So some big news today. I resigned from my practice that I have been a therapist at for over 6 years. When I started in 2017 at my practice, I was an entirely different human. Due to a complication with my license, I needed to redo all of the hours I accrued in New York and start as an associate again, which meant I could only practice therapy under supervision.
While I had an extensive career in mental health and psychology prior to this, it was my first traditional client-sits-on-couch-as-we-talk position. I remember full blown fear when I decided to take the leap into private practice. My imposter syndrome was coming in HOT. I worried I was a sell out, abandoning my at-risk clients that I saw through agency work. I had fears I was not good enough to counsel people who had more run-of-the-mill problems and not pervasive mental illness (the type of clients I was used to). I agonized as to what I was supposed to wear (I picked the stereotypical cardigan). I wasn’t used to even SITTING in a chair. Truth is, despite my degrees, internships, externships, positions and board memberships, I was GREEN to this new territory of private practice.
In the years since that trepidation and anxiety, I have seen probably a hundred plus clients. I have held space, held hands, handed tissues, celebrated victories and watched people grow, mourn, fumble, fall, rebound. I have been witness to terrible traumas and overwhelming healing. I have asked clients to blindly trust me to be a safe space to hold secrets, process feelings and jump into the unknown. I walked with them through a global pandemic and transition to tele-health.
It has been a wild, incredible, scary, overwhelming-at-times ride in which I learned as much as I taught.
I opened my own practice over a year ago. Unbeknown to me at the time of opening, after taking a giant leap of faith myself, I became full almost immediately. And yet… I have held onto many of my clients at my first firm, long past the time of being financially reasonable. Letting go seems even scarier than it was to start.
After 12+ months of having my own practice, a project that has been a decade plus in the making, it was only last week I made the decision to focus solely on it. It meant saying goodbye to the private practice that got me started, and the clients that came with it. It meant 7 client calls informing them of my departure. It meant 7 little heartbreaks. Some of my clients cried at the news. One yelled. Most took the transfer to the new therapist. But I have mourned them all. I will miss the consistency of seeing them, hearing their stories, processing their losses and sharing their wins.
I have to trust that their journey lives on and protect the honor that I feel from having been a part of their story in the first place, and for that, I will be eternally grateful. I am excited at the opportunity to meet new clients, to hear new stories, to share more sessions. But for now, I will also allow myself humanness and hold space for the grief too.