Ask me about my private practice and I light up. I love it. I just spent the last day and a half furnishing and decorating an additional office location in a neighboring city. I'm excited to be able to expand the reach of my practice and help clients in other geographic locations. There is such a satisfaction in feeling fully self-expressed professionally and to make a difference in the lives of my clients and my colleagues. My passion for building a private practice is why I asked Dr. John Grohol, CEO of PsychCentral.com if I could start this blog. I can't imagine being happier with a work situation and I want to help you develop the tools to feel the same way about your practice. I asked several successful private practice therapists the question, "What do you love about being in private practice?" I wanted to share their answers with you to inspire those of you who are considering going into private practice to do it! If you're unhappy with your practice, I hope you'll draw from these successful private practice experiences to create a practice that you love.
It's not "work"
When you do something you are passionate about it's not work. I intend to work well into old age. The more life experience and mindfulness I have, the more wisdom I have to offer. I'm grateful to feel so fulfilled and alive as a psychotherapist age 70 this month.
Accurately represents who I am
I love it because it is mine. It is an accurate representation of who I am and the work I do. I truly love what I do and having a private practice gives me the freedom to really design and build my ideal practice. I can work when I want...in fact this summer I spent 5 weeks in Paris. I don't know if I could have done that if I didn't have my own practice.
I look forward to work
I look forward to my work and the days fly by. I don't get insurance benefits or paid time off, but I also earn 50% more than I would working full-time for the local University hospital and they pay very well. I feel good that my children know that my work is to help people and they don't resent the time away.
I'm my own boss
I am passionate about maintaining a private practice as it grants me the ability to participate in the way that best suits me. I am an active parent to four elementary school aged children and I am able to schedule clients in a way that permits me to be present for my children. As they grow older and more independent, I am able to increase the amount of hours I can see clients in my private practice. I am not beholden to a specific way of working with each client, but rather, I'm able to respond to the needs of each individual, couple or family.
Allows me to refine my specialty
Private practice allows me to refine my specialty in working with marriages impacted by sexual betrayal. When I was working in an agency setting, I was required to see whatever cases walked through the door. So, in any given day I could end up working with children, teens, couples, elderly, and families. Even though I certainly enjoy the variety that comes from working in an agency setting, there is something deeply gratifying knowing that I'm developing a skill set that comes from working with the same types of cases day after day. I love knowing for certain that I can make a difference in the lives of the clients sitting across from me in my office.
I set the rules
I set the rules and love it! I’m independent and it suits my personality. I love the flexibility- going away whenever I choose and working hours I prefer. I get a highly-motivated client-base who are ready and willing to do the work. I own my own office overlooking the ocean and it’s like my second home.
It adapts to my changing lifestyle
In the last 3 years I have gotten married, and had 2 children. Private practice has allowed me to adapt to my changing lifestyle. It worked great when I was single and could work evenings/weekends, etc. and it works great now when I need to be home evenings and weekends to be with my family. Private practice affords me the opportunity to build a company that makes a difference in the lives of our clients, and provide a healthy work environment for my associates and interns.
It's a thrill to see people change
There is no greater thrill than seeing people make real change for the better in their lives and being part of that change process. I'm grateful for the opportunity to do work I love, as my own boss, with hours that mesh with my family needs.
Meaningful connection with others
Loren A Olson MD, who is in the process of retiring from his psychiatry practice:
I have experienced the joy of connecting with people in the most emotionally intimate ways. I *know *them deeply and meaningfully. And although I've always maintained professional boundaries, I find that they know me, too. And so I grieve the loss of these relationships even while knowing that I am responsible for my own happiness. And as I retire I will find new ways to find pleasure in my life, but I also look back with a sense of satisfaction about having chosen such a meaningful profession.
Do you love being in private practice? Tell me about it! If you're not happy with your practice, what would you like to change?
If you have any topics you'd like me to write about, or specific questions for me comment below, ask me on Twitter @Julie_Hanks, or contact me directly here.