When I started undergraduate school, I planned on becoming a veterinarian. When I learned about all of the science classes I would have to take, I decided against it because I thought I would fail. I changed my mind about potential degrees multiple times the first year of college before deciding on a degree in psychology. I graduated with my BA in psychology then went on to get my Master of Clinical Psychology degree. I worked in the field for just two years before I was mentally and emotionally burnt out. During my time as a mental health and addictions therapist, I learned so much about people and human psychology. I feel lucky for this time and everything I learned, but I know it was not quite the right fit for me.
A therapist friend of mine recommended that I look into going back to school for physical therapy. I very honestly did not know what a physical therapist was. She provided me with the name of a physical therapist she really liked and after shadowing her for one day, I knew it was what I was supposed to do. So, I went back to undergraduate school to do all of the science classes that had intimated me as a freshman in college. After a year of undergrad, I then went on to complete the 3 long and arduous years of PT school.
Since beginning my work with runners in June, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on where in the PT running world I am meant to be. Where is my path? Who am I meant to work with? So far, I have learned that I want to focus as much energy as possible on injury-prevention. Who likes being injured? No one. It is miserable. So, instead of waiting to get injured to see a PT and being out of running for weeks or months, why not provide a service to help runners do what they love to do without any interruptions?
Along with wanting to help runners stay injury-free, I feel I am meant to work with new runners to coach them through effective training that will not only help them reach their running goals, but also to stay injury-free. Novice runners are much more likely to get injured than more experienced runners. I want to help change that! I love the energy and enthusiasm of new runners or runners wanting to run a new distance. It would be such a joy to be a part of their running journey. Along with new runners, I feel that it is my role in the running world to coach individuals who are managing sobriety or mental health concerns. I want to help these runners take a holistic approach to their training and discover how running plays a part of becoming healthier and living the lives they want to live. Although I am not a licensed mental health or addiction therapist (it would be too much work to maintain two licenses), I am able to provide very basic services that are within the scope of practice of physical therapists to help runners discover how their mental state impacts their running and how running can play a role in their self-growth.
I am very excited to work with runners with my private PT practice where I do not have to be concerned about restrictions from insurance companies (although there are a few exceptions), or the stress of meeting the demands of clinic owners. I am able to work with only runners rather than seeing whoever gets put on my schedule. I am able to provide the services that I feel would be the most beneficial for runners rather than focusing on billing codes. Although setting up my own private practice has been an insane amount of work, I know it will be worth it so I have the freedom to do what I think is best for runners. I am so excited for the journey ahead of me and I finally feel like all of these years of hard work have paid off!