013: Burnout Check-in, Podcast updates, and no pants

December 6, 2023
Joy After Burnout Podcast Cover Art

In this episode, Dr. Jen Blanchette reflects on her own experiences with burnout and the need for change. She discusses the challenges of overworking and feeling the need to prove oneself. Dr. Blanchette also shares personal reflections on family time and the impact of snow days on her schedule. She announces changes to the podcast frequency and discusses the pressure to follow marketing advice. Additionally, she encourages therapists to take inventory of their accomplishments and disappointments from the past year. Dr. Blanchette emphasizes the importance of dealing with mind drama and shares her plans for future episodes of the podcast.


  • Recognize the signs of burnout and the need for change in your career as a therapist.
  • Reflect on your accomplishments and disappointments from the past year to gain perspective.
  • Deal with mind drama and negative thoughts that may hinder your decision-making process.
  • Take time to appreciate the positive experiences and wins in your role as a therapist.

Links all my stuff free and paid stuff including my free 20- minute consult for therapist who are done with doing so much 1:1 therapy: linktr.ee/drjenblanchette

Speaker A: This is the Finding Joy After Burnout podcast, a podcast for therapists and mental health professionals. Together we unravel Burnout and find our road back to Joy. Here’s your host, Dr. Jen Blanchette.

Speaker B: Hey, therapist. Welcome back to the Joy After Burnout podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Jen Blanchette. Again, so I recorded this is my second time recording this episode. If you ever become a podcaster, you have to frequently check your audio settings to make sure that the correct mic is actually recording because what did record sounded like, I recorded it in a tin can. So it’s always fun. Pro tip if now I’m a podcasting pro, I guess. But if that happens to you, check your audio settings please, because it’s painful. Okay, so this is a short episode. I’m going to talk about some changes to the podcast and why I’m changing that is because I am just prone to burnout. Y’all, that’s what happens to me. I start things, I go hard into them and I burn myself out. That’s just what happens. That includes this podcast. So I don’t have it all figured out. I wish I did, I don’t think I ever will, and I think that’s just human. So I’m accepting that. But I think I’ve taken on too much with regard to this particular project and I don’t want to stop. I feel like I’m onto something that I can really help people. And I do think that thinking about your career as a therapist in a really deliberate way, instead of just trying stuff is really what you need to do. I wish someone would have stopped me and said, stop it, there’s a better way. Believe me, I know there was. So I was reflecting on my burnout, right? My own burnout. And I am currently working for a school as a consultant. And I took on a lot of valuations. And I have this thing in me that feels like I need to feel useful. I need to feel like I’m competent, that I can do a lot of work, apparently. And I think that comes from scarcity, from some difficult experiences. If I even take that back, like I kind of did a float back on myself. So in EMDR we do a thing called a FloatBack or we think about the first time we experienced a particular emotion and that nervous system state of feeling like I had to do more was kind of rooted when I was an intern. So on my internship, I worked at an agency and I worked ten hour shifts. I don’t know how I did therapy for 10 hours, but I was doing therapy for 10 hours and I was seeing some of the highest Acuity level cases. So the cases I was working on were really difficult, really challenging. Now that I’m more in mid career, I feel like I don’t see as many challenging cases. And that is just true for our beginning clinicians that they tend to see the sickest patients. And I don’t know why that is, but that is that way. I’d taken on a lot of evaluations, kind of rooted in this thing that pops up for me when I feel like I’m not doing enough, that I have to kind of prove myself at a new job or a new situation where I’m consulting for that. I can hack it, whatever. I also had people come into town for the holidays. They just left, actually, yesterday. And I feel bad because my family I’m from the south, originally in Virginia, and most of my family now lives outside of North Carolina. And they came up, and it didn’t snow here in Maine, and it snowed like the next morning. It actually snowed two mornings in a row. So I recorded this yesterday, but then I had to re record it now. And we’ve had a nice, beautiful dusting of snow. And I love when the snow is beautiful, yet not hindering my activities. So it really worked out for me. And it was one of those snows that really touched on every little branch, and it was sticking to the branches, and it’s just making things really beautiful and Christmassy here, so I love that. So yesterday they had a delay of school for 2 hours. When I heard they had a delay of school, it was only like three inches of and we live in Maine. Why are we canceling school for three inches of snow? I had so much to do. I had company last week. We hosted for Thanksgiving. I had a lot of stuff to finish, and it didn’t get done. Half the stuff I wanted to do didn’t get done. I ended up working last night. I didn’t sleep much last night anyway. My kids were home in the morning, so I’m entertaining them, and I took my youngest son to the bus stop. The other one got to school earlier, and he tells me, Mom, I have to go back. I have no pants. I was like, you have no what? You have no pants. And my car happened to be in the shop that day, so I couldn’t just drive back home and get pants or tell them, all right, whatever. Just get in the car. I’ll take you to school. So my neighbor offered to take my son to school with their daughter, and so I was graciously thankful for that. Although even in that moment, I was like, really? Could you really take my son to school? I don’t want to put you out on that. There’s just this thing where I feel like I need to take care of everything and everyone and do it everything myself. And I know I’m not the only one. I know that you as well, probably are dealing with those types of things because you take care of people, and if you’re a parent, you are likely taking care of your kids. My kids are actually in the other room right now watching a show with my husband. So back to the podcast, right? I’ve been reflecting on what cadence I can really do this podcast, and part of me is listening to all the marketing people. So I’ve been podcasting since 2021, right? Yeah. So I had a podcast previously and that was the TBI therapist podcast. If you ever work with brain injury, like, check out that podcast that I did. I did about 40 episodes and I think it’s a really great resource for people who’ve had a brain injury. And that’s what I focused on when I was in clinical practice. I’m not working as a therapist currently, so great resource. But anyway, I’ve been podcasting, so listening to how to market a podcast, how to do all these things, listening to business podcasts for going on three years now that I’ve been doing this, that seems crazy to me that I’ve been doing it that long, because it just seems like a lot of work, honestly. I’ve been producing a podcast by myself, and now that I have the skills to do this and I figured out my audio and I know how to produce it myself, it doesn’t seem as hard. But there was a lot of investment of time that I put into this. And even in that, it feels like if I kind of give this up, there’s already some cost fallacy, I think, going on with my previous podcast that I ended this year as well as my practice that I closed the beginning of this year, really just felt like a lot of things ending. And they did, right? There was a lot of ending and I didn’t have a lot of energy. Honestly, going into this podcast, I was kind of doubting myself a lot. But I also feel like there’s not many people in this space talking to therapists about a different way. I think people really paint private practice as this Holy Grail. Like, if you can’t do agency, if you can’t work in a group practice, you can’t work for other people, you can go to private practice and it will be the panacea for all your ills. That’s just not true. That’s not what I found. It worked for me. So I did teach adjunct psychology classes. I’m trying to even think when I did that. So when my son was first born, it was like ten years ago, he’s ten now. And I taught, so my private practice didn’t have to produce all of my income at that time. And really I was thinking, like, I just need to replace my postdoctoral residency income, which isn’t a full income. It was like $40,000 a year. I have a doctoral degree. I need to earn more money. There’s reasons I need to earn more money. And those reasons kept popping up for us. Like things we needed to fix in our house that we couldn’t fix because we didn’t have the money, things for the costs of things for our children. And we’re really privileged to have the resources we have. And still it wasn’t enough. So I’m kind of getting off on so many tangents now as I’m talking to you this about this. But that was some of the reason why I closed the practice and why I started this podcast was really because I felt like there weren’t as many people in the mental health therapist podcast space, business space, talking about you might need to look at a lot of different options for private practice. Some people might really love it, but it can be really isolating. So I think you really have to be deliberate about how you do it. And for me as a mother, I don’t have a lot of time to network with other professionals. Maybe if you’re a different phase of your career, you can do that. You can really build that into your schedule as a therapist. But I found in being a parent that my time at work was like, I am doing therapy kind of back to back to back to kind of maximize that time so I don’t have to work five days a week. So I can have some time to do all the other things that are required for parenting, for caring for a house, all of those things. So my 40 hours a week of work really had to do with some of that caretaking for my family that I didn’t have to do before I became a mother. So anyway, I’m trying to talk about changes to the podcast, right? So the changes to this podcast are that I’m going to do episodes two times a month instead of four times a month. And I had so much mind drama about that. I was like, all these marketing podcasts tell me you need to do weekly podcasts to start building your audience. People are going to want to listen to you every Wednesday. They’re going to plan their life around you. I’m like, no they’re not. Therapists aren’t even thinking. They’ll be like, see me pop in their podcast player and be like, okay, there’s Jen again. That’s cool. What does she have to say this week? I don’t think you’re waiting around for me every week, but if you are, email me. Like, send me a message. I would be interested to know if you’re waiting for me weekly. Just so curious about that. But I doubt it. I doubt it. I think you’re like, okay, yeah, let’s listen to what’s on Joy After Burnout, because I’ve been dealing with that. Anyway, two times a month I’ll be doing this podcast, and I would love to have you message me about what you’d like to hear more of. I talk about stuff that I feel like was really important for me to hear when I needed to leave my career as a therapist. But you might want to hear something different. I hope to also have some more people on the podcast. I just haven’t had as much time to interview people, and I hope to do some more coaching on the podcast. So I want to be able to bring people who want to have maybe they don’t have resources for free coaching. I would like to coach you live on the podcast. You don’t have to show your face. I can use a made up name, but I think that’s my way of giving back to have people hear and benefit from the coaching you need to receive. If you’re trying to figure out what to do with your career because you’re done with one to one, you can’t work in your agency job or you just want to burn your practice down. Because I have been in all those different situations, believe me. So I went through so I got my coach certification this year as a career coach, and I also have received a ton of coaching. It’s like thousands of dollars of coaching myself and training about marketing business. So please utilize me as a resource. If you want to know some information, let me know. I can talk about it. So I did this coach certification, and I get my own coaching in a coaching program that I’m paying for right now. And I know some therapists are like, coaching what is we went to school so long and then coaches are just like throwing out a shingle, doing like a 40 hours certification. Believe me, I was frustrated by that as well. And I feel like it makes sense that we want a coach as a therapist ourselves that likely has similar training. I did when I hired my first coach, I hired a coach that was a therapist and they didn’t have a coach certification. They were just doing coaching as a former therapist. Anyway, my coach talked recently about taking inventory of 2023, and I really thought about some of the things I’m seeing in the online space right now. Like, let’s have a great 2024 and let’s plan your best year. And I think about all the people talking about smart goals. We’re going to make smart goals and make our goals and build our businesses. And this was a hard year for me. And if you’re burnout and struggling, it probably was a hard year for you too. And that’s the last thing I want to hear is the rah raw stuff right now, although sometimes I do want to hear it, but other times I just think I’ve done this before and I’ve gotten really excited about changes I’m going to put in my business and they’ve not always worked. So I think really trying to do it in more of a balanced way can be helpful. So she walked us through an exercise, and that’s what I’d like to do for you and put my own spin on it on the 18th. So I’m actually going to change podcast the podcast is going to come out on Mondays now, and that’s going to start on December 18. So look in your podcast player for me on December 18, I’m going to walk you through an exercise to really go through your year and your role as a therapist and what has been really good. How many people have you helped this year? How many people did you walk through the depths of their trauma? I think of those last clients that I worked with in my practice, and I’m really proud of some of that work I did. I changed people’s lives. And I know that, I know that happened. I know you’ve done that. And I feel like we just can get in the habit of seeing client after client and not really noticing the transformational work that can really happen in therapy. And I love therapy. I feel like it wants to call me back all the time, but I don’t know what that looks like if I’ll go back or not. But I love therapists, and so I want you to really think about all the things that you did this year that are great. So I want to do that. I also want to look at your accomplishments for me. I finally got my EMDR certification. I started doing MDR therapy. I think how long ago was it? Maybe it was like eight or nine years ago. And so I finished that certification. I got the CIT certification and what’s not a certification, it’s just like a distinction that’s like a consultant in training. So I’m working towards my Mdir consultant status as well. I got a personal training certification, a coach certification. I felt like all these certifications were going to help me figure out what it was going to do. It didn’t, but it’s nice to have that piece of paper. I think you therapist will understand what I mean by that. Anyway, so got a lot of certifications, that’s great. So think about that. Like, what accomplishments did you do? Maybe you’re in school, maybe you got your license. Great. When I got my license as a psychologist, I feel like it was really anticlimactic in many ways. And because you work so long for these degrees and these licenses that I think and I’m trying to remember some brain research on that, that we get a lot of dopamine, more dopamine release on the way to the goal versus achieving the goal. So it makes sense that our brains are really loving that ramp up to achieving, and then when we actually achieve that goal, that’s more difficult. And there’s some other research in when people have that pinnacle moment in their life, whether it be a promotion or certification or whatever, that they often have a relapse, like if you’re thinking about substance abuse or I think there’s other parallels. I don’t have the research study, but I know I’ve read that research over the years, many, many times. Another one is thinking about what really sucked this year, what was really depleting for me, that’s pretty easy. I closed a practice that was hard, that did not produce a lot of great emotion. I think the biggest emotion I felt closing my practice was relief. I miss my clients and I miss the work that I did. But I needed a break. There was just some deep burnout and trauma that I had in the pandemic working as a trauma therapist that I legitimately needed a break. So thinking about those disappointing experiences, going through that, and then thinking of what kind of thoughts are running in our mind about that. And so I really like a lot of the coaches that come out of the Life Coach School podcast or the Life Coach School. Not just the podcast. They have a podcast, I think. So in that school, they have something called the model. And you think it’s something like they have found the Holy Grail of how to change human experience. Yeah, it’s basic CBT. So CBT, but it made me think about, like I don’t think therapists are dealing with their mind drama. And that’s one thing that I find so important in any coaching that I want to be a part of is that you have to help me deal with my mind drama about building a business. And so if you work with me, we are dealing with your mind using techniques that I’ve utilized that I know work for behavior change, that, you know, like, you know, CBT works. It’s just you don’t want to do the homework. You just need someone to hold your feet to the fire and say, like, hey, what’s coming up for you? What’s the thought, what’s the emotion around that? Around closing your business or around leaving your agency job? Like, let’s get everything on the table and really think about the body as well. So I’ve developed my own model based off of the work that I’ve done for years, based on many of our therapeutic models for coaching. That’s what I do for myself. That’s what’s helped me make some of these moves that I’ve made over the years. I really didn’t realize how much those negative thoughts, the ants. I was 43 years old when I realized that an automatic negative thought was an ant and that I could use that acronym. Am I the only one? I don’t think so. Anyway, sidebar. So I really think, number one, we need to deal with our mind drama. That’s number one. What mind drama are you putting yourself with? Making the decisions in your practice, leaving your job, not being a therapist? How do we deal with that? Number two, you know that the mind is like teflon for positive experiences. That’s something I told my clients for years. The mind is teflon. It just goes in and goes out. And we don’t use teflon anymore anyway, so then it’s not even going to work. We have to really hold on. If we’re thinking of like polyvagal glimmers, which are those positive experiences, those safe and social emotions, we have to hold on to them, cement them into our memory, into our nervous system, because we naturally don’t do it. Humans are looking for the threat. We’re looking for the thing that’s going to cause us pain. To stay in your cushy agency job, even though it sucks, it’s safe. Your mind can’t think of it, wants to think of, oh, like doing this thing that we don’t know how to make money. No, we don’t want to do that. A new career, that’s scary. That’s a no. So we got to deal with all that mind drama that comes up. My child running in the background. You might hear them. Okay, so on the 18th, I really want it’s going to be the last podcast of the year. Really want you to go through your year, what your year has been like. What are your wins? What are the things that went well for you in your job or in your practice, in your role as a therapist. Think about your personal accomplishments. Did you get a training that changed your practice? Do you offer intensives? I did that. I didn’t like it, but I did it. Did that in 2021. Did you get a certification? All of that. Bring it all in. So what you can expect from me is that you’ll have two podcast. Podcasts. I don’t know why that word is so hard to say, but it is per month and I hope to have more. That would be great to have more. But it’s going to be like a bonus. Like, I bring you an extra episode. It’s a bonus just for you. Surprise you with something awesome. That would be great. And if this podcast becomes bigger, share with a therapist friend. That’s how it’s going to grow. And then maybe I can do it more. I can quit my job. That’d be great. I can quit the other things I’m doing. Just focus on therapists. That would be fabulous. Look for me and your podcast player on Monday the 18th. Hope you’re having a good holiday season. If you didn’t listen to my last episode, by the way, I talked about the concept of secret grief and that was based on my experiences of working with two individuals in the pandemic who passed away. And I know I’m not the only one that might have lost a client. And grief can be hard in the holiday season. So check that out. If it’s something you’re struggling with, I will see you then. Take care.

Speaker A: Thank you for listening to the Joy After Burnout podcast. Be the first to hear new episodes by following the podcast in your podcast player. This is an informational podcast only. Any information expressed by the host or guest is not a substitute for legal, medical, or financial advice.


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