Starting a Counseling Practice as a Mom Part 4: A week in the life of

We have talked about several aspects of starting a counseling practice as a mom. I wanted to cover one final aspect. The schedule. How did I keep it all straight as a mom of a little one? I wanted to go over a typical week with you when I went to “full-time” private practice.

Keep in mind that some of this is a bit of a blur. I’m not going to lie and tell you that everything was easy peasy. I learned a LOT by trial and error! But, this is what I landed on that felt really good to me!

A full day of clients on Monday

While I loved the “idea” of a flexible schedule where I could work a few hours each day- the truth is I am NOT good at just working a few hours. I have an “overdeveloped” work ethic and am a bit ADD. So once I drop into work I can easily hyperfocus and get a LOT done! However, on the other side- if there is a lot going on- I can get a bit distracted and end up getting NOTHING done! So, I found I preferred to “stack” my clients.

Getting help

On Monday mornings my husband would take my son to preschool or elementary school (when we got there) and I would go into work by about 7:30am. I like working early in the day, so if I had clients that wanted a 7am or 7:30am (or sometimes even a 6am) I could easily accommodate that. On the other hand, I found that late appointments tended to exhaust me, lead to overeating, and missed session notes.

Keeping a routine

I kept to 50 minute sessions and between sessions would take 10 minutes to write progress notes, go to the bathroom, refill my water, and sometimes grab a protein shake. Drinking water during sessions kept me on track with my timing, and kept me healthier and happier. I would see 4-5 clients before lunch. Have a 30-60 minute lunch, and then have my afternoon clients 4-5. 5pm was the latest I would schedule a client- and it was usually for returning clients.

Taking a Day Off

I found I liked seeing full days of clients Mondays and Wednesdays. On the weeks with Holidays where I saw Monday clients on Tuesday I could really “feel” how much energy it took for me to be “on” two days in a row. I also really liked having the ability to have 4 day weekends every single week.

Returning phone calls

I also found that having days off during the week made it a bit easier for returning phone calls. I could easily spend 30 minutes returning phone calls from home while my son was napping. If there was a crisis situation, I felt more ready to resolve it than I did when I saw clients every day of the week.

Sick time

This also created a natural balance for my husband and I in regards to parenting responsibilities. If our son was sick on Mondays or Wednesdays he took off work, if he was sick Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday- I took off work. This isn’t the way it is for every mom. If you are single, or have a partner who is out of town or who doesn’t have sick time- this can get a bit hairy. Kids get sick.

Household

There is something amazing about being able to clean my house during the week and not having a huge “chore” list on the weekends. I found fun ways to hang out with my kid and clean the house. And, when my son went to school if there was an emergency and a client needed a session- I would do those over the phone. It would allow me to keep my office boundaries, and I could stay in comfy clothes all day. Oddly enough, I found sweeping during phone sessions very helpful. In session I tend to write to keep myself focused and my mind from drifting. Sweeping was the right amount of stimulation to keep me on track.

So this is what I found was my perfect week. I know many other therapists who would MUCH prefer just working every morning, or just in the afternoons. As a mom with varied responsibilities- figure out what works best for you and YOUR family! The truth is, the better your life and your family life flow- the more attentive and present you can be as a therapist!

Did you miss one of the other parts of the Starting A Counseling Practice as a Mom Series? Check outpart 1, part 2, and part 3.

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Miranda Palmer

I have successfully built a cash pay psychotherapy practice from scratch on a shoestring budget. I have also failed a licensed exam by 1 point (only to have the licensing board send me a later months later saying I passed), started an online study group to ease my own isolation and have now reached thousands of therapists across the country, helped other therapists market their psychotherapy practices, and helped awesome business owners move from close to closing their doors, to being profitable in less than 6 weeks. I've failed at launching online programs. I've had wild success at launching online programs. I've made mistakes in private practice I've taught others how to avoid my mistakes. You can do this. You were called to this work. Now- go do it! Find some help or inspiration as you need it- but do the work!