It’s cold with a drizzling rain yet again all day. I long for the day like Friday when it was warm and so welcoming outside. And, with the time change, there will be little daylight left even if you get out of work in the late afternoon. Us, city dwellers, spend so little time outside, it’s really a sad reality. But, thus is life!
Today I felt was a perfect day to spend a bit in contemplation and survey my progress so far, if you will. Some new chapter has just opened up in my life, an exciting one I think. In January, it’ll be two years since I’ve bridged my part-time private practice completely on my own. It was a conscious (yet scary) decision to part with a joint practice of people where I spent several years, but I felt it was the right choice at that time. It took me some months in the beginning, mostly due to a beaurocracy and all, to land on a firm footing and gain a steady momentum. I had to learn some administrative tasks (since it was just me, no clerks or assistants) and also teach myself how to do mental health coding and billing. You’d think it’s just simple, sit down and talk to people, but it’s not. In reality, it’s no different than a doctor’s office where you have to adhere to both ethical and liability standards so certain documents, clinical notes, billing files or professional organizations have to be kept and followed up with, but, since it’s just me, and I still have patients to attend to, it all makes for a very tight schedule some days when I’d wish I had time to just walk and enjoy either sun or the rain, or just daylight outside. On the days that I have my private clients, I’m working 12 hour days, between hospital practice and my private practice, I generally don’t get out till 9-9:30 pm. (Yeah, don’t forget, I still have this “little food blog” 😊, plus all the recipes to try, spend time with my kid sometimes, or see family and friends, or take classes, pursue other hobbies, just have a life…)
Anyway, I had office space first on Union Squire, then near Flatiron but wasn’t feeling like it was where I belong. I’ve just moved in into a new practice office in Midtown where the professional floor is build as a collaboration of different practitioners (not just therapists) and I’m so excited about it as it feels like a place for me to expand at, which I did and added another practice day to open more client hours, as I’d been booked solid for months. Why? Cause I’m good 😜 so I have very little flow of dropped clients and once they come on board, the spot is filled for a long time.
Probably one of the most valuable reviews I received from a recent client who was working with me just for a very short time as his schedule wouldn’t fit into mine. He wrote to thank me and say “I’ve been in therapy for years, prior to meeting you, and, in the short time being with you, I learned more about myself than I did in all 20 years with others”. This makes it worth it to work 12 hour days, don’t you think?
In reality, mental health has such a stigma. Even in a progressive society, people still view psychological help as a “lesser than physical medicine” field. The saddest part is that the same view of judgement applies toward themselves when either life events or unbalanced emotions take hold yet many feel scared to seek help. I’m very vocal in fighting the stigma and trying to bring an understanding that mental and emotional wellbeing is part of your overal health. Human brain is a complex organ yet it’s still part of your biological makeup that sometimes has inborn issues and other times is reacting to stress, difficult events or some life-long maladaptive patterns. People have no problems following up with professionals if they have diabetes, or a heart issue, or a bad cold, or just need a simple check up. Doing the same when you struggle with some emotional issue should be a no-brainer, yet, seeking psychological help still produces so much judgment and misunderstanding that many people just suffer in silence rather than get assistance that they need. I encourage all my clients to make mental health a part of their wellbeing care. Once a year, just like you go to have a regular annual physical, see a counselor or any professional of your choosing, for 2-4 sessions just to check where you are in life or what needs to be attuned the most. Human behavior tends to act in patterns. If you don’t get insight on who you are and what’s not working in what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll be repeating it all over and over without any understanding what’s wrong or how to get out of this loop.
I digress, right? Wouldn’t be the first time. So, here’s a joke for you to illustrate it. 😊
What my patients think I represent.
But what is actually happening.
So, wish me luck in my new office space! It’s a bright sunny place right in the middle of Manhattan, with a view that beats it all! You can’t get more “heartland New York” than 5th Avenue with Empire State Building right in front of your windows and Chrysler Building peaking out on a side too. 😊