Holiday Stress Management: Tips from BJ Barksdale

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My good friend and advisory board member BJ Barksdale has some good advice for the holidays. With her permission, I am publishing her words along with some links to great articles and resources. She uses these resources with her clients and we invite you to please use and share in your own practice!

The Basics from BJ:

  1. Have an attitude of gratitude.
  2. Enjoy the process not just the outcome.
  3. Step away from your phone/computer/TV.
  4. Take the opportunity to really connect with others.
  5. Create a “NEW” Holiday Tradition.
  6. Try something new.
  7. Volunteer – Giving to others gives a “Sense of Satisfaction”
  8. Decide upon your priorities and stick to them.
  9. Stick to a budget.
  10. Laughter can be very therapeutic.
  11. 11.Eat sensibly
  12. Exercise
  13. Get some sunshine.
  14. Ask for Help – “Be Specific.”
  15. Give yourself a break – Plan for some alone time.

Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping – Mayo Clinic

Ten Ways to Overcome Holiday-Related Stress

Mindfulness: Restore the Pleasure of Life’s Ordinary and Extraordinary Moments

25 Ways to Find Joy and Balance During the Holidays

Want more great resources? Stay tuned for more info from our advisory board and other super star counselor supervisors and counselor educators!

Take the Next Step in Your Counseling Career

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When I am speaking at an event or consulting one-on-one with counselors, I find there is always some confusion about the next right steps to take in a counseling career. Most of us started out with a story of strength and a dream to help. We persevered over adversity or we encountered something that we thought would kill us and instead it made us stronger. Most of us leaned on the shoulder of a counselor or therapist and learned we really could be ok. For most of us, turning that story into a career was life changing. Whether we decided to work in an agency, school, or private practice, getting paid to do what we loved to do was living the dream. A few years down the road from that first client, lots of mental health professionals are ready for a new challenge, a change of client ‘scenery,’ and improved income. Private practice, supervising, and supervisor training are just a few things you can think about as you plan the rest of your counseling career.

Agency to Private Practice

For lots of mental health professionals just starting out private practice can seem scary. With a few tricks and systems however, private practice is very do-able. Part time practice can be ideal for full time parents. You can make your schedule as busy as you like. Set a higher rate for your services so you keep your practice low volume and still pay your rent and buy groceries. Those who want a lucrative, high volume, full time practice can also set a rate and a create a schedule that meets their goals. There are many affordable consultants, tools, and boot camps you can utilize to get started on the right foot, stay compliant, and stop wasting time.

Integrating Supervision Into Private Practice

Becoming a supervisor is a wonderful way to expand your skills, give back to the profession, and add another stream of income to your practice. In most states extra training is required. If your state doesn’t require extra training, I’d get some anyway. Most supervisor training programs will teach you what you’ll need to know to stay organized, stay compliant, and mentor your interns. Like private practice, supervision means taking a leap into the unknown, but the rewards are worth it. There are so many ways to integrate supervision into a practice! You can start a non-profit and allow your interns to see clients at a reduced rate. The Ann’s Place Business Model shows you how to barter supervision for interns who will see your self-pay clients who need a sliding fee-scale. This helps your interns, your community, and your bottom line. Or you can take the more traditional route and charge your interns for your supervision services.

Provide Your Own Supervisor Training

Probably the most lucrative of all of these streams of income, is offering your own supervisor training. Costs for these courses can run anywhere from $500 to $1000 dollars per person. With some concentrated effort on the front end, you can enjoy this income stream as often as you can fill the seats. Teaching will enhance your own clinical skills as well and take your practice to a whole new level

Private practice, supervision, and providing a supervisor training are just a few ways you can create a career that will keep growing and changing with you. After all, your story isn’t over. Check out my book on Amazon, “My Next Steps: Create a Counseling Career You’ll Love,” for more ideas, advice from experts in the field, and a step by step guide so you can create the career you fell in love with.

Take a Look at My Intake Paperwork

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Happy 2018! Every January I edit and revise all of my paperwork. As promised, here is a fifteen minute video consultation. In it, I act as your supervisor and tell you exactly why I include the things I do.  As a speaker, this is a topic I get asked to present a lot. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

New Year New Paperwork?

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Annual Paperwork Cleanup

January is that beautiful time of year when I clean my counseling practice ‘house’ including my paperwork. This year was a little extreme because I literally got a new coat of paint and new floors. As you can see from the artsy filtered photo I took below, my office looks amazing.

But what about the things you can’t see in the photo? Is my paperwork up to date with the latest licensing laws? Have I changed my passwords on a regular basis? Have I checked to see if my credit card charges are accurate?

I’m not even joking – I called about a charge on my account I didn’t recognize and found out it was from something I THOUGHT I had closed in February 2017. The lesson? Watch your bank account.

January 2018 I will edit all of my new client paperwork, change my passwords, and update my bookkeeping. Today’s housekeeping item will be my new client intake Face Sheet. Catch my next blog and I will walk you through my editing process for our 2018 Service Agreement/Consent to Treat. Is it exciting? No, not really, but it’s only 3 minutes of your life and it will save you a lot of headaches down the road. When you’re ready you can even head to our store here to purchase the fully edited  paperwork you can download and customize for your practice. Enjoy!

Watch Me Edit My Face Sheet

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If You Don’t Mind it DOES Matter

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What I have learned as a mental health practice consultant is every counselor has a compelling story. For a mental health professional, her story is her strength and her compass. The problem? Amazing stories start us, but too many of us lack the good habits that will sustain us and our practice. As a speaker, trainer, and advocate I try to help my audience focus on details, attitude, and positive routines. The goal? Your practice, and you, continue to grow and thrive. After all, we need you!

Success is in the details.

Good habits and a positive attitude are important because without them you will lack the motivation to take care of the details. As a counselor, you have a lot to do after you graduate and there is no syllabus to guide and push you along. If you don’t take care of the details, the consequences can be dire:

  • Private practice owners must complete the paperwork for the correct legal structure or risk having a practice that is poorly protected against client lawsuits.
  • New graduates must interview supervisors or risk having dissatisfying or even dangerous supervision experiences.
  • Those making the leap from school counselor to LPC must take time to choose the right school to pick up licensing hours or risk delays during the application process.

Attitude is everything.

When I graduated with my master’s degree in counseling in 2000, I went right back to my teaching job. Why? I was scared to make the leap and start my counseling career. Private practice was my ‘someday’ idea. Basically I was an introvert who knew nothing about business. I had great study habits, zero business habits, and I had bills to pay.

Somehow, I learned about a cheesy-sounding book called “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie. As a broke teacher/post grad it didn’t hurt that the book was in the public domain and I could download it for free. I set up an office in an upstairs bedroom, got the book, and did what I do best, started studying.

Create Positive Routines.

HTWFAIP was written around the time of the second World War joining other self-help books like Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.” These books, with their very straightforward messages (shake hands firmly but not too tightly), and no-nonsense titles were designed with a purpose. American farms had been decimated by the dust bowl and men were having to find jobs in the city. World War two was coming to an end and men were coming home to compete for jobs and start families in the suburbs. These men had to learn how to survive in the post-agrarian economy and prosper. The premise was simple: change your mind, create positive routines, and successfully make enough money to support your family. I liked that.

Turns out, Dale Carnegie was a counselor. He taught me how to have confidence and define success. I began to smile and make eye contact when I talked to people at networking events. I learned that if I could remember people’s names they were more likely to refer business to me. Thanks that that book, I learned the habits and attitudes that keep my business running successfully today.

Remember, your story and your passion only get you so far. Setting an intention, creating good habits, and having a good attitude lead to adjustments in time and resources (otherwise known as prioritizing). If you can prioritize then you can protect your license, provide excellent service to your clients, and have a great counseling career.