I used to be a therapist. Now I’m retired.
There was 20 years between my first client and my last client.
From a fresh faced intern to a seasoned family therapist.
It was quite a ride.
People ask me if I miss working as a therapist. I always say no.
Maybe someday that answer will change. Maybe not.
Last year, I scribbled a few reflections into my black Moleskine notebook and I finally gathered the courage to share them with you.
Here are the 7 reasons I retired:
1. Creative limitations
I felt the burden of ever increasing legal and ethical obligations. There are a ton of rules in this profession. Some of them make sense, others are beyond frustrating.
This limited my creativity and the kinds of products and services I could offer. It sucked out some of the fun.
Also, I always struggled to promote myself and my services. It just never got comfy. I’m much happier promoting others and shining a spotlight on them, i.e. my team of amazing therapists at InTune Family Counseling.
2. Zone of genius
I was a good, but not great therapist. No false humility here. I discovered that working as a therapist was not in my zone of genius.
“Your zone of genius is your unique power. It is a one-of-a-kind quality that you bring to your life and to your work that lets you do certain things better than almost anyone else.” – 15five.com
My skills and abilities are more useful in other areas. It’s also more fulfilling.
3. Income potential
I wanted to stop trading hours for dollars. Over time I raised my private pay fees to $200 per session. This was fantastic, but it still required me to show up to get paid.
I wanted to make more money, while working less. To increase my time freedom.
4. Empathy fatigue
I got weary of hearing about the difficult problems my clients were facing. Trying desperately to help, but often unsure if I was making a difference.
To be honest, it felt like a thankless job at times. Teenage boys are not likely to say, “That is some fantastic advice. In fact, I did what you suggested and it changed my life. Thank you so much!”
Parents are only slightly better. 😁
5. Personal mission
My main motivation was always supporting my family. Once I achieved a consistent level of income, I had the opportunity to shift my focus and think about personal fulfillment.
My mission changed to using my creativity to help other therapists succeed. Both the therapists in my group practice and the ones we support through Productive Therapist.
This gets me excited every day.
6. Loss of enthusiasm
At some point, I realized I was more excited to learn about business than psychology. I didn’t want another certification or more continuing education. I didn’t even want to hear my friends talk endlessly about EMDR.
I also got bored with my hyper focused niche, which was teenage boys and their families.
I still love teenagers, but I would rather be the Dad taking them to a Smashing Pumpkins concert than the therapist sitting in a room struggling to communicate about emotions.
I have two daughters in high school now, so there’s no shortage of teenagers in my world!
7. Entrepreneurial Restlessness
I enjoy exploring the limitless possibilities that my mind and heart can dream up. I love building businesses, creating awesome teams and focusing my energy on positive projects.
Because of this, I couldn’t possibly be happy seeing clients full time for the rest of my working life.
So, that is why I retired!
I’m not sure if you can relate to any of this. I know it’s super personal and it’s my story. Thanks for taking the time to read this post!
There’s one thing I know for sure.
I wouldn’t change my career trajectory one bit. I’m using all my hard earned therapist skills in my current roles.
And I still feel tremendously connected to the therapy world, just more in a supportive role.
I’m here to cheer you on and connect you with the resources you need to kick ass as a therapist.