I had numerous therapists reach out to me eager to share with others their tips for launching a successful private practice. Starting a private practice is a dream that many psychotherapists have. However, the leap from working for an employer to launching your own business can be a scary idea.
The following are some tips from psychotherapists who have successfully navigated the transition to private practice.
1. What are some of the biggest challenges in terms of transitioning from working for an employer to private practice?
Jessica D. Kramer, LCPC, NCC says, “I needed to figure out how to run a practice and how to structure my time effectively. Most people in our industry are practitioners and not business-people, you have to be both.”
Amy L. Hooper, LCSW-C, CEAP director and psychotherapist, Gaithersburg Counseling Center, and Practice Development Coach, says that in her viewpoint, the biggest challenges are, “keeping up on notes when no one is looking!! Just kidding, the hardest transition is probably learning the business end of starting and growing a practice. Most of us have learned the clinical side, but running a business requires a different skill set.”
2. What are some tips you would share for therapists looking to make the transition to private practice?
Kramer says, “Make a business plan, if you don’t know how to do that then ask someone. It is important to set goals and have a plan of attack. Secondly, learn how to get very comfortable with networking because that is also very important. And thirdly, set personal parameters regarding what type of hours you want to work, what population you want to work with and how much you want to charge and then stick with those parameters.”
“Also, invest your money in an excellent website! This is critical, do not cut corners. Work with a company that knows therapist websites and understands SEO. Additionally, make sure that you take time for your emotional well-being, self-care is critical at this time and easy to put on the back burner” Kramer explains.
3. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice when you were just starting out in private practice, what would that be?
Kramer says, “Value my time more and don’t feel that I have to do things for free in order to make an inroad.”
Hooper says she would tell herself to, “get really good, trauma informed training, and get a good supervisor. It makes all the difference in the depth of work with clients, and that’s the best way to build a practice, to be a highly skilled clinician.
Join the Conversation
While starting a private practice can be scary, many share that it was an incredibly rewarding endeavor in the long-term. Often it is through taking personal and professional risks that we are able to truly grow as people and professionals.
However, private practice is not for everyone. Thus, it’s important to look inward at what you truly desire in regards to your career and then to take steps towards achieving your dreams.
I’d love to hear your tips for making the transition to private practice in the comments below!