Scheduling is one of the dreaded tasks of being a child therapist.
There is pressure to produce that one coveted spot that is after school but before sports practice starts for your entire caseload. And the truth is? Those ideal times don’t exist for all of your clients. Even if you worked as much as you could after school you still wouldn’t have space for your entire caseload.
And to be honest - most therapist don’t want that.
If you are anything like me you want a scheduling boundaries that you feel good about, that allow you to do your best clinical work with clients, and also have a life outside of the office.
And yet, scheduling is something that often pops up with therapists who don’t want to work more evening hours, are tired of trying to make their schedule fit everyone, and who are feeling stretched thin, over capacity.
So then, why do therapists continue to work evenings and weekends? Continue to expand their schedule to fit one more evening spot? I wanted to share with you the top three barriers and limiting beliefs that prevent therapists from having their ideal schedule!
I won’t be able to work with kids, because they NEED daytime appointments.
I get it! Your clients tug on your heart strings and you end up working waaay too many evenings and bend over backwards to get all your kids into the “just right spot”. You know, that one just after school but before dance practice. Oh.. but only on Tuesdays or Thursdays.
For this limiting belief take a look at just what medical necessity is and why working with kids also means prioritizing mental health (yes, even during the school day).
All my clients will leave and request referrals.
This worry is a big one. You love the clients on your caseload, you’ve built relationships, seen them progress, and came alongside of them in their struggles. You worry that if you shift your schedule in a way that works better for you then you will have to stop this work, which will be detrimental to your clients.
For this limiting belief you need to weight the pros and cons of the weight of your current schedule on your mental health and how that affects your ability to be an effective therapist. This also may mean coming to terms with the fact that clients get to make their own choices about their own priorities and get to choose if they value the evening appointment or if their time with you is worth adjusting the schedule - no judgment either way!
I won’t be able to meet my financial goals if I change my schedule.
Ahhh… this is a painful one. Sometimes as therapists we feel like we should be in this field out of the goodness of our hearts because we want to help people. And while that is true that the therapy field typically attracts therapists with big hearts who want to help… you still have bills to pay. AND there is no shame in wanting to be paid what you are worth for your expertise and background.
Thinking about clients dropping off your schedule and spots not filling up can definitely trigger a scarcity mentality that prevents you from getting the schedule you want! For this limiting belief really taking a look at your budget, marking strategies and plan, and client spots you need to have each week to generate your desired income is a great way to start.
If you need more support in getting past these limiting beliefs and the step by step process to get your ideal schedule check out my training on Signature Scheduling Systems: Scheduling Clients Between 8-5 In Your Child and Adolescent Therapy Practice. This training will hold your hand and give you the specific steps, strategies, and exercises to move you into your ideal schedule!
I'm Ann Meehan, an LPCC,