I’m coming out of the coaching closet, moving away from positioning myself primarily as a mental health therapist, and today I’m sharing my reasons why.
I hear you asking, ‘But Katy, Didn’t you go to school for 6 years, spend even more years gaining clinical hours, taking licensure exams, and many many more therapeutic certifications to become a psychotherapist? WHY would you transition into coaching?’ Read on!
Something that I can’t escape, and many of my own mentors have highlighted, is that my personal evolution is connected to my business’s evolution. My emotional healing journey directly reflects in my business.
When I started my online business in 2020 I had zero idea what the process would be like, I just knew I was on a mission to support womxn in building resiliency and thriving in their lives while being my own boss. I knew I wanted to spread the therapeutic practices that have been tried and true over my 13+ yr. career as a mental health therapist, transforming my life and so many of my clients.
Thank the goddesses I had this deeper soul mission, because it’s what’s kept me going through confusion and doubts as I entered the unfamiliar world of online marketing and business (I’m just a wee therapist after all, and they don’t teach this shit in therapy school ;))
I think deep down, I knew from the beginning I was ready to do something different. To show up in a different way, and I hope this story will help you think about your own journey of transformation so that you can allow yourself to adapt and change as you need as well.
Being new online, I wanted my credibility to be known. I was not just starting out in this field, and I think a part of me was clinging to this identity as a therapist to validate my skills and capabilities (which remain and are present without that ‘label’).
A big part of my personal life journey has been about living a life that I want, being exactly who I am, and not living according to other people’s standards. I am childfree by choice, divorced and never plan to officially marry again (I reserve the right to change my mind, but am currently happy in a 10 year partnership with my guy). There are so many social pressures on what we are supposed to do in life, and I’m kind of obsessed with shedding those things (in ways that are authentic, not reactive… although I’ve done my share of that too).
I entered my career as a therapist in my early 20’s through support and recommendations from family (and I’m so glad I did, it has genuinely shaped my life in so many positive ways… like deeply embracing mindfulness practice and dialectical thinking, and the therapeutic relationships I’ve had with hundreds of clients who each hold a unique and special place in my heart.)
There’s no way around it, personal development and supporting people in their growth and healing is a lifelong soul calling for me. Although, I may transition to being a National Geographic photographer someday because that’s another dream! So prepare for that pivot! LOL
As a licensed therapist there are ethical and legal obligations that go along with it (for very good reasons). It is a medical service based on the Disease Model, and while it is incredibly important and highly valuable, I’m feeling called to work with people in different ways.
The therapeutic relationship within the field of psychotherapy is a legally protected relationship for very good reasons, because it can be abused. There is a power dynamic when you are diagnosing and treating mental illness or other socio/emotional problems. As a therapist I am restricted from sharing about myself (on most occasions), required to hold strict boundaries, along with many other restrictions in how I can show up in the world and in that therapeutic relationship. There are a lot of potential legal liabilities and risks.
I can only provide therapy to people in the state of California. We are held to using evidence-based practices (which are amazing), AND I’m ready to bring more holistic, ‘woo’ or ‘non-traditional’ healing practices into my game. I actually dislike the terms ‘woo’ and ‘non-traditional’ because they are colonial and stigmatizing, but I’m trying to use words that will make sense.
I’m not hating on these regulations because each and every one of them serves an important purpose, and are there because at some point people were harmed without these rules. Many of these guiding values will stay with me as a coach.
Many people discredit the coaching industry as if it’s ‘snake oil’ and people aren’t credible enough to offer such a service without multiple college degrees and licensure… but I disagree. Of course, there will always be people out there selling services that are not credible. However, I am here to strongly advocate for the increased need for coaches, healers & therapists of all kinds.
From the root of our existence, humans are a tribal and clan based species. Our survival and development relies on multiple supports, and back in the day a village full of aunts, uncles, shamans, healers etc. would have guided our development. Society isn’t quite like that anymore, and we don’t always receive the teaching and guidance needed in childhood from whomever our caregivers may be. It is then HIGHLY beneficial to seek support as an adult, in whatever areas (social, emotional, physical, sexual) to promote our healing and wellness.
So all ya’ll out there hating on the coaching industry need to stop 🙂 Let’s promote more mutual aid.
In showing up in my online business, these regulations and guidelines for therapy practice have felt more and more restrictive to me. I’m constantly questioning, ‘Am I staying professional enough?’ (hello capitalist patriarchy). Again I can see very good reasons for certain professional standards in specific settings, but I’m currently in search of freedom and authenticity – simply being a human. And if that’s what I LOVE helping clients move towards, I have to be doing it for myself.
I don’t want to feel like I’m playing a role I’ve been trained to play. I just want to show up as me (who happens to also be a subject matter expert) so that I can help you. I believe you can have your cake (be your fullest expression as a human being) and eat it too (get paid to transform people’s lives forever).
I also believe that genuine human connection and me showing up as the messy, imperfect human that I am, is actually equally as of service. Because the truth is, I know that many of you are going through the same journey. Shedding the layers of what we think we’re ‘supposed to do’ in order to live a life that we actually want. Letting go of fear-based decision making (‘Did I say too much? What are other people thinking about this? Am I going to get in trouble or reported to my licensing board for this?’’), for heart-centered living.
Will I continue to hold my therapy license and practice therapy? Absolutely! I’ll have to keep certain disclaimers up and I will keep a couple spots on my roster open for therapy clients (California residents only), but moving forward my online presence is going to be focused on coaching (I can work with you know matter where you live!). Honestly not much about my content & what I teach will change, I’m still focused on emotional wellness, building resiliency and aligning with your true self (which is ever changing).
I know many of the business coaches out there would have told me I needed to have a strategic plan to launch this ‘re-brand’ and have all my logos and shit upgraded by the time I announce this… but again, I’m gonna break the rules. I can’t wait, and I don’t want to wait. I’ll upgrade my logos and all of that in time, that’s the least important part of this.
Over the past year and a half I’ve needed the structure, online marketing courses and guidance from business and marketing experts to help me gain my footing a bit… not dissing on the need for strategy. However the irony of my journey is what I’m coming back to, is what I already know: trusting my own needs and intuition and valuing personal connection over any business strategy that exists.
I’m ready to color outside of the lines a little bit. I hope you give yourself permission to do that too.