Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Break Rejuvenation

Our office was closed for Spring Break last week.  Some may shake their heads at the idea of closing a private practice office during a school holiday.  But, I do not believe we all have to operate the same way.  I have made a conscious decision to keep my practice small and personable.  That decision is based on the fact that I only want to "bite off what I am able to chew."  Sometimes I do wish I were "SuperWoman" and able to do it all, but I am not.  I accept my limitations. 

I have worked in larger facilities and seen how easy it is to become impersonable, focused on "productivity", and burnt-out.  My ideals for private practice were the opposite.  I am "human" though and I do get stessed about income, paying the bills, and I even tend to get a little jealous when I see other practices surpassing mine.  When I become cognizant of these feelings, I know it is time to pause, take a step back, cock my head to one side, and do a quick re-check on my goals:
  • Am I providing high quality services to my clients?
  • Am I working effectively and efficiently?
  • Am I doing ______, in order to be a better therapist or simply to make a name for myself?
  • Do I really want this thing I find myself a bit jealous over?  (Think about what this would involve in the way of work, stress, time, etc.).
  • Am I sacrificing my personal life on the altar of my work?
A word of caution to those who are or want to be in private practice:  Just as in your daily life, be careful not to fall into the trap of competing with or comparing yourself to others.  Instead, know who you are (or what your practice is), what your goals are, and stick to your plan rather than chasing someone else's idea of what you should become, be doing, or how often you should be doing it. 

My sons are 22 and 18 years old.  My youngest is graduating from high school in May.  Last night I was digging through photo boxes (because my albums have only been completed through when they were 6 and 2 years old... because I went into private practice and have had NO time to work on things like that).  As I rummaged through photos looking for the cutest photo of my son for a Senior ad, I was hit by a wave ("tsunami" actually) of emotion.  Where had those years gone?  What I wouldn't give to be able to go back and just have one day with those sweet little babies?  I would appreciate the moments more, I would not sweat the small stuff, I would hold them and hug them and laugh and play...  (I would not expend so much of my energy on work - my work is very important but I do feel that I fretted far too much about it over the years).

I digress too much.  What I am trying to say is... if you want to take Spring Break off, or a day here or there, then do it!   I have found that most of my clients want their breaks off from therapy too.  If you are in private practice, that is the beauty of what we are doing: flexibility.  I find that if I take the time off to rejuvenate and recharge, that just makes me a better therapist the rest of the time.


Lindsay said...

Thank you! I am sahm of five (with masters in slp). I will hug and kiss my babies, I have time to work in the future yet. I love your blog, thanks for sharing your great ideas.

Suzanne Herman, M.Ed., CCC-SLP said...