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Jul 26, 2021

How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome to Leave Your Agency Job

An interview with Patrick Casale, LCMHC, LCAS, about how impostor syndrome and other barriers can get in the way of therapists moving forward into private practice. Curt and Katie talk with Patrick about what it takes to make the leap from negative work situations and become a “therapist wizard.” We also look at lots of creative ideas on how to step into fear to confront impostor syndrome as well as how to build a private practice that’s right for you.  

It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. To support you as a whole person and a therapist, your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy talk about how to approach the role of therapist in the modern age.

Interview with Patrick Casale, MA, LCMHC, LCAS

Patrick currently works as a private practice coach and strategist and private practice owner. He lives in Asheville NC with his wife Ariel and two dogs, Hudson and Hazel. He’s worked in the helping profession since 2008. In the last 12 years, he’s worked in several different arenas in community mental health. From a qualified professional to the program director, he found himself constantly being promoted to middle management roles where he was able to see both sides of the coin. It was hard watching his staff work so hard for so little while trying to appease the powers that be who typically were out of touch with day-to-day operations. He has worked full time as a private practice therapist for the last three years. In those three years, he’s traveled to 8 different countries, taken lots of vacations, grown his business to a point where it feels easy and routine, and has helped other therapists in the area do the same.

In this episode we talk about:

  • The ideas around impostor syndrome and how it impacts therapists
  • Common mistakes therapists make when moving from community mental health to private practice
  • How therapists can consistently negatively evaluate their own competence
  • Entrepreneurial anxiety and missteps based on lack of confidence
  • The early messages and attachment issues that impact self-esteem, perception of competence
  • Embracing fear to move forward, accepting that mistakes are inevitable
  • Vulnerability and authenticity, perfectionism
  • Taking power back through making impostor syndrome playful
  • Looking at how different identities are impacted by “impostor syndrome”
  • Conflicting and negative messages that therapists get
  • Entitlement and pessimism from more seasoned clinicians
  • Abundance versus scarcity mindset
  • How to become a therapist wizard
  • Moving from an agency to private practice
  • The danger of staying in an agency when you’re at the point of no return
  • The lack of specific numbers or exact instructions on when you should make the leap
  • The importance of networking when building a private practice
  • Ideas for overcoming anxiety and still move forward on starting your private practice
  • The importance of having an exit plan and steps in place
  • Making decisions on what is needed versus what is desired, what values can be considered
  • The goals that are possible once you move into your own private practice
  • Creativity in how you set up your practice
  • Understanding what you need to set yourself up for success

Our Generous Sponsor:

The Healthcasters

The Healthcasters is a podcasting course and community designed for therapists in private practice and therapists turned coaches + consultants that's supported the successful launch of over 270 podcasts. Wanted to tell you guys a little bit what's included in the Healthcasters podcasting course. It includes simple step by step videos to take your podcast from idea to one that generates income when it launches. Also includes cheatsheets and templates Melvin uses for the Selling The Couch podcast whether its scripts to reach out to guests or templates to let guests know a podcast is live.  We recently released the Podcast Episode Tracker.  This simple sheet helps you keep your podcast episodes organized whether you want to reference them later or re-purpose the content in the future.  You can also choose to upgrade after purchasing the course to a community of over 250 other therapist podcasts.  This also includes monthly group and 1 on 1 coaching calls with Melvin.  You can learn more about Healthcasters at (enter the promo code "therapyreimagined" at checkout for $100 off the listed price).


Resources mentioned:

We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, so if you purchase after clicking below, we may get a little bit of cash in our pockets. We thank you in advance!

Patrick’s All Things Private Practice Facebook group


Relevant Episodes:

Career Trekking with MTSG

Online Therapy Apps


Connect with us!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Get Notified About Therapy Reimagined Conferences


Our consultation services:

The Fifty-Minute Hour

Who we are:

Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University and CSUN, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, former CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making "dad jokes" and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more at:

Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant supporting leaders, visionaries, executives, and helping professionals to create sustainable careers. Katie, with Curt, has developed workshops and a conference, Therapy Reimagined, to support therapists navigating through the modern challenges of this profession. Katie is also a former President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt's youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at:

A Quick Note:

Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.

Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.


Stay in Touch:

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Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano

Transcript (Autogenerated)


Curt Widhalm  00:00

This episode of the Modern Therapist's Survival Guide is brought to you by Healthcasters.


Katie Vernoy  00:04

The healthcasters is a podcasting course and community designed for therapists and private practice and therapists turn coaches and consultants that supported the successful launch of over 270 podcasts. Learn more about the health casters at and enter the promo code therapy reimagined at checkout for $100 off the listed price.


Curt Widhalm  00:26

Listen at the end of the episode for more information about healthcasters,


Announcer  00:29

You're listening to the Modern Therapist's Survival Guide where therapists live, breathe and practice as human beings to support you as a whole person and a therapist. Here are your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy.


Curt Widhalm  00:45

Welcome back modern therapists. This is the Modern Therapist's Survival Guide. I'm Curt Widhalm with Katie Vernoy. And this is the podcast that deals with All Things therapists, the things that we do the things that we don't do the things that we make up that other people think about us and how to deal with those kinds of things. And today, we are joined by the world's foremost expert on imposter syndrome, who is going to teach us about everything... just kind of our fun way of leading into imposter syndrome jokes. So, up to you to believe this or not, Patrick Casale he's one of our Therapy Reimagined 2021 speakers. He's a lcmhc and an lcsw. And here to talk to us about imposter syndrome. Thanks for spending some time with us today


Patrick Casale  01:35

Curt and Katie, thanks for having me. And that just made me have even more imposter syndrome. So thank you for that.


Katie Vernoy  01:42

No pressure, no pressure at all. And what we do is then we also add the the wonderful task of answering this question right when you come on, who are you? And what are you putting out into the world?


Curt Widhalm  01:56

Who do you think you are?


Katie Vernoy  01:57

Who do you think you are?


Curt Widhalm  02:00

What gives you the right?


Patrick Casale  02:03

I'm a big office fan Curt. So we can get along now. So I live in Asheville, North Carolina, and I own a group practice here in town. And I also own a private practice coaching and building business that helps therapists take the leap from agency jobs and start their own businesses.


Katie Vernoy  02:24

That is such a needed service. Because I think, as most of our listeners know, I was in community mental health for a very long time. And when I ejected from that system, I definitely would have wanted your support, Patrick. So one of the questions that I that we ask everyone is what do you think therapists often get wrong? And I'm going to put that more specifically to when they're moving from an agency job to private practice, what do you think they typically get wrong?


Patrick Casale  02:52

That is such a good question. There's so much the answer to that question. I'll tell you some of the things that I typically see that is pretty consistent, the lack of belief that they can be successful, that nobody is going to pay them for their services, that nobody makes it on their own, that they have to take insurance to get clients. And a lot of therapists just obviously don't understand business, right? Because they never had formal business training or marketing training. And that is really problematic when starting a business.


Curt Widhalm  03:34

We have started this episode here talking joking about some imposter syndrome. This is something that a lot of people do struggle with, and at various points in their career and at various points of success in what they're doing. How did you become interested in imposter syndrome in this whole process? Because part of what you're describing is people facing some of these realities of having a lot of credentials, having a lot of experience that would say, you know, the only difference is that you're coming to see me in an office I pay the rent for rather than in somebody else's office that they're paying the rent for. So how did you first become interested in this process?


Patrick Casale  04:18

I just recognize that feeling really all of my life, but more so when it comes to growth in business development, or betting on myself so to speak. So when I started my practice, you're right, like, all the training, all the supervision, all the agency experience, but because it's my business, this is really scary. And I clearly am not competent enough to be successful at it, which was always the mentality. And you know, I would notice that feeling a lot when maybe a client interaction didn't go well and they terminated and you would ask yourself, I'm I clearly am not a competent therapist. business owner, I cannot be successful at this. I don't know what I'm doing. And I just felt that so intensely so often. And just recognizing what was happening this entrepreneurial like, insecurity in terms of who am I? How am I actually able to be hired to provide a service when I don't even think that I'm good at it. And that would happen just so often. And I would process that with my own therapist. And that definitely helped. But, you know, it doesn't, it doesn't make it go away. You started talking about imposter syndrome publicly, this summer, over COVID. I was just kind of bored in my house all the time. And I would go on Facebook Lives and just talk about the imposter syndrome phenomenon and how we can have all of the training and expertise and credentials in the world. But we are the ones who believe that we are not sufficient enough or competent enough or skilled enough to be successful. And a lot of times that feels like why me, I just lucked into this. And I noticed myself having imposter syndrome, talking about imposter syndrome. And it would be a Facebook Live that nobody was even watching. But I'm like, but somebody is gonna know and find out that I am a fraud. And they're gonna call me on it. And that turned into doing webinars and presentations on it. And of course, the first one that I did, I forgot to hit record for an hour. And afterwards, everyone's like, this was so great. I can't wait to watch this over and over and over again, how you can't record it.


Katie Vernoy  06:51

Oh, man, that's awful. That's awful. I think it's, it's refreshing to have someone talk about it so authentically. And I think there's more of an effort of folks being authentic and claiming some of these challenges, but the way that you were just talking about it, like I felt it in my heart. And it's clear that it's something that you've definitely been working on and grappling with. Maybe we can talk about your story or or how you see how imposter syndrome gets in the way for therapists. But it seems like many therapists are resonating with this imposter syndrome idea and having this notion like why me I lucked into it. Why would people hire me like all of these things that you were saying? It seems like a lot of us resonate with that. Where do you think that comes from? And how do you think that gets in the way for therapists,


Patrick Casale  07:40

I think it gets in the way by preventing people from pursuing the things that they really want to do, the things that they really care about, it gets in the way, and prevents people from taking risks, because it's easier to stay in your box and not grow. And it's less scary to do that, even if that means working at an agency job that for all intents and purposes, like is just brutal and wearing you down. But you know, you're gonna get a paycheck every other Friday, and you know what to expect. It's really scary. And I really do believe that imposter syndrome comes from an attachment focus perspective, where we're given mixed messages as kids, when we grow up, and our parents tell us how you got an A in class, you're so smart. And then you get a D and it's like, what the hell is wrong with you, you're, you're stupid, or you're not trying. And I think those mixed messages are really negatively impactful and impact our self esteem and our confidence. And it makes us second guess ourselves in our capabilities and our abilities in general. And I think it comes up for people when they're trying something new when they're trying to grow, especially in business development, or when they're trying to maybe level up and be they feel like maybe they're not as competent as their peers or their colleagues, and that they feel like they don't have enough training. I hear that a lot. I don't have enough training to be in private practice. Why would somebody hire me if somebody else offers EMDR therapy? And I don't? Like those are the things that I feel like really hold us back from pursuing the things that really allow us to do fantastic work in these types of fields.


Curt Widhalm  09:36

So what's the answer? For a lot of people facing these issues? What do you suggest the people work on so that way they can regain their confidence back, you know, we can't go back and fix what our parents said to us or any of those mixed messages that we've had in the past. What do you suggest to people to feel the confidence to get past some of these lingering doubt,


Patrick Casale  10:01

such a good question. And I don't think there's one specific answer. But I have several. I think embracing that fear and stepping into it, talking about it, putting it out to the world is really powerful. Because it, it takes some of the power away from the stuff that feels really frightening and overwhelming. So you need to have a good support system to put this out there with. And when I talk about this stuff, some people will message me and say, Why are you being so vulnerable are so authentic? This is like taboo, essentially. And I'm like, I don't believe that. I think that if we talk about it, then it's not as frightening. It makes it less intimidating, because it's normalized by other people who are like, Oh, yeah, I experienced the same exact thing. So then it's like, well, very clearly, it just can't be me. Even though I'm feeling it so intensely. But I think a good strategy is to allow yourself to make mistakes and to tell yourself that you're going to fail, or you're going to have a hard time when trying something new. When we learn to ride a bike, we probably fall off a bunch of times before we learn how to ride. And we need to do the same thing in terms of creating growth, leaving your agency job starting your private practice starting your group practice, because you're gonna make mistakes. And that's okay. I think a big symptom of imposter syndrome is perfectionism, and trying to do everything perfect all the time, because it's like, I can't put this out to the world. Because it's not perfect, people are gonna judge me, they're gonna know that I'm fraudulent. And I think that we have to remind ourselves very often, that asking for help is okay. One strategy I really love is making it playful, giving imposter syndrome, a funny voice or a funny name of someone maybe that you don't respect that much or you laugh at. And I did a presentation and a friend brought up like I was so like Harry Potter and Bogart like, and I thought, I hate Harry Potter, what are you talking about? But she was alluding to the fears that all of the main characters had. And when they made them playful, when they put like roller skates on a snake, or like, made something have a really funny voice, you take the power back, it's not as intimidating.


Katie Vernoy  12:39

Yeah, I think that's an interesting concept. And, to me, this idea of giving imposter syndrome, a funny voice or having it be playful. I think that's, I mean, it's kind of the old phrase, like, if you're nervous and public speaking, imagine everybody naked or you know, whatever, like, you know, kind of do the thing where all of a sudden, that becomes ridiculous. And I hear that I also recognize that there are things that are hard to make playful that that can lead to imposter syndrome, there's a lot of stuff that are very real systemic issues that can be part of different clinicians experiences and why they may have imposter syndrome. We don't have to go down too far down the road if you don't want to, but it just feels like, you know, there's imposter syndrome for white folks. And then there's also Patan imposter syndrome for bipoc individuals and other folks in March with marginalized identities where they are consistently told that they are imposters or that their failures or that kind of stuff are treated and you know, kind of had that kind of experience of being ignored or invisible or undercut in some way. And so, what do you think about that question about how folks with different identities impact interact around imposter syndrome?


Patrick Casale  13:59

is a great, great, great statement and needs to be made. You know, colonialism definitely shapes that word, right? Because there's not a lot of research on imposter syndrome. The one one of the main studies you can find was done in the 70s. It was all about women in the workplace, but especially women of color in the workplace, not feeling like they belonged or fit in. But that's because they were told all their lives that they didn't. Yeah, and they had to work so much harder to get there. And obviously, as a white male with a lot of privilege. I don't experience those things on a day to day basis. But we have to be aware of the fact that that term does not mean the same thing for everybody. So for bipoc folks and people of color in general, like who have to fight a million times harder to get to the same place and are told constantly that they're inadequate or not worthy or not as good It takes on a whole different meaning. And I almost hate to use the word imposter syndrome when we're talking like this in that way, it's actually created some internal conflict in terms of how do I want to shape what I'm going to talk about in September? Yeah, because it's really important to honor that and to acknowledge the fact that if we berate and abuse and make people feel less than, of course, they never feel like they, they made it or they fit in or they belong, or they're as competent, if not more competent,


Curt Widhalm  15:34

and in particular to our field. I want to go back to what you were talking about earlier, as far as some of these mixed messages, what are some of the mixed messages that you see us sending to younger therapists that contribute to some of the stuff that you're talking about? Or people who might be ready to launch? Because our field seems to be fraught full of contradictory sort of messages that we send people?


Patrick Casale  16:00

Yeah, absolutely. One thing stands out to me. When I quit my job at my agency, I did like an exit interview lunch. And my program manager said, I'll see you back here in 60 days, because nobody makes it on their own. You can't be successful working for yourself, you'll be back here begging for your job back. I think that we hear that in graduate school, too. I think we hear it a lot. Not in all grad school programs, I want to say that, I think in most grad school programs, we're told that you don't get into this field to make money. You don't get into this field to be successful. You get in this field to be a helper. And although that's true, this is a complex field where we can do both simultaneously. And we can make good livings as helping professionals and still help people. But I think that it's really drilled in in the agency environment, because there is this fear that people are just going to continue to leave. We can't maintain employees here because people are going to continue to leave us. I also see that sometimes for more seasoned clinicians, who maybe it comes from an envious place of like, I want all the referrals, or I don't want to refer to these young clinicians who don't have as much experience as me, why are they charging as much as me, I see that a lot in a lot of the communities that I'm a part of


Katie Vernoy  17:30

the young whippersnappers taken our referrals,


Patrick Casale  17:33

right, our jobs and our referrals


Curt Widhalm  17:35

 I'm trying to think of a nice way of saying that there's almost an entitlement of more seasoned people who've been in these positions of like, how dare you come in and do things better than me like that? We really just have to continue to keep getting over ourselves. And yeah, you know, maybe part of it, you know, does come from kind of that like scarcity mindset that a lot of clinicians kind of just pass on some of this imposter syndrome and sort of thing, like, I've got to have my quarter of the market. And therefore, if the best way of me doing that is making you too anxious about your quarter of the market, like it's, especially here, the utilization of mental health services over the last year or so in the pandemic, like, there's plenty of people who need our health break. And it should be something where to help not just, you know, make this a multi generational trauma within our field that we can just kind of keep building each other up on this.


Patrick Casale  18:39

Yeah, that's, that's really well said. And speaking of, there's enough people that want our help. I mean, once the running joke in our field, or not choke, the frustration that nobody calls clients back, right. So like, if that's a situation that's arising, and there's more clients than clinicians to go around, we can all support one another success, and I do believe in the abundance mentality, and that would be the same. I'll say that imposter syndrome prohibited me from starting my private practice and coaching business because I live in the same city as Alison and abundance, right? So how can anyone ever hire me if Alison per year exists here, it's the mentality that we can all be successful because we all have different voices, we all have different approaches and styles. And I think that's really important for young clinicians to remember that there's room for everybody. And just because you don't offer a certain modality or don't have a certain training, as long as you're doing supervision and working ethically and understanding culture and continuing to work on anti racism. I don't understand why we can't have more private practice clinicians who feel like they can also be successful that we don't have to like work ourselves. into burnout mode before we can suddenly jump ship and become like, therapist wizards and leave the agency world behind.


Katie Vernoy  20:10

jumping ship and becoming therapists, wizards. I love it. So okay, so I have so many thoughts going on my head, but I but I'm gonna take


Curt Widhalm  20:20

her brains going a mile a minute,


Katie Vernoy  20:26

at least a mile a minute, at least a mile a minute. But you know that 60 miles per hour. So anyway. Okay, so let's talk about this becoming a therapist wizard, because I think that there's a lot of folks who listened to our podcast, and we even had Marissa on and she was talking about her listening as she was driving around and public mental health listening to the podcast, and deciding then and there that she was going to make the leap when she could. And we don't actually have an episode on how do you do this? Like, how do you leave community mental health and move out into private practice? So now that they're ready, because they've listened, they've decided I am going to fight imposter syndrome and become a therapist wizard? What do they need to consider? Or what are the logistics for moving to private practice from public or community mental health?


Patrick Casale  21:34

I have a, I've done some videos on that, you know, how do I know when I'm ready to leave my agency job? When will I know that it's like the best decision, right? And there's never a absolute certainty that you're going to leave and that things are gonna work out perfectly? If that was the case, everybody would do it. But I think that, you know, when you start to question, what else is there, you start to have this internal dialogue of why did I go to grad school for this, because this is not enjoyable. This is not something that lights me up every morning to come here and work 50 hours a week and be on call and be in crisis all the time. Maybe I'll go back to working at Starbucks, like, that's got to be better than this. I think when you start to really question what else is out there? How else can you make a living? I think that if your value system aligns with autonomy, and freedom and travel and movement, and not being micromanaged, then you need to start considering it. And there's never gonna be a certain amount of clients or a certain amount of money coming in for private practice to be a sure thing to leap out of that agency job. I encourage therapists to do anything they can to get out of the agency world to start their practices, including go drive for Uber Eats, as you continue to build your practice, like, you can still make money. And it doesn't have to be at a community mental health agency if you're at the point of no return. So once your mental health, your physical health, your burnout starts kicking in, it's too late, you've waited too long. We all know the people who work in community mental health who putter around the halls who are like lifers and have never left and are miserable. You don't want to be that person. It depends. Everyone's situations are so different, right? Like financial situations, partnerships, lack of partnerships, whatever the case may be. I just knew it was time when my physical health started failing. I ended up in the hospital from stress, like I was done. I wasn't going to be a therapist anymore when I decided to leave. And I never thought I would be successful in private practice that never crossed my mind. It never was even a thing that I thought about. I think when we're in the thick of it and in crisis all the time, we can't think about other opportunities or possibilities. So I would say this. If you're considering leaving and going into private practice, ask yourself what if you value things about entrepreneurial ship, autonomy, making your own decisions, your own schedule, seeing the clients the way you want to see them when you want to see them, it's probably for you. Now it's just about how to put the pieces in place and whether that means leaving to go to a group practice to get some feelers out there and feel a little bit more comfortable. Sure. I think that's a great middle ground. I don't know if there's ever a certain like box you check for number of clients or amount of money you're bringing in and I think a lot of people want to know that like magic number. And I can say that I started a practice at night, and I found myself networking on my lunch hours. And I found myself taking PTO to go to my private practice and feeling so energized in the evening after working 50 hours a week. sitting in my chair in my office, paying my rent getting my phone phone calls, like it just felt so empowering. And I built myself up to 15 clients felt confident put a 90 day notice in because you know, my agency needed me. They needed me around as a supervisor. As soon as I worked that notice out 10 of those 15 clients left on vacation, went back to school moved out of the state. And I questioned it. And I was like, What did I just do?


Katie Vernoy  25:26

Oooh, that's tough.


Patrick Casale  25:28

It was tough.


Katie Vernoy  25:31

So what did you do, don't leave us hanging.


Patrick Casale  25:36

I networked a lot. I blogged a lot. I embraced free time, because I kept thinking, This is why you did this, you wanted free time in your schedule, and now you have it and you feel scared. And I remember going to lunch with a colleague here in town and making the comment of, well, if this doesn't work out, I can always go back to my agency job. And she was like, absolutely not. That's never an option, do not think that way or you will fail. When I stopped thinking that way. I realized that I opened up space and energy and started to believe that I can become successful. And I believe that networking is one of the most important things you can do to build a successful private practice.


Curt Widhalm  26:20

Sometimes in hearing these conversations, you know, there's a percentage of this that does really come from privilege. And not everybody's going to be able to take that monetary leap some people's situations, you know, whether it's their home life, their student loan bills, any of this kind of stuff that keeps them stuck into one of these jobs. And yet, they're still grieving, they're still believing that they've got these steps, hearing stories, like, Oh, I worked out my 90 days, and then two thirds of my caseload just went away. What helps people in those situations that might not be quite there yet, but are also maybe teetering to the I'm going to be stuck in this position forever.


Patrick Casale  27:07

I'd say join a group practice, you know, go work for someone and make more money and work less hours, you know, you, you can still provide and take care of your needs. And still leave a setting that you don't feel like there are any other options for you know, you can work for some of these. I didn't want to say it out loud. These EAP contracts and these online organizations to I don't I don't love that mentality. I know y'all have done podcast episodes on it before. I just think they're a group practice, you can contract, you know, you can do contract work somewhere, there are options, you can start your practice at night and on the weekends. So it doesn't impact your day to day, you know, you can start to dip your toe, right, like, you don't have to just jump into it, you can simply step slowly into it, and start to see how it feels. work. You know, see some clients on Saturdays, a lot of people do that, at first see some clients in the evenings. You know, I think there are a lot of ways to do this and still maintain your day to day your employment, the stuff that pays the bills, the student loan debt, the health insurance, everything, everything that comes with it. And the recognition that not everyone's situation is the same.


Katie Vernoy  28:27

I understand your mixed reviews on some of these provider networks or or some of the online things. But I think there are some good ones and some that are unscrupulous. So I think that regardless whether it's a group practice or a provider network, or EAP is or those kinds of things you want to do the research because you could end up doing an EAP that pays you very little, you could end up in a worse situation with an unscrupulous online provider. And I think it's important to be able to really plan your exit, recognizing that this is the first step and, and I hear thinking about it now. And I think about my escape from community mental health, the exhaustion that is already in place and thinking about adding a full day of work or going somewhere after work in the evenings. And how overwhelming that seems. And so I think another piece of this is making sure that you kind of parse it down to the little tiny steps that you can take this little tiny steps have a clear goal. Because even doing that I feel like brings hope, right? I mean, you get that hope of like I have the plan. Maybe I'm having to work an extra hour or five hours or 10 hours a week, you know as you build up but I have a plan to exit and I think that can be very good. And so I want to just say yes it is a lot of work. But what you're saying Patrick is very sound like you need to have your exit plan and and if you can't eject from A system or you aren't ejected forcefully objected from a system with when it's not your choice, then you can set some of those milestones and those little goals where you can kind of do each of the little pieces so that you can start your practice. And especially now with telehealth being an option, there's a lot of things that you can do with very little overhead and with very little setup. And so connecting with someone like Patrick might be a great idea, if you're thinking you want to stick your toe into it, because you can set up in a day, a whole practice, you don't have to like go look for offices or find forms, like you can just use the tools that are there. So I would recommend kind of thinking through what are the steps you can take, because having an exit plan is so different when you're looking at additional work.


Patrick Casale  30:53

And so different if you're raising a family, or you have other responsibilities other than yourself. So just having to really balance that. And even Katie does such a good point, you know, like doing one thing a week even to check it off the list to just say, I'm working towards this, you know, like getting an employee identification number like deciding if you're going to take health insurance, like some of the decisions that you have to think about early on, but are easy to just cross off the list and make you feel like you're moving towards something.


Katie Vernoy  31:26



Curt Widhalm  31:27

For helping people to think beyond into that success mindset. How do you help encourage them to envision what their ideal practices are?


Patrick Casale  31:38

I like to always start with what is absolutely necessary, right? Like, we need to know differences in numbers. So numbers that I need to make, to pay the bills to keep the lights on to pay for food, right? Like that number has to be known. But I always like to ask people what they want out of this. And that doesn't always have to be monetary. That could be I only want to work three days a week. I want to see 25 clients a week between five days. I never want to work past 4pm. But it is about what do you value? What do you want out of this career. And I think that's really important, because it's not the same for everybody. And I asked a lot about travel about vacation time building and sick time building and time for mental health days, like how to start to do that. And people will always say like, I would, I would love to just have three weeks off a year. And I'm like, well, we can probably think a little bit bigger, because you're gonna make more money, so you can budget differently. And again, we have to take into account privilege, we have to take into account the fact that some people are going to work and see 50 clients a week. I'm not here to dictate that circumstance. But just to ask people, what do you want out of your business model? What do you want it to look like? Do you want more time for your family to want less time for your family? Do you why you know to have more hobbies? Do you know do you want to read more coffee shop time do you want four day weekends, three day weekends, like everyone's goals are so different, but they're also possible to you know, I privileged enough to take 12 weeks off a year and travel, I also have a partner that is able to support that that's not going to look like that for everybody. So if I, the biggest thing I get a lot is like I want a three day weekend every week, I never want to work Fridays. So be it great. That's a great goal. I think that we need to get back to really practicing self care and work life balance, not the work life balance that is discussed at our agency jobs, where we put a PTO request in and we get emails or text messages while we're on vacation.


Katie Vernoy  33:59

The piece that I heard there that I really like and I have to keep reminding myself, especially folks who have been so ingrained in an agency setup is that we can actually bake in what we want. We can we can bake in a three day weekend, we can bake in 12 weeks off, that's awesome. We can we can put those things together and determine what our practice has to look like. I mean, there is some there are some parameters that would we have to pay attention to if we we live and work in an area that can't support a $400 an hour session, then maybe we can't do that. We can't have you know, I'm gonna work, you know, five hours a week, 12 weeks off and make $200,000 like maybe we can't do that. But like there's there are reasonable parameters and even exciting parameters that we can bake in. And I think being able to be creative is impossible when you're still in the mix of committee. Mental Health. And so having that conversation, I really like that I like being able to say, Okay, what is it that you actually want? And recognizing that you set all the rest of the parameters, what you charge how many clients you see, you know, there's some stuff that is dictated by the market, but a lot of it, you still really dictate and can can set that together. And so I think that's a great idea. What is your ideal private practice? What have you baked in? What What can we all aspire to, because like, 12 weeks off, I'm like, That is amazing.


Patrick Casale  35:29

Yeah. And that's because I'm fortunate enough, right to not have to, like be as concerned financially. But my goal is also not to make $200,000 a year in private practice, I could, but I don't want to, I want to travel more and take more time off. And that's always been my goal. But I think what you just said is really hits the nail on the head is like, the more time and space you can give yourself, the more creative you can be. So my ideal practice right now is actually something I'm living, which is seeing eight ideal clients a week, running my group practice, and running my private practice and coaching business. So I can do a little bit of everything because I do, I am neurodivergent, I need a lot of stimulation, I need a lot of different things happening all the time. So I can not always be focused on clinical work, I can move into administrative work and leadership work and coaching work and do all of those things simultaneously. But that didn't happen right away. That took four years, five years to get to this point. But yeah, that that is my ideal situation right now.


Katie Vernoy  36:37



Curt Widhalm  36:38

Where can people find out more about you and all of the stuff that you're doing,



they can find out about me at or at my facebook group, all things private practice.


Curt Widhalm  36:52

And we'll include links to those in our show notes. You can find those over at mcsg podcast calm. And you can also check out the therapy reimagined conference where Patrick will be joining us this September. And you can find out more about that at therapy reimagined conference calm for all of the latest updates, as well as following our social media. And we'll also include links to those in our show notes. And until next time, I'm Kurt Helms, Katie Vernoy. And Patrick. So


Katie Vernoy  37:22

thanks again to our sponsor, the Healthcasters


Curt Widhalm  37:25

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Katie Vernoy  38:15

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