A Day In The Life: Meet Divorce Counselor Misty E. Vogel, MA

A ten year career in the mortgage banking industry not only prepared Misty Vogel, M.A., NCC for many of the business aspects of self-employment, but also for managing the intense emotions that come with major life transitions.

Helping clients buy homes seems far from providing therapy, but the process of helping mortgage clients navigate intense emotions that surface during home purchasing has been added to Vogel's therapeutic skill set.

Fresh out of graduate school, Vogel is just starting to build her practice in Denver and in Evergreen while she continues to work as an extern at Evergreen Psychotherapy Center, a practice specializing in treatment of attachment disordered children and families.

In her private practice, Vogel combines her experience doing attachment work with her passion to help children and families navigate the difficulties of divorce and custody issues. Vogel's own parents divorced when she was 5 so she knows first-hand the impact divorce can have on the entire family. Peek into a day in the life of a therapist just beginning to build her private practice and see what it takes!

A Day In The Life

February 13, 2012


Alarm is sounding and my husband is up and out of bed quickly. I, on the other hand, reach for my phone which is next to me on my nightstand, easy to check email from here. I turn on the local news to check the weather. No snow and warmer temperatures… happy about this, as it means I can go for a walk later (self-care).

7:00AM – 8:15AM

Getting ready for my day includes planning lunch and a change of clothes. My externship is located in the foothills outside of Denver in Evergreen, about a 30 minute commute on a good day.

8:15AM – 8:50AM

On my commute to Evergreen! I can’t complain, this drive is often quite picturesque – many times the moon is setting to the west, or the snow capped mountains are glistening in the sun rising upon them, and, more often than not, I am fortunate enough to spot wildlife – buffalo, coyotes, elk, hawks, and even eagles once in a while! I also am lucky to use this time to make a few phone calls. (When I was still studying for the NCE exam, I used this commute to listen to Dr. Rosenthal’s study CDs!)

9:00AM – 12:00PM

In session, an intensive at my externship. Our current family is in real crisis. Mondays of the second week can be very tense because the families have just spent a couple of days outside of treatment and often they fall back to old patterns. Unfortunately, in this case, the crisis may not be diverted and it appears this week is going to be a tough one.


An hour with an individual client – my own client, not part of the externship. Without a break between the intensive and my individual session, I am feeling some hunger pains! Those almonds didn’t quite cut it.

1:00PM – 1:30PM

Commute back to Denver, meeting up with an old co-worker and friend who has a networking group she wants to introduce me to.

1:30PM – 2:45PM

Lunch with friend. Networking is essential at this stage of opening my own practice. I also attend a Private Practice support group as well as numerous workshops and conferences.

3:00PM – 4:00PM

Changed into walking clothes at the restaurant and went for a walk at the park. This is my self-care time!

4:15PM – 6:30PM

Back at my home office. I make finishing touches to my post card announcements for my new practice and two offices. Order those online – some will be mailed to a small database and the rest will be distributed in local coffee shops and local hang-outs. Post a quote on my business Facebook page – I find that if I do this every day, people are more likely to remember me and my practice. Open up the project I am currently dreading…building my website. I am trying to determine if I chose the right web page host; it hasn’t been a user-friendly experience thus far.

6:30PM – 7:45PM

Cook and eat dinner with my husband. Catching up on one another’s day. He is working on a start up company and we are also beginning the journey of seeking out fertility options. The journey has just begun – I filled my husband in on the task at hand getting in for a consultation with the fertility doc, information gathered on a phone call during my commute this morning.

7:45PM – 9:00PM

Took a little time to read up on divorce and attachment. I had downloaded a few articles over the weekend. I am considering writing a blog targeted to this population.


Both my husband and I are exhausted. We treated ourselves to a few TV shows on the DVR. Turning off our brains before heading to bed tends to produce better sleep!


Turning in – thinking about the family I’ll see tomorrow at Evergreen. They have been on my mind a great deal this afternoon.

Find out more about Misty's practice at

If you'd like to submit a day in your life for this series, please contact me here.

What Do You Love About Private Practice?

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 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"

Lynn Krown MA, MFT:


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

Julie Jeske, M.S.:

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 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

Gabby Acord, LCSW:

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

Amy Luster, M.A., LMFT:

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

Geoff Steurer, MS, LMFT:

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

Esther Kane, MSW:

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

Shannon Purtell MA, LPC:

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

Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD:

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.