All professions produce stress, some more than others. Work related stress is among the top causes of anxiety and unhappiness among professionals today. Careers involving the caretaking of others breed their own distinct forms of stress. Therapists make their life’s work helping people cope with stress, but for many therapists the stress of their practice can be overwhelming.
Therapists and mental health professionals are caregivers at heart. For most, the very reason they chose their careers was to heal and support people in need. Those who form their own practices can quickly realize the business of counseling can sometimes take over the actual act of counseling. The demands of running a business can produce stress and ultimately burnout among mental health providers.
A successful counseling business has specific needs in addition to the actual act of therapy. Scheduling and customer service are just as important as insurance billing and collections. If one aspect begins to fail, it can cause the entire practice to break down. Many therapists are adept in their chosen profession, but find the daily demands of their practice frustrating, which leads to burn out.
Aspects of business management can be outsourced to professionals who can provide the administrative support therapists need to run a successful and fulfilling practice. The increased need for business management assistance in mental health care has given rise to innovative solutions in this industry.
Because each practice has unique needs, virtual administrative assistants are increasing in popularity. Therapists can contract with consulting agencies that provide virtual assistants who are specifically trained in the mental health field. These assistants accommodate a wide range of needs, allowing the therapist to spend more time and energy on clients instead of business.
Many overwhelmed mental health counselors struggle with work life balance. The intensity of providing emotional support to clients can be all consuming. Seeking help from virtual assistants and outside support systems can be crucial to the well being of therapist and the success of a practice. But there are also other strategies that can be implemented to ward off burn out.
As a business owner, it is important that therapists write themselves into the equation. Setting and maintaining business hours, taking vacation and sick leave, and compensating for over time are all ways therapists can guarantee self-care. Far too often practices can take over personal life if allowed to go unchecked. Caretakers can not provide quality care if they are continuing to put themselves last.
Understanding that private mental health practices are businesses is fundamental to achieving a rewarding and successful counseling career. As in any profession, outsourcing administrative duties when appropriate can save valuable time and increase productivity. The nature of any mental health profession can be taxing and emotionally draining, but the rewards of maintaining a well-managed work life balance are countless.