Tuesday, January 20

Counseling by the Numbers

Here's a quiz: Who should get paid more: Your lawyer, or your counselor?

If you guessed "lawyer," buzzzzzzz.

Your lawyer spent less money, and less time, to become a lawyer than your counselor spent to become a counselor.

And every year, your counselor keeps spending more than your lawyer to stay in business.

Becoming a therapist in Washington State is SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive than becoming an attorney. Not only does it take three to four years longer to become a therapist than an attorney; in most cases, the actual annual cost is simply higher to maintain a practice.

You enjoy looking at numbers? Here's a chart!

We compare the costs of becoming an attorney (JD) in Washington State to the costs of becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) -- one of the eight credentialed categories of mental health practitioners in Washington. 

One-Time Costs Amortized Costs
Over Career
Expense Attorney Therapist    Attorney
 (20 years)
 Therapist
  (16 years)
Bachelor's in psych (1) (2)
$91,304
$91,304
$4,565
$5,707
Grad school (3) (4)
137,574
149,461
6,879
9,341
Internship (usually unpaid)
one summer
one year
Qualifying exam (5) (6)
585
536
29
34
Required post grad work (7)
none
20,000
none
1,250
Annual license registration (8) (9)

355
407
Annual continuing education (10)

1,500
1,800
Annual liability insurance (11) (12)

1,000
314
Property insurance/Annual average

500
500
Small office rent/Annual average

6,000
6,000
Other expenses: Rough average/year (13)

25,000
25,000
Total annual expenses (pre-taxes, travel, other expenses) (14)
$45,828
$50,352
Average cost per client hour (15)
$29
$31

1 Craven, J. & Jones, E. (2013). Best Majors for Law School.

2 Average annual cost: $22,826 x 4. From (2015). What's the Price Tag for a College Education?

3 Law School Cost Calculator, 2015-2016. (University of Washington's three-year program, at an annual fee increase of 2%, and including $18,573 annual cost of living).

4 Cost of Tuition, 2014-2015. Antioch University's four-year Marriage and Family Therapy program, at an annual fee increase of 2%, plus $18,573 annual cost of living.

5 Washington State Bar Exam, 2015.

6 Department of Health's LMFTA initial application and license fee ($241), plus AMFTRB national board exam fee ($295).

7 Marriage and Family Therapists must spend two years working under supervision following graduation. Many work as unpaid interns; others work under paid supervision, at an average cost of $100/hour for the 200 required hours of supervision.

8 WSBA annual registration fee.

9 AAMFT annual membership fee ($251) + Washington DOH annual license fee ($156).

10 Attorneys must earn 15 hours per year of continuing education; Marriage and Family Therapists must earn 18 hours per year of continuing education credits. Estimated cost per credit: $100.

11 Low-end insurance estimate.

12 Discounted fee with AAMFT association membership.

13 Bare-bones costs for accounting and bookkeeping, health insurance, business licenses, billing software, utilities, internet, office equipment, furnishings, software, janitorial, consumables (paper, ink, cleaning supplies, postage)

14 Those expenses for staffing, taxes, legal compliance, travel, full staffing, and other items can run into the tens of thousands, but they're an equal expense for both attorneys and counselors. If your counselor or lawyer has a receptionist and an office larger than a shoe box, expenses (and cost per hour) will double or triple.

15 For each hour an attorney or counselor spends with clients face-to-face, there is an average of 15 minutes of associated administrative work (documentation, billing, other record-keeping). In a 40-hour week, professionals have 32 available hours of client contact. At 32 hours/week, 50 weeks a year, there are 1600 hours in a working year, before continuing education, professional development, etc.

Monday, January 19

Angels Among Us

Yes, I'm a Seahawks fan. More specifically, I'm a fan of people who work hard, overcome adversity, demonstrate loyalty and brotherhood, who set a good example for kids, who acknowledge their teammates (and give credit to everyone who supports them), and who face down their trials.

Yep, Seahawks.

So this picture from yesterday's game brought a tear to my eye.


If you look carefully, you'll see there are four, not just three, Seahawks helping push Marshawn through that yellow Pack.

Sometimes you have no idea who's helping you, who's pushing for you, who's clearing a path for you, or who's rooting for your success.

But I do know there are angels on this earth,

Wednesday, January 14

Over the Moon!

Lease signed, business licenses issued, insurance submitted, IRS notified, new offices about to be occupied. Pretty darned excited.

So...you want a tour? Of course you do!

Thursday, January 8

The Saddest Picture Ever

Don't you sometimes want to just grab life by its cute little cheeks and gobble it up? Do 500 things at once?

There's just so much to DO! No, it's not just because I happen to live near Seattle (where we're surrounded by rain forest and desert, mountains and ocean, cities and woods, lakes and rivers and ponds). There is that, of course.

But

Thursday, January 1

Resolved: Four Little Things


Sound the trumpets! We kept last year's New Year's resolution.

Our card box is nearly this nice.
Last year we bought an index card box and a pack of index cards (Thank you for existing, Dollar Tree), and each evening before bed, we'd all pause a moment and write down something we'd learned that day, something we'd accomplished, something that justified -- at least in a small way -- our consumption of oxygen for a day.

And in the end, we got this: 2014 -- A Year In A Box.

Every card feels like an accomplishment. And it feels astonishingly good to have