I view therapy similar to parenting. The best gift you can give your kids is your own development and healing. I believe that is the same as a therapist. I can’t take my clients somewhere that I haven’t been. My growth as a person is directly related to how effective I can be as a therapist.
That is why my own unmasking as a therapist is directly connected to my clinical work. I am dismantling all the ableist crap I learned as a therapist and it feels so GOOD.
Let me flesh out the 5 ways that I am leaning into unmasking as a therapist so that I can do this work sustainably for the next 30 or 40 years.
#1: I don’t take phone calls anymore. My voicemail sends people back to my website where they can write to me. Unmasking as a therapy business owner means I don’t have to do business like other therapists. I can adapt my business to work for my neurotype.
#2: I use “double benefit” advertising. This is a word I made up to try to capture that I only engage in advertising that feels good. I love writing and expressing my thoughts to others. I love philosophy and diving deep into things and this is my main advertising strategy. I refuse to engage in any advertising that forces me to be uncomfortable. It’s not worth it.
#3: I really have put my whole self out there. What you see is certainly what you get. I use my own experience to show what I understand from a personal and clinical standpoint. Putting myself out there ensures that people are truly choosing me for me. I don’t have to put on a show of any kind.
#4: I increased my fees so that I don’t need to see a ton of clients. Which means I can actually take care of myself on multiple levels. And that gives me the energy to continue to do my own personal growth work and show up fully for the clients I do have.
#5: I have a very specialized niche that I serve and this particular niche (autistic adults) benefit from me being unmasked. This further inspires me to keep going on my unmasking journey and to refrain from ever feeling like I need to mask in order to put food on the table.