(or How to Call a Minga)
I have something I want to say to all the therapists out there, novice and experienced alike. Perhaps this message will fall on deaf ears and go unheeded, much less unread. But I still feel the need to put it out there, just in case someone is listening.
So here’s the thing: you have to have a plan.
I know it’s easier to think that you are the omnipotent being you undoubtedly project onto your clients. But I’m here to remind you that you are not. And that while you may try to promise your clients (and probably yourself) that “you’re not going anywhere,” life happens and you need a plan for when it all goes careening off the rails. You are not immune just because you are a therapist. And I would argue that you have a responsibility, a moral and ethical imperative set higher than many other professions, because of the work that you choose to do. If this seems like too much to reconcile, I would ask that you give serious thought to your current career path.
I’m not saying that this will be easy (it won’t) or pleasant (it won’t) but it must be done. Make a plan. Not a theoretical hypothetical plan. An actual plan based on real-world scenarios. What happens if you get sick? What if the illness forces you to go on short-term disability? Long-term disability? What if you need to retire (for whatever reason)? What if you burnout? What if your kids get sick or your parents need care? What happens if you die? Immediately or after a long illness?
Then what? You have to think about this.