This time of year just has a way of causing us to think about the transitions. I don’t know about you, but there is always a bit of angst for me as the year comes to a close. This time of year is when I always want to “hit the reset button” in both my private practice and in my personal life. I kind of feel like I have things that are left undone or will not have enough time to complete before the year ends and the New Year starts. Of course that is just the calendar playing tricks on me. The truth of the matter is that the year will most likely transition fairly seamlessly without a lot of drama. I hope it will be the same for you!
Hitting the reset button…
I am taking the week between Christmas and New Years off to give myself a way to “hit the reset button” and reorganize before I get back to my regular schedule. Come January, I will start seeing clients again and focus on building both my counseling and consulting practices. Taking time off is so important for us and our self-care. Give yourself permission to do the same.
Over this past year I have learned one heck of a lot! They always say, “hindsight is 20/20”. There have been a lot of places, when I look back, I could have done better… I wish I could hit the reset button.. Not only in my therapy practice, but my consulting practice as well.
Why I started
I started The Practice of Therapy this past year with the intention of helping mental health clinicians. I want to help those who are thinking about starting or growing a private practice, find the tools and resources they need to do that. As I say on my “about page”, I have learned a lot over the years about starting and running a private practice; most of it the hard way. I want to share all that I have learned so it does not have to be hard for you.
What I’ve Learned
The most important thing I have learned, and want to continue to learn, is about YOU. I am very curious about where you might be in your journey and what information and resources will be the most helpful for you. I have learned that most of my readers and clients fall into one of three categories of people on their private practice journey.
Getting There… Almost There… There and Growing
The first category are people are what I call the “Getting There” people. They are those people that are either in graduate school or people who have finished their degree and working toward licensure in the mental health field. These people are either just curious about going into private practice or have definitely made the decision to start a private practice. What they know is that they really were not prepared in graduate school for private practice work. They need to learn what is needed to open a private practice and all the business aspects of running it.
The second category would be what I call the “Almost There” people. These people are the agency employed. These are the people that are already working in the mental health field but maybe feeling disenchanted with their current career. These people find it intimidating to think about leaving the stability of a “regular job” and make the transition into private practice. They too might not have the knowledge they need for running a business or how they can make a smooth, stress free transition to full-time private practice. Being self-employed just seems too daunting.
There and Growing
The third category would be people what I call the “There and Growing” people. These people are already in private practice but not really sure how to make their practice grow or how to take it to the next level. It might be that they are struggling to get more clients and build their case loads. Or it might be that their appointment calendar is full and that would like to add other clinicians to their practice. They also want to know how to diversify and create passive income for their work without having to overload themselves with having more sessions. What these people would really like to do is take their private practice to the next level.
Here is what you can do now to start no matter where you might be on this journey:
- Define your “why”. Why did you choose this career in as a mental health clinician? Why would you want to be in private practice? For most of us in private practice that “why” can be any number of things. But for the most part, it is because we want to be independent and want to be the very best clinician we can be.
- Define your “where”. Where would you like to see yourself in 5, 10 or 20 years from now. What would your ideal private practice look like?
- Define your “how”. Things always go better when we have a plan. Take some to time to sketch out some steps you can take now to move you in the direction you want to go.
- Begin connecting with others who are in private practice and might be at the same stage you are in your journey. Find a mentor or consultant to help guide you in your efforts.
- Get the training you need to learn how to run a private practice and small business. Listen to podcasts, read blogs or take part in a training event on private private practice.
Regardless of which stage you might find yourself in as a mental health clinician, the good news is that private practice is absolutely doable. It does require some hard work, perseverance and planning. 2017 will be the perfect time to start. Hit the reset button!
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” – Lao Tzu
By L. Gordon Brewer, Jr., MEd. LMFT – Gordon is the President and Founder of Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC. He is also a consultant and business mentor at The Practice of Therapy. Follow us on Twitter @therapistlearn. Join the Facebook Group.