Each year I have at least 2-3 students who want to start their Private Practice ASAP! They see that as the only option; a chance for freedom and success on their own. Many seasoned therapists shudder at the idea of a newly graduated student going into Private Practice “too soon”. I think about how I felt many (many) years ago, coming out of my masters program in Rehabilitation Counseling. I was one of those students – Private Practice was THE only option for me. You see it was a practical issue – I already had the mortgage, the kid, and the bills that could not possibly be taken care of by any entry-level agency salary available at that time. I knew my lofty goals meant that I had to work extra hard to learn my trade and get what I needed to be a good therapist, FAST! I did what I had to do – extra internships, reading, shadowing, volunteering, workshops, classes, specialized supervision, and meeting up with wonderful mentors along the way.
So, when I hear the lament from my Private Practice oriented students, I don’t always shudder the way others might. What I do is share with them the absolute requirement for going the extra hundred miles and doing whatever they need to do in order to achieve their goals.
I love mentoring “new” professionals who just know that Private Practice is the only option for them. As long as they are competent and willing to do the work, I am willing to work hard beside them. Here’s to the entrepreneurial spirit!
Deborah Legge is a counselor, an assistant professor, specializes in coaching counselors in private practice, and is the founder of InfluentialTherapist.com