Do you have a drive to do something meaningful with your work? To change lives?
Changing lives was the whole motivation for becoming a psychotherapist. I thought that this would be the best route to helping others.
But there are lots of ways to do meaningful work that changes lives. The trick is finding the intersection of meaningful work that also lights you on fire.
At every point in my career when I was set on fire, I had shifted from helping people one-on-one to empowering a ripple effect of impact that could help thousands.
The Resiliency Rooted Course is the intersection of the meaningful work I am uniquely positioned to do, and my motivation to shift the entire industry.
Just one therapist or patient advocate or counselor in the course will work with hundreds of clients over the course of their career. If 10 helping professionals go through the course, and I hold up my end of the deal in delivering a learning experience that transforms their practices, thousands of clients will benefit.
I know from experience – as an individual who has tried out a variety of helping professionals, and as a therapist who oversaw hundreds of helping professionals while I was a behavioral health executive:
Most helping professionals are just mediocre. Many unintentionally do harm.
There are a lot of reasons for this.
1. The helping professions attract people who are still hurting.
Most of us get into this work because we have personally benefited from helping professionals and want to pay it forward.
This is a potential strength. Experiencing adversity can help us empathize with the struggles our clients are facing. But it’s only a strength if we are doing our own work to address our pain. This is hard work, and it’s never done. It’s easier to focus on ‘fixing’ other people’s lives than to fix your own.
When we are hurting in a session with a client, we cannot serve them, and we become highly vulnerable to making common mistakes that undermine client progress, or acting on therapist-client countertransference and crossing critical boundaries. This is how therapist-client affairs occur.
2. Training programs fail to emphasize practicing what we preach.
A lot of programs will at least encourage us to do our own work, both so that we aren’t too battered to help others, and so that we can empathize with the difficulty of sitting on that side of the relationship, being nakedly vulnerable, and changing our lives.
However, this isn’t just a ‘good thing to do;’ it’s imperative.
Genuinely engaging in self-care, personal development, and resiliency work is the ONLY way to effectively help others. We have a responsibility to do our own work.
When we neglect our own lives, it comes through. A client does not open up based on our credentials. A client opens up because of the space we hold for them; the safety and unconditional positive regard they experience when they are with us.
3. Continuing education requirements are well-intentioned, but quite broken.
For those of us with licenses that require continuing education, it becomes a checklist, often rushed right before we renew. I will openly admit to taking a slew of free eating disorder webinars right before my last renewal to make sure I had adequate hours. None of the content applied to my practice.
Even if we are intentional and plan for relevant conferences or workshops for our continuing education requirements, the vast majority are information overload with no real takeaways that we can implement to improve our practices meaningfully, delivered by individuals in our same profession, narrowing our perspective and ability to help the diverse clients showing up in our offices even further.
To get people to attend and pay $400+ for these events, the organizers are always plugging in the latest and greatest, not the foundational components that are absolutely required to practice effectively (and sadly missing from most practices).
I maintain a small private practice because, as I mentioned, I am more motivated to help create the knowledge, tools and resources to help many at one time. Because of this, my practice is typically full…and I often have no one I trust to send referrals to.
I never want to find out that my recommendation led to harm.
Too many helping professionals lack the foundation necessary to help, and then have been warped by a model of western medicine that was designed for the severely mentally ill when psychology was born in institutions.
99% of today’s clients do NOT need to be peppered with dozens of highly personal questions during an assessment, pushed to dive into painful memories, labeled with a disorder or addiction, or analyzed for years.
Most of these practices have been proven to be harmful, but we continue to persist.
Last summer, I was invited to teach a 60-minute workshop on trauma and resiliency to local professionals.
I immediately had the organizers change it to a 2-hour workshop. And then I worked for hours paring down the content into just 1-2 meaningful, realistic takeaways that would leave a lasting impression and could be immediately put into practice to support clients.
As I cut out so much valuable, hard-earned lessons, I wished aloud:
Wouldn’t it be incredible if I could give them everything? All of the pieces pulled together from Western and Eastern approaches, from modern models and ancient common sense that had been lost along the way?
What kind of difference would it make for thousands of clients if more helping professionals had genuine expertise in an approach that empowers self-determination and resiliency, rather than dependence and bandaid symptom reduction?
What if there was a network of trusted professionals to refer to, who had demonstrated a commitment to doing their own work, and allowing clients to do theirs?
I was on fire.
I wrote out the first outline for the course that night.
I was and am so eager to start. To work with the dedicated professionals who recognize a gap in their training, and arm them with what they need to change lives, while challenging themselves to change their own for the better. To live up to the hopes and expectations that they have of their clients.
It was one of those click moments when you realize you have an incredibly valuable map that you can share with so many others who are also trying to piece this together.
It’s taken me more than a decade and the help of at least a dozen talented experts to draw this map. To do the trial and error to discover the gaps and fill them in. It’s been such a powerful journey – not just for the confidence to do transformational work as a helping professional, but for my personal happiness and fulfillment.
In many ways, I have historically been my own most difficult client, and the experience of transforming my life first has been the lynchpin to becoming a profound catalyst for sustainable change with my clients.
We chose a helping profession to change lives. To experience the fulfillment that only comes from getting down in the hole with a fellow human and helping them find the hope to carry on and overcome.
I created the Resiliency Rooted Course to help us do just that. First, for ourselves, and then for our clients. Because resiliency is an everyday practice that starts with you.
If you’re ready for a different kind of training, one that will challenge you to experiment and open your mind in order to create your own expertise, learn more and join us here.