In my last article, I talked about the business model I am working on to justify specialist psychological services for Law Firms. My modelling has not come out of an academic vaccum and I certainly haven’t ‘appropriated’ it from the internet, so before we get to the numbers, I want to give you some context.
I work with highly distressed clients. Clients who have been through the mill. Clients who often through no real fault of their own have discovered that they have been hitched to an ex-partner who is at the far end of ‘difficult‘.
Yes, they may have had some incling that all was not well in their marriage, but honestly the shock they experience when the marriage finally breaks down and the ‘gloves are off‘ is devastating to watch.
They look to friends, to family, to Health Services, to the Lawyers and finally, to the Courts to explain to them what the hell is going on and how to make this stop. If they are lucky, they eventually turn up at my door.
It’s a slow process building trust. Most of my ‘authority‘ comes not from my degrees and clinical practice, but from my lived experience.
I know what the terror is – how can I survice? The soul searching – am I the problem? The hope – maybe it’s finally over? The eventual disgust – seeing the whole process repeat over and over again to be left feeling nothing but grubby.
There is nothing that my clients tell me that surprises me. There is no level of underhand, Machievillian lying, cheating and destructive behaviour that isn’t possible and likely. As they sit with utter astonishment in their eyes, describing money being moved, houses being transfered to other names, stalking, slander, stalling, evasion, public performance, and complete absence of compassion from a partner they thought understood the concept of ‘love‘, all I can do is ‘nod’ and say ‘no, you aren’t imagining this. ‘What you think is happening is happening’.
When I entered this ‘world of difficult divorces‘ I had no intention of staying here. I didn’t even know I was in this ‘world’ for 3 years – just wandering around fighting my own personal battle: trying to remember to breath, struggling to keep my head above water.
Then, at some point I figured, ‘hey it can’t just be me, can it?‘ so I began to reach out to Lawyers and Law Firms. I got my presentation together and I began to talk to people.
And that’s when things began to change. That’s when I realised all those years of study, all this personal horror, all this scorched in the fire of life experience, did not have to be for nothing. I had lost sight of my many years of learning. I had lost sight of my many years of practice. I had lost sight of what I had to offer. My knowledge of abuse, of anxiety, of abnormal psychology, of performance enhancement, of teams, of leadership, of occupational health, of business organising – all of it had it’s place. And I began to build.
Yes, a business. Yes, a business model. But much more than that, a team. A network of trusted professionals that I was confident of sending my clients to – legal experts, Law Firms, physical trainers, coaches, therapists, financial advisors. Professionals whose morals-in-practice (Duguid, 2012) aligned with mine. Professionals I would have sent me to, at my most vulnerable.
And it works. I have clients that I know are getting the wrap-around service they need. I see the amazing results of working across traditional boundaries. My counterparts in Law see it from their side – clients that are calmer and more realistic. We all get to breath a sigh of relief that our clients are being cared for – psychologically, legally, financially, and physically. These clients need a team and that’s what My Freedom To Thrive is out to establish.
But I am not naive enough to believe simply saying it’s ‘good for clients’ is enough – the numbers have to exist, the business case has to be justifiable. The CEO and CFO need to know that this way of working makes good business sense.
So, that’s what I set out to do – get the financial case together, so that we all win.