Wednesday, May 29, 2013

7 Steps To Freedom In Private Practice [Classic Beginning Counselor]

To celebrate the new blog location for Beginning Counselor, I've collected and updated some classic blog posts for you. Enjoy! 
A Guest Post By Dr. Deb Legge, PhD, CRC, LMHC

 7 Steps to Freedom in Private Practice, Beyond Dollars for Hours.

Most beginning counselors feel a bit overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities associated with our profession: Honing clinical skills, getting something out of supervision , finding a job, etc. If you came into this profession with your heart set on private practice, those things can really overtake your focus. You might even find yourself still longing for private practice decades from now, feeling as unprepared for that task as you did when it first crossed your mind in grad school.

Don’t let that happen to you.  No matter what else you are doing to take you to the top of your game as a clinician --  if private practice is your goal, be sure to continually work a plan to bring that goal to fruition.

Here are 7 things you can do to prepare for the day you hang out your shingle and become an entrepreneurial-clinician…

1. Develop healthy relationships with colleagues and potential referral sources.  These are your “customers” of the future.  These are the folks who will be sending clients your way, when you are ready.

2. Develop a niche (or two or three); become an expert; let everyone your know, know about your specialty and why YOU are the go-to person when it comes to that niche.

3. Identify people to call on for supervision when you are out on your own.  You might find a good supervision group of private clinicians, or you might find someone to work with on your own.

4. Start to develop a clear picture of what your practice will look like when you are ready.  Don’t forget the details – furniture, location, your ideal client.  If you can’t picture it, you can’t achieve it.

5. Keep a journal of brainstorming sessions where you write down ideas for groups, workshops, trainings, specialized therapies, etc. that will kick off your practice when it is time. Don’t discount any idea – you’ll have time to zero-in later on.

6. Learn everything you can about private practice and the business of counseling. When you go into private practice, you are starting a small business. You must be prepared and able to run a business if you want to succeed. Being a great clinician will not ensure you will have a thriving practice.  However, those who are not good businesspeople often have practices that struggle or fail.

7. Find a private practice mentor to help guide you along the way.  There is no need to reinvent the wheel.  If you find a good mentor, you’ll see that you’ve made a great investment that will pay off for years to come.

Originally Published 9/2/11

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