Recently I wrote about my experience of having a miscarriage and its impact on my private practice (You can read about it here). I bring up this topic because I think often times our practices are ill prepared for when life happens to us.
As business owners, and often many of us are solo in our practices, we are the main instrument of service. When something stressful happens to us, it can impact our services. We are taught to get insurance in case of an accident. We are encouraged to have our wills in place. All fun stuff, right? But how do you get prepared when you are in private practice?
- Have a professional will. This document will cover what will happen to your files, your clients and your business if you were to become unable to handle our business at some point.
- Have an emergency plan. Aside from when major tragedy strikes, you need at least two therapists who can help your clients until you are back in the game. Let your partner know who these contacts are as well, so someone can reach them if you are unable. Talk to your clients about your emergency plan and include it as part of your informed consent.
- Consider disability insurance. Being self-employed you may want to evaluate if a short term disability policy is a good idea for you. Talk to your financial advisor or accountant and they can help you run the numbers.
- Look at your business plan. This means you want to look at the finances – do you have savings to cover expenses should you need to be out for some time. You don’t want to see clients because you have to when you maybe shouldn’t be. Having a cushion will help you make the best clinical decisions because the financial stress will be more managed.
- Find clinical consultation or therapy for yourself. Depending on what is happening in your life, you may need additional support as you continue to see clients in your practice. Clinical consults are perfect to help manage your own countertransference and to help you with boundaries when your own stress could bleed into your clinical work. Therapy is great for you to cope personally with what has happened in your life or is happening.
- Get honest. If you do find yourself in crisis or tragedy, knowing yourself is key to navigating running your business and life. This is when you have to navigate not push or force your process.
Is your private practice crisis-proof?