How I Created A Practice That Supported Me And My Family

By Audrey Schoen, LMFT & Founder of Balanced Practice For Therapists.
Visit her website at: Balanced Private Practice

Building self-care into your business and life is crucial. As a therapist, a mom of twins, and a wife to a law enforcement officer, I know firsthand how tough it can be to juggle multiple roles and responsibilities. Rest and relaxation aren’t just things that magically happen at the end of the day or on weekends. Because as cliché as it may sound, self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. And it’s high time we started treating it as such.

When I posted this prompt in my Facebook group, “I am a better therapist when I ___________”, the majority of the responses were things like:

  • Sleep well
  • Take breaks
  • Exercise
  • Take time for myself
  • Leave time for learning and creativity

What’s striking about these responses is that they (1) are all about self-care, and (2) require dedicated time.

Why then, do so many therapists struggle with self-care? Why are we consistently sacrificing our own well-being to care for others? Maybe it’s the culture we grew up in, where clients’ needs take priority, or perhaps it’s the familiar pattern of putting others first. But whatever the reason, it is just not sustainable.

Just like parenting, self-care doesn’t just happen; it needs to be intentionally built into our lives and our businesses. It’s about recognizing that our businesses should enhance our lives, not consume them. For me, this realization hit hard when I had my twins.

Before kids I packed my days full. Worked hard and gave everything I had to everything I did, even my self care. I could recharge when and how I needed. I felt fulfilled, excited and most of all, well balanced. I loved it. When my two babies came along, it was whole different ball game. I was on a 24-hour clock of breast-feeding, pumping, bottle feeding, diaper changing, and sleeping as much as possible. I had suddenly gone from being a hard driving and highly-productive professional to a mother living in her own version of the Groundhog Day movie. Plus childcare was expensive and I wasn’t about to sacrifice income on top of everything else. I knew my practice had to adapt to my new reality, not the other way around.

As things settled down, I made a conscious decision to prioritize my well-being first. My children became my “why,” but not in the traditional sense. They’re the reason I limit my caseload, schedule workouts before the work day, and integrate self-care into my daily routine. They’re why I avoid client appointments before pick-up time and keep evenings and weekends free. It’s simple: if I’m not taking care of myself, I cannot take care of them.

This shift meant setting boundaries, both with clients and myself. At the core, it was about designing my practice to reflect my values and priorities.

Building Resilience Through Self-Care and Smart Finances

One key aspect of this was understanding the value of my time. My fee structure had to account for everything, not just the session time. It needed to include admin, time off, and yes, self-care. It’s about valuing myself and ensuring my well-being is built into the business.

Financial planning became equally important. My plan now accounts for potential cancellations or reschedules, preventing financial stress. This buffer allows my practice to support me on my hardest days and allows for flexibility and responsiveness. It’s not just about surviving, it’s about building a sustainable business that thrives in the long run.

Letting Go of the Guilt

Building self-care into my business and life wasn’t a walk in the park. It meant confronting a lot of internal baggage – guilt and unrealistic expectations were at the top of the list.

There was a time when I equated “real” adulthood with a rigid 40-hour workweek. From time to time I would think, “If I wasn’t clocking in those hours, how could I possibly deserve a good income?”

Funny thing is, even in high school, I knew I craved something different. The traditional work model never appealed to me. Ironically, I thought motherhood might be the answer (as you already know, this was quickly dispelled by the realities of twins!). My natural inclination was to be a multi-hyphenate, juggling multiple jobs and passions – dance instructor, henna artist, CrossFit coach, website designer… you name it, I probably did it at some point. Even dabbled in backyard gardening and selling home-grown produce!

For years, I resisted the label “entrepreneur”, let alone “serial entrepreneur.” It felt like a constant battle against labels – lazy, sensitive, selfish, somehow not good enough. But deep down I knew I wasn’t built for the standard workweek. I thrive on variety and can’t be confined to just one thing.

So, I tossed the outdated rule out the window. Just as I was able to design my business around my life, I get to define what “full-time” means for me. And that’s perfectly okay!

This extends to motherhood as well. I realized that it’s okay if I’m not a full-time parent to my twins. Sure, there are moments of doubt. The occasional “am I doing it wrong?” creeps in. Will I regret not having them around more? In reality, I cannot be fully present if I am unhappy or burned out. I am a better mother when I am not with my kids all the time, and a better therapist when I have balance.

Taking a Practical Approach

Wondering where to even begin? Chances are you’re busy, so the idea of building in self care feels impossible. There are both big and small ways you can create space and better balance in both your practice and your life. Get started by mapping out a typical week in your life, then ask yourself, if this were a client, what would you tell them?

While we cannot change things like kid pick up and drop off times, as a business owner, we have a say in how we spend our time. Identify the things that you need, the things that keep you well, the things that help you stay balanced. Then start making small changes over time.

  • Add your workouts to your calendar like you would any other appointment
  • Hire a house cleaner to come a couple times a month
  • Block out 30 minutes of down time between when work ends and family begins
  • Increase your fees so you can drop a couple clients
  • Hire a virtual assistant to clear your plate

Making these changes is not always easy at first, but it’s essential.

Ultimately, prioritizing self-care isn’t about achieving perfection in every area of your life. It’s about being flexible and making choices that align with your values and what matters most to you. Some days, that might mean focusing more on our families, while other days, it might mean putting more energy into our work. And that’s okay. What matters is that we prioritize self-care and design our lives in a way that nourishes us on all levels. And when you do that, when you make yourself a priority, everything else – your business, your family, your clients – falls into place in a way that feels right for you.

Audrey Schoen

About the Author

Audrey Schoen, LMFT, Founder of Balanced Practice for Therapists

You can visit my website at: Balanced Private Practice

I’m a therapist and business consultant who helps busy therapists find balance and fight burnout by designing a private practice that supports the life they and their families deserve. I realized that in order to show up fully for my family, I needed a practice that prioritized my well-being. In less than 3 years I built a thriving fully online, private pay, premium fee therapy practice. Through coaching, courses, and community, I help other therapists achieve the dream for themselves.


Come hang out with me in the Balanced Practice Facebook Community and grab my free training to Crafting Your Balanced Schedule at balancedprivatepractice.com/schedule