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Private Practice Kickstart
with Miranda Palmer, LMFT
& Kelly Higdon, LMFT

Success Story: Starting a Counseling Practice in Orlando, FL

Lauran, an Orlando Counselor shares her journey of growing a private practice from September 2017 to February of 2019 from a few sliding scale clients to 16 regular clients. She shares why she become an Orlando therapist, what share used to grow quickly and her experience in reaching out for support in building her private practice.

Why did you decide to become a therapist? 

I am a wounded healer. I remember in grad school, and along my journey to becoming a therapist, being a wounded healer was kind of frowned up. But that is my story and it is through my own personal journey of adversity, hope, and healing that I was inspired to dedicate my life’s work to the helping/healing profession.

I went to therapist after therapist. It pretty much went like this. We talked about my anxiety and panic, they would basically tell me my fears were irrational, and I would leave feeling more F’ed up than when I walked in the door.  I was like, “If the professional people can’t help me, I must be fundamentally broken.”

After several sober years of therapist hopping, I finally met a counselor that included the body in her approach. First of all, I didn’t feel so alienated by my symptoms and second, my symptoms started to decrease. It was during my work with her that I decided to go back to school and become a counselor.

While in grad school, I learned that my symptoms were related to both childhood neglect and abandonment, the clinical term is attachment trauma, and the trauma related to my mom’s sudden death. I dedicated all of my research in school to understanding the effects of trauma, both attachment trauma, and single event. I was angered and motivated by the fact that what I was experiencing had a name. Why had I been to so many counselors that had no idea how to help me?

How did you choose your specialty? 

I knew that I would dedicate my life’s work to helping people heal from anxiety and trauma. I realized not only through my own journey but through years of advanced trauma training, that healing at that level was beyond the scope of traditional talk therapy. In fact, traditional talk therapy can make people feel worse, as I experienced.  

I guess you could say, I’ve spent the last decade of my life researching ways to help people that have struggled in similar ways that I have. It was excruciating to meet with counselors that had no idea how to help me.

Using a somatic approach, coupled with mindfulness and EMDR works. Clients that have been riddled with anxiety, mind and body feel clear, calm and in control again. I love watching the angst melt away as my clients begin to feel more confident. At the end of therapy, they experience life in a way that has new possibilities.

What do you love about counseling in Orlando, FL? 

Orlando is my home. In fact, my husband and I lived in Oceanside, CA from 2014-2017. I did my advanced training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy in LA.

The entire time I was there, I was so homesick. Once we got pregnant with our little one, I was like, “You better start packing your bags because we are moving back to Orlando.”

I love our little big city. Orlando has a hometown feel with pockets of eclectic culture. There is so much hope and healing in this forward-thinking community.

Not only does the vibe of city resonate with my soul, but the community of therapists in the area is solid and supportive, especially in the EMDR tribe. I feel truly held in here, and of course, this gives me the support I need so that I can hold others in my daily work.

What is your favorite part of working with anxiety and trauma in Orlando, FL? 

People call me when it feels like the bottom is falling out. They are stressed, anxious, emotionally overwhelmed, some part of their life feels out of control.

My office becomes the soft landing for these folks that feel like their world is spinning.

In the beginning of therapy, I teach my clients a ton of tools to create a calm place within to help the cope with whatever is going on. Once we have their personalized tool kit established, then we start doing what I call root work. We get to the root causes of their distress and work from that place.

Limited perspectives, self-doubt, fear, panic, and dread, melt away as they start to realize more hope, freedom, choice, and joy. I am moved by their experiences.

Why did you decide to join the Business School Bootcamp for Therapists

I love what I do and when I love something, I am very driven. I want to know all the things I need to do and I want to do all the things well. When it came to being in private practice, I soon discovered that there was both the clinical side and the business side.

I knew very little about running a business, so I decided I would educate myself. I started watching videos, reading blogs, subscribing to free material from all kinds of business coaches, and talking to other clinicians.

My head was spinning with everything that I needed to do. Information was conflicting. I was totally overwhelmed. I was frantically trying to implement it all. I needed some structure and some hand holding.

I knew I couldn’t continue like this because I was going burn out before I even really got started.

I have been following ZynnyMe since 2014 and I really like Kelly and Miranda. So I put myself on the interest of Bootcamp, unsure if I really was going to commit to it. As time continued and the overwhelmed continued, I was like, “How can I not do this?” It was exactly what I wanted and needed.

What did your practice look like before you joined? 

When I first started, I was seeing any client that called me and if they weren’t within my specialty area, I would spend a ton of time researching between sessions. At this point, I was researching running a business, researching clinical issues. It was a good thing I only had a few clients at the time. I didn’t have time for more. I was too busy researching.

My practice was scattered with super low sliding scale clients that were not my ideal client. I was working way too hard and charging way too low of a rate. Again, I was burning out.

How did Business School Bootcamp for Therapists change your life and your practice? 

Let’s just say the word, “Awwwww” sums it up. I am still a “worker bee” but now my time and energy are put where it matters most.

I can rest easy now because I have a plan of action for growing my business. I also have a plan for how I allocate my most valuable asset, my time. I have time allocated for business and marketing, for clinical research, for blog writing, and for receiving training.

My clinical skills continue to be refined because I am not spending time researching clients that are not within my specialty area. The content on my blog reaches my ideal client and the research I do for my blog enhances my clinical skills.

I have a 2.5 year old freight train of energy to take care of and she needs me to be present. My husband works full time and goes to school full time, so our family is busy. My family needs me. I can’t be preoccupied with my business or my clients. Now that I am organized in my business, when it is family time, I am present.

What does your private practice look like now? 

My practice is on the cusp of being full, full of my ideal clients that are struggling with anxiety and trauma. Full for me is 18 clients and I am at 16 currently.

I only have a few clients that are still sliding scale from when I started working with them. I am not accepting any new sliding scale clients at this time, so about 80% of my clients pay my full fee.

I recently raised my rates, as well, and no one left me . Since my clinical skills have refined from identifying my ideal client, I had the confidence I needed to raise rates.  

Also, the calls get now are from my ideal client. It is very clear on my website who I work with, so I am not spending a lot of time on the phone with people that are not within my specialty area.

Do you ever have one of those days were everything just flows? You wake up, you feel good, your kid is pretty good, no traffic, you get a work out in, work goes well, everyone likes the dinner you cooked…. That is what Business School Bootcamp for Therapists did for me. Everything just sorta flows now! 

Thank you, Lauran, for sharing your story! If you are looking for an Orlando therapist, contact Lauran here today. You can hear more about Lauran’s story and many others on our podcast for therapists here. You can learn more about bootcamp and sign up for a private interview here. 

Success Story: Starting a Counseling Practice in Orlando, FL

 


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APA Reference
Palmer, M. (2019). Success Story: Starting a Counseling Practice in Orlando, FL. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 25, 2019, from https://pro.psychcentral.com/kickstart/2019/02/success-story-starting-a-counseling-practice-in-orlando-fl/