My fourth year of life in private practice is nearly finished. I’ve done some calculations and conclusions.
I started working with my first long term client for aт average market fee in 5 years and 3 month since the beginning of my training in gestalt therapy. By that time I received a degree in psychology, went through certification at the gestalt training program, finished 3 and a half specializations, received 120 hours of individual therapy and 150 hours of group therapy, attended for 1 year a supervision group, took part in 5 gestalt intensives and just started training for further mastering of gestalt therapy at the supervision training program. Since 2013 I have worked with clients from time to time independently from my training programs, for very little money or for free. I did no more than 50 hours of such work and another 50 hours with three clients as a requirement for certification.
I managed to have started working in private practice right after I finished the basic gestalt training program and graduation from the university. I never worked in any organization, psychological centre or clinic, although I tried to get employed there a couple of times.
There were teachers around me who recommended that I receive experience of psychological work as a staff member in a psychological center or a clinic before I start a private practice. However, there were also some teachers who pointed out that it is possible to receive all the necessary experience from work in the private practice from the very beginning. I managed to take the latter path. By the New Year I will have done around 2250 hours of therapy and counselling in a private practice during 4 years precisely. Almost all of this time I get supervision two times a month. Either two sessions in a group or one in a group and one as an individual session. There are some breaks from this routine for different reasons.
Besides my main work load, individual sessions, I am very proud of conducting a therapy group. I think it gives me more pleasure and a sense of self-realization than individual work. I’d like to do more therapy groups.
Inasmuch as this profession is by definition a helping one, it has a lot of altruism, working for the good of the other. And because we live within wild capitalism (Ukraine), meaning that there is absolutely no safety net if you fail, I need to charge a rather significant amount of money (although everything is relative) to make sure that my individualistic needs are met. I am still perplexed by the fact I am willing to invest my soul into my work, but I do this work only for a certain amount of money. My inner idealist is confused.
I consider myself to be open minded. I cannot devote myself to the only one model of psychotherapy, gestalt or any other school. I think, the effectiveness of instruments of any school of psychotherapy is conditioned by how much a therapist knows about the world. In particular, knowledge about a human being and a society. One needs to know about social psychopathy, its variations and how an individual can adapt to them or avoid them. What shall one do if it so happens that our society has no shortage of them? Probably, finding areas of adequacy or creating them by one’s own efforts.
It is considered to be true that as a result of a good upbringing and education an individual forms a worldview in which they think – The world is okay and I am okay. If someone was not fortunate, then they will think that – I am not okay, but the world is still okay. So, I’ll work on myself and then fit into a good world. And those who were in no luck at all think that – The world is not okay and neither do I. I really doubt that such a concept is true. I think a closer to the truth will be a situation in which if an individual was raised and educated properly they will think something like this – Well, I am no perfection and neither this world, but it will work out somehow but not for everybody, – so there won’t be unquestionably positive perception of oneself and the world.
In conclusion, I want to share that I’ve done good so far. Some mistakes were made of course and I have plenty of room for improvement. But I also have many reasons to be happy and proud of what I’ve done in my work as a psychotherapist within the last four years.