Episode 54: Live Your Truth, Speak Up, & Take Up Space [featuring Sarah Harris]
Minorities can face a unique challenge when it comes to confidently claiming wins, celebrating success, and standing out, and can face tough mental and physical hurdles that take real effort to overcome.
In this episode, I talk with Sarah Harris, BIPOC therapist, group practice owner of Serenity & Grace Therapeutic Services, and holistic wellness coach and consultant for high-achieving professionals and entrepreneurs.
We talk about...
- Sarah's struggles and wins as a BIPOC therapist, group practice owner, and coach
- why "bragging" isn't always bad
- the reservations that minorities can sometimes feel about standing out and speaking up (even when asked for their opinion)
- and more
Sarah's Coaching & Consulting Website: sarahgharris.com
Sarah's Group Practice Website: sgtherapeuticservices.com
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A Thanks to Our Sponsor!
I would also like to thank Diversion Center for sponsoring this episode.
If you are looking to tap into a cool niche that can take your private practice to 6 figures or more, check out my guy Derek Collins at courtmandatedtraining.com. He helps licensed therapists expand their practice by working with court-mandated clients. So if you are burned out, and tired of writing notes and dealing with insurance companies, I highly recommend that you check out what Derek has to offer.
He can show you how to get paid cash every day through court-mandated evaluations and classes like anger management, domestic violence, substance abuse, shoplifting and theft prevention, and more.
This niche could be the breakthrough that you have been looking for.
Go to courtmandatedtraining.com and watch the free webinar to get started.
PATRICK CASALE: Hey everyone. If you are looking to tap into a cool new niche that you can take your private practice to six figures or more, check out my guide, Derek Collins at courtmandatedtraining.com.
He helps licensed therapists expand their practices by working with court-mandated clients. So, if you are burnt out, tired of writing notes, dealing with insurance companies, I highly recommend that you check out what Derek has to offer.
He can show you how to get paid cash every day through court-mandated evaluations and classes like anger management, domestic violence, substance use, shoplifting, theft prevention, and more. This niche can be a breakthrough that you have been looking for. Go to courtmandatedtraining.com and watch the free webinar to get started. Remember that is courtmandatedtraining.com
Hey, everyone, this is Patrick with the All Things Private Practice Podcast. And I am joined today by Sarah Harris. She is an LMFT out in Salt Lake City, Utah. I thought she was living in North Carolina for some reason. We are going to talk today about creating a group practice, talking through the pitfalls, the highs, the lows, the good, the bad that comes with it. And also, owning a group practice while also living in a different state because Sarah has a North Carolina-based group practice as well.
So, Sarah, I'm really glad to have you on. And Sarah is one of those people who I've connected with over the last two years due to COVID and lots of virtual connection. And we've never actually spoken until this moment, but we've shared DMs, and like, have had a lot of conversation. So, it's really nice to meet you.
SARAH HARRIS: And it's nice to meet you, Patrick. And it's such a pleasure to be here. I know that we've been trying to coordinate this for a while and I'm excited and I'm nervous at the same time, all bundled up in one.
PATRICK CASALE: Excitement, nervous, it's hard to tell which one is which, right? And I can sense it, like, in body language and I'm like, people come on this podcast, like I told you before we started recording and they're like, "Did you have questions? Do you have it scripted? Do you have anything for me?" I'm like, "Nope, we're going to see where this goes." And everyone is always nervous. And it ends up being great.
So, take us through a little bit of your journey. Like, you're in Salt Lake City, you own a group practice that's predominantly based in North Carolina. I don't remember if you're in multiple states or not. But-
SARAH HARRIS: Yeah.
PATRICK CASALE: …take us through that, like, process and how it is to run a practice virtually, and the struggles to that come with group practice ownership because I think a lot of people right now are so overwhelmed by client calls and they are solo practices, that they are reaching out to me and other coaches to say, "How do I start a group practice?"
And I let them know off the bat, this is not always a pretty situation. If you want to get into this simply for the money and not to be a boss, or a leader, or to grow a culture, then it may not be a good fit. And I think people need to consider that when they're starting a group practice and thinking about why they want to start a group practice.
SARAH HARRIS: Yeah, yeah, definitely. The why is so important. And I tell people, it is not for the faint of heart. And it seems in the past year or two, yes, it's been a ton of referrals. But it's been so much more challenging, it feels like, just dealing with everything. And so, it's so important to connect with why you're doing it. And it's important to have fun while you're doing it. And sometimes I say that, and be like, have fun? It's work, you're running a business, how are you going to have fun? But you have to.
And I remember when I started my group practice, and maybe I was being naive, but it worked. In my mind, I was like, "I'm going to kind of treat it like a hobby." Meaning the feeling that I have with a hobby where I just enjoy it, and I want to do it, and I'm not feeling pressured about, "Oh, I have to do this to make money. Oh, I have to prove this or prove that." I just released that. And I really connected with the emotion of wanting to enjoy it.
And I really do have a passion about two main things with group practice. I have that passion to help others. And I know we hear that all the time with therapists. But to really serve my community and be open to doing that in a lot of creative ways, not just in one-on-one, sit in front of a client way. But being open to doing that in a lot of creative ways. And then, as a group practice owner, I also have that passion to just create this professional home for therapists where they can feel seen, they can feel taken care of, they can feel supported.
And on a deeper level, as a black therapist, a black Caribbean therapist, I have that passion of creating a home for therapists of color, where they can go to a private practice, work for a private practice and not feel like they're in the minority. I wanted them to be like, "Okay, this is one place where I'm like in the minority, and I can be in the majority here, and my voice can be heard, and I can take up space, and it's okay." And so, it's definitely been a journey for a period of time and I'll share my journey from beginning to end in a second. But for a period of time, it was just only black therapists I had in my practice.
And more recently, I did a lot of self-reflection because I felt called to expand my practice in a different way, where I was like, "You know what? Can I still serve the mission that I want to serve with other therapists that might be non-black?" And so, I just recently hired a white therapist on board and on our team. And I was very, very clear. And I see this in all my interviews with therapists. I'm clear about Serenity and Grace Therapeutic Services being an anti-racist organization and we do stand for Black Lives Matter. And we are vocal about social justice issues. And I let therapists in interviews know this is where we are, this is something I bet you're comfortable with.
And I've had interviews where the therapist on the other end is just silent, not knowing what to say to that, and in my mind, I'm like, "Mm-hmm, cross you of the list." And then I've had people who just respond in such beautiful ways. A therapist will say, "And I want you to know that I am open to learning. But at the same time, I do not want to put that burden of responsibility on you to teach me. But I do understand the importance of intention and impact. And I'm open to feedback." And I wanted to cry. I felt so seen as a black business owner.
And yeah, so these are the things that matter to me when it comes to my why and why I have my group private practice, and the mission that I have for the practice, which is the help make therapy accessible to, especially, marginalized populations.
I mean, we've had so many stories of people who email us and said, "Gosh, it's so amazing to look on your website and see therapists that look like me." And I've even had white therapists reach out to me to share feedback about what an amazing thing it is to be able to see predominantly black therapists in the field and on the websites.
PATRICK CASALE: It's such a powerful thing and such a needed service and culture that you're creating and cultivating. And I know, I've reached out to you about, you know, family and friends of mine who want therapists that look like them. And I think we so oftentimes, as white therapists, discount that fact because it's not our experience to go on a Psych Today page or whatever and not find people who look like me, it's just, that's how our society predominantly is set up. And it's just really powerful, I think, to find therapists who are going to be more understanding of culture, and have similar experiences, and be able to hold space for things that, as a white man, I'm very privileged, I'm never going to experience, and although I can hold space, and be empathetic, and be antiracist, it's not the same.
And, creating that culture sounds like a very, very big passion for you. And it's very apparent in how you show up too in the social media world and how you show up in general. So, I think that's really amazing that you're creating this. And I think, like you said, having fun with your business, too, is really important because I don't want to recreate my agency job's setting where I felt burnt out, and frustrated, and stressed out all the time. I want to enjoy the work that I'm doing. And it sounds like showing your therapists appreciation, and gratitude, and support, and mentorship is also really big about creating the culture that you want to have.
SARAH HARRIS: Yes, yes, where the psychological safety can be solved in many different ways, right? So, for example, we have a team huddle, and we try to have it once a month, sometimes it's once every other month. And then, the team huddle, we may play a game, or we may tie it to everybody to just share their wins. A game might be two truths and a lie. You know, just silly… I'm a play therapist, so I am going to bring play into a lot of what I do.
But I encourage therapists such as brag and I know we have this negative connotations of the word brag, but it's okay to step into your strengths and share it with us because it's so inspiring. And the truth is, you know when you focus on something, you get more of that. So, why not?
I mean, therapy, people come to us with their problems, when we come together as a team, why not share about the stuff that's working. But it's a tricky edge because you don't want to get into that toxic positivity space where it's like, "Oh, everything is hunky dory." Right?
PATRICK CASALE: Right or we could just like reframe it to be positive and then everything will fall into place, right? And I do think we need to brag, though. I do think there's a negative connotation, like you said, like, "Oh, then it's not like you have humility." But it has nothing to do with that. It's more so our jobs are really fucking hard and we embrace and absorb a lot of energy from a lot of people. And we should brag about the work that we do, we should feel good about the fact that you're getting results, or you're seeing transformations, or you got a new client, or whatever the case may be. Like, we need to celebrate those things as a profession instead of always looking at that as a negative.
SARAH HARRIS: Yes, exactly, exactly. But I think, especially, in the black community, sometimes we aren't given that space to brag about our positivity. I mean, we just had Black History Month in February, and I've read so many articles online where people are criticizing us, and I was like, "Hold up for a second. Can we just have this to just highlight the positive things that happen in the black community?" And so, you know, it is just part of the culture of my practice.
And I have an exclusively virtual group private practice, and it was virtual even prior to COVID. And I think we don't have that opportunity to connect with each other like in a traditional in-office setting, where we just see each other in the hallways, and we're like, "Girl, you wouldn't believe the session I just had." Or, "Can you believe my client did that?" We don't.
And so, I have to be creative as a business owner and think of ways of still creating this family environment where we can feel connected to each other. I'm in Salt Lake City, my therapists are in North Carolina, they're spread out all over. And as a business owner, group practice owner, I do have to be intentional about that. I had to educate myself about it to just ensure that the safety is there, and the therapists are also getting their needs met, and be a part of a virtual group private practice.
PATRICK CASALE: That's really well said and the intention and creativity is pivotal or crucial, I should say because I also have a virtual group practice, and I've got clinicians that live in South Carolina, and Indiana, and other parts of North Carolina, and you really do have to get creative if you want to create a culture where people feel like they do you have camaraderie, they do have support, they do have teammates, but they don't see each other in person very often.
And we try to, like you said, do things once a month, sometimes my schedule gets away from me and it becomes every other month. But it's really important for me to have my staff know how appreciated they are because they are doing the hard work. We know, notoriously, our culture as a profession people are underpaid, undervalued, underappreciated, work too hard. I am just trying to kick that notion because it just doesn't work for me, it didn't work for me when I worked at my agency jobs, it wouldn't work for me now.
And I joke that I'm unemployable because at this point in time I just can't be, but if I was employed, I would want a boss who wasn't micromanaging, but empowering, and growing, and mentoring, and guiding because I think that means that the business thrives, the employee thrives, as a therapist, and as a human being, and then, as the business owner, you also see that success come back around to you.
SARAH HARRIS: Yes, yes, definitely, right? And when I think of success, it's not just in the numbers, right? It's not just about financial success, but it's so rewarding to see therapists who are really happy with their jobs and the success could be just them being emotionally abundant, happy, and sharing about their… you know, you learn a little bit about their families and so on.
You know, one of the things I did not want to forget, as a practice owner, was where I came from. So, you know, I was in the agency space for a while. I was an intensive in-home team leader, where I went out to therapists' home, not therapists to clients' homes. And I put in my two hours for each client, I was so overwhelmed, and my car, oh, my goodness. But just driving out to a clients' homes in all of these different parts of North Carolina that I wasn't very familiar with, sometimes it was very unsafe.
And I remember those days, and I had to make that decision to come out of that environment because I was a young therapist, I just had my license, and I was already feeling burnt out, and I was already feeling frustrated with the field.
And I moved into private practice and joined a group private practice in the local area where I lived at that time. And I was that group private practice for about four years. And there were positives and there were not so positives towards the ending which kind of moved me towards moving out on my own to start my own practice. But I remember what I liked about that group practice, and I'm always in a space of gratitude when I think about that experience. And I wanted to take some of what I appreciated about that practice and bring it to my own practice.
So, feelings of freedom, being able to create my own schedule, the clients I worked with, being able to be creative, and have groups, and have an internship program, and all of these different things, I wanted that for my own therapists where they can feel safe, they can feel happy, they feel like they can come to me. My therapists have my personal cell phone number. They know that I'm going, as much as possible, to drop things and respond to them when needed. So, they know that they're a priority to me, and I'm not too busy for them.
But I had to take some of those things and bring it to my practice and always connect with how did I feel when I was part of a group practice and how do I want my therapist to feel? And grow from that.
PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely. That's really well said. And I think for good leaders, you are trying to take the good and the bad, and take a look at it from a perspective of how can I incorporate the good and build on it? And how can I take the bad, and learn from it, and grow, and not recreate that for my staff?
I know what it's like to be treated poorly. I know what it's like to be treated well. So, what are the things that I appreciated versus the things that just made me cringe, and angry, and resentful? And, you know, I kind of cringed visibly when you were saying you worked in intensive in-home because I know how stressful that role is.
SARAH HARRIS: Yes.
PATRICK CASALE: But, you know, I'm also, like, smiling at the fact that you are saying like, these are the ways that I'm being intentional about my leadership style and cultivating a culture because you could just create a group practice because you do want the numbers, right? You want the money, but it's not like that.
And I think a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes in gets unseen. And there's almost this perception of like, oh, group practice ownership is easy. You just hire clinicians, and then you get more clients, and then, you make more money. And it's like, oof, if anyone could just see how many calls, and messages, and emails, and issues, and fires, it's like, this is a lot of freaking work and it takes up a lot of time.
SARAH HARRIS: Yes, yes. Oh, my goodness, Patrick. Yeah, definitely the ups and the downs. But it's important to ensure that the ups outweigh the downs. And to learn from the downs, right? Because it's so easy to feel defeated, right? That imposter syndrome, we can set it, and be like, what am I doing? I'm so out of my league.
Lately, I've been having this thing where it's almost like I'm looking at myself and I'm like, "You don't look like a business owner." Like, that traditional, whatever it is in my mind is trying to lie to me about and say that you're not this business owner. And I guess maybe having that masculine energy. But I had to check myself and say, "You know what Sarah? It's okay to be yourself. You don't have to be this business owner that you see online, or in the books, or in TV, or wherever it is I might be getting this false idea from. It's okay for me to be my own business owner, the business owner that loves to meditate, that's a little bit of a black hippie, or whatever. It's okay to be that and just stand on my strengths because that's how I can best serve my community and those around me by just being myself. And it's okay if I'm different and I'm not this traditional business owner that I think I should be."
So, it definitely involves a lot of self-reflection so that you just don't get caught in that negative thinking, but that you can grow from it and rise above it.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, really trying to quiet that voice down that's coming up when it's saying, like, you're supposed to look a certain way, dress a certain way, behave a certain way. And there's so many reasons, right? That those messages are instilled upon us in our society. But more importantly, like, I think the age of psychotherapy is changing with this embracing authenticity and personality, and not being a blank slate.
I have a group chat and my… I'm just thinking about it right now, my group practice right now, we have a social chat versus a clinical chat. And the social chat is about, like, therapists in my group that are like, "I love telehealth because I've done so many sessions in my underwear this month." Or, "I've only worn one pair of clothing this entire week." I'm like, "Okay, please stop telling me this stuff. Like, it's funny. I appreciate it." But like, I really do appreciate that people feel emboldened to step into who they are and embrace who they are because I think that's been missing from our profession for so long.
And I imagine even more so for a woman of color as a business owner to really have to always be thinking about how am I being perceived, or received, or how am I showing up in the world? And what do people think about me? And I imagine that noise can get really loud sometimes, too.
SARAH HARRIS: Yes, yeah. It definitely [INDISCERNIBLE 00:19:50] because there's always this mindset of working twice as hard to get half the distance, right? And people see, "Oh, she's an achiever, she's done this, this, this." But I also have to check myself, where it's coming from, and make sure that it's not coming from this place of a lack of self-worth.
And so, as a woman of color, I just have to really do that work on myself to be strong in who I am and to be confident in that even when it doesn't look like how others look.
And the sad truth is many times when that voice of comparison is speaking to me, it's usually me comparing myself to someone who's white, someone who's had a whole lot more privilege than I have had, who've had a different background. And it's not fair to myself to compare myself to that while neglecting my own strength. But it is tricky because, like I'm saying, you feel that push by unseen forces of having to work so much harder to prove yourself., to prove that you're worthy, to prove that you're not good enough, whether it's personally, or whether it's as a business owner, or as a therapist.
And it's important to just sit and balance it, and sit in your strife, and to be okay with who you are, and to know that my worth is not defined by what I do, of my achievements, that I'm worthy just because of who I am, just my [INDISCERNIBLE 00:21:20] that's enough. That is enough.
And I think this thinking of not being enough didn't just start with me, right? There's so much intergenerational trauma that has happened, especially, being a black woman in the United States, where there's so many stereotypes that are put on us and we feel like we have to be this, we have to be that strong black woman. Or if we're too loud, or make our voice heard too much, or a bit aggressive, or angry. And I'm, like, screw that. I'm just going to be myself, whatever that might be. If I want to talk a lot, if I don't want to talk a lot, if I want to show up and take up a lot of space, or if I don't want to show up and take up a lot of space it's okay.
And I think, now, is the time to change that narrative of not being enough, and then, comparing myself to others who have had way more privilege and have had that head starts that I did not have.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I'm sure. I was thinking about what you were saying and embracing it. And I was like, I don't really have anything to add to that. I think that feels really powerful and insightful. And it sounds like also giving yourself permission to just step into who you are, and be okay with that. And I'm sure that took a lot of work to be able to get to a place where that felt comfortable doing.
You know, I watch my wife sometimes who's a black woman in law enforcement, and I know that has to feel really polarizing. And she always jokes around about how she has to be, like, white Arielle or government Arielle, and how there are so many different personalities. And not saying that this is the same by any means, but masking as a neurodivergent person, like, almost being a chameleon and adapting to your environment so that you don't stick out, you don't take up space, you're not kind of targeted in a way. And that's got to just be so much mental energy in that regard.
But embracing the beautiful parts of who you are and what you bring to the table, I think that's really, really important. And I hear you saying that about yourself. And I think that is really a great leadership quality and trait too. I imagine the people you coach and your therapists really look to you as that example of like, "Wow, Sarah is showing up in the world, and like, we can really get behind that, and how she leads, and how she shows up, and how she kind of stands up for her values too."
SARAH HARRIS: Yes, yeah. I remember when I got distracted when you told me that your wife is in law enforcement because I had no idea. More power to her.
PATRICK CASALE: Arielle sorry, I don't mean to out you [INDISCERNIBLE 00:23:50]. She always tells me when we're on vacation, "Don't fucking tell people what I do." And I'm like, because I'm like the person who talks about everything. And she's like, "You and I cannot be the same, you have to realize that, you also work in a profession where you talk to everybody. Please don't tell people in different countries what I do for work." And I'm like, "Oh, yeah, I have to be aware of that."
SARAH HARRIS: Yes, yes. But it's for the greater good, right? Because you do bring up a really important point. I imagine her, especially, as a woman too, right? Not just race, those intersectionality's really can play against you.
I've resonated a lot when you used the masking because so much of my journey too has been having to mask, mask as a black woman, mask as an immigrant from Trinidad and Tobago, where for a while I had to downplay my accent because I was ashamed when people kept asking me, "What do you say?" Why? Because they couldn't understand me, especially, when I first moved here. I moved here when I was 19 years old and went to school in New York. And I had to do a lot of masking and it's a false sense of security because you're like, "Oh, okay, I fit in, I fit in with the white folks, they accept me, we're talking, we're connecting." Quotation marks. But in the process, I lost myself of this masking. I lost my identity, I lost my voice, having my own beliefs, and being able to speak out about my own opinions. And it was in my 20s, 30s, I'm in my 40s now.
It was in my 20s that I was just in college, in New York, and just on my own, but not really knowing who I am. And I've really, really had to do a lot of shedding of beliefs from religion, from just so many different things, parenting, school, and shed those layers in order to connect with myself to get to where I am. But even where I am right now is still an ongoing journey. And just being open to be courageous and be vulnerable. And even when I'm in a white space, stepping up, and taking up space.
I mean, recently, I was at this workshop for anti-racism. And so, there was a mix of people in the workshop, whites, and blacks, and Asians, a nice mix. But they asked for feedback on an activity that we did. And so, a white parent woke up, fantastic, and then, they they were like, "Okay, anybody else have anything they want to say." And I felt myself shrinking in the space even though I had really important stuff to share about my experience as a black parent, but I was shrinking. And I had to push myself to the edge. I'm like, "Okay Sarah, unmute that button and speak." And even with the fear and the nervousness, I had to do that.
And for so many years that was my pattern, to shrink, to be quiet, to not speak, especially, in spaces where it's predominantly why it's because I felt intimidated. I felt like I wasn't fit enough, like, what do I have to share? But now, in my 40s, and having done so much work on myself that I'm still doing, I just got a therapist, again. It's so hard to find a therapist. Well, that's a whole other topic. But doing all this work, I got to this point where I hope that I can inspire somebody else who's on their teens, or in their 20s, or 30s, so that they can be able to connect with themselves and get to a space where, especially, as a person of color that they can speak up, and speak their truth, and not feel like they have to dilute what they're saying. And not feel like they're struggling with internalized oppression, where in their mind, they have their own biases about, "Oh, that white business owner is better than me." Or, "I'm not good enough because of whatever it might be." Does that make sense?
PATRICK CASALE: Makes total sense. It makes total, total sense. So, you were able to kind of push yourself and give yourself that pep talk of, "I need to do this." And it sounds like that's a big shift from when you were younger when you felt like, "I have to kind of just be here, and exist, and be safe." Right? Because there's some safety mechanism to that too, I imagine.
And what do you attribute that to, like, the shifting from masking/I can't take up space to, Sarah, you need to take up space?
SARAH HARRIS: Good question, Patrick. I think it had to do with being honest with myself and feeling unhappy, deep down. Like, on the outside, I had all of the achievement, right? All of the degrees, the awards, private practice, all of the good stuff. But inside I really wasn't happy because I wasn't really living that full, authentic life. It's almost like you're living a double life and just tired of being unhappy deep down inside. And realizing that so many times I care about what other people think. But when you think about these other people, that's in my mind, I'm like, "Who are they?" Right? That these other people that I care what they think and when I'm honest with myself, I'm like, they don't really matter to me. Most times they're just this random question mark in my head that really doesn't matter. So, why not just live your truth, and speak up, and take up space? Like, it's okay to take up that space.
PATRICK CASALE: It's a great answer. You also just gave me that name for the podcast episode. So, thank you for that.
SARAH HARRIS: Okay.
PATRICK CASALE: I was paying attention to quotes, you know, because I think it's okay to take up space is really an important message here. And, you know, you're a pretty remarkable human being. You have a group practice, you have a podcast, you have a coaching business, you make those, what's the word? The relationship cards? I know I bought some from you, but I don't know what they actually are because I never opened them.
SARAH HARRIS: Patrick, open them.
PATRICK CASALE: That's [INDISCERNIBLE 00:30:02] right there is to put that out to the world just like the Bowflex bike I have in my, like, peripheral that I have actually never rode once in my life in the two years that I found it.
SARAH HARRIS: Okay, so now we know what your action items are after this podcast episode. There you go. The Couple's Connection Affirmation Cards. So, they are these cards and on one side has activities that couples can do and the other side has conversation prompts. And we've made it… because you know I'm all about fun. I'm a registered play therapist. I don't think that play is just for children.
And so, another therapist and myself, we created these cards to help strengthen relationships and in a very fan way. So, that's what those cards are.
PATRICK CASALE: So, now I need to open them.
SARAH HARRIS: Yes, Patrick, yeah.
PATRICK CASALE: I outed myself. But, you know, I've had a lot of BIPOC clinicians on the podcast lately, especially, women of color. And I just want to continuously put a place out there where the guests can take up space and talk about their accomplishments because not only as a profession are we so fucking humble with like, we can never talk about our accomplishments, or take it in, or feel proud about them because we're not supposed to, like you said, brag. I just think it's really wonderful for people to see that there are so many incredible forces and talents out there who are creating all of these outside-the-box ideas and ways of doing things. And it's just really, really incredible to watch, and witness, and just watch it unfold as well.
SARAH HARRIS: Yes, yeah. So, is this my space to share my accomplishment?
PATRICK CASALE: I want you to share your accomplishments for sure. I just want to circle back real quick, though. It sounds like the group practice is just really energizing for you. And I want for anyone listening, if you're a therapist in private practice thinking about group practice, I really want you to think about what Sarah was saying about cultivating culture and being intentional as a leader, looking at the things that do work and don't work, and constantly being willing to adapt, and change, and evolve, and grow, and learn from mistakes too because you are going to make mistakes, I promise you that. I sometimes do things and I'm like, "Ooh, that did not work. Now, let's never do that again." Because that's the only way that we learn, is from those experiences that make us question our own competency and qualification to do something.
I talked about it on my Facebook page and some podcast episodes that I made a very expensive mistake within my group practice and overpaid all of my clinicians, double copay, and deductible payments from 2021.
SARAH HARRIS: Why?
PATRICK CASALE: So, anyway, I could either have let that destroy me or learn from that, think of it as a bonus for them, hard work, and a hard year, and move on. And I think that people may have taken that money back, I refused to do that. But I just think that as a group practice owner, you're constantly faced with these challenges and questions.
And I know a lot of group practice owners who think about their staff almost as their children. And I don't think about mine as my children, but I do think that I feel very responsible for their quality of life as well. And I want them to be successful. And I hear you saying a very similar thing. I just think it's really important to embrace the type of leader and owner that you want to be if you do want to start a group practice and also ask yourself the why question. Anyway, don't follow that mistake. It was an expensive, terrible one.
SARAH HARRIS: Can I add one more thing to that?
PATRICK CASALE: Of course, yeah, as many as you want.
SARAH HARRIS: I think it's important to do the personal work, right? Because you can't be successful with others unless we confront our own demons unless we face our hidden biases, and do that internal work. And the internal work doesn't stop, right? Like, I mentioned, I just got a therapist, tomorrow's the appointment. I kept procrastinating with it, and then, I went to my… because there was always some reasons like, well, I want a black therapist, I want this one that does EFT.
And I'm like, you know what Sarah? Stop the procrastinating and just do it. And doing the internal work, it's hard sometimes, and it's so easy for the ego to come into play and convince you that you don't really need to. But we have to just be doing it on a daily basis. Whether it's reading books, listening to podcasts, getting coaching, a therapist, whatever it might be, as a group practice owner, especially, we're leading people and we have to always, always check ourselves about why we're doing it, and we want to be honest and truthful with ourselves, and with them about what we're doing and the mission of our practice, because it is a big, big responsibility that we do have to take seriously.
PATRICK CASALE: So, another moment where Sarah has put things perfectly and I can't add anything into that. I hope that anyone who is a therapist or wants to become a therapist that is listening to this believes that therapy is helpful and is getting their own support. And that is going to be, hopefully, a lifelong process for most of you, if not all of you. And I think it's really crucial and important. And that's going to evolve over time. The person you work with today will probably not be the person you work within five years. But to continuously address your growth, I don't think we can go deeper than we've gone. And I don't think we can kind of shape and shift how we move through the world if we're not willing to do the work. So, really well said and I appreciate you saying that. I definitely fully support that and endorse that too.
I do want you to have some space to talk about what you're doing and let the audience know where they can find it. So, please feel free to sell them in.
SARAH HARRIS: Sure. So, the name of my practice, the group practice is Serenity and Grace Therapeutic Services. It's based out of North Carolina, and we provide services in North Carolina, Georgia, and Utah, hoping to expand to some other states later this year. And our website is sgtherapeuticservices.com. And our Instagram handles the same thing and also our Facebook page, SG Therapeutic Services. And I also provide coaching. So, it's coaching to executives, and high achievers, and also a consultant, and that can be found at Sarah G. Harris. And on Instagram, I am Sarah G. Harris.
PATRICK CASALE: Lots of information, we'll put it all in the show notes so that you can access Sarah's services. I like that you chose a website that wasn't like lengthy, like, even though it's Serenity and Grace Therapeutic Services, you didn't make it serenityandgracetherapeuticservices.com because as someone who chose the name very early on in private practice, resilient mind counseling, did not think about the fact that people will have to type that in, people will have to type that into their email.
So, if any of you are listening, thinking about naming your business, short, sweet, succinct, to the point, do not make it overly complicated so that when you have to tell people they have to write it down or ask you how to spell it. I'll go on a rant about that a different day.
But Sarah, I really appreciate you making the time and coming on here and just getting to meet you in general. And it's really been a pleasure. And I really hope we can have more of these conversations in the future. And I just really wish you the best of luck as you expand, and grow, and just continue to be a leader in the industry.
SARAH HARRIS: Thank you so much, Patrick. It was an honor to be here with you.
PATRICK CASALE: For everyone listening to the All Things Private Practice Podcast, we have new episodes where we talk about really real and challenging conversations about being an entrepreneur and private practice therapist.
Listen, download, subscribe and share on any major platforms. If you want to find more of me, what I offer, coaching, consulting, business building, small retreats, courses, and I'm trying to think of what else I do, which is hard in the moment, allthingspractice.com, or you can join the All Things Private Practice Facebook group and we will see you next week.
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