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Jan 03, 2017

Happy New Year!

If your Resolutions include starting your private practice, congratulations! You have committed to an adventure that will benefit you and your family, your clients and their families, your community and your legacy. The freedom to make a great difference and to earn a better income are worthwhile goals you can achieve, beginning today and providing validation of your decision every day for the rest of your life. Each step toward your goal will be an accomplishment for you to celebrate and enjoy, just like each book you read and every paper you wrote in grad school served as a milestone toward graduation.

In grad school wise scholars and educators planned your steps for you. Now you get to decide the steps that are best for your journey after your graduation and what success will look like when you're there. When you're in school, you know what it takes for an A, B or an F if you don't work for your grades. Now you can decide the criteria for getting an A in your professional life. Some objectives can be counted, like income and numbers of clients per week or staff on your payroll. Some other objectives are difficult to count, like self-fulfillment and self-transcendence, but they may be more important to you during your lifetime. In order to begin with the end in mind, consider where you want to be at age 60 and 80. What would give you the most joy at those ages?

You recruited help in school and you will need to get help again on your private practice journey to avoid mistakes and be efficient in arriving at your destination. What you don't know can hurt you in the difficult business of counseling. Medicare's influence on your future was probably not mentioned during grad school. Search engine optimization hadn't been invented when I graduated and HIPAA meaningful use wasn't defined. Reframe the insurance and government restrictions on your freedom like term papers and midterms during grad school, obstacles to overcome to get what you want, and something that you are a proven winner at overcoming.

"When the going gets rough, the tough recruit!" You will be tough and resilient when you get help from experts with marketing, accounting and vetting your employees. You will be proud of yourself finding help with expertise with graphics for your logo and with IT for your electronic medical records. Graduation meant you have what's necessary to start. Your 2017 resolution means that you have what's necessary to make meaningful progress with your private practice.

I will personally respond to your questions if I can help you achieve your resolutions. You are the future of our profession and many of us baby boomers want to help you achieve your goals!
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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