Are you a psychologist, therapist, life coach or other healing professional who is thinking about opening a private practice? Are you wondering what you’re letting yourself in for? Well, let me share with you my story and how personal development, along with a lot of hard work and determination, led me to a thriving private practice. I hope it will help inspire you to see that you can do it too.
Being a psychotherapist and life coach in my own private practice is a way of life that I love. I opened my own practice after becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) over 10 years ago. When I started out, I had dreams and hopes about what I wanted to create. At the time, however, there wasn’t a lot of information to help me know how to open a private practice and make it successful.
In fact, the information I did get wasn’t very helpful at all. When I began to ask around, I got a lot of personal opinions that were very discouraging. Since I had just begun studying NLP, I was aware that people use their map of the world, so I tried to stay clear of downers and began my own journey of discovery.
Instead, I asked myself: What do I want? Why? What will I get by having that? What is my mission?
These are questions that every professional should ask as they begin their own private practice. You’ll find that your personal development will go hand in hand with the development of your practice. It did for me. I had to clear my history, identify and change limiting beliefs, build confidence through specialized trainings and certifications, and finally choose business methods that have a similar philosophy to what I adhered to. Excellence has been my focus, believing that in order to succeed I had to stand out, offering that je ne sais quoi that would make people come back over and over and make them want to refer their friends, too.
As John W. Gardner says, “Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
If that sounds like a lot of work…it is. But it’s crucial if you want a good foundation for when you build a sustainable private practice.
You’ll find that it’s an ongoing process of taking deliberate and consistent actions. It also involves being able to tolerate failure and use it as feedback for continual improvement. You’ll also find the need to continually adjust as you set long-term and short-term goals. The long-term goals for your practice will need to satisfy your big picture. You won’t ever want to lose sight of that big picture. You’ll also need to keep short-term goals that give you daily tasks to work on as you build your practice. There is a difference between working in your business – helping your clients – and working on your business – doing all the things a private practice requires so that it remains profitable and successful.
For me, my deliberate practice included immersing myself fully in trainings like NLP and Feldenkrais, with long-term commitments to developing inside and out as a person, as a therapist and as a business owner. Sometimes these commitments have been four to five year intensives, but it’s been worth it. In addition to seeing my private clients, I enjoy helping other practitioners who are eager to build their own business, integrating personal excellence, core values and originality. And if you’ve been in practice for a while already, I’m eager to help you bring life and enthusiasm back into your practice. If either of these sounds like something you’re looking for, contact me and we can discuss your one-on-one coaching options.
In my next post, I’ll share with you two main aspects that are essential in developing a successful private practice.