How to Overcome Your Fears of Starting a Private Practice

I know that people often spend hours, days, weeks and then months planning how they can start their own private practice. Most of us have no idea how to run a business so we scramble for any and all information on the subject. We didn’t go to school in this area so we listen to every podcast, read every book and connect with colleagues.

I have been there and I know that you have a million questions running through your head. Am I crazy? What if I fail? Can I afford it? Where will my office be? What if I don’t get any clients? How do I advertise? Should I bill insurance, and if I do, how do I get paneled with insurance companies? Should I only take private pay?

” I have to do this right. I only have one chance… “

Do any of these statements and questions sound familiar?

I can say that I have personally overcome all of the fears that you are experiencing and you can too.

Here’s how.

Make a List Of Your Fears

Let’s look a little more closely at some of these questions. I want you to stop and make a list and get it all out! That means you should include every worry and every fear. No one will see this list, so don’t hold back.

Examine Your Fears

Feel any better? Now let’s examine some of your thoughts using your therapist hat. Since we are all therapists, I know that you are familiar with distorted thinking patterns. Oh yes, those ‘oh-so-fun’ patterns of thought that all of us, I don’t care who you are, do!

Looking at my personal list from above, I can easily identify that all of these are distorted in some way. I am magnifying, minimizing, taking it personally, using “should’s” and “what if’s,”doing ‘all or nothing’ thinking, overgeneralizing, mind reading, predicting the future…

That’s enough self-analysis for one day. Now it’s your turn. Take a look at your list. Identify all of the distorted thinking that you have going on there. See anything wrong with this picture? Now it’s time to do some reframing.

Transform Your Thinking

Keeping your therapist hat on, can you turn around any of these thoughts on your list? You may find that some of your thoughts are so distorted that you can cross them off your list and out of your mind easily.

Prioritize the items that you have on your list. You can’t worry about how to get referrals unless you have an office to see people in. Others may be more difficult.

First, ask yourself if that thought is true. It’s likely it is not. Then, turn some of these things into action plans. For example, plan to look at three possible office locations.

Next, give yourself an accountability deadline. You have already been procrastinating and you need to see the end of the road. Until you add a deadline, everything on your paper are all just ideas and they won’t happen unless you push yourself to take the leap. This deadline might look something like: look at three possible office locations in the next three weeks and on the fourth week, make a decision.

Notice that I took one of my distorted thoughts, turned it around and broke it down into smaller, more attainable goals.

Accountability for some people can be a huge task. How will you hold yourself accountable? Or, do you need to have someone else hold you accountable?

There are several different consulting options that will help to hold you accountable. Remember this process is an investment in yourself and the people you serve.


Melinda Vesely, LCPC, CADC is owner of Empowering Minds Counseling.


How to Overcome Your Fears of Starting a Private Practice


APA Reference
Vesely,, M. (2019). How to Overcome Your Fears of Starting a Private Practice. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 21 Sep 2019
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Sep 2019
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