January is a funny month for psychotherapists. They can be manic sometimes, enquiries near enough every day and several new clients can appear in the same week. Sometimes – and this is true of this January for me so far – they can be incredibly quiet. So far this month I have only had one enquiry and that has been through an Employment Assistance Programme (EAP) and not through the more usual channels of my website or the various therapy sites I have my details on.
January was the same last year really, very quiet, with people seemingly unwilling to venture out into the cold, damp and grey world, so it is not entirely unexpected.
What is different for me as a therapist this year though, is that since the last working week of December I have ended therapy with a total of seven clients. That is kind of unprecedented for me as it represents around a third of my normal client rosta. All of the endings have been positive, which is something to celebrate as it means the therapy contract agreed in the first session has been achieved and the client no longer needs to come and spend any time with me.
There are obviously financial implications around this though as any small business or person that is self-employed knows, having your income drop so substantially so quickly is going to have a short-term impact. That said, I have also been around long enough to know that the old ‘Field of Dreams’ (nonsense film, but fun and it made me cry at the end) saying of ‘if you build it, they will come’ is very true of my practice.
The thing I have probably noticed more about having so may endings in such quick succession is that I am finding I am not missing the money so much as missing the clients themselves. Some of the people that have ended recently I have been working with for over a year and one cant help but begin to enjoy their company during that time. When people invite you into their world in the way my clients often do, I find it impossible to not care deeply about them and their lives and as I am a human being this invariably means that feelings will become involved at some point. I find it impossible to do my work effectively if I do not have some emotional connection to the person sitting opposite me, this can take time and is also sometimes very difficult to do, but it is essential when working with anyone who has any form of trauma, attachment, relational, anxiety, depression, self-esteem or self-confidence issue. People know when someone is just going through the motions with them and that often means they will not trust the therapist and not makes the changes they need to as a result.
I have plenty of time now to develop my business and I will be re-writing my website this week and also look into the feasibility of adding some different forms of media onto the site so I can offer people quick and easy information around things such as anxiety and depression which might help alleviate the worst of their symptoms quickly. Exciting times really as I also want to develop some workshops and presentations around various aspects of mental health and start delivering these too.
But I am really going to miss the clients that have outgrown me and moved on with their lives, I am happysad as I write this, happy that I have been able to support so many people to sort out some things and heal, grow in confidence, esteem and life, sad that I will not see them again. That kind of mirrors the human experience I suppose, so who I am to do anything other than go with it. I just hope the bank manager is feeling generous this month!!
Here is to the success of the now and the excitement and hope of the future though, 2020 could be a really good year.