefine the helping field as a profession of great value filled with enthusiastic, bold, successful people, the more we can collectively improve the clusterf**ck situation that is working in the helping professions itself.
But truly – the helping profession needs your unique voice. There is room for ALL of us. We need the savvy DBT group leader and the IFS expert and the wilderness therapy guru and the CBT aficionado. We need the quiet, still therapists and the loud, expressive therapists, and therapists that dance and therapists that take us on walks and therapists that see us in person and therapists that see us in the middle of the night online from across the country. We need therapists that are direct and therapists that are careful. I promise you that a potential client out there is looking for YOU to help them, and if you don’t start up that practice, they’ll have to go with what’s second best.
Don’t make them do that! Give them the opportunity to work with you.
So here’s the takeaway:
- Don’t fear other therapists as competition. They aren’t you, and they can’t be you. Your work is completely unique.
- The right clients will find you if you present as your authentic self. There are clients out there right now looking for you, specifically.
- Lift up and celebrate new therapists entering the private practice sphere! It’s great to have more of us out there providing for people and designing the work-life we want. Cheer each other on!
There’s plenty of room for all of us.