Danielle Kepler has been a big part of the Abundance Practice-Builders FB Group since its early days. I refer to her Insurance Credentialing & Billing For Mental Health Professionals FB Group at least weekly. This woman KNOWS insurance. I love this blog post because Danielle gets real about feeling competitive, being overly full, and toeing the line of burnout… and how she stopped being an “insecure shit” and embraced a more abundant mindset.
The Abundance Mindset: It Only Took Me Two Years To Develop It
Guest Post by Danielle Kepler
I admit it. When I quit my group practice two-ish years ago and went on my own in solo practice, I was scared. Scared I wasn’t going to get any clients, scared of having to beg for my job back, scared I wasn’t going to cut it, scared I’d go insane from lack of co-workers. A whole lotta scared. Guess what happened? Exactly the opposite actually, my practice was full at an average of 20-25 clients a week within three months of opening. Don’t ask me how I did it, that’s not what this blog is about. Ok fine, insurance paneling, a great website, a little niching (Gottman Couples Therapy and ACT), and a bomb location in downtown Chicago that was not saturated with therapists. That’s all I’m going to say about that though.
My practice was booming! So naturally I did what any well-balanced therapist who knew themselves and how much they could handle does—I stopped seeing new clients and referred out….wrong! I overbooked myself, scared that my client load would somehow drop for whatever reason and toed the burnout line. As long as the client was a good fit for me, I made room for them. That meant I was seeing 7-9 clients a day 5 days a week, coming home at 10pm, slacking on notes, let alone taking care of myself.
On the outside, I looked like I had it made in the shade. Constant referrals, doing everything on the back-end myself, clients making progress, doing all of the administrative work myself. The perfect practice. You would think I was the most confident therapist on the block, but I wasn’t. Inside I was kind of an insecure shit (I can say that, right?). I was a client hoarder and slowly burning myself out. Other local therapists would want to meet with me when they found out I was so busy. ‘Why?’ I’d ask myself. I bet they want to take my clients or steal some of my success. It was me against the world in solo practice. See? Insecure shit. It had to stop.
And at the end of last year, it finally did. I took a look at my schedule. No more super late nights, no more doing notes at home instead of relaxing. No more running myself ragged. It started with changing my voicemail to say that I was not accepting new clients while I was on vacation for the winter holidays. I still got phone calls while on vacation, but no one left a message. I remember starting to freak out. What if my current clients stop coming? What if new clients stop calling? My mind raced. It was a big step for me. After I returned from vacation I changed my voicemail and guess what? Referrals kept coming. I was amazed at this new sense of freedom. Is this that ‘abundance’ mindset stuff? Maybe…
Flash forward a few months, I was walking around in my office building and noticed a therapist that I knew had opened a practice in the building. The old me would have thought ‘Oh great! She’s going to steal your clients/referrals!’ The new abundant me thought ‘Oh great! Now I have someone in the building to refer clients to and possible eat lunch with (not too many therapists in my building).’ Chill old me, this person probably just moved in and you got 5 referrals this week, clearly your phone will keep ringing. What a shift.
What caused the abundance shift? I’m not so sure, but I have some ideas. When I first started in solo private practice it was very isolating. I was used to having co-workers and in solo practice I didn’t have any so I became oddly competitive. I turned to Facebook (thanks FB!) and found so many therapist groups out there and made some great therapist friends locally and across the nation. This greatly helped me lose my competitive edge and become more collaborative like I was in the group practice. I think it also helped that I overworked myself. I know that sounds counterproductive but sometimes Type-A people need to work themselves to the ground before they can see the error of their ways. I think time really helped. I would take small steps (like the not accepting new client VM while on vacation) and challenge my own beliefs that if I closed the floodgates they would start again once I opened them. Lastly, I know people hate to hear this, but being on insurance panels really helped me embrace the abundance mindset. Being on insurance panels allowed me to build my practice with very little marketing and due to that I slowly built my confidence. Throughout the two years I’ve been my own solo practice boss, I’ve matured a lot. I now know that there are more than enough clients to go around. I even now offer insurance credentialing and billing consulting to other clinicians to share the wealth. Initially, I’d be all ‘Danielle, you are helping your competition’ but now, I don’t feel that way at all. I actually love helping clinicians nationally and locally to navigate insurance and build their insurance based practices. More clinicians to refer to! It’s strange I tell you, but I like it.
Can you relate? Let us know how you made the shift to a more abundant mindset in the comments!
Danielle Kepler, LCPC is a clinical therapist and insurance-based practice consultant in Chicago, IL. She sees adults and couples in private practice and is still working her boundaries. In addition to therapizing, Danielle loves empowering clinicians by helping them learn the ins and outs of insurance credentialing and billing so can avoid having to hire a long-term service. She feels strongly that knowing how to play nicely with insurance (in or out of network) is an essential part of building a practice and works with clients local to Chicago and around the nation. Her consulting company is called Be Your Own Biller.