Business coaching vs. Practice counseling

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Business coaching vs. Practice counseling

Postby Breathe on Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:03 am

Since this was going to take a sharp turn from the original discussion, I thought I'd start a new thread. I couldn't possibly be the only one facing this issue...


Breathe wrote:Before this hijack goes any further, if anyone has found a good practice supervisor, can I get a few pointers on how to locate that type of counselor?

Blisss wrote:From prior posts, haven't you indicated that you like Cherie Sohnen-Moe? She does business coaching & is running a special right now for an intro. session:

I also think there are some members of BWOl who do business coaching. Here are 2:


If you'd prefer to work with someone locally, I recommend seeking someone who has the type of massage therapy practice you want to achieve. Contact them & ask if they'd be your mentor.

I've reached a point in my practice where I have achieved "business" success. My schedule is full (too full sometimes,) I make a nice profit, my marketing is minimal, etc. I have a good grasp of the business angle and operation, and the technical aspects of doing the type of treatment I like, and running the type of business I've chosen.

But I've run into a wall, made up of my own boundary and framework issues. I have a couple of clients that are causing me anxiety, both because their situation is complicated, and because my own (not unnatural) attachment/caring for them is (I suspect) not allowing me to make the best decisions for both of us.

In addition, I NEVER wanted to work full-time 4-5 loooong days a week at this job. One of the reasons I chose this field was so that I could continue working 3 days a week as I have for years. I've worked 3 -10hr days for most of my adult life, previous to going into massage. On the financial end I was seeking a career that would allow me to continue working only 3 days, but make considerably more money. My original goal was to be "full" with 12-14 clients per week.

I'm trying to get a handle on my feelings regarding having slid headfirst into a fulltime 5-day/week practice, my feelings that I NEED to take on everyone that is referred to me, (I have no issue referring out calls that come in cold,) and my overblown feelings of responsibility to everyone who comes across my table with pain or injury.

There are a lot of business coaches in this community. As well, there are a lot of therapists doing mentoring. But when I look at their practice, yes it is successful, like mine is, but they are harried and pressured, and dealing with the exact same emotional and boundary issues that I am.

My gut feeling is that this is a counseling issue, rather than a business coaching issue. I know that in the psychotherapy fields, people are encouraged to have their own "shrink" so they can be mentally/emotionally supported as they maintain their own practice. I think this is what I need. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no idea how to go about finding that person.

And I'm tired.
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Postby Old Dog on Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:34 am

Hi Breathe.

I have heard your words and you are a very smart lady. My score fairly much mirrors yours so I know how you feel.

How I dealt with this issue of needing to structure my time better was to give a young MT with loads of natural talent a helping hand.

As soon as I met Leo I realized his talent. I gave up 3 hours at the ballet to give him a speed up on his education. I threw him in the deep end a bit but he swam like a champion. I taught him some tech's that help me work efficiently etc and he started to increase heaps.

It took a while until he reached a good enough level and then I began to pass him my overflow. My clients don't mind at all because he is so good and he's reliable (big bonus). He has a part time paying job also so there is no pressure as to how much or how little we share.

It is not easy to do because not every MT wants to rise above mediocrity Unfortunately not every MT can be professional and be on time or really have the fire in the belly to learn and achieve a level of excellence and so it will take time for you to find each other. I had to meet more no hopers than I care to remember to find, Leo.

I find that massage is best for me by association. My colleagues, not only MT's but other practicioners from parallel fields are very important to me.

I believe that if we really need someone and if we meditate and put our need out there, that right person will show.

All the best and good luck.
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Postby EgoMagickian on Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:52 am

Keywords: emotional and boundary issues

Were I in your situation, I would probably want to find a qualified therapist who also works extensively with one or more of the energy psych techniques such as EFT or EMDR, and an acupuncturist who was interested in working on the emotional level with you.

I tend to augment with hypnosis, and any kind of energy work you've found works well for you in supporting yourself in change.

As well, I think a good coach can help, but I shy away from folks who used to be business executives. Recently I found a very well educated Integral Coach who used to be a massage therapist, so that's a much better fit for me.

Best wishes for your process. I hope you find some peace in it soon!
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Postby akb on Thu Jan 10, 2008 2:22 pm

Are you wanting talk therapy? A counselor who is trained in cognitive/behavioral therapy might be appropriate.

Here's an article about it : ... index.html
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Postby stonegirl on Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:54 pm

wow, reading this and a few other threads today, I am SO GRATEFUL to have this forum and other wonderful people who not only understand what I'm going thru/feeling, but are experiencing the same things!!
Unfortunately, I don't have any answers for you, but I wanted you to know that I feel ya!! :smt045
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Postby palpable on Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:57 pm

How about contacting your school for a referral list? I assume they have some alumni support available? How about taking a few days or a week off and doing anything you want that is NOT related to business- just as a temporary band-aid until you can start to get things figured out.

I would also like to recommend a book that is not specific to massage, but is a fantastic personal growth/setting boundaries type of book: The Artist's Way by Julie Cameron. Yes, it is a self-help book, but it is action based.
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Postby BlackSwanMassage on Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:01 pm

The desire to "help" or "save" everybody who is sent your way is a strong one--and one that I have struggled with in many aspects of my life, not just MT.

I'd like to relate a story, if I could, that is unrelated to massage, but I feel may be pertinent.

When I was in college in my early-mid 20's, I was a Psych major. I wanted to be a counselor and "save" people. When I heard about a volunteer telephone counselor opportunity, I jumped on it. I thought it would be an excellent chance to get a foot in the door, and really get some hands-on experience in the field.

Everything went smooth for the first six months--the style of counseling most encouraged was Rogerian, which has the counselor repeating the client's words and phrases back to him, so that he can hear them for himself and possibly reconsider them if they don't sound like what he meant. I was basically like a parrot.

Then, around month 7, I received a call from a man who was tired of living. I don't mean, "The bills are piling up and I'm just tired of living this way." I mean, "I have a 9 mm in my hand and I want you to give me a reason not to kill myself."

No pressure here.

Rogerian's obviously out the window here, right? I mean, how would you do that? "I'm going to kill yourself."

"You're going to kill yourself."

"I mean it."

"You mean it."



No. Doesn't work.

So, I tried everything. I talked him into unloading the gun, putting it down, walking away. Had him under control.

Then he said something that still haunts me.

"I really am glad I called you, and I don't want you to blame yourself, but I just don't think I can do this."

The next thing I heard was a gunshot. I called his answer.

I spent a lot of time that week reflecting on things. I learned a couple of lessons from that experience:

1) The answers to difficult, soul-searching questions are not to be located at the bottom of a bottle of Jim Beam.

2) You can't save everyone.

I know this is a rather extreme example, and I apologize if I'm WAAAY off base with this little story, but if it meant something to me when it comes to my empathy for the world, I thought it might help you, too.
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Postby Talenyn on Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:37 pm

I feel for you Breathe, and can understand where you are coming from. I would like to second palpable's suggestion for the Artist's Way. I've gone through the course several time when I've hit rough points in my life (and considering doing it again).

The exercises focus on YOU and doing what you need to refill your well. If you keep taking out, and don't give back to yourself, you have nothing left to give. It is about creativity, but creativity takes many forms. You don't have to be a musician, painter or writer to appreciate the book.

Hang in there! I wish I could give you good pratical advice but make sure you schedule yourself some time off!
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Postby JasonE on Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:07 pm

I am very busy, but always make some time for myself when I feel the need. No science or heavy introspection needed, I just make the time when I start feeling less than totally in love with the path that I am on.

Good luck! I hope you also find a simple solution!
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Postby Blisss on Fri Jan 11, 2008 6:57 am

Breathe wrote:My gut feeling is that this is a counseling issue, rather than a business coaching issue.

Does this have to be an either/or situation? I can see a counselor helping you work through your emotions & motivation behind the choices you've made. However, I can also see a business coach helping you through the practical steps of transforming your practice. A business coach could also provide you with a structure of meetings that would work like deadlines for you, to follow through on this change. Kind of like "procrastination insurance". :lol:

JasonE wrote:I am very busy, but always make some time for myself when I feel the need. No science or heavy introspection needed, I just make the time when I start feeling less than totally in love with the path that I am on.

Breathe's situation is a little more complex than that. She has a work schedule that's almost twice as busy as she'd like it to be. "A little time" off isn't going to change that. Also, she has a desire to transform her practice from maintenance work to "treat & release". That takes planning & work to implement that change. It's reasonable for her to seek help in both of these circumstances.
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Postby Convoluted on Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:10 am

Knightshade77 wrote:The desire to "help" or "save" everybody who is sent your way is a strong one--and one that I have struggled with in many aspects of my life, not just MT.

This has been a great thread! I can relate to Knightshade's sentiments here.

I may not be at the place where Breathe is at or other private practice MT's, but in other areas of my life I have struggled with "being there" for people. I overstretched my self and was burned out.

I just want to say, I hear ya, Breathe. :smt056 No profound advice coming from me. I just hear ya.
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Biz coaching vs. practice counseling

Postby Rubmyster on Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:56 am

I'm glad to see the large # of replies to your post. I'd like to relate a little about how I found support for my stuff.

I was a Psych major in college and had lots of therapy to unlearn my awful childhood. I started massage practice 20 years ago with no boundaries. Lucky for me, I'm resourceful. So I started seeing a LCSW for supervision after struggling with boundary issues, difficulty staying in my adult reality while at work, and being reactive -not responsive - to clients' stuff.
I've been doing monthly appointments for a over 6 years and it helps tons!

I've had some biz coaching from C. Sohnen-Moe. She's great! She does some awesome work that helps with struggles with clients and biz issues. I recommend her highly.

All this support does cost $$ and I feel that it's very worthwhile.

After reading your post again, if you'd like some advice. You probably need some REST. You are highly motivated and intelligent and this can work against your self-care. If you really don't want to be so busy, can you find a way to cut back?

While this may bring up a ton of feelings, they can be worked through. If you continue to burn brightly, your career may be shortened. Can you refer any clients out, raise your fees, or just put limits on work?

These are all difficult issues. I think a call to C. Sohnen-Moe would help and it would be worth the $.

I appreciate your thinking and integrity and you've got a lot of support to make a change.


feel free to e-mail me if you'd like to chat more.
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Postby Breathe on Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:21 am

Thank you all. I have been sitting back and just processing your replies. The comment Rub just made about being reactive rather than responsive, really hits the nail on the head. I'm trying to be responsive to what is being said here, instead of just jumping in and reacting to everything that has been commented so far.

Yes, I am exhausted. Mentally, emotionally, physically. It's time for change. The expense of a counselor is not a particular issue, especially in view of the prospect of burnout.

I have been in the habit of responding quite particularly in threads I have started, and I may still, but for now I would just like to thank everyone who shared and answered here.
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Postby softhearted515 on Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:14 pm

"treat and release".....

I never heard that term but I like it. But that would be for another thread.

We hear you Breath and many of us can relate. Let us know what sort of professional you see, as I myself am curious as to who to talk to in such situations.

I do agree with time off though. Maybe some time off to seek out some help. Above all, Breath.
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Postby cabwy on Fri Jan 11, 2008 6:55 pm

Hi Breathe,

Once again you very eloquently gave voice to what I fear is a common problem.
While I don't have any suggestions, I like the ones posted here for starts and can't wait to see what you decide.

Good luck!!
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Postby kathryn on Fri Jan 11, 2008 10:39 pm

Seeking mental counseling may really help you here. So many boundary issues and other problems that Stacy has previously mentioned become problematic because there are unresolved issues going on from a deeper level that may not be apparent without the help of a good counselor. A good psychologist can help you to develop the base skills necessary in life that you may not have learned growing up. This, in turn, can provide the substance you need to get ahold of yourself throughout life.

The main concern is finding a good therapist. A bad therapist can really screw with your head, so go with referrals and if you aren't comfortable or don't like the therapist definitely keep searching until you find a good one.
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Postby RelaxandRejuvenate on Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:13 am

You might look into this...

"success achievement and management"
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Postby stonegirl on Sat Feb 09, 2008 6:29 am

Breathe ~

How have you been doing?
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Postby Breathe on Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:40 am

Thanks for asking Stonegirl. I did find a counselor, since what I'm dealing with ultimately boils down to relationships, I decided to look for a marriage and family therapist. The one I found has a strong education background in ethics. It seems to be a good fit, and has helped a lot with some key issues.

Unfortunately, the reality of practice is not going well. I was sick for nearly two whole weeks right at the beginning of January. I was just beginning to get my schedule sorted out again, when I got taken out by an adenovirus (plus an e.coli variant) on Tuesday night (got the diagnosis at urgent care yesterday.) So my schedule is a mess again, not very good for the stress levels, though I've been so sick I don't really care yet.

My paperwork, which I was finally getting caught up on, is just sitting on my desk at work, some of it ready to be mailed, and I can't get in there to do it.

In the "better" column: The situation that was causing the most anxiety has more or less resolved, or at least gone into a holding pattern. I can't detail it here due to privacy and my own protection, but it has definitely been worth the counseling.

Also, I have reduced my schedule, and instead of just filling in people wherever I can fit them, I have my little color coded calendar, and I only schedule if I have an available (pink) box to put a session in. Once all the little pink boxes are used up (changed to green) the schedule is full. Good visual.

I've learned that, although I don't have any issues with putting a $ value on my services, I have a lot of problems with putting a personal value on my time. It's as if I feel like I don't deserve my time if someone else "needs" it more. If someone is a stranger I don't have trouble saying no, but once I know them, my time seems to be "up for sale" to the person who pushes the hardest. I don't like that.

I wish I could say being home so sick has given me a chance to catch up and do a little bit of introspection, but it really hasn't. I've been too sick for my brain to work right. It has taken me about 45 minutes to write this reply.
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Postby cabwy on Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:08 am

Hang in there Breathe,

You are dealing with a lot, and I am sending warm thoughts and healing energy your way. :)
PS--- you have such a knack for putting into words what I also worry about within my practice.....just reading your post gives me the resolve to continue to work towards a better schedule.
Last edited by cabwy on Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby BJB-LMP on Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:58 am

Geez honey I knew something was up when you were barely around here. Sending some gentle positive vibes your way - we cannot have Stacey laid up! (Hm where is that reiki smiley . . .)
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Postby blissed out on Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:21 pm


I hope you are doing better these days! I always enjoy reading your postings :D Hopefully everything is getting back on track for you and that you are finally feeling better. (Being sick sucks.)

Take care of yourself.
Sending you healing thoughts,
put on your big girl panties and deal with it! =)
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Postby Breathe on Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:56 pm

Thanks guys. I'm back, still not quite my normal feisty self (very tired, and trying to get caught up/sorted out,) but getting there. :)
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Postby pueppi on Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:32 pm

Breathe wrote:Yes, I am exhausted. Mentally, emotionally, physically. It's time for change. The expense of a counselor is not a particular issue, especially in view of the prospect of burnout.

Woman Within. I've seen it work for many high-stress, caring, and well rounded business women - a few of them being my clients. From how I've seen the people I know change and learn to work differently with their particular situations and issues, I think it's worth a look.

I've been thinking about it for a few years now, because of the changes in the people, that I have seen.
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Postby cabwy on Sat May 03, 2008 5:26 pm

Hey Breathe?
If you don't mind me asking, how have the changes in your scheduling gone? Have you been able to keep it within healthy parameters?
How are you feeling now?
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