BEYOUROWN Meets Alicia Hite

Alicia Hite is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, has been practicing for ten years, and is currently the owner of Springs Psychotherapy LLC, a private practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Alicia is passionate about ending the stigma around mental health and hopes to see therapy become not only normalized but also something that is routinely utilized by everyone.  In her practice, Alicia assists individual clients with working through past trauma, finding their voice, and becoming fully authentic in all aspects of their life.  Alicia also assists couples with breaking through their negative patterns, conflicts, and healing from betrayals in order to achieve healthy connection, communication, and consistency within their relationships. 

When Alicia is not in the therapy room with clients, she is typically tending to her other business that she founded in 2020: Prepping The Practitioner which offers business coaching services to other mental health providers.   Alicia learned along her own private practice journey how unprepared therapists typically are when it comes to being a business owner which led to her having to learn the hard way how to build a successful business.  Alicia’s goal is to not only help other therapists avoid mistakes she made along the way but to be able to build, maintain, and love their private practices!

Lastly, Alicia works as a meditation teacher for Insight Timer, the number one free meditation app.  Alicia has seen how meditation truly has the power to heal and wanted to give this gift to others as well.  Whether it be to increase concentration, better sleep, or promote calmness, listeners will find a variety of guided meditations that Alicia offers. In her free time, Alicia enjoys spending time with her partner and children as well as hiking, cooking, writing, and spending as much time in nature as possible!

Thank you for interviewing with us today, can you introduce yourself to us Alicia?

Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me! My name is Alicia Hite and I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  I’ve been practicing for ten years, and currently am the owner of a couple of different businesses. My main business is Springs Psychotherapy LLC, a private practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado. My second business that I founded two years ago is Prepping The Practitioner, a business coaching service which assists other therapists in learning how to build, maintain, and love their private practices.  Outside of being a business owner and entrepreneur, I also am a mother, partner, avid hiker, reader, and meditation teacher.   

Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?

Absolutely!  So I knew from a pretty young age, I think probably about sixteen that I wanted to do something in the mental health field.  This knowing was partly from having my own experiences in therapy and seeing what was helpful and not so helpful as well as feeling like it was a greater calling that I couldn’t necessarily put words to but felt deeply drawn to.  I graduated high school and went to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology.  I then went on to receive my master’s degree from the same university in Marriage and Family Therapy.  Once my schooling was complete, I worked in a wide range of settings.  Some of those included community mental health agencies, drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities, foster care agencies, elementary and high schools, as well as private practice.  

Through my time in those different settings, I became very aware of the problematic nature of the mental health system when it comes to how clinicians are treated and the unrealistic standards they are expected to uphold.  This looks like being undercompensated and undervalued, which then leads to underperformance due to extreme burn-out levels.  This is what then led me to shifting to opening my own private practice and having that be my sole focus.  I then moved a few years later in 2018 from Las Vegas to Colorado Springs and opened another private practice.  Once that became a success and I felt very confident in my business owner skills, I really wanted to help other therapists reach the same level of success and happiness that I was experiencing.  This then led to the creation of Prepping The Practitioner in 2020.   

Since starting, have you made any changes to your business model?

Being that therapists learn how to be great therapists in graduate school but are taught next to nothing about what it takes to be a successful business owner, you can probably imagine that this was a steep learning curve when it came to my business journey. The different interactions and experiences I encountered as I was learning this entire new skillset led my business having some changes throughout the years.  

Initially, I had a fear and scarcity based mindset.  This was reflected in things like me typically charging rates that were significantly less than what I should have been charging or I would feel pressured to see any clients that contacted me, even if they were not the types of clients who I felt drawn to work with.  This also looked like working way too many hours and on days that did not work best with my lifestyle.  The biggest game changer was when I did a lot of my own work around that mindset, identified where I was holding myself back, and finally gave myself permission to structure my business in a way that truly worked best for me.  That looked like charging a rate that worked with my financial needs and goals, only seeing my ideal clients, and creating a work schedule that was in alignment with what felt best for me.   

Have you ever had a mentor? If so how has this benefitted you either personally or professionally?

In my mind, I would not be where I am today or have been able to achieve this level of success were it not for the amazing mentors I met along my journey.  Those mentors not only helped me learn the ins and outs of owning a business, but they also really pushed me and challenged me to take a deeper look at where I was selling myself short and keeping myself stuck.  As one would imagine, building a business is hard work and having someone like a mentor to be your cheerleader and encourage you to keep going is an integral part in my opinion to sticking with the process and reaching your goals.  I would highly recommend anyone who is starting out on a new venture to find a person who is where you want to be down the road and pick their brain as much as you possibly can.  Those that have come before you hold so much valuable insight and can save you from making so many unnecessary mistakes along your business building journey. 

What outlets do use for marketing?

One of the best pieces of advice I heard along the way when it comes to marketing is to have five outlets that you focus your marketing towards.  That has made it feel much more manageable.  The five outlets that I utilize for marketing are my website, networking with a wide range of sources, social media, blogging, and freelance writing.  In my opinion, having a strong marketing strategy and making sure your marketing is geared towards your ideal client is a requirement to having a successful business. There are some great options out there to help business owners take their marketing to the next level and I would highly recommend all business owners ask their mentors or others that have had success in their field about what type of marketing resources they have invested in and had the most success with.   

Which methods are you using to build your own support network?

-Rates of burnout in the mental health field, especially over the last few years are disturbingly high.  Not only do mental health workers have the stress of making a sustainable living and perfecting their trade, but they also are engaging in some very heavy work with their clients.  Hence why support and consultation is so important, especially for those of us that are solo in our private practices. 

For me, I find support in attending consultation groups or meeting one on one with other mental health professionals in my area.  I also have made sure to keep in touch with a few of my early mentors over the years which has been an integral part of my support network over the years.  Lastly, I’m a huge fan of attending retreats!  Many fields out there have learned the value of hosting retreats and in my experience, nothing else I do for support leaves me feeling quite as replenished as being surrounded by my peers and focusing on all aspects of our well-being for a few days.  

What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?

“Being committed to continuous personal development is a requirement to being a successful business owner.” Whether it be coaching, therapy, books, or seminars, this is so important!  For me this has resonated so much over the years, especially during the time when I was really having to find the confidence to challenge my mindsets and start valuing myself enough to create a business that reflected that.  Without that personal development work, I may have never taken the leap out of those toxic work environments and in to creating a business that really worked for me. Additionally, all business owners will have times where they experience conflict with colleagues or clients and having done your own work to develop self-awareness and strong interpersonal skills is such a game changer when those types of tough interactions do occur.  Lastly, personal development also helps us identify and get clear on what our values and purpose are and this is vital to creating and sustaining a successful business. 

How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?

For me this has been able to be achieved by two things.  The first is charging a fee that allows me to not just meet my basic financial needs, but also to be able to do things that fill my cup so to speak.  That my look like my own personal development work, vacationing with my family, going to retreats, and having time to write and nurture those other aspects of my life that bring me true joy.  Secondly, giving myself permission to only be available during those hours of the day and days of the week that work best for me has been crucial in maintaining that work/life balance.  

Before when I used to believe that I had to be available 24/7 to be successful, I would feel so stressed, resentful, and guilty that I wasn’t around enough for my family.  All those feelings not only weigh on us as humans, but they prevent us from doing our best work in our businesses.  Once I became firm on my boundaries with my work schedule and availability with clients, I not only felt better internally but I also noticed a huge shift externally.  Being in a good place allowed me to show up more fully in all aspects of my business which led to a new level of success that I hadn’t previously seen before.  

Name a seminal point in your career so far?

I would say the biggest seminal point was when I made the transition from working in toxic work environments to becoming a business owner, and more specifically when I gave myself permission to create a business that worked for me.  There is a very problematic belief in the mental health field that you do not go into this field to make money or that you are somehow unethical or uncaring if you charge a certain amount to work with clients.  This belief is what causes people to end up burning out and leaving this field.  Instead of seeing that those types of beliefs are the problem, many mental health workers start to believe that maybe they are the problem.  

They question their skills, feel guilty if they want more compensation, work an insane number of hours, and then eventually question if they’re in the right field.  This is exactly why I created my coaching and private practice building business; to help other mental health workers see that it doesn’t have to be that way and remember why they got into this field in the first place.   The more of us that refuse to accept those outdated and unhealthy beliefs, the more amazing therapists there will be and the more humans out there will be able to receive quality mental health care.  

What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?

Ultimate career satisfaction is two-fold for me.  The first part comes when I see a client not only reach their therapy goals but see the difference in how they carry themselves and witness them experience what is like to truly achieve optimal well-being.  When I hear them reflect on their progress and all the positive changes they have noticed within themselves and their lives, I am filled with so much gratitude for having been able to witness their transformation and walk alongside them during their journey.  The second part of ultimate career satisfaction for me is when I can help other mental health providers go from feeling burnt-out, underpaid, and undervalued to confident, fulfilled, and loving their careers.  Not only am I so thrilled to see them reach this new way of being, but I also feel such great hope for our field knowing that this is the type of person that will be providing therapy to clients out there in the world.

Are there any leading entrepreneurs or SME leaders that you admire and if so, why?

I would have to say Oprah.  Despite the countless number of hardships she has faced throughout her life, she still has prevailed which is a true testament to her resiliency, passion, and conviction.  Success to her is not simply based off how much money she has in the bank but also how she is able to give back to others as well as by how she chooses to live her life.  Oprah is someone that has a great deal of influence in the world and she does not take this lightly.  She is committed to personal development and growth which doesn’t just make her admirable but also makes her a great leader.

How do you define your own success?

Success to me is feeling like I have reached my goals in four distinct areas: client care, work/life balance, giving back to my field, and financial.  If I can look back on any given month and feel like I showed up fully in the therapy room for my clients, made time for my self-care as well as my family, found a way to help other therapists, and felt secure financially, I am guaranteed to also have felt extremely satisfied with my career that month.  Living a life in which I have a career that I look forward going to most of the days I wake up is a win in my book!

Finally, What can we expect from you this year?

I have plans in the works currently to expand outside of the therapy room and begin offering coaching services!  I have seen such a need for this type of consistent individualized support in my own life as well as in others.  Additionally, there is such a high need for support and not enough therapists to go around so while coaching is not therapy, it can be just as valuable, if not more valuable.  Coaching will also allow me to work with clients anywhere in the world; therapists are confined to only seeing clients that reside in the state they are licensed in so it is rather limiting in that regard.  I will be launching those services in the fall of this year as well as releasing an e-book titled How To Create a Life Worth Living that I’m currently wrapping up final edits on.  You can never be too sure what else may end up coming to fruition as I am someone that will say yes to a wide range of opportunities, even when they are unexpected!

 

 

Instagram: @springspsychotherapy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aliciahitemft

Website: https://springspsychotherapy.com

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