I’d like to challenge the widely held perception that it is not easy for therapists, and especially recent graduates, to find success in private practice. Most of the existing negative opinions on private practice come from a place of fear. An example of this is when I heard a colleague say they didn’t think that the market could sustain another person in private practice. If I hadn’t done my research, I might have believed what I heard and been drawn into their place of fear – believing that I wouldn’t be successful if I started a private practice.
Well, I do not want to live in fear! I choose to operate my practice from an abundance mindset. I truly believe there are enough clients for those who are able to help them – and I believe these clients can be ideal clients you love to work with. Doesn’t that sound great?!
I’ve put together a few reasons that I feel have made my decision to start a private practice worth all of the hard work.
Running your own business is a lot of work. This is especially true in regards to a private practice as you have to market yourself to the world so they notice you and the amazing service you provide. However, being your own boss means that you get to set your own hours, choose the message you are sending and choose the population you want to work with.
It was so exciting to pick my own office space and decorate it the way I wanted. I was the one who decided what my practice policies would be. I continue to make decisions for my business that I am comfortable with as a therapist. Yes, there is a learning curve with this (like if and how you should charge for a late cancel or no show) but once you do it a few times it becomes a lot easier to stick to your policies.
Less Chance of Burnout
Sometimes, working for agencies or other clinicians can be challenging and exhausting. They may require that you work long hours, give you little control over who you see and you might not agree with all of their policies. This can lead to burnout or compassion fatigue and your clients might not get the best care you are able to give them. Since running your own private practice gives you the freedom to choose who you work with and how often, going into the office can be quite enjoyable. In addition, your work week will likely be less than 30 hours which leaves a lot of time for family, friends and self-care activities.
I know – we didn’t get into this profession to get rich. However, we also didn’t put all that time and effort into grad school so that we could live paycheck to paycheck either. Working for an agency means you may be salaried which limits your earning potential.
In private practice you have the ability to set your own fees and choose the number of hours you wish to work. You can also take on a speaking gig or run a workshop to increase your income. Working for an agency may limit your ability to develop additional streams of income if a non-compete clause is in place. In addition, you might not have the time or energy to put into such things if you are working 40 hours a week at an agency.
I’m not saying starting and running a private practice is an easy endeavor. I’m saying if it is what you have dreamed of then you should not let fear hold you back. I encourage you to take the leap and start living your dream sooner rather than later.
If you have any questions or would like to connect, I’d love to hear from you!
Natasha Minor, MA, CCC, RP runs a private practice in London Ontario where she specializes in helping overwhelmed women find their voice and believe in their worth so they can create a more authentic and satisfying life.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA