Creating Your Perfect Work Week (part 2)

In this guest blog Ashley Eder, LPC offers part 2 of "Creating Your Perfect Work Week." Ashley is a counselor and supervisor who believes we each have the potential to create a more satisfying life. Located in Boulder, CO, she works with clients and therapists through curiosity, self-awareness, and acceptance in order to create lasting change.

In Part I of Creating Your Perfect Work Week, I prompted you to evaluate how well your practice is performing as a non-monetary form of compensation. As a reminder, here are the questions for you to ask yourself to get an idea of how rewarding your private practice work week is for you now:

  • Are you excited to go to work?
  • Do you enjoy your clients?
  • Can you maintain your personal relationships?
  • Do you have time for self-care?
  • Do you feel satisfied and complete at the end of the day?
  • Are you resentment-free?
  • Are you intellectually stimulated?
  • Have you stopped doing the things you dread?

If you followed through with this exercise, you know that it really is possible to answer “yes” to all of those questions; you are ready to experiment with adding Satisfaction Builders into your week and you have a pretty good idea of where they may need to go.

Below are a handful of suggestions for ways you can re-design your practice to work better for you. Remember, the ideal practice is different for everyone! Use these ideas to get you started, then listen for your own voice to guide you in getting it just right.

Improve Your Work Satisfaction

  • Play with the flow of your day. You might sprinkle “mini-breaks” into your day (just 15 minutes to get some fresh air or eat a quick lunch); take a bigger break so you can leave the office to meet a friend or take a nap, or work straight through followed by extended time off. Which schedule leaves you least harried and most refreshed?
  • Experiment with separating client hours from administrative hours versus weaving them together. Does it feel more natural and productive to you to chart and return calls between sessions as you get time or all at once in a pre-determined window?
  • Fiddle around with work/home boundaries. Are you happier leaving work-based activities like social media and returning emails at the office, or do you prefer integrating them into your home life so that they don’t build up so much and you can maintain a connection to your business?
  • Pursue the clients who make your work meaningful and refer along those who do not. Trust that it is best for clients and therapists when we narrow our focus to serving our ideal clients, and allow other clients to seek help from clinicians who would be a more nourishing fit.
  • Raise your fees until you feel adequately compensated. Check out these tips on deciding to do that and how to broach it with clients.
  • Re-evaluate your mission statement. Why are you in private practice? Why did you become a therapist? Align your practice with your mission.
  • Seek professional support. Would it would feel good to treat yourself to expert supervision for a while? Choose a modality or style you would like to explore. Try building your own consultation network, and do not spend time with people you do not want to emulate. Get clear on who feels good to learn from and seek their support.
  • Study something new. Remember the intellectual stimulation of grad school? Well now you can have that without all of the homework. Seek continuing education that encourages you to expand your niche and work at your growing edge.
  • Do your own work. Take an honest appraisal of your clinical boundaries around time, responsibility for oneself, and money. This may involve a personal inventory and some existential exploration of what you truly believe about the nature of people. Then ask yourself: “Are these beliefs current or outdated? Do I choose to hang onto them or is it time to challenge them and my own habitual limitations?”
  • Trust yourself. If something feels “off” about your work experience, it probably is. Hang out with that observation, let it develop, and seek consultation with trusted colleagues. Your private practice is a work in progress. With your time, attention, and care, it will continue to flourish and nourish you back.
  • Imagine giving yourself permission to quit doing the things that don’t take care of you. Perhaps start by choosing one thing to let go of and observe the ripples. What happens next? Is it as scary as you thought it might be? Does your practice feel the impact? How do you feel without it? Hint: follow your resentments to find the practices that no longer serve your higher self.
  • Drop the dread. If you dread a part of your job, it is not feeding you. Be creative in your efforts to automate it, outsource it, or drop it entirely.
  • Question The ‘Busy’ Trap. Make room for self-care, including the necessity to do nothing on a regular basis. Identify what self-care truly means for you and allow it. It might mean making lovely meals or giving yourself a night off from cooking. It could look like an hour at the gym or an hour on the couch. It’s personal, and you get to choose.
  • Lighten your load. Examine your beliefs around how many client hours you should fit into a week. Would you be more energized by dropping 2 clinical hours, raising your rate $10, and writing for your professional blog or playing in nature? Do it!

As a business owner and psychotherapist, your practice really is your life. This can be an anchor weighing you down or an opportunity to build a flexible, satisfying life. Which do you choose?

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(c) Can Stock Photo

Creating Your Perfect Work Week (part 1)

This guest post is written by Ashley Eder, LPC. Ashley is a counselor and supervisor who believes we each have the potential to create a more satisfying life. Located in Boulder, CO, she works with clients and therapists through curiosity, self-awareness, and acceptance in order to create lasting change.

A successful private practice is not just defined by how many clients you see or how much income you generate. One critical stream of non-monetary compensation is the satisfaction your practice brings you.

That’s right--as a business owner in an inherently flexible field, part of your “payment” is the freedom to create a work week that works for you.

Whether your workload is in its sweet spot or not is a personal measure; what feels nourishing and sustainable for another clinician might be either under-stimulating or exhausting for you given your temperament and the other responsibilities in your life.

Ask yourself the following questions to start creating your own ideal work week:

  • Are you excited to go to work?
  • Do you enjoy your clients?
  • Can you maintain your personal relationships?
  • Do you have time for self-care?
  • Do you feel satisfied and complete at the end of the day?
  • Are you resentment-free?
  • Are you intellectually stimulated?
  • Have you stopped doing the things you dread?

Yes, you really can expect to have a practice that is that satisfying. If you found yourself shaking your head “no” to some of the questions above, it’s time to re-evaluate how you spend your work week. Take time now to explore these questions in detail. Be honest. Where are you solid in your business satisfaction and where could you use more work? What would your life look like if you were able to answer “yes” to these questions? Can you be specific now, or will it take some soul-searching to figure that out?

Check back for part 2 of Creating Your Perfect Work Week for concrete suggestions on ways to build satisfaction with your business. My suggestions will help you narrow the gap between where you are now and where you would like to be. Expect to revisit these areas throughout your career in private practice, especially as you advance in your career and skills, experience personal life changes in relationships and parenting, and do your own work in personal therapy.

Visit Ashley Eder, LPC's practice website

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Photo (c) Can Stock Photo

[Video] Peek Inside This Office With Soothing Mountain Views

I felt calmer just watching this office tour by Ashley Eder, LPC. Ashley does a great job conveying a serene setting and amazing mountain view. Angel, Ashley's therapy dog makes an appearance in this video too. Watch for the darling accent pillow on the therapy couch. I want those. Thank you Ashley for sharing your office with us.

To find out more about Ashley's practice visit

If you’re interested in submitting a YouTube virtual office tour video get details here.


A Day In The Life: Meet Body-Centered Therapist Ashley Eder, LPC

Ashley Eder, LPC Meet Ashley Eder, LPC and her therapy dog "Angel." While I know therapists who've brought their dog into the therapy office occasionally (it wasn't necessarily "therapeutic" for colleagues or clients), Ashley is the first therapist I've met who uses a therapy dog as a purposeful tool in clinical practice.

It makes sense that certain clients would feel at ease and find contact with a dog to be calming during therapy sessions. In her Boulder, CO private practice, Ashley specializes in body-centered psychotherapy and mindfulness interventions to treat somatic complaints, such as body image, self-harm, chronic pain, abuse recovery, and eating disorders in young adults in their teens and twenties.

In addition to her clinical practice Ashley provides counselor education, training, community building and supervises other counselors toward licensure. See how Ashley spends her day balancing family (she's a mom of one) and her clinical practice.

A Day In The Life

January 23, 2012


Wake up to the sound of my 15 month old son chattering to himself in his bedroom. He is currently my alarm clock, and this is an excellent arrangement when he sleeps past 6AM. I listen to him babble and do a quick first check of email to see if there is anything I need to know heading into my day.

7:00AM - 8:30AM

This is a whirlwind of play, feeding, diapering, getting dressed, and chasing a toddler around the house. My son decides today is the day he wants to learn how to climb the stairs. My husband makes us some coffee and I eat my own breakfast. We divide and conquer morning tasks like feeding our pets and unloading the dishwasher. I check email again and see I have one cancellation for this evening, and one client in crisis and requesting a phone consult today (no safety concerns). I’ll get back to both of them as soon as my son heads to daycare.

8:30AM - 9:00AM

Check in with my client in crisis over the phone. Return email to the client who needed to cancel confirming our regular appointment time next week.

9:00AM - 9:45AM

Shower and get dressed. Get my therapy dog Angel ready for work and in the car, then we head to the office. I have a short phone conversation with a colleague whose caseload I’ll be covering the next two weeks while she is out of town. I also call my son’s pediatrician to let them know that he still has the cough I brought him in for last week.

10:00AM - 10:30AM

I get settled in to see clients. This includes tidying up my office, making sure there is water in Angel’s bowl, and pulling charts for the clients I’ll see today. I have recently switched to electronic record keeping and have a personal goal of all case notes completed for the day before I leave the office. This keeps me from getting behind. I take a few minutes to sit quietly.

10:30AM - 3:00PM

I have four consecutive sessions with a half-hour break mid-way through. It’s the beginning of the school semester and my roster today reflects that students’ schedules are in flux, which means mine is too. This time flies. It is so rewarding that it’s energizing and I feel grateful for this work.

3:00PM - 4:30PM

A break. Angel and I go for a walk to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. We eat lunch by the pond outside my office where a pair of ducks is over-wintering. Angel loves to watch the ducks. Back in the office I check in with friends over Facebook and email. I return phone calls and schedule appointments with the two prospective clients who left messages this morning, and I schedule a supervision session with one of the licensure candidates I am supervising. I send a quick note to a colleague who has been a regular referral source for me lately.

4:30PM - 5:00PM

I participate in a half-hour informational interview over Skype with a college graduate from my alma mater. She contacted me via LinkedIn for advice on applying to graduate school and pursuing a career in counseling. I’m impressed by her initiative and preparation, and it feels good to help her out.

5:00PM - 6:00PM

My last session of the day. Because I have been charting all day I finish this final case note and log out of the electronic health record system by 6:00 PM sharp.


Pack my bag, draw the shades, lock my filing cabinet, vacuum dog hair from the carpet, leash up Angel, and head home.

6:30PM - 7:00PM

I come home where my husband and son have finished their dinners. Angel and I eat with their company and we talk about everyone’s day. My husband asks if Angel was a good therapy dog and I answer “of course.” I enjoy watching my toddler roam around the kitchen and family room. His curiosity is delightful and tomorrow we will spend the entire day together.

7:00PM - 7:30PM

Baby bedtime. We all go upstairs for the diaper change, pajamas, teeth brushing, and bedtime story.

7:30PM - 9:00PM

I finally make a dent in the pile of receipts from last year’s business expenses--time to get ready for taxes. Write a rough draft of a letter of recommendation for a client. Put the finishing touches on my resume and cover letter for an affiliate faculty teaching job I’d love to have.

9:00PM - 10:00PM

Hang out with my husband, who has also been catching up on some work that was left over from the day.


In bed, I skim through email and Facebook once more before going to sleep.

To learn more about Ashley Eder, LPC and her therapy dog angel, visit

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