Activism

As counselors, we spend a great deal of time with people who are suffering from consequences of society. Some of them may rely on public aid, such as food stamps or Medicaid. Others may be feeling stress from being disenfranchised because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. And to be true, effective counselors, we have to be willing to fight for our counselors’ rights.  

What does this look like? It means paying attention to what laws are being passed, both at the federal and local level, and finding out how they affect your clients. It means writing to your lawmakers, or speaking at hearings, to tell them why certain proposed legislation is harmful. It means helping your clients navigate systems set up to push them further down. It means voting and educating your friends and family. It means showing up and doing what you can to help your clients. 

Self Care for Counselors

Self-care is the latest buzzword that we see all over pop culture. Brand are trying to sell us on all kind of self-care items, from meditation apps to weight blankets, but self-care means more than that. For therapist, self-care is the only way we can continue to be there for our clients week after week.  

Image result for self care

Counseling is not an easy profession, and the risk of burnout is high. But here are a few tools to for self-care: 

  1. Prioritize Your Health. Make sure you are eating good and nutritious food, sleeping at least seven hours, and exercising three to five times a week. These are non-negotiables, and if your health suffers, your work suffers.  
  1. Leave Work At Work. Establish boundaries so that you aren’t doing notes at home or answering emails. Do not give your private email and number to clients. When you go home at night, try to stop thinking about work. If you let your work slip into your personal life, you may begin to resent your job.  
  1. Make Time For Your Passions. Love to run? Is painting calming? Whatever it is that you do, make sure to build it into your schedule. Do one less thing a day so that you can have time to play an instrument or see a movie. Whatever it is that brings you joy, make sure you are doing it.  

There are tons of other tools for self-care but start with these and build your routine from there. 

Why ASE is Better Than Your Average Office Park

Many therapists in private practice think that any office will do, but ASE is more than just office space. We offer a variety of services that you can’t find elsewhere.  

First, we have a large number of private office spaces with sound-proof walls and excellent lighting. These rooms are completely customizable, so you can put in your own desk, furniture, lighting, and art-work that best suits your office.  

Next, there is the shared lobby that all members of the ASE use. This room offers chairs and couches, coffee and tea, and water for your clients to access while they are waiting. We also have resources they can check out as well as magazines to browse through.  

We have a staff area that is complete with a printer/scanner and a cafeteria with stocked snacks, microwave, fridge, toaster, and watercooler. As a co-op member, you can also access the gym located in the building.  

We also offer access to a microgreens farmer to provide healthy yummy meals for our staff!   

With ASE, you get more than just an office space. 

Many Counselors have Counselors

As counselors, we have committed ourselves to helping others, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have

and emotional issues.  

Many of us got into counseling because of our experiences with therapy, and we want to give back to others the good we found in it. But, we are not perfect people and we have our own problems. Going through therapy helps work out issues we may, and a continue to develop, while making sure we aren’t imposing any of our own struggles with our clients.  

For example, maybe you are a therapist who grew up with an alcoholic parent. You may have seem to have dealt with the issues around that parent, but then you get a client who is alcoholic and has a child? Can you effectively work with that client without some of your experiences interfering with the therapeutic relationship? Counseling can help you work on your emotions without running the risk of countertransference.   

Therapy can also help work through any implicit biases that we may hold. We do not want to harm our clients at all, and we must be open to seeing clients from varying backgrounds, but we also all hold biases. Counseling can help you identify those biases and work through them to ensure you are not harming clients.  

Counseling is also a good self-care tool for therapists and helps them work out issues they may have with clients. 

So to be a better therapist, find your own therapist. 

Should therapists have a presence online?

In today’s day and age, most counselors have at least one social media account—most of us, more. While these pages may be a great way to interact with our friends, family, and co-workers, they can cross some boundaries if clients find them.  

When we are meeting with a new doctor or new person, it’s only natural for us to want to search them online. We want to see what exists out there about them, and maybe get a sneak peek into their personal life.  

The same is likely true for our clients. Many of them are entrusting us with their deepest and most personal information, and they might want to know more about us as they share more about them. So, they turn to the internet and social media.  

While we can’t stop our clients from doing this, we can be more careful about the types of things we post online. Maybe we increase the security settings on our social media or change the name of our personal blog.  

Some of you may be asking, why would we need to do that? I like my clients and don’t mind if they see me on social media. Remember that it’s important that the therapeutic relationship stay focused on helping the client, and you don’t want sessions to be derailed by them asking you questions about things you said online. Also, you want them to continue to have an open relationship with you and they might be hesitant to do that if they learn more about your personal life.  

It’s hard to tell people to remove themselves from the internet, but it’s best to keep your private life separate from your work with your clients. It’s keeps the therapeutic relationship pure, but also ensures your private life stays private. 

Testimonial: Why ASE was the Right Fit for Me

Hi! My name is Laura, and I am a licensed clinical professional counselor that focuses on couples and family therapy and a member of the ASE. After a few years of working at a hospital, I decided to take my therapy career to the next level and open my own practice.  

It was really overwhelming at first, trying to navigate starting a new business and attracting a clientele. I knew that I wanted to be downtown, as it was an easy place for most of my clients to travel to, but when I started looking at office spaces to rent, I immediately became disheartened. Most of the spaces were way out of my price range, or so high that I would have to greatly increase my fees to clients to pay for the rent. I also would need to spend money renovating the space to make it feel more like a therapist’s office. Additionally, the main front lobby looked more like it belonged to a hedge fund company, which I knew would make my clients uneasy.  

Right when I was about to give up, a fellow counselor recommended ASE. It fit exactly what I needed. As a member, I could get a great office space to meet with my clients that could also double as an office to take notes and do other work. The lobby to the space was bright and open, offering clients water and coffee before they came into my office. Also, it was located downtown near public transportation, making it very easy for me to give them directions. But that wasn’t all that I loved about ASE. I would also be working aside some great therapists who I could go to incase I came across a situation I wasn’t sure I knew how to handle. And, being so close downtown, allowed me to find new clients and build my business.  

My practice wouldn’t be in existence without ASE, and I couldn’t recommend co-working space enough!

What is communal working space? And why do you need it?

Communal working, or co-working, spaces are popping up all over the country. They are the hippest way to work, whether you are a solo entrepreneur or have a small staff.  

Co-working spaces are often large spaces that rent out desks, meeting areas, and other office space to individuals who are work from home, contractors, or self-employed. The co-working spaces are self-directed and allow people the options to customize their own office-working time while connecting with likeminded individuals, which can turn into potential customers. One of the best things about these co-working spaces is that they also come with some of the same perks as an office – such as a cafeteria, printing and photo copying equipment, and gyms – but allow renters to pick their own hours as best fits their schedules. Co-working spaces are a great alternative to coffee shops, home offices, and other public areas. Plus, co-working spaces tend to be modernly decorated, located in active urban areas, and host a wide-range of events that may be of interest to its clients.  

Counselors and therapists working on their own need a private space to meet with their clients. For some, they have an appropriate space in their home, but for others, they must rent out an office. This can be quite expensive for those starting their own practice, and often times these spaces are not inviting or warm for their clients. That’s where ILCTC comes in.  

ILCTC is a co-op that allows likeminded therapists and licensed counselors to come together to create an ideal therapeutic environment while managing their own businesses. A participating member of the co-op pays for the meeting room but is then also able to offer her patients a relaxing lobby area with snacks and resources on varying aspects of therapy.  

We also come together to host events for our clients, such as seminars on nutrition and mental health, grief support groups, and LGBTQ community meetings. And, because this is a respectful space, there is no competition between therapists. Rather, as a co-op member, you will be able to connect with the other therapists in the office, using them as a guide and resource for your own practice.  

Starting your own practice can be hard enough, but you should have to struggle to find a place or go into debt paying the rent. ILCTC is here to help you get your business off the ground and give your clients a calming and enriching experience.