The Path to Clinical Confidence

The Path to Clinical Confidence

More Training Isn't Always the Answer

By Lynn Grodzki

March/April 2020

What would cause a therapist who has a PhD, a full practice, the respect of her peers, appreciation from her clients, and decades of experience in the field to feel unsuccessful?

Naome, a psychologist in private practice for 20 years, contacted me for business coaching. She told me that she struggles with a core sense of insecurity and was worried that her lack of self-assurance may point to a serious professional deficiency. “I think at this age and stage of life, I should feel good about my work. I have a successful practice, but I just don’t feel as confident as I thought I would at this point in my career,” she said, sighing loudly. “Maybe I need more training. One course I’m interested in costs $5,000 though, a pretty steep price for me right now.” She sighed again, and frankly, I felt like sighing too.

I’ve been tracking the number of times I’ve heard stories like Naome’s from the therapists I coach. Although they range in their clinical focus, experience level, age, and background, they all tend to agree that more training is the solution to their insecurity. But is their rush to seek ever-more competence in the face of low confidence always what’s needed? This question has led me to think a lot about clinical confidence lately. What is it? What’s the relationship between confidence and competence? How can we better help therapists develop a deeper sense of self-assurance about…

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