Psychoanalytically Informed Practice Coaching

April 2, 2012

One Path to Marketing Your Practice

One service offered through CLP Consulting is practice evaluation and ongoing coaching focused on establishing and growing your psychotherapy or psychiatric business. The concepts for its method and that of the highly specialized coaching service currently in development, derive from psychoanalysis, despite my declaring a few years ago in another blog “I Am Not a Psychoanalyst”. Hans Loewald was a masterful psychoanalytic thinker and writer. He was and is a guiding light in how I work with patients and now with coaching clients.

This post is based on Jonathan Lear’s introduction to The Essential Loewald, Collected Papers and Monographs. In these 30 pages Lear captures the essence of Dr. Loewald’s body of work.

The following is written with classical psychoanalysis in mind. Though I have abandoned psychoanalysis as a therapeutic modality, I honor the deep understanding it has given me about human development and the problems that can arise in it. In fact, early in his introduction Lear points out that the interaction between the patient and analyst “revives a developmental process… it is an opening up, from the inside, of the capacity to live.” As the treatment process progresses the “core” of the patient begins to emerge from previous distortions.

The above is a highly condensed rendering of what happens in the treatment of neurosis, a term one rarely hears now-a-days. Lear and Loewald think of neurosis as a process that “confines us to a certain set of possibilities… loosening these bonds opens a person up to a much more flexible and thus nuanced sense of life’s possibilities… that increases the capacity for joy – as well as for genuine sorrow…”

In another passage Lear quotes Loewald, “we are ‘thrown’ into living… accepting responsibility (for one’s wishes and fantasies, essentially one’s neurosis) is a way of taking over our throwness and becoming active with respect to it.”

I take great pains to draw a bright line between my clinical work and this coaching practice: you will not be my patient. But in addition to providing information about our kind of businesses and encouragement to face the challenges of starting a private practice – being thrown from the relative safety of an institution into the unfamiliar world of a small business owner – I am ready to work with you to detect and overcome internal hindrances.

The obstacle I have encountered most commonly in my clients, as well as colleagues, is a dense reluctance to promote one’s business. A young psychiatrist said to me recently in response to my offering him an opportunity to partner in a promotional venture, “Bill, I know this is likely an irrational position, but I just don’t feel comfortable with it.” Whatever one choses to call this, it is a hindrance to promoting optimal growth of one’s business. What separates my friend from a client is that the client has hired me to help them push beyond their “comfort zones”.

What I’m tempted to call the dread of self-promotion is endemic in our field. As I mentioned in a recent piece here, an old teacher of mine recently said out right that she was mad at me for “going commercial.” Well, I have. Aren’t we all? Do you experience reluctance to promote your practice? Have you discovered ways to over come it? Please tell us by leaving a comment via the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of this piece.

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