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Loneliness in Private Practice

Working as a health practitioner on my own has been very lonely at times. My career path went from corporate life, sharing a building with a few thousand people to me myself and very much I. There was something very exciting and almost a little grown up about saying “I’m self-employed”. But in reality, suddenly working alone was quite a lonely place!

My first training was to become an NLP practitioner. It was so exciting to be on my new path. The training spanned six months and I loved the course and made a few friends. Some were experienced therapists or practitioners adding to their existing tool kits and a few like me were starting out as practitioners. Most of those I remember talking to worked from home. I think this was more the norm because nearly 15 years ago “complementary” therapies were still quite unrecognised and not many hubs had formed.

I became a practitioner because I’m a people person and wanted to help them. What I hadn’t expected was to feel lonely!

When I first started seeing clients, I dedicated a room in my house to be my office. It was very convenient in as much as I didn’t have to go anywhere. My children were still school run age and it worked perfectly. But after only a few months I realised that I was unconsciously only targeting new clients through friends because I didn’t feel comfortable with complete strangers coming into my home. I wasn’t marketing myself to a wider audience and so my client base wasn’t growing. It was starting to feel lonely.

I had been used to a yearly appraisal with some kind of feedback throughout my working life. Now I was left wandering if what I was doing was any good or was it just rubbish? Also, there was no one to bounce ideas off and I felt a little directionless. Sitting at home every day on my own wasn’t helping.

I took a leap of faith and moved to a Complementary health centre which was fantastic. I rented a therapy offered room for one day a week and had the support of reception staff and a network of other therapists. My intention was to build up the number of days. This was going well and then COVID happened! Could any of us have imagined becoming fulltime online practitioners before the pandemic? And of course, we only did because technology supported us. The likes of Zoom and Teams made it possible then, and now we have purpose-built services like isosconnect which make it easier and more secure.

The video culture hasn’t been all bad for me after all I have met some lovely clients who demographically I could not have seen in person. I still maintain some online sessions in my practice, but I also recognised that getting back to in person sessions was very important for me.

Although I am still operating as a single practitioner, I don’t often feel lonely now. I have worked hard to build up support around me. Some of this is online and some in person. I became a practitioner because I’m a people person and wanted to help them. What I hadn’t expected was to feel lonely!

Here are some ideas that have worked for me:

  • Find a workspace outside of your home even if it’s only for one day a week.

  • Use social media to build a network of like minded people.

  • Join forums and any governing bodies for your therapy.

  • Contact any local practitioners and suggest meeting for a coffee!

  • Join any local networking groups as this will help raise your profile and offer support.

My name is Emma, and I am a Health and Wellness coach. I work with clients who are looking for a more natural approach to their problems. Together we work through any area of their life that they want to change. It might be a health or emotional problem or possibly they are not sure yet what is really making them feel off balance.

I have a particular interest in helping women experiencing anxiety, menstrual and menopausal issues. I am a nutritionist focusing on gut health and blood sugar stability. I follow a functional approach which means looking for the root cause of any problem.

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