Private practice is a dream for many therapists, but where to start? What do you need to get started? What will it take to have a successful practice?

Like any adventure, it helps to ask yourself some important questions. At the end of some self-reflection, you might conclude you can’t wait to get started. Great! Now you can move forward. Or maybe you decide it’s not for you. Great! Now you can move toward something that you are passionate about and is the right fit for you.

Being in private practice takes some special skills beyond being a therapist. Most of these skills are never taught in school. One of the most important is having that entrepreneurial spirit. Let’s face it, being in business for yourself means you are an entrepreneur, not only a therapist. This will mean you will be wearing many hats, working more hours (and stranger hours) than you can imagine, and often working in isolation. This requires discipline, organization, and a deep passion for what you are creating.

Here are some reflection questions:

  • Do I want all the responsibilities and liabilities of a business owner?
  • How much effort do I want to spend learning about the laws and regulations of owning a business?
  • How well do I work without external structure?
  • How comfortable am I with not having a steady paycheck?
  • What am I willing to do to gain the business skills necessary?
  • How comfortable am I marketing and selling myself?
  • What is it like for me to network and ask for referrals?

Private practice is hard work but so rewarding. Take some time to see if it’s the right step for you.

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About the Author: Dalena Watson
Dalena Watson is a Licensed Professional Counselor, EMDR clinician, Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery, and Board Certified-Music Therapist. She has been trained in and using the MARI system for over 20 years. She has worked in mental health, music therapy and wellness for 30 years providing individual and group therapy to all ages. Dalena incorporates a wide variety of healing and spiritual modalities in her work.

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