Session 167: Maintaining The Balance of Being a Helper, a Healer and a Business Owner

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Have you ever neglected your own needs to work with your clients? Have you sacrificed time for personal self-care to squeeze in “one more client”? Most clinicians are probably guilty of this behavior, called Sacrificial Helping Syndrome. I know what it is because I have lived it, as most other clinicians have done also. Let’s address this common problem in today’s conversation.

My guest is Katie Vernoy, LMFT, in Torrance, CA. Many clinicians struggle with giving so much of themselves because they see overexerting themselves and taking on too much as a badge of honor. They also see it as a measure of competence and success. Katie sheds insight on this common problem and how we can see it in ourselves and be honest in addressing it. We also discuss how to maintain the balance of being a helper and a healer with a kind heart and being a business owner at the same time.

What We’ll Learn

  • Why this profession makes us such sacrificial helpers
  • Sacrificial Helping Syndrome is wrapped up in what clinicians do, foregoing our own needs to do the necessary work with clients
  • The value, meaning, and identity we get from helping and how it can turn into a compulsion
  • The intersection of being a helper and being a business owner
  • The two sides of the problem: we feel guilty for charging money for the helping that comes naturally and we feel cruel for holding boundaries for business practices
  • Reconciling the role of helper and business owner: “I’m doing this to improve the work to help my clients.”
  • “If I don’t hold to good business practices and set boundaries, then I won’t be able to continue my practice and won’t help anyone at all.”
  • How ambition, leadership, and strong business practices are sometimes viewed by colleagues
  • Feeling the pressure to squeeze clients in and other little decisions that set you up for poor practices
  • Common signs to be aware of:
    • Resentfulness and frustration
    • Fantasizing about cancellations or days off
    • Anxiety about setting limits
  • Think about how not taking care of yourself will impact others
  • The pressure to “pay the bills” that makes us overschedule
  • It’s important to meet your needs and hold boundaries to do the highest quality work
  • Three practical tips to address the tendency to Sacrificial Helping Syndrome:
    • Shift your mindset
    • Lean in for self-care
    • Make decisions like a BOSS (Be Bold, Objective, Selective, and Strategic)


Find out more about Katie:   Katie Vernoy

Katie mentioned the Therapy Reimagined 2018 Conference, a gathering to reimagine what our profession will look like the coming age.  The conference also offers up to 14 CEU's!

Today's Sponsor Brighter Vision

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