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February 10, 2024

Anne Rice, LPC, LMHC, CPCS

The other day I had to drop something off at my office which is located in my coworking space, Blue House Wellness. I had my two kids with me and the moment we opened the door, they were greeted with excitement by several of my therapist friends. Just that tiny moment of connection brought me SO much joy and it is not something I would have experienced before having my therapist coworking community. 

Therapy can be such an isolating job, whether or not you work at an agency or group, or if you are going it alone in your own practice. We can't talk about our clients and our work is one-on-one with people we can't really interact with outside of the therapy room. Unless you cultivate a community, it's easy to feel completely isolated as a therapist. 

Community Makes Us Better Therapists

When we are around others who understand our work but might approach it differently, we can learn so much. This doesn't even have to be through strict consultation meetings. I had a particularly tough session one day and just being able to walk into the kitchen and see other therapists was so helpful. I didn't have to give details, just had to communicate that I'd just dealt with a lot of trauma and everyone immediately took care of me and shared their favorite between-session tips to ground themselves. It helped me feel much more prepared for my next session and less drained overall. 

Community Boosts Creativity

Inspiration is often hard to find when you’ve been sitting one-on-one with clients all day. One of my favorite things about my community are the weekly meetings we do. They aren't structured, oftentimes we just catch up about what's going on in our personal lives, but we've come up with so many great ideas in those meetings. Collectively we've helped each other come up with amazing group and workshop ideas, book ideas, and side gigs. I know my practice exists the way it does because I have an amazing group to bounce ideas off of.  

Community Provides Deeper Meaning

Humans are social creatures. Connections with others is what gives our life meaning. When we feel like we have a community of people who understand us, understand our work, and understand our struggles, we feel seen which we all know as therapists, is an incredibly powerful thing. Although I consider myself on the introverted side, I absolutely love hosting parties and events at my space (although admittedly, I need like a week by myself to recover). I love watching people realize the things they have in common with each other and connecting with people who I can collaborate with in the future. After being in COVID isolation for so long, it has become much more obvious how important community is in understanding the impact of our work. Having other clinicians share their successes and cheer on others is so healing.

It's not a work event without a child attached to my leg!

How To Find Community As A Therapist

I'm a little biased since I run one, but coworking spaces can be a wonderful way to find community. Coworking spaces create an environment where you can be productive and help give you boundaries between home life and work life. Although there are several options out there for therapy-specific coworking spaces, there are other ones that still allow for private office rental while still providing a social element.

Consultation groups are another great way to find community although they can be more structured and don't allow for a more social component. Therapist book clubs have become more popular recently and if you can't find one near you, create one! The books don't have to be therapy-related. There is something different about discussing fiction books or shows with therapists that creates an instant sense of community. 

Networking events sometimes have a bad reputation but they are also such a great way to feel a part of a community, even if just for an evening. Plenty of practices have gotten creative with their events (I think I remember a 90s party recently!) and they don't have to be stuffy or awkward. We host a Black Therapist Game Night at our space which has become such a fun way to connect in a relaxed environment. If you aren't already part of local listservs or Facebook groups, join them and start finding ways to connect! Your clients will thank you for being a happy, well-rounded therapist. 

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About the Author

Anne is a therapist, group practice owner, and business coach. She got her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Princeton University and her graduate degree in Counseling Psychology from Boston College.

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