January 20th, 2016 research physiologist Bonnie Lynch, Ph.D. sat down with marketing specialist Becky DeGrossa to deliver a webinar about how therapists can overcome their self-doubt in and increase their business in 2016. Studies indicate that that there is a strong relationship between self-doubt and poor performance, increased stress, and career abandonment among professional therapists, life coaches and social workers. If you constantly doubt your professional credibility, this blog can help you find out if you indeed experience the behaviors of self-doubt, the ways in which those behaviors affect your business, and how to overcome your doubt and move forward.
Feelings of self-doubt, insecurity and uncertainty are among the most frequently endorsed and consistently reported hazards of the psychotherapy profession, regardless of the experience level of the practitioner.
Studies have found that feelings of self-doubt are linked to:
- Disturbances in the Therapeutic Process
- Broken Therapeutic Alliances
- Compassion Fatigue
In all cases, the behaviors of self-doubters are not aimed at removing or reducing the doubt but are used to avoid or deny an attribution of low competence or ability.
Five Sure Signs That You Experience Self-Doubt
- Impression Management – You spend lots of time and energy appearing as if everything is fine, you lack clarity about your strengths and never give yourself an opportunity to test yourself, advance or grow.
- Focus on the Negative – You focus on the possibility of failure more than the possibility of success. You believe that your talents are stagnant and will not improve with training or practice.
- Self-Handicapping – You are constantly unprepared for or avoid the task at hand. You often believe that others have advantages you don’t. You impose negative stereotypes such as “I’m too old” or “too clinical”, which keep you from practicing authentically.
- Overachiever – You perform at a level that is above your perceived ability, so when you succeed it seems like a fluke, and when you fail you have a convenient excuse not to accept or confront the failure.
- Imposter Syndrome– You have difficulty believing that your success is due to your ability. You experience thoughts such as, who am I do be giving this advice?
The good new is that feeling incompetent is not the same as actually being incompetent.
Self-doubt can help you bring more intentionality and deliberateness to your practice.
Five Ways You Can Positively Use and Reduce Your Self-Doubt
- Recognize – Self-doubt is completely normal. Your ability to understand what’s happening and realize you’re not alone will help you relinquish heavy doubt and focus on the task at hand.
- Reflect – Understanding the difference between reflection and self-consciousness is key. If something happens in the session that you’re not prepared for, make a mental note and return to it later. Don’t atomically assume that tough situations or misunderstandings demonstrate incompetency.
- Share – Asking for advice actually makes you more admirable in the eyes of others. Seeking advice from a professional doesn’t make you seem weak, it makes you seem more relatable and competent.
- Prepare – Read more in the areas you feel most unprepared, attend additional workshops and training, and welcome feedback and advice about your performance.
- Set Clear Expectations – When a client seems dissatisfied with your services, consider the ways in which their expectations were not met. Make sure your client’s expectations are clearly communicated and properly implemented. Clients have expectations based on a number of things– your marketing materials, their invoices, your physical space and the demeanor of your staff. Make sure all of these elements live up to what your client wants and needs. Many therapists choose specialties is areas like, tween issues, long distance relationships, Asperger’s, military family issues and Internet gambling because these specialties allow the therapist to feel more prepared, plus it’s great for marketing!
Selecting a therapist is not like choosing a doctor. Patients want counselors they can know, like, trust, and share their innermost concerns with. Despite your doubt, you are qualified to provide your client with the services they need. If you’re experiencing self-doubt, know that many therapists are going through the same thing, resources are available, and that you can overcome your doubt and succeed.
Watch the full webinar above!