I know that a lot of helping professionals struggle with setting their fees and “charging what they’re worth.”
“Bleeding Heart Syndrome,” the mindset that we need to help everyone and anyone regardless of fit, amongst the messages that are deeply engrained in regards to finances from grad school and agency jobs keep us as some of the most underpaid professions out there.
I always like to ask this question in my coaching courses. How many of you get massages for self care and what do you pay? What about tattoos? Haircuts? Travel? Usually, the answer is a range of 75-150$ for a massage. Let that sink in a little bit…..
Why do you do those things? Is it because they bring you joy? Make you feel relaxed? Like you’re practicing self-care?
If you called a doctor, lawyer, dentist, or even hairstylist….would you ask them for a sliding scale? I bet the answer is a resounding NO!
As therapists, we got into this field for a reason and typically it has nothing to do with money. The running joke is “you don’t go into this field to make money…..haha”
What if I told you that you could do both? You could provide excellent and compassionate care and also get paid well? What if I told you you were allowed to turn clients away who wasn’t a good fit for you, or more importantly, for them?
We as helping professionals need to shift our mindsets. I know the resistance to this idea. I know the automatic responses to thinking about money.
“But my clients at my agency can’t afford private practice”
“I want to be accessible to everyone”
I want you to think about the fact that your community mental health agencies get funding in a variety of sources, via Medicaid and state funds. And guess how much of that you see for the work that you do? Barely livable wages
The Medicaid reimbursement rate in my state (NC) is pretty high and over $100/hour. When I was working at my CMH job as a supervisor my salary was $50,000/year for 50-60 hours a week.
I was blindsided when I saw the annual and public report of what the agency’s administrative staff were being paid. The average salary was a range between 100k-200k, and the CEO was almost $500,000.
We assume that because we are helpers working for agencies that are “supposed to help” the community that our values are aligned. Our employers care about our well being. They don’t care about making money because how could they?
I’m here to tell you that we need to shift our mindsets. We need to recognize that we can help people and get paid well. Not only can we, but we also deserve too.
You got your master’s degree! You went through graduate school! You went through an internship, and acquired supervision hours towards licensure! You accrued student loan debt! You maintain your license through CEUs!
Yet we continue to act like we shouldn’t get paid and that it’s shameful to even talk about money. It’s time to shift this narrative and move into the mindset that you are valuable and deserve to get paid!
You deserve to travel, work 3-4 days a week, and OMG….pay your bills without working 50-60 hours/week.
I know this will ruffle feathers but that’s the intention. It’s time to get uncomfortable and start to better understand what therapists and helping professionals deserve.