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Oct 18, 2016

Preparing for private practice

If you’re reading this as preparation for starting a private practice, then if you could find a way to begin earning income and filling your schedule right away, you would want to know about it, wouldn’t you?

 Here’s a couple of ideas.

 When I started my private practice, I hired a psychiatrist for a supervisor, and eventually worked with him and his group. It was a win-win-win:

1.     I won because I received excellent supervision, learned about personality disorders, and earned more because his practice had an abundance of referrals for counseling while he provided the medications.

2.     He won because he gained new patients needing medication, earned from my supervision, and could leave a legacy by teaching a young professional what he had spent years learning.

3.     The clients and community won because we provided excellent service to them.

 Later, I missed an opportunity you might have one day. A young psychiatrist moved back home after finishing his education and started a private practice at a local hospital. I knew his parents and we became acquainted. He offered me an office in his thriving practice after he had built it up.

 I was afraid. I had three young children and needed some financial certainty. My part of the overhead for the office, equipment, staff and incidentals would have been $4,000 per month. At the time I was only paying $1,000 on my own, and I was scared to take on that much more fixed expense. Looking back on it now, I think the number of clients and the rate of reimbursement per session would have easily made the difference affordable.

 If you get an offer to join such a practice, then learn from my mistake: base your decision on not having any regrets 25 years later (not on fear). 
Dr. Ray Smith integrates theology and psychology as an ordained Presbyterian minister as well as a licensed mental health counselor and an adjunct professor of counselors in Spokane, Washington.

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