I was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, where I lived for the first 25 years of my life. As you can probably tell by my name, it sounds very German! I am the descendant of a German great-grandfather who moved to Guatemala in the early 1900’s. So I have influence of both Latin American and German styles of thinking, feeling and being (you will see what I mean when you meet me and spend some time with me!).
The German/European influence is probably what brought me back to Europe in 2006. I have lived in the South of England, in many towns, doing many jobs, since then.
I am now settled in Brighton and Hove, which I love – I have access to the countryside, the city, the sea, and a melting pot of cultures and activities. This is where I have started my journey into Counselling Private Practice, as well as delving deeper into my love of languages and teaching – Spanish, English, Psychology, Counselling/Psychotherapy.
I really enjoy everything that I do, and I never do anything or continue doing something that I don’t enjoy and might cause me unhappiness or frustration. Of course I will see it through to the end and complete what I’ve started.
I don’t think I will ever get unhappy or frustrated with Counselling or Teaching, there is always something new to learn from books, training, but more importantly from my clients themselves.
It is such an honour to be allowed into people’s worlds and be there for the realisations – sometimes good, sometimes not so good – about themselves, their upbringing, their experiences, and see lasting change happen – gradually – so they can continue a happier, healthier life, with a more robust approach to challenges and whatever else life might bring.
I hope this allowed you to get to know me a bit better…do contact me if you want to know more or are looking for a Counsellor, Supervisor, Spanish/English Teacher!
This week I want to talk about those difficult times when we book clients and they either don’t show up, or they have their first session and never contact again.
This is a very tricky situation, that can leave practitioners feeling insecure about their capacity as therapists, or bringing that impostor syndrome to the forefront…or even more, wondering what it is they did that made the client “ghost” them.
I am speaking from personal experience here.
As someone that also had a start in private practice and all that entails, I can say that ghosting happened to me too.
I will start with what I’ve experienced as a therapist starting out in private practice and generalise it to other practitioners. Then I will discuss what I think happens from a client’s perspective (some not all possibilities).
In regard to the therapist, I would say that our responsibility is to hold the space for the client, where it’s safe to process and work through difficult stuff.
When we are starting, we are “desperate” (my own words, not calling anyone that although I’m sure some of you reading this can relate) – urged might be a better word, to retain and find clients to fill our time slots and help us start earning an income from what we trained so hard to do.
This urge might communicate over to the client. Unconsciously of course.
I am psychodynamically trained (now working integratively) so I believe that the unconscious to unconscious communications are very powerful.
We might not verbally be saying to the client “please keep me as your therapist, I need you”, but that’s what we might be communicating in many other ways we’re not aware of.
Now, just being aware of this is a great starting point to not put that burden on our clients.
A burden that might lead them to leave.
Apart from this, I don’t think there’s anything else that I can say right now to point the responsibility of a client ghosting a therapist, on the therapist themselves.
Let’s turn to the client’s responsibility.
Sometimes a client books a first session and never shows up.
It might have taken all of their energy and might to contact and book the appointment, but might have realised that they’re not ready yet, or that it’s too scary to attend, or something might have happened that led them to not need therapy anymore.
Sometimes they let us know, other times they don’t. It can be enfuriating, but we can’t take it personally. We might never find out what happened. We might have to live with the “not knowing” of why we were forgotten by our new potential client.
I find that as we spend more time as private practitioners, we get better at setting boundaries and trusting ourselves, and valuing ourselves as practitioners, and this happens less and less.
But when we are beginning, these things might not communicate as much through our contract, or our verbal and non-verbal communications. It’s an art and it’s developed slowly and gently, as we work with more clients and spend more time acclimatising to the realm of private practice.
Other times, a client arrives for their first session, it seems to have gone well, and they never book another session again.
For some clients, the catharsis that happens in a first session might have been enough.
Or it might have been too much to start talking about something that was only in their minds up to the point they started talking about it with their new therapist.
Ideally they’d let us know. But as above, sometimes they don’t.
We must err on the side of trusting our abilities and capacity as qualified and experienced therapists (we have, after all completed quite a few hours in placements before setting up our private practice!), and consider what is our responsibility and what is our clients.
Taking it to supervision and getting reassurance and clarity about what happens when we’re ghosted by clients will build us up, help us set clearer boundaries, possibly rewrite our contracts (I’ve rewritten mine many times, mainly adding stuff as time goes on!) and work on our initial contacts with clients, and how we feel about ourselves as therapists.
I hope this post has been helpful, or at least food for thought. I welcome your feedback and comments.
Next week I want to talk about something that I see happens a lot when we start private practice: clients “ghosting” practitioners.
This week I want to focus on something that I see as “working in the background”, in our favour.
I was chatting to a colleague once and I said something about a plan I had for the next year.
Now taking into account that this colleague didn’t know me for long, what he said marked me.
These are almost his words, verbatim: “yes, I am sure you will achieve that. Everything else you’ve said you’d do, you’ve accomplished so far.”
That got me thinking…
What is it that I’m doing – apart from taking steps towards fulfilling what I’ve said I wanted to do in the first place – that is getting me to achieve that goal?
In having conversations with other people, I started to piece things together and realised a very valuable lesson:
When we call things out….when we name the things we want in life…they will come to us, sooner or later!
Everything we do gets us closer to our goals.
Everything we say gets us closer to our goals.
There is a lot of power in what we say and confess to ourselves and to our friends, family and colleagues!
I really do believe that trusting that what we want to happen will happen is a great way to achieve our goals and live more fulfilling lives.
This is how I’ve been building my practice.
I guess it’s been discussed before in books like The Secret an the Law of Attraction, and such. But until you experience it yourself, it won’t mean much.
This goes hand in hand with what I wrote to you about last week – if we create space and name the things that we want to pass, they will most likely happen.
Another thing I live by is this “what I’m doing now, will help in the future, somehow”.
A clear example is a colleague I’ll be partnering with soon. I met her nearly 7 years ago now at a training session, and she remembered me from that, and now we will be working together!
Yes it’s 7 years later, but the point it, we plant seeds and they grow and flourish when it’s their time to do so.
The key is to plant the seeds, either by doing something, saying something, while taking the steps and planning towards what we want for our lives and businesses.
So get talking, get confessing openly with yourself or with your tribe, those things that are dear to your heart, that will bring your goals to fruition, and your lives to be more fulfilling and more like how you want them to be.
Whether that means having 5 clients, 10 clients, 20 clients…working only 2 days a week…having various sources of income and ways of supporting people with your business…whatever it is…speak up and see it happen!
Hi, and welcome to this mini series aimed at practitioners in private practice, and anyone who works one-to-one with clients.
This will be a three-post series where I’ll be talking about
1. Creating the mental space that leads clients to find us
2. Calling things out so that they become a reality in our lives and businesses
3. Ghosting: a private practitioner’s initiation rite of passage
I’ve been in private practice for nearly 7 years now, and I’ve learned a lot.
Some things I wished I’d learned when I’d started, but that’s not always possible.
It is because of this that I’ve launched some services (free and paid), like this blog, to support practitioners that are just starting out now, to know about things that will get them started with more knowledge than I had when I started.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I like how things have panned out. I love how my practice and life are going. But I know this might not be the case for everyone.
Keep reading if you want to find out about this week’s topic and what I mean by creating mental space.
I’ll write a bit about how I started out and how I got to where I am today.
In 2013, I decided to launch my website and get online on directories so I could get clients. I was also working 37+ hours at a care job (which I enjoyed, but my sights were changing more towards full time private practice, only a dream at this point!).
From that point onward, I had started to lower my hours at that job and spending more time on counselling.
The first two years I didn’t have that many clients. Which was fine because I was renting a room and finding it difficult to find the right times to fit clients anyway.
In 2015 I got a Senior Care Officer contract at a children’s home, which was temporary until November. When that contract finished, it gave me the freedom to work as relief staff, which meant I could choose what days to work and what days to dedicate to my private practice.
This is where it starts to get good!
A month or so before my Senior contract ended, I started thinking more and more about dedicating Mondays and Thursdays to private practice. Just thinking about it did something…
It was almost magic!
By the time my contract ended, I had quite a few more enquiries.
I booked them in, and by the end of the year I’d gone from 1-2 regular clients to 4-8 regular clients!
I got a contract as a support worker in the same children’s home on February 2016, but took only 16hrs per week, which meant I could still dedicate Mondays and Thursdays to counselling and building my business.
My manager there has always been kind enough to accommodate my other responsibilities outside of that job. And as I was working very part time only, it was all good.
That year I did my last waking night shift. That’s how I started letting go of doing extra shifts and focusing more on my private work. By mid 2017 I stopped doing extra shift.
Another dramatic shift came about when I decided to finally give blogging a good chance and take it seriously. This meant taking promoting my blog seriously as well.
And this in turn meant posting regularly and consistently on social media.
I was still counselling Mondays and Thursdays, but decided to start offering sessions on Wednesdays as well.
I got more clients. I also started offering supervision.
I created the mental space for those clients and supervisees, and lo and behold, they contacted and booked!
My last two years at the care job were spent daydreaming about only running my own business.
I planned for it.
I made the mental space for the clients that I needed – a mix of counselling, supervisees, coaching and tutoring clients.
I also started thinking about other services and products to offer.
I wrote 20 Self-Care Habits, which came from a series of blogs I wrote.
I began planning other avenues of income and work.
In July 2019, I left the care job. I miss the social aspects of it and the young people I worked with.
But it wasn’t for me anymore.
I worked 11 years as a support worker in different areas. It gave me lots of knowledge that includes being able to offer counselling to autistic and other neurodiverse people.
My practice is now full to the brim. My products and services are being created slowly but surely.
More books are in the pipeline, as well as collaborations with colleagues and companies to create more mental space to help more clients and colleagues with their lives and careers.
Those who know me will know that I didn’t write this to brag. I’m more in awe of how things are going than anyone else!
I wrote this to show my fellow colleagues what is possible when we work hard, when we get the training, CPD, support from one another, and put ourselves out there.
I hope this post has been helpful to those starting out, and allowed those more seasoned practitioner to reflect on the amazing journey we’re all in…
…doing what we love, whilst at the same time helping our clients and colleagues get back on track, or get their businesses going.
It’s been quite a journey and it’s always nice to hear how someone is benefiting from what I’ve written.
Everything I do is aimed at helping people. Helping them get a head start, learning from what I’ve learned in the past, from personal experiences but also from others’ experiences of putting my suggestions into practice.
“If you are someone who is wondering what “self care” is or what you can do to take better care of yourself, I would suggest giving this book a read. In this book, Karin explains and guides you through what it means to take care of yourself. Our modern world can be tricky and yet she explains simple and practical strategies that you can start your new self care regime immediately. “
Today and next week I’ll be talking to wellbeing professionals, including coaches, counsellors, psychotherapists, and anyone that looks after the wellbeing of their clients in one way or another.
There are a few reasons for me writing this blog post mini-series now.
1. Blogging revolutionised my practice, and I am eager to teach more people how to blog to revolutionise their practices by following practical, simple steps.
2. I’m presenting a series of workshops via onlinevents.co.uk, which launch with a two-part blogging workshop broken down in two days. This is the beginning of a series – still planning the following sections, but I can tell you that the next 2 (parts 3 and 4) are scheduled for December!