How to Boost Your Confidence as an SLP

Do you ever feel like you have no clue what you’re doing in therapy? Like you’re an imposter?

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I polled a few thousand SLPs, and over 50% of them rated “lack of confidence” as their biggest hurdle. When we asked about specific treatment areas (e.g., literacy-based therapy, apraxia of speech), those numbers were even higher.

The Why

We could spend all day talking about the WHY.

Why are so many of us lacking confidence?

There are so many factors that we could “blame” for our lack of confidence…

– Our scope of practice is incredibly broad.
– We have huge caseloads.
– I’m isolated. I’m the only SLP in my school/district.
– Everyone around me is negative.

I bet we could come up with enough factors to fill an entire book, and it wouldn’t even be hard.

But what good does that do us?

Zip. Zilch. Zero.

In fact, focusing on these factors only hurts us. Especially if we’re not taking action!

My colleagues and I used to regularly have whine nights. It felt good in the moment. After all, misery loves company. After spending hours venting with my friends, I didn’t feel like I was alone in my “suffering.” However, I found myself feeling worse after these get-togethers. I was even more frustrated and sad about our situations. I felt so defeated and dreaded going back to work. My confidence completely tanked.

When I finally realized this was happening, I started looking for better solutions.

This is definitely still a work in progress, but the best solution I found is to acknowledge these factors and move on!

That’s not to say that we are going to completely ignore these problems. We’re going to acknowledge them and take time to decide if it’s something we can change or not. If I can take action to address the issue, then I do it! If not, then I let it go. (More on this later…)

Before we dive into when and how to take action, let’s take a step back.

Step 1: Taking a Step Back

You were accepted to a graduate program in speech-language pathology, which means that you’re a pretty smart cookie.

You earned a Master’s degree. No small feat.

You likely studied speech and language for 4-6 years. (Plus all of those hours of continuing education!)

You are seeking out resources to help yourself improve. (Props to you for being here!)

You have a very specialized set of skills that allows you to help your students/clients in a way that no other professional can.

You already have so much to offer.

Remind yourself of where you came from and everything that you’ve accomplished so far. That list is no small feat! Celebrate it!

Step 2: Cultivate Confidence

We don’t cultivate confidence in one day. It’s a daily commitment. It’s a habit. We gain confidence when we set goals and achieve them.

By intentionally cultivating confidence, we’ll be able to better serve our students. We’ll be brave enough to stand up when we need to stand up. We’ll feel more fulfilled in our jobs.

Now how do we do this?

Here’s a start!

Over the next several weeks, we’re going to be chatting more about…

– How to find your strengths (and use them!)
– How to set and achieve your own goals
– How to tackle goals that are completely out of our comfort zone
– Tools we can use to tackle these goals
– Examples of how SLPs just like you tackled their goals

I’m so excited to dive into these topics with you!

Comment below or send us a message with your questions/struggles!

There is such a thing as Imposter Syndrome, and SLPs can feel it just as much as anyone else. When you're feeling a lack of confidence in your speech therapy abilities, take a moment to remind yourself how far you've come. This blog post gently reminds speech-language pathologists how to boost your confidence, so click through to read it!

marisha-mcgrorty-about-mobile

Hi there! I'm Marisha. I am a school-based SLP who is all about working smarter, not harder. I created the SLP Now Membership and love sharing tips and tricks to help you save time so you can focus on what matters most--your students AND yourself.

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Comments

  1. Cheryl Lynn Messier says

    Great idea! I have found that it is easy to buy into the negative talk all around us. This takes aim directly at looking for the positive….way to go, Marisha!

      • Kourtney New says

        Hi,

        My name is Kourtney. I am struggling with building and maintaining my confidence at my clinic extern. This is an area of weakness that keeps coming up. I’m not sure how to get out of my head. Any suggestions for building confidence ,getting out of my head, taking chances in therapy.. All would be helpful

        • Marisha says

          Hi Kourtney! Thanks for reaching out!

          I felt the exact same way as a graduate student! This blog post includes my best tips, but here are a few more things that might help. (Some are a little “woo woo”, but I think they can really help!)
          – Make sure you’re prepared for your sessions! You probably have to write out plans, but taking time to prep/practice using the materials can be super helpful!
          – Visualize yourself having an amazing session.
          – Set small goals. You’re probably working 293048209834 things right now, but it can be helpful to set a small goal (e.g., I’m going to give specific positive reinforcement today.) You’ll totally be able to meet that goal, and the session will feel like a success–even if you have other areas to work on.
          – Find a quiet space to meditate (or at least take a few deep breaths) before you walk into the session.

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