This is a story of a pre-licensed therapist in North Carolina, Faith D., who decided she wanted to do private practice while she was an intern or what they call in her area, provisionally licensed. I promise the fact that her hair is red is just a coincidence! Lol. She was forthright in describing her experience and wouldn’t want to be doing anything other than private practice. Please note, I am not personally putting down any other kind of work or position, and these are her opinions and personal experiences. Here’s a synopsis of her story:
“Pre-licensure can be tough. It’s like being a gangly teenager where you ‘know everything but still don’t have all the freedom and fun of being a full-fledged young adult.
Let’s be honest, most agency jobs suck. Starting your own business, being an entrepreneur and running a private practice can be challenging. The biggest one is making money and acquiring clients.
What It’s Really Like
Thankfully, running my own private practice is a second career for me after a decade in corporate america, so I had some business acumen going into it, but most of my graduate school cohort did not have this background and the majority of therapy grad programs don’t prepare you for running a business.
You don’t know what you don’t know and this is not your fault, but definitely connect with resources. I don’t share my challenges to scare new professionals, but I learned lessons the hard way and often wished for more guidance and direction along my journey.
What is being a therapist in private practice really like for me?
I’m checking emails in the morning, looking over my schedule, managing my social media accounts and online marketing. I do my billing, track my business expenses, chart income, return phone calls, complete case management, plan networking events, etc.
When you work for yourself, all of the aforementioned tasks are done as “non-billable hours”.
I’m a Marriage and Family Therapist who uses an eclectic approach with couples pulling from Gottman, Emotion Focused Therapy, Relational Life Therapy with Experiential and Cognitive-Behavioral approaches.
Autonomy and Independence Even Though You Have Supervision
Despite the challenges, opening my own private practice has been the best fit for me. I’ve worked for corporations and then as a therapist in hospitals, intensive in-home, community based, agencies, school based and private practice groups.
The autonomy and independence is worth the risk and the work for me. It’s been a financial adjustment from my cushy corporate job, but being a therapist is what I always wanted to do when I first started college 18 years ago. Although statistics say 80% of small businesses fail within the first year, it is possible to thrive and enjoy your private practice journey. I personally wouldn’t do it any other way.
Support Is Available
Coaches and Consultants can certainly help clinicians starting out in private practice, there are soooo many things you just don’t know about in the beginning. So many things and a coach can help provide the info you need, point you in the right direction and most importantly help you believe in yourself.”
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions about what she’s shared here! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.