Starting a Private Practice in Counseling
Is it Right for You?
You’ve always dreamed of starting a counseling private practice. You love the idea of setting your own schedule, being your own boss, and meeting with your ideal clients. But how do you know whether private practice is right for you?
Today I’ll offer a few tips to help you see if private practice might be the right fit for you. You should be able to walk away after reading this post with a few easy action items to help you find the answer quickly. And you don’t have to spend a dime!
It’s really important to ask the question of whether private practice is a fit for you. I see plenty of colleagues dive in headfirst into private practice, only to discover that it really is not the best fit for them. Run through the tips in this checklist before you ever get started in private practice. You can thank me later.
Private practice is a business
This is more of an announcement than it is a tip. Make no mistake about it: private practice is a business. It’s a common misconception that if we equip ourselves with all the clinical tools and stay up on the research, we get an office and we put a couch inside, that that’s all that it takes to run a private practice. And that is absolutely not true!
So I need you to get your head wrapped around this idea. If you want to succeed in private practice, you need to believe and understand that it is a business. Can you focus on creating a vision? Can you execute a business plan? Are you willing to devote a significant amount of your time to marketing? Especially at the beginning you’ll spend most of your time marketing.
This is all part of starting a business. It’s a SUPER important first step to ask before you consider whether this is a good fit for you.
Don’t worry, I will offer you the tools you need to get your business up and running. For now just focus on whether you’re up for the task!
Talk to therapists who are already in private practice
This is hands-down THE best tool to help you figure out if private practice is a good fit for you. We always think we have an idea of what private practice looks like, but without actually talking to someone we have no idea what being in private it looks like.
What better way is there to understand what private practice is like than to go ahead and interview some people who are already in private practice? See if you can find people who have been doing it for a little while. They can give you a bit more perspective on it.
If you already know therapists in private practice, great! Go ahead and reach out to them. Be bold! If you don’t know any therapists in private practice, no need to be fearful. It’s okay to reach out to strangers.
I know reaching out to strangers can be a nervous process, but it’s part of networking. It’s a good way to practice because you will reach out to other therapists when you start private practice anyway. So go ahead and reach out to some strangers!
Check in with yourself
Really ask yourself: is private practice a good fit for me? Am I going to love this job so much that I’ll still be all-in a year from now, let alone three years from now? Can I dedicate myself to the amount of work needed to create a business day after day all by myself? If private practice isn’t a good fit for you it’s really helpful to identify that before you’ve spent a dime on starting private practice.
If after going through these tips you’re checking in with yourself and you’re saying, I’m all-in on the private practice thing, sign me up! I’ve been there, it’s a wonderful place to be! I hope you’ll come along for the ride with me. I’m excited to help you start!
I know the process of starting a private practice can seem daunting and overwhelming, even amidst the excitement that might be there. If that is you, be sure to sign up for the email list to get free information about how to start and grow your private practice. I share tools that I’ve learned the hard way about starting private practice so that hopefully it doesn’t have to be so hard for you.
Ready for the next step? Check out my next post on how to Create a Business Plan for Private Practice in Counseling.
Until next time, from one therapist to another: I wish you well.