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5 Steps to Taking Action in your Private Practice

Being in private practice may just be the best decision you’ve ever made for your career.  You get to serve the clients you want to serve, and your earning potential as a private practice owner far exceeds most agency jobs. The best part?  You get to call the shots. But with all of that freedom, do you ever feel like you have too many ideas and not enough direction? It’s time to take five steps toward reaching your most important private practice goals.


  1. Take a break from the information overload. Get quiet. You’re a therapist–you love those quiet moments in your office where your client has a flash of insight that totally shifts the way they’ve been viewing themselves and their issues, right? But do you give yourself the same time and space when it comes to growing your practice?  With all the really valuable, free information out there on how to grow your business, it can feel like you’re missing out if you’re not constantly listening to podcasts or reading blogs like this one. If you’re like most therapists, you are smart, creative, and a little obsessed with learning.  While it is a fantastic virtue to love learning, you need time to process and reflect on what you’ve learned so you can make decisions about what you most want to implement.
  2. Create a list of goals. Start by making a list of all of the goals you currently have in your private practice.  Really sit with this question: What needs to change so you can have the most ideal private practice you can imagine?  Do you need to get ahold of your schedule? Stop doing all of your own billing?  Implement an effective EHR system? Raise your rates? Get clearer about who you most want to serve and develop a plan for how to do that? Once you have a list of all of the goals you have in your practice, you are one step closer to getting things done.
  3. Reflect on the Benefits of Your Top 3 Goals.  Take a look your goals and decide which three will be the ones you focus on now in your business.  How will meeting these goals improve your life? Your practice? How will achieving these goals better serve your ideal clients?  How will they benefit your family? For instance, if you implement a new EHR system, your ideal clients could benefit by scheduling their own appointments with you or by getting email reminders of their appointments.  It could help your practice by keeping you current on all of your documentation…not that you are ever behind on notes or anything. With a new EHR system, you can work more efficiently and spend more time at home, interacting with your loved ones instead of sending reminders to your clients about their appointments. Whatever your top three goals may be, listing all the benefits creates excitement about getting started, making the challenge of the goal less daunting.
  4. Focus on one goal at a time.  Since you now are familiar with the benefits of meeting your most immediate goals, decide which to work on first, and stick to it.  I know, this is the hardest part, but if you don’t want to waste time, you will focus on implementing that one goal now. It can be helpful to put sub-goals on your calendar.  Let’s say you are sick of paper charts, and you want to go to an EHR system yesterday. The first sub-goal may be to survey other therapists to see what they love and hate about their current (or former) EHRs.  The next sub-goal may be to contact the top two EHR companies from your survey and ask about the features that are important to you. Once you have an idea of which system may be best for you, the next mini goal is to sign up for a free trial to see how you like it.  


Now, I know it will be tempting to jump to the next big goal once you get the trial period started, especially when you are spending your Saturday night inputting client info into the EHR, but you have to resist the urge. The #1 mistake most of us make when working on goals is to jump from goal to goal, which slows down momentum, leading to overwhelm.  When you get overloaded, do you ever say to yourself, “I’ll just check Facebook for a minute,” and then 2 hours later, realize you’re shopping on Amazon for toilet paper and fuzzy socks? Yeah, me, too, which is why I am begging you not to let yourself move to your next goal until you’ve completed the first one.  Stay focused, my friend! If you tell yourself you can’t move to the next goal until you have your EHR up and running, you’ll be more motivated to hurry up and eat that frog, already.


5. Practice self-compassion. Making changes in your private practice takes courage and a lot of patience.  Think of how you encourage and support your clients when they are trying new skills.  You have no expectation of perfection from them, right? Since your ideal clients probably are a lot like you, practicing the same sort of compassion toward yourself is wonderful modeling.  When you are gentle with your own process, you send them a message to be gentle with themselves on their journeys. And when you practice self-compassion as you tackle one goal at a time, you get to celebrate your accomplishments every step of the way.



Ready to stop getting in your own way and get moving toward your most important private practice goals?  Visit to schedule your free,15-minute coaching consultation.

5 Steps to Taking Action in your Private Practice

Miranda Palmer, LMFT

Miranda Palmer, LMFT is passionate about empowering therapists to be extraordinary. Palmer trains therapists how to develop private practices that not only thrive financially, but that provide excellence in clinical care through free private practice marketing trainings, the Business School Bootcamp for therapists, and free study group for licensing exams for pre-licensed therapists.


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APA Reference
Palmer, M. (2018). 5 Steps to Taking Action in your Private Practice. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 11, 2018, from