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Have you considered working with a mentor? Are you struggling to make ends meet because you’re undercharging for your services? Can you do meaningful work while making a meaningful living?
In this podcast episode, LaToya Smith speaks about leading with an abundance mentality with Dr. Adam Matthews.
Podcast Sponsor: Therapy Notes
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Meet Dr. Adam Mathews
Dr. Adam Mathews is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Licensed Professional Counselor and the owner of Mathews Counseling. He is also an American Association of Marriage and Family Therapist Clinical Fellow and Supervisor.
His approach to therapy starts with discovering who his clients are and the strengths and resources they have. He does not believe in one size fits all therapy so he strives to find where his clients are strong, even if they are having difficulty seeing it in that moment.
Visit Mathews Counseling, apply to join Dr. Mathews’ practice, or email them at [email protected]
In This Podcast
- Adam’s tips on growing a successful group practice
- Invest in your employees for them to invest in the practice
- Train yourself to operate from abundance, not scarcity
Adam’s tips on growing a successful group practice
- Look for and connect with great leaders and mentors: seek out mentors that inspire you and that you connect well with to help guide you in your business journey.
Let yourself learn from them and their mistakes.
- Hire and invest in the right people: be intentional with who you hire into your practice and encourage them to grow with it.
We’re going to invest in them in the way where we can do meaningful work while making a meaningful living, and that both of those things can exist.
- Know your worth and value: providing “good therapy” is not synonymous with “low rates”. You can earn a good income while connecting with your ideal clients that seek your services.
Invest in your employees for them to invest in the practice
Good business is a two-way street. You cannot mistreat or undervalue your employees while expecting them to shine in your private practice.
When you invest in your employees, help them to develop their skills, make a space for them to be heard and seen, and incorporate their needs in the business, they will be far more motivated to do good work and to become an integral part of the practice.
We say that [we] will invest in them to the level that I want them to invest in me [because] nobody’s going to invest in my practice if they don’t see me as investing at the same level.
You as the boss, and the CEO, need to lead the way. You need to demonstrate a higher level of investment in the company to motivate and inspire others to do the same because both you and them see the value of what it is that you are doing.
Train yourself to operate from abundance, not scarcity
Abundance, that mentality keeps telling me [that] there is plenty. There is going to be enough … and trusting the process that we’ve put into place.
When you are growing, whether you want to earn more money or fill a need because your waiting list is full, go slow.
It can feel like the right decision to hire quickly, but that is a short-term solution with potential long-term repercussions. Use your new abundance mentality mindset to know that there are enough clinicians out there who can fill the role that you need.
With that mindset, remember to hire the person rather than for the position.
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
Check out these additional resources:
Meet LaToya Smith
LaToya is a consultant with Practice of the Practice and the owner of LCS Counseling and Consulting Agency in Fortworth Texas. She firmly believes that people don’t have to remain stuck in their pain or the place they became wounded. In addition to this, LaToya encourages her clients to be active in their treatment and work towards their desired outcome.
She has also launched Strong Witness which is a platform designed to connect, transform, and heal communities through the power of storytelling.
Visit LaToya’s website. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Strong Witness Instagram, and Twitter.
Apply to work with LaToya.
Email her at [email protected]
The Grow A Group Practice Podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice Network, a network of podcast seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like the Practice of the Practice podcast, go to www.practiceofthepractice.com/network .
You are listening to the Grow A Group Practice podcast, a podcast focused on helping people start, grow, and scale a group practice. Each week you’ll hear topics that are relevant to group practice owners. I’m LaToya Smith, a practice owner, and I love hearing about people’s stories and real-life experiences. So let’s get started.
Welcome back to the Grow a Group Practice podcast. I am LaToya Smith, the host of season two, and today I am speaking with Adam Matthews. I met Adam through consulting work with Practice of the Practice. I hope most of you know that I am a consultant with Practice of the Practice, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with and connecting with Adam. I think since the first day that we talked, I was just always super excited about everything he’s been talking about and like he can come up with any idea and I’ll be like, that’s amazing. I love it. The last time we spoke in the consulting session, I was like, “Hey, Adam please let’s, I need to have you as a guest on the podcast because you are doing some amazing things.” Adam, welcome to the Grow a Group Practice podcast.
[DR. ADAM MATHEWS]
Oh, thank you LaToya. I’m so glad to be here. I agree, the first time we talked your energy drew me in. I was like, I connect with your energy even through a screen. It’s just exciting.
I love it. You’re definitely a visionary and that just energizes me. So thank you. Well, before we jump all the way in introduce yourself and tell people where you’re at, how long you had your practice, all that stuff
Well, like you said, I have a group practice, had that group practice, well, I had been in private practice for eight years. Our group practice started, we’re going to celebrate our five-year anniversary next month actually. I’m super excited, planning lots of parties. We have, we’re in North Carolina and we have about 18 therapists and a couple of interns right now. So we’ve grown quite a bit since we started. We started with two therapists and two interns and we’re at, that’s where we’re now.
You only have been in practice for five years?
Group practice for five years, for private practice, I’ve been in for eight years.
Got it. I want to say, goodness, this is even better than I thought it was. This is, I already thought it was great. Alright, this is awesome. This is awesome. So tell us so five years is a lot of growing from two people, well, four, you said two —
Two full-time therapists, two interns.
Now you’re at 18. Just share with the audience, for those listening, in the five years, how were you able to grow so successfully so well. What’s really helped your practice?
Well, I mean, I think it’s a, I think it’s a couple things. I mean, nobody does anything alone. So I think the biggest thing was the place I was at a place for eight years before that doing community work. I really had a boss that really invested in us as people. It was a really different place to work. Anytime I describe it to people, they can’t really fully grasp it unless you were a part of it. But she just had this philosophy of that she was going to, that we could really do anything if we had the right people involved in our plan, and that she was doing the things to really invest in us. So there was that mentality and philosophy that I brought into a group practice as well.
The thing for me that really got us going was this idea of having the right people and that we’re going to invest in them in a way where we can do meaningful work while making a meaningful living, that both of those things can exist. I think sometimes in the therapy world, we separate those things and we say like, we can, we feel like to do meaningful work, we have to take less money or take less benefits or almost, it’s almost that mentality of suffer for your work to be able to do that. So I really wanted to fight back against that in a group practice way and so when I started a adding people, we really adopted this abundance mentality, abundance versus scarcity mentality that there was enough out there and that we were going to go at, we were going to go after it.
We invested in things like, what did our employees really want to be doing? What did our therapists want to be doing two, five, 10 years down the road, and how could we help them get there? Instead of saying, we’re going to protect and we’re going to defend our turf, we said, okay, where do you want to go? Where do you see yourself? Who are the clients? At first, I started as a couples therapist and then I had somebody that interviewed with me that I just, I felt her and I really connected and I felt like she was good people and the right people that I wanted on my team. She wanted to see kids and teens so we expanded to seeing kids and teens and said, how can we invest in that? How can we invest in her to be able to do that?
I think that has helped us to really create a space that people want to be a part of. Most of my people that I get, I recruit from because my therapists say, “Hey, I’ve got this friend from grad school, or I know this other therapist.” Then that’s how we typically get people to come and join our practice because they’re excited about it. They’re excited about being there. It’s like that idea that if I’m going to spend that much time at work like we oftentimes see the people that we work way more than we see our own friends and family sometimes and so as far as just like number of hours, so I want those people to be good people and I want them to be excited about, I don’t want them to dread coming to work. So we’ve worked really hard to lean into that and create a space and environment they want to be a part of.
Definitely worked out and I love it. I love what you said even when we were chatting before we got on and then now the meaningful work while making a meaningful living. I like what you said too, like, again, sometimes people think of therapists or this profession like the starving artist. Like, I’m doing art. This is helping people and it doesn’t mean you have to be broke.
Yes, that’s exactly right. I think it’s, sometimes it can be a taboo subject to talk about like, that we’re wanting because we don’t want to, and I always tell my folks, like, we’re trying to balance two things. We’re trying to balance like how do we do good work for clients? How do we make it important for them? How do we make it accessible for them? But also, we want to do so in a way that helps our business to be sustainable and helps contribute to being able to give them good wages, giving them good benefits, contributing to what we’re doing as a practice for our people, for our employees, for our therapists, that they feel connected to the work that they’re doing. Because otherwise, if you’re struggling to put food on the table, the work with your clients is going to suffer. So we have to be able to do both things.
This is definitely, I know we’re talking about culture here. We’re creating this environment where everybody feels, this is what I hear. Everybody feels seen, feels heard, feels valued. Now because you see me, you hear me, you value me, I’m going to give you more.
Yes, that’s right. We say that we’re, I’m going to invest in them to a level that I want them to invest in me. Nobody’s going to invest in my practice if they don’t, if they don’t see me investing at the same level. So the idea is like, and in some cases, I think as a boss, I have to invest more. Because like, the more that I can invest, I’m asking them to rise in and meet me where that is. So that investment for me has to be at a pretty significantly high level and I have to demonstrate for them that level of investment so that then when they are, like you said, when they’re seen and heard and valued, they’re going to invest back and they’re going to take ownership of what we’re doing. It’s all going to, it all leads to better things for everybody.
This seems like I absolutely love it. I think from talking to you over the last few months is, I can tell that it comes natural to you to want to do, but because it’s, what if it’s not natural to somebody else? Because it is, and if it’s not natural, it’s so huge and big to take on, do you find that the hiring, the onboarding process, because it’s such an investment, you try to do like maybe one person at a time or one person in a period it’s because it’s so much to do.
Sometimes I think as like, we’re at a point now, we just, this summer we onboarded six different, six people in the course of two months. But that I think is because it, I would say I would disagree with a little bit. I don’t know that it comes naturally for me. I think it comes, it feels natural to me now because I’ve had people that have shown me what it could be like. I’ve had people that have shown me this is how work could be and so I’ve taken that and gone, okay, now I need to show other people what work could be. I think one of the things we talk about a lot is that people come in, they don’t trust us. They don’t trust it at first. They’re not going to, they don’t trust that level of investment well, because we all had horrible bosses or horrible places where we work, toxic places where we work that have really drained us and where we’ve gotten burned.
So I think what’s happened at this point is that we’ve demonstrated, we’ve tried to be consistent enough and demonstrated enough to say, you can trust that this is actually who we are and we want to invest at this level at you. We want you to, we talk all time about being able to make mistakes, being able to come to us when you make mistakes, being able to not get it perfect. Like we’re not looking for perfection. That people get to dream outside of our company right, outside of our practice, and that’s okay and we want to talk about that and we want to celebrate that with people. So we’ve done that enough that then it starts to, my leadership starts to add the people that have risen up have started to adopt it. Then those people can pass that on to the people that they’re supervising.
So I think it’s become natural for me because I’ve operated in it for so long, but I had people show me that first and that that’s what it could be. So my hope is that I’m showing it to my employees, to my therapist so that they can, they can go, oh, it can actually be, this is how work could be and this is how an environment could be. This is how our culture could be, and then we’re going to adopt that and it’s become natural for them and then they can pass it on. But at first, you’re absolutely right, I had to do it one-on-one. I had to spend a lot of time investing in people and at a much slower pace because, but then it began to double. It multiplied. In a sense, when I get people to say, oh, I buy into this so much that I want to pass it on to other people.
When you look at, okay, I’m building culture, I’m doing this investing and building up, I love what you said too. I just, the last interview I had me and the therapist, I connected with her on the fact that I don’t want the therapist here with me to see whoever I throw at them. I want to see the population. I want them to see who they thrive off scene. So when you look to hire somebody, what I hear you saying is, hey, I’m hiring people who I know are just different and valued. So then what are you looking for in that interview process? Is there a specific therapist you’re looking for or skillset or what is it?
I think the simplest answer is I’m looking for somebody that I would be okay going on a decently extended road trip with, like that idea that somebody that feels really comfortable in their own skin, or at least could get there really quickly with some coaching. I want them to be hungry. I do want that hunger. I think that hunger is really, really important because I want them to be hungry for seeing clients and hungry to learn and hungry to grow. But I’m also, I’m mainly looking for like, if we can connect on something, if we can connect on some way that our, we could spend, I’m excited to spend some time with them. They’re bringing something to the table that goes, oh, I want more of that. I want to, it’s my own.
You mentioned vibing off of, like I’m wanting to vibe off their energy and go, I want more of what they’ve got. Then that really helps me know, okay, you’re going to be somebody that we can work with and grow and you don’t have to have all the, I can teach you skill. I can teach the skill for working with clients if for some reason you don’t have that. I mean, I want you to have something. I want you to have the foundational pieces, obviously, but more so I want you to be comfortable enough in your own skin and hungry to grow and learn. If you have those things and we’re connecting on some level, like I recently hired somebody and, in the interview, process we talked, well, we talked for probably 20 minutes about Gilmore Girls and our love for Gilmore Girls and I was like, oh, I could talk to you forever about, and we had just some other similarities like that.
We were like, oh, I love this. That wasn’t the only thing she was bringing to the table, obviously, but it was that extra thing that I was like, I can connect with you and I can have the sense that I could trust you and we have that and I want more of what you’re having and that makes it fun. We also go through a group interview process. I think that’s really important as well where I, we’ve done this forever where we, I want you to have a piece that where you can connect to our group. I think one of the important things to say is there, I want to see them with the group because I want them to fit like a puzzle piece. They don’t have to be an exact replica. I want them to bring something to the table that the rest of my group doesn’t have or doesn’t have a lot of but at the same time that they’re one of the same, they’re cut from the same cloth and are going to come in and be part of us, but also bring something to the table that we don’t have
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Have you ever had anybody that came in and you realized, man, they may not be a good fit when they were here? Were you able to coach them to fit or were there somebody who realized what, this probably isn’t the best?
We’ve had both. We’ve had both. We’ve had somebody that, like, really, at first it was a real struggle and we were real questioning whether they were going to be able to be a fit but the thing for them that might have different from somebody that we’ve had to say it’s not going to work, is they were just open. So we could talk through the difficulties that we were having and they’re my favorite people now, honestly. Because there was like that sense of, we were able to say, hey, I’m pretty direct as a boss and as a communicator, at least I hope I am. I try really hard to be and say like, so I’m not afraid of hard conversations. So when we go into those like people that, the folks that have been able to be open and hear what I’m saying and trust that I have their best interest at heart.
That’s work on my part. Again, I have to really, I have to prove myself trustworthy in that I have their best interest at heart. But when I’m able to do that and we are able to work through it, and they’re able to hear that and take and hear what we’re talking about, they’ve been able to to shine and they’ve been able to push through that. Again, we have this connection now because we’ve had to go through that. But there have been a couple people where, and honestly, that’s what I’ve talked to my leadership team about it a lot, is like we learning how to trust our guts just a little bit better. Looking in hindsight, I mean, hindsight is always 2020, but looking back, we’ve gone, we moved too fast. We didn’t put them through the right processes. We didn’t, we were trying, in almost every case where it hasn’t worked out, we were trying to fill a position rather than find the right person. That to me has been as maybe the difference in when we find the right people, typically we can work through those difficulties, but when we’re just trying to fill a position, we make all kinds of hiring mistakes.
That’s a just a great example. One of what I hear you saying that’s even from what I know is against like your culture that you’re trying to create. Two, it’s just, that’s a hard and a painful lesson to learn, just trying to get somebody in here real quick it makes sense in that moment. It gives you peaceful a moment, but in the long term we realize like, man, that wasn’t the best move.
Well, that’s exactly right. That goes against that value of abundance that we have too, because in those moments, I am operating out of a scarcity mentality. I’m scared because of what the economy is doing. I’m scared because of where our numbers are at. I’m acting in a, I’m coming from a fearful place because I’ve got to get somebody in that role so that we can continue to do what we’ve been doing and do it well, or we can, whatever it is that’s coming from a real fear-based place, but abundance, like that mentality keeps telling me there is plenty. There’s going to be enough. There’s going to be, it’s that, and trusting that the process that we put into place, the hiring, for the hiring the person rather than for the position really helps.
It keeps me grounded in that abundance and then it keeps me from operating now that fear, when that fear creeps in, like all of a sudden, I’m panicking, I’m rushing, I’m short-circuiting the process and it just leads to, it leads to not good things for me, for the practice and for the person that we’re hiring. Because even if they’re not the right fit, we want to take care of them and we’re not doing that when we rush them into a position that’s not a good fit for them.
Absolutely. Now, tell me, so you created, I love the culture, I love what you just said too about the abundance mentality, but you’ve created such a plan and a vision for the practice. Even as you’re building people up, you see them, you hear them, you value them, but it doesn’t stop right there. You see them beyond just your, in the office on your team. So let’s talk more about that, the directions or the track or the plans that they can choose or you most value them in.
Well, we essentially, we recognized that we had essentially three types of people, three types of therapists that were coming to work there as far as like what they wanted for the future. We had some that just wanted to, they really wanted to invest in the work. They wanted to invest in their clients in growing their own skillset and growing therapeutically in what they were doing. Then we had people that really wanted to grow professionally, that they wanted to have more and more opportunities, which mainly included things like supervision or getting more into the administrative side of the practice. Then we had people that eventually honestly just wanted their own private practice in the future. So we started working to like really what we, what I keep calling was like, we’ve laid down tracks for them to follow.
Like we’ve tried to lay the path for them if they want to choose that. So we’ve created one for each one of those. We’ve got, for the people that want to just really invest in the practice, we develop what we call the certification roadmap where we sat with them, I just had one today and a one-on-one today with somebody that wants to move in that direction. So they want, we talked about, we have a certification exchange program where if there’s a specific certification that they want, we’ll pay for it upfront in exchange for time worked. We’re doing things like a professional book club for them. We’re doing a more one-on-one mentoring, connecting them with mentors for the population that they want to work with and then working to get them certified and making sure they’re thinking through the certifications that they want to have and they want to do, and how they want to grow professionally.
For the people that want to grow professionally, we have what we call Leadership Academy, where they get to, we have a six-month curriculum that they work through and they get one-to-ones with me. But then they have a cohort of other people and we’re talking about how to be not just for supervision for licensure, but to how to get to be a supervisor for their specific licensure, but how to grow themselves as leaders, how to understand who they are so that they can pass on that to other people so that they can, and at the end of that process, then they’re going to start to get their own team of therapists to start to work with. Then the other track is called, and this is a lot, so I’m sorry, stop me if I’m talking too much, the last one for people that want to have their private practice is we’re doing what’s called private practice incubator. That’s a two-year process where they come in and they build their caseload and then they go through every quarter they have a cohort of people themselves that are working toward their private practice.
We go over all the business side of owning your own practice that you didn’t get in grad school, that they didn’t get it and none of us got in grad school. We talk about things like marketing and finance and taxes but then also their own core values for their practice and start to, and they get to work on that while they’re making a living, seeing clients and also while they’re growing their own client base. The part that I, people gape me a little bit about is that at the end of that two years, they’re going to get to take that all the clients with them, that they’ve seen in their client base. We get to launch them out into the world. Again, that’s just in line with that value for that abundance.
And also empowerment. We want to empower people, particularly people that are not going, might not necessarily have the advantages that I’ve had of being able to have the resources and the ability to launch their own practice. We want to really use the platform that we have to launch other private practices into the world. We’re just feeling like there’s plenty of people out there that are not going to therapy, that we’re still, we’re going to do well. That’s really, that’s really resonated with folks and I’m really excited about all the people that. Then we’ve had people that once when we launched all these tracks that really are finding, it’s not like everybody’s gravitating toward a private practice. They’ve all, there’s all kinds of our folks that want to move into a different one of these tracks.
It sounds like you have something for everybody. Again, it goes back to the culture. I think we’ve all been at those jobs where it seems like it’s a dead end. Like if you let the CEO or the manager tell it, our destiny was to be beneath that person, like forever.
You just, you tap out. All the same, I don’t have any, there’s no, I’m just going to be doing this, if I stay here, I’m just going to be doing this same thing for the rest of my career. It is like, there are very few people that I know that really want that. So there has to be some value beyond just, it’s not, the paycheck has to be good, but there has to be value beyond that as well.
Yes. And I love the fact that there’s different tracks, whether it be, I just want to work on my, I want to enhance my clinical skills. So yes, I want to get trained in this, this, and this, I want to be a leader, I want to teach and help raise others up, or listen, I want to do my own business. They didn’t teach this in school and I don’t want to spend a bunch of money with people. That’s not going to be helpful. So it’s like, when we come in and get started with you, man, we see ourselves somewhere greater in five years. It’s okay if it’s not here with you, but with the understanding that you’re building me up to be greater wherever I am.
That’s right. Well, because it’s going to be that anyway. At some point, if I’m arrogant enough to think that this is going to be everybody’s last job that they’re going to have for their life, I mean, come on, they’re going to go somewhere. So I feel like in some ways it’s irresponsible of me to not help them get there, like to not say, like they’re coming and they’re trusting this huge portion of their life with me. So it’s my responsibility to, it’s like that old saying like, I want to leave them better than I found them. I don’t want them to just come in and leave in the same spot. So I really feel a responsibility to that and to find ways that are that are building them up so that they can’t, and if one of my therapists goes and launches a practice that’s going to be 10 times as big as mine, I want to celebrate that. I don’t want to, like, there’s nothing, that’s a hard position to hold honestly, all the time but it’s where I want them to be. I want them to be successful and be bigger than I be bigger than I am. Go do it. That’s awesome. That’s incredible to have been a part of, to be able to be a part of that.
Yes, I agree. I think it’s a great point that you just made. I feel you already know, I get hype about it and I feel the same way, celebrate others, lift others up, boost them. I think there’s a way we all win.
Yes, that’s right.
So if another therapist, they’re listening to this, like, yoh, that sounds dope, I want to do it, what does that look like? Do you coach other people? Can they get in contact with you? What does that look like?
If they go to mathewscounseling.net, there’s all our contact information is there. If they want more information about joining our practice, they can go to mathewscounseling.net/hiring and get more information there. Even if you want to just see like on that page, our core values are listed, our philosophy. We also have a little video of our employees talking about what it’s like to work at our practice. But yes, I am, I do coaching, I do consulting, I do all kinds of all kinds of stuff, but mostly right now I’m just like wanting to pull people in to say, hey, you want, if this is what you want, let’s help you figure out a way to get there. That’s my overriding principle there.
Awesome. You can help people build practice in other states too. They don’t have to be right there.
Absolutely. Oh, hundred percent. Hundred percent.
This is good stuff. If I didn’t already have my practice, I would be gone now. Good stuff. I’m just excited. Any other words you want to leave with somebody, even if they’re just starting to grow their practice, maybe they decided they want to do it, they haven’t even hired anybody yet, or they just hired a first person? What words of encouragement, especially with that abundance mentality, would you want them to hear?
In any way that you can get yourself around good people. It would be, in any way, whether it’s a peer supervision group or it’s a business coach like yourself, if it’s from their admin positions, whatever it is, it’s surrounding yourself with good people that you can grow and learn from as well. Because it’s just, none of us, like I said in the beginning, none of us do it by ourselves. So I think you cannot underestimate, and I did for a long time, like underestimate my need, excuse me, my need to be around people that make me better. I’m not in competition with, I’m not in competition with anybody. Like my job is to pull those people in and then invest in them and learn from them and grow with them. I’m a better boss. I’m a better leader. I’m a better supervisor because of the people that I’ve surrounded myself, both peers and employees and therapists.
Awesome. I love that. Get around good people.
I love that. Well, Adam, thank you so much for sharing some of your time here in this space. I know we talk in other spaces, but I thank you for even being a guest on the podcast. I appreciate you.
Thank you for having me.
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