We have trained for years and even decades to be able to meet you exactly where your pain is. We have spent time and energy honing our craft, which is a combination of skill (based largely on what research shows makes therapy work) and art (knowing how and when to apply that skill as well as acting on our “gut”, which amounts to our intuition based on experience). But is that really all there is to pay attention to? Nope. What also matters is the environment that the therapist works in. That might seem like an odd factor, but let’s really consider it.
Take a world-class athlete and put them in an environment where they are not given the tools to actually practice. If Michael Phelps was given the time to train but didn’t have an Olympic sized pool to train in, didn’t have his swimming gear (swim cap, speedo, and goggles), and most importantly didn’t have a coach or teammates who supported him and held him accountable to improving and growing as a swimmer, he would NEVER reach his potential. He simply wouldn’t have achieved the accolades of being the most decorated Olympian EVER. His support and environment is as much a part of his success as his actual effort and training.In that way, the supportive and growth-oriented environment of your therapist will help them be at their potential. It increases their ability to help you the most.
How do I know this? Because, unfortunately, we had a period of time where everyone on our Clinical Team didn’t feel that we had the most supportive environment. In that period of time, some team members felt isolated and struggled with being vulnerable with their colleagues, which is critical to having a functional mental health team. I saw some clinicians not giving their best, only doing the minimum so they could leave the office, and not reach out to collaborate with each other. These are the aspects that fail when an environment isn’t ideal at a mental health practice. While that is forever a shadow in our past, the good news is that we know how important a healthy team is and we know more precisely what that looks like and how to protect it.
Some of you may think, then I’ll just find an independent private practitioner. Then I don’t have to worry about the team dynamics. While that is an option, you are still going to lose out on the benefit of the healthy team environment. If Phelps had a de-motivating coach, having no coach at all might be better but that still doesn’t negate the fact that a good coach is always the best scenario. Independent practitioners lose out on the growth found in working collaboratively and the accountability of working with those that have slightly different ideas and perspectives. So the ideal solution is really finding a group practice that is healthy, functional, and truly supports one another. The therapists and administrative team should love going to work and know they are having an impact. That is what you really want….. makes sense doesn’t it!!
I believe that Mind Spa is the kind of healthy group you are looking for. Just last week, one of our therapists dropped me a line and said, “Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated today’s meeting [referring to our staff meeting]. The topic you chose to bring up today (what have we done to grow in the last week) was great, and helped me feel closer and more willing to be vulnerable with the group. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and strength. I appreciate you and everyone here!” That kind of unprompted feedback says everything!! Not that we are perfect and have “arrived” as some utopian state of being as a group practice. But we are well on our way and feedback like that is clear evidence that we are doing some really good things. That equates to having a really strong clinician environment that supports our team and our clients really well!!
If you are seeking out some help or support, please call us. We’d love for someone on our clinical team to work with you!
By: Dr. Sheri Fluellen