More and more Psychologists, Counsellors & Therapists are leaving statutory services, giving up on NHS pensions and going it alone. At once anxiety provoking, but undoubtedly liberating, I have yet to meet anyone who took this bold step and did not wish they had done so years before!
Being autonomous within NHS or Public Services is increasingly challenging, particularly in the current financial climate. There is too much to do, too little resource, and therapists of all colours are often burned out by the ceaseless top down changes and complete lack of control over the services they offer, and how. Their voice, creativity and expertise is often drowned out by a growing band of managers who often lack clinical knowledge and are very separate from the services being offered at ground level. It's a recipe for disenfranchisement and feelings of invalidation.
Yet when a Therapist or Psychologist regains the confidence to consider, even momentarily, their experience and knowledge it become an obvious choice. There IS something better, and there is a way to regain the steer on working life, which after all should be a privilege and pleasure.
Working in the Private Sector, or offering services independently is initially scary, but it can be done. Getting involved with a group of independent practitioners or independent services hub is a great way to start. Some people get themselves listed on Counselling Directories, or even set up their own website and marketing campaigns. If you state what you can do, and keep your prices keen, the referrals and interest soon flow in.
Where there is a resurgence in confidence, and a sense of using one's skills in a broader and more self-empowering manner, there is also a common sense of loss. It's the lack of team working, isolation and risks associated with clinical decision making without the support of a multi-disciplinary team. Finding good supervision, can also be a difficult task.
Therapist Networking Clubs and Peer Supervision arrangements are one solution to these difficulties. Such forums can replicate the experience of team working, without all the politics and transformational change stresses. These meetings aren't squeezed in or cancelled at short notice because of some other pressure - rather, they are factored in, valued and open to your own design and needs.
Solihull Well Being Clinic, of which I am a Founding Director, is launching Therapist Networking Clubs in its Hall Green Base. These run on Wednesdays once every 6-8 weeks, from 7-8.30pm. Having focussed on 'working with trauma' in Feb 2017, we are next meeting on Wed 29 March 2017 to look at 'therapists taking care of themselves'. If you're enjoying independent practice, but want to have that interaction with colleagues, why don't you get in touch, and get along? Visit our booking section for more details.
Dr Bobby Sura BSc Hons, PG Dip, DClinPsy, CPsychol
Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Dr Bobby Sura is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist specialising within the field of lifespan and family based mental health needs. He works both in the public (NHS) and private sector, being the proprietor of Clinical Psychology Direct and Partner for Solihull Well Being Clinic. Dr Sura is Chartered with the British Psychological Society (BPS), Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP), Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) with eligibility for registration with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and
Association of Family Therapy (AFT).