What Do You Really Need When You Need Support?

I recently had a therapist come to me for coaching on how to build a more lucrative private practice. During our first session she shared with me that she felt stuck. Her practice wasn’t large enough to meet her financial needs nor did it reflect her years of training and experience.

When I asked her why she felt her practice had not expanded, she quickly answered, “I’ve done a lot of work on the psychological reasons of why I don’t have a solid practice. But that’s not why I’m here. I’m here because I am passionate about helping people heal but I don’t know the practical steps I need to take to build the practice I want”.

I understood immediately. This was someone who had hired me, not for the “how come”, but for the “how to” of business building. And when we’re feeling stuck, it’s important to understand the distinction. Since my client was so clear about what she needed, I was able to give her a strategy right away for building her practice.

So when you feel stuck, a great question to ask yourself is, do I need reassurance or do I need information? Each one serves a different purpose.

A good way to figure this out is to use this body-mind awareness technique: imagine reaching out to someone for either reassurance or information. Then take notice of how you physically feel when you picture receiving one or the other. Which type of support makes you feel calmer, more secure or excited about next steps? When you know which type of support caused those feelings, you will know who to turn to.

Here are some additional things to consider when you are wondering what kind of support you need.


• When you need this kind of support there are usually emotions clouding the picture. You may know what you want to do but find yourself holding back because of fear or anxiety.

• Receiving reassurance can be someone listening, and, or asking questions till you figure out why you may be afraid or nervous. Or it can also be someone simply saying, “go for it, you can do it”.

• For this kind of support, think of the people you trust, who are kind, sympathetic and enthusiastic about you. They will be the ones to help you gain clarity.


• When you find yourself more frustrated than fearful, you are probably in need of information. This form of support is about how to move an idea or dream from concept to implementation.

• It does not involve the processing of feelings because the sticking point is educational not emotional.

• When pondering who could support you, think about the people you respect and whose personal and professional style you admire. Schedule or book time to meet with them so that you can get moving again.

Understanding whether you need the how to do it or whether you need the you can do it, will help you figure out who to turn from there.

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