Do you want to be happier? First, identify your strengths
01/26/09 Filed in: Positive Psychology
In 2001, when I set up my practice, one of the promises I made to myself was that I would create an environment that would allow me to do my very best work. I could have joined a group practice, but the idea of working solo appealed to my introverted nature. Likewise, I could have hired a support staff (associates, receptionist, billing specialist) to make a my practice bigger, but I what I really wanted to do was to make something that was simple by design. If you rummage through my blog, you'll find a post there in which I suggest that happiness is may be a by-product of playing to one's strengths. Frankly, this is why I set up my practice the way I did. I sought to leverage my strengths as a practitioner. Rather than try to be all things to all people, I narrowed my focus. For instance, I don’t provide psychological testing, therapy for children, group therapy, or evaluation for the courts. These are valuable services but they not my areas of strength. What I do best, I believe, is provide individual and couple therapy for adults.
I have strong convictions about the way I believe therapy should be conducted. For instance, I do not believe in providing therapy as if you were running an assembly line. That is, seeing as many patients as possible in any given workday to maximize your income. When practitioners take this approach, it's easy to fall into the trap of treating every client the same, regardless of his or her situation, problem, or personality. I don't think this is the way good therapy is done. Rather, every therapy must be tailored to meet the needs of any given individual or client. Doing therapy this way means that I have to place thoughtful limits on how much I do and the way I do it. It also means that I have opted not to take on managed care contracts, which offer practitioners a higher volume of referrals in exchange for discounted fees. I prefer quality of service over quantity. If I have an advantage over big practices that do work with managed care companies, it’s that in my practice nobody slips between the cracks. Every client I work gets my complete and undivided attention.
I suppose you could my life has a quest: I have devoted my adult life to understanding the human psyche. Even though my graduate school days are long gone, I still study. I seek out the best information I can find, from the best minds and the most talented researchers. I reflect on my life and the lives of others, and I seek wisdom wherever I can find it. My job is to help people alleviate distress and create more meaningful lives. This is what I do. This is who I am.