Starting a Private Practice in Clinical Counselling

Posted by: Marlowe Lindberg on janvier 26, 2012 12:03

Greetings, first, let me give you a little background about me.  I have a degree in business, master’s degrees in adult education, and my second master’s degree is in clinical counselling psychology, as well I have a post-graduate diploma in leadership and administration. In addition to counselling at various places, such as: Hospice in Edmonton, a Women’s Crisis Centre, as a High School Counsellor, and with Cowichan Family Life. I also taught part-time in the bachelor of management degree program at Concordia University, Edmonton, and part-time as the co-ordinator and academic counsellor for the bachelor of education, adult education route at the University of Alberta, and as well, I taught many of the programs in the adult education degree program.  In addition, for many years, I was in  partnership with my husband growing our 4 very successful Optometric Eye Clinics.  When he retired, we moved to Campbell River, BC., where I have now started my private practice in clinical counselling.  

The first question you need to ask yourself is: Do you need immediate income????   Before you even consider preparing a business plan, you need to do the math.  How much income do you need to generate in your private practice that would be equal to a full-time salary if you were employed in an agency possibly earning $43,622.00 per annum? 

I checked out the average salary for a family and marriage counsellors for British Columbia and Ontario see website[i]   The average salary in 2011 was $25.30 (low $17.80 to a high of $35.97).  I would like you to spend time checking out this website it is very informative and will give your stats on every province in Canada, for example, in 2009, twelve percent of this group were self-employed. 

How many clients will you need to see per year to equal a gross income of $43,622.00 per annum?  I took the gross income of $43,622.00 per annum and divided it by an average fee of $80.00.  You will need to provide 545 hours of counselling per year, which would require 10.4 counselling hours/clients per week.   This information is merely a starting point that you can draw on as you prepare you business plan.   

Several places for you to check out over the next week.[ii] has great advice for setting up your business.[iii] provides a comprehensive list of businesses assistance programs and services – also check[iv]  Also check out…/PAA%20Guidebook.pdf [v] you will be able to download their book, “A guidebook for starting and operating an independent profession practice in psychology.”  

I want you to start thinking about the type of information you will need in order to complete a business plan.  Another great resource is, “Start and Market a Successful Private Practice”, a Canadian author and CCC, Lucy MacDonald.   Her website is[vi] where you should be able to order her book.  There were three books written by Lynn Grodzki.[vii]  The one I would recommend is her “Twelve months to your ideal private practice” it is a workbook that takes you step-by-step through the process of starting a private practice.  The next blog will discuss your enthusiasm and energy levels, and the time required to network successfully.

[vii] Grodzki, L (2003) 12 months to your ideal private practice, a workbook.  W. W.Norton & Company: NY NY

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

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