Starting a Counseling Practice Part 2: Giving yourself permission to build something that works for you

Hope you enjoyed really getting to know yourself in Starting a Counseling Practice Part 1. The truth is, getting honest with yourself is only the first step in creating and implementing a great private practice vision. You also have to give yourself permission. I know there are people out there who will give me a hard time and say this is “non-advice, advice.” We’ve provided consultation and trainings to thousands of therapists starting and running private practices- and over and over again we get questions like:

  • Is it ok for me to only see 20 clients per week?
  • Is it ok for me to charge ______?
  • Is it ok for me to raise my fee?
  • Is it ok for me to integrate retreats into my business?
  • Is it ok for me not to work mornings? (Or evenings, or weekends, etc.)
  • Is it ok for me to choose to take insurance?
  • Is it ok for me to choose not to take insurance?

Therapists, counselors, and psychologists knowing in their heart and soul the decision that is right for them- but not feeling like they have permission to create the right practice for them.

Fallout from creating ineffective practices

Creating a practice that doesn’t match a therapist’s unique needs and vision almost always leads to burnout. Sometimes they will get no clients and feel defeated, sometimes they will get a ton of clients and feel overwhelmed and tired. Sometimes they will ignore all of their body’s signals and out of not respecting their bodies realize they are burnt out when they develop an auto-immune disorder or other health condition. Huffington Post cites Social Workers, and healthcare workers (which includes therapists) in the Top 10 for careers most prone to depression.   And I thought it interesting to note that the other careers that made the top 10 include sales people, accountants, and administrative support staff- just a few of the many hats therapists put on when running a private practice.

The Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology found that Social workers and therapists have a higher rate of divorce than law enforcement officers!

Practicing what we teach

The development of a private practice should utilize our amazing clinical skills and personal insight. We should develop personal and professional boundaries, habits, and processes that allow us to remain healthy and joyful. The work we do is tough. If we want to do it well, we need to take care of our tool. In the case of psychotherapy, counseling, family counseling, workshops, speaking, writing… guess what the greatest tool you have is? It is you!

Give yourself permission today

Brene Brown’s work is sweeping the nation, especially within the therapist community. I believe it is because the Daring Greatly encourages and teaches therapists something that was missing from much of our clinical training. We need to learn how to deal with feelings like shame as it can create blocks to carrying out our deeper vision and purpose. Be bold, give yourself permission today to create exactly the type of private practice that inspires, energizes, and maybe even scares you a little bit because of how awesome you imagine it to be. Do you need a little extra help giving yourself permission? Or, do you just LOVE affirmations, meditations, and inspirational messages? Download our fun free “Private Practice Permission Package” with images that you can save to your desktop or mobile phone screen, and a link to a free meditation that you can use once or daily!

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