ACA Blog

Deb Legge
Mar 07, 2011

Building A Sustainable Private Practice – Beyond Dollars For Hours

I just finished my slides for my presentation at ACA in New Orleans later this month. I can’t wait to share this information on how to build or develop a sustainable (from the start, or from an existing) Private Practice. Most private practitioners go into it for what we can get quickly – autonomy, flexibility, more say over our work, and more money in our pocket. We often don’t think about what will happen as our careers as private practitioners mature and we reach critical points including: “What do I do when my book is full, but I want to make more money?”, “How can I start to ramp down my hours and not lose the revenue?”, and “How can I ever afford to retire?”.

Those are questions that I’ve faced in my (18 year-old) practice. Those are questions I face every week with my Private Practice Coaching clients. That is why I chose to present this topic at ACA.

You’ll find that solving these predicaments (above) is really all about getting beyond the “Dollars For Hours” mentality that is generally ingrained in our business. We must find ways to generate income (from our own efforts and/or the efforts of others) to make our practices sustainable throughout our careers. The process of getting beyond “Dollars For Hours” is easy for some, and not so easy for others. It requires really allowing you to be creative and look beyond the blinders that often keep you chained to the old paradigm. Fear is common and it is one of the biggest roadblocks I work through with my mentees.

You know fear is the opposite of faith. To be a successful private practitioner you’ve got to have faith; faith in you; faith in your abilities; faith that your desire to help others will draw them into your path. You’ll need information, guidance, and skill, but without faith the leap can’t occur.

Building a sustainable practice means building a practice that will continue to evolve yet stand the test of time. It requires you to step outside your comfort zone to grow and meet the ever-changing needs of the population you serve; to see that population as a global entity rather than a local community.

Building a sustainable practice isn’t the only way to be successful in Private Practice. Some of us would rather stick to the more traditional way of doing things and are very content in doing so. But, for those who are not, the opportunities which exist in this day and age are exciting and amazing for us and our clients.

I hope to see you in New Orleans on Sunday at 10:30. Please be sure to introduce yourself to me – I’d love to hear what you are doing (or hope to do) with your practice! If you can’t be in New Orleans, and you want me to send you the notes from the session, please let me know.

Deborah Legge is a counselor, an assistant professor, specializes in coaching counselors in private practice, and is the founder of

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