Work Environment

Celebrating 10 Years Of Private Practice Success

tenth birthday cake

From solo practitioner to thriving clinic owner. Celebrating the milestones of 10 years of private practice.

Today marks the 10 years since of the founding of my private practice Wasatch Family Therapy, LLC. I started out as a solo practitioner with big dreams of creating an exceptional therapy clinic that not only provides excellent clinical services, but also provides therapists the opportunity to create their "dream practice" in a nurturing work environment that supports personal growth and strong family relationships.

As I take a step back and reflect on this ten year journey, many tender emotions surface. I am grateful for willing clients who have allowed me to walk with them during life crises and transitions. I am touched by the generosity of the professional relationships that I've cultivated during this period of time. I am amazed at the personal and professional growth that I've experienced. I've learned invaluable lessons about leadership, boundaries, and business. I've developed skills in marketing, supervising, web design, social media, mentoring, public relations, human resources, interior decorating, negotiating contracts, consulting...

This Wednesday we're putting on our party hats and hosting a celebration: a professional networking luncheon in our new office suite for all of our current and former staff, colleagues, referral sources, families, and friends. As a thank you to our colleagues and friends we'll be tweeting and posting photos and links to great websites and resources as a thank you to our attendees. Feel free to follow the fun here on our Twitter and Facebook page.

10 Year Milestones For Wasatch Family Therapy

  • 10,000 families served
  • 4000 + social media updates
  • 300 local and national media interviews
  • Grown from 1 to 14 therapists
  • 13 interns trained or supervised
  • 1 to 2 clinic locations
  • 9 babies born to our staff members
  • 5 office spaces outgrown
  • 0 to 2 office and support staff
  • Transitioned from managed care to a private pay practice

Whether you've been in private practice for years or months, I encourage you to take a step back this week and reflect on your journey. What milestones have you achieved so far? What are you grateful for? How have you grown personally and professionally through your private practice journey? And where do you want to go next?

Throughout the month of October I'll be posting more about lessons learned during my 10 years in private practice, mistakes and missteps, brave decisions, and more in the hopes that you can learn from my successes and failures and build your dream practice.

What are the most lessons have you learned in your days/weeks/years in private practice?

 

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Getting 3 'Fs' In Private Practice Is A Good Thing!

letter FMy motivation for starting my private practice, Wasatch Family Therapy, was very clear. I wanted to create my ideal work environment and I knew that no one else could do that for me. I felt called to help people heal themselves and their relationships.  I knew that I wanted work with therapy clients who valued my services and time, and who were dedicated to working hard to improve their life. I wanted the flexibility to set my own schedule and take time off to be with my children and attend school and sporting events. I wanted to do paperwork that was relevant and helpful for treatment. I wanted to invite other clinicians into my professional space who were gifted therapists, genuine people, and who I enjoyed spending time with. I wanted to work as a social worker part-time and make a full-time income (a lofty goal in a profession where many work full-time and make a part-time income).

I know why I chose to go into private practice but I was curious if other therapists and counselors around the country had similar motivation opening private practice. I recently asked several therapists about their reasons for taking the leap into the business world of owning their own practices and noticed three common themes emerged. I call them the 3 "F"s of private practice: flexibility, freedom, financial opportunity.

1) Flexibility

Therapists who take the leap into private practice value flexibility in their work schedule to better balance work and family life, and to pursue other interests.  Dr. Mary Sidhwani, a psychotherapist in private practice since 2000 in Ellicott City, Maryland opened her practice so she could have the flexibility to care for her two young children. "I wanted to be able to balance both my professional and family life; to be able to spend as much time with my children as possible while they were young."  Social worker Diane Spear, LCSW-R of New York City said, "I had worked at an agency with wonderful colleagues, but private practice gave me the opportunity to set my own hours and fees."

Of his decision to open his own practice psychologist Dr. John Duffy says, "I wanted to go into private practice as I wanted control over my career: my schedule, niche, fees, client base, whether I accepted insurance, and so on. I also wanted to be able to write, consult, speak, and expand my practice, or take fewer clients, as I went along."

2) Freedom

Freedom to select a particular client population to work with and choose your own approach to treatment has drawn many therapists to open a practice. After agency work left her overworked, underpaid and burned out, Esther Kane, MSW of British Columbia chose to open a private practice because it allowed her to focus on her passion - women's issues. Kane says she loves the "autonomy and flexibility of not having to answer to anyone."

Spear says she appreciated being able to choose who she worked with and how she approached treatment. "I wanted to choose level of pathology I want to treat, choose the theoretical orientation and supervisor I'm most comfortable with, and set the environment as I prefer. In short, autonomy, autonomy, autonomy!"

3) Financial Opportunity

It's a risk to open your own practice, but when it grows, you are the one who benefits most from the financial growth. Private practitioners have the opportunity to grow their income in ways that are unlikely to happen when you work for someone else. New York City therapist Emma K. Viglucci, CFT, LMFT, CIT experienced the growth potential first-hand. Since opening Metropolitan Marriage & Family Therapy, PLLC she says, "I've grown the practice to the point where I had 10 clinicians working with me as part of our clinical team. My practice has become an Internship Placement Site for MFTs in training."

Financial need helped Lisa Gomez MA, PLC of Surprise, AZ transition from part-time to full-time private practice. After being laid off from a full-time staff position due to budget cuts Gomez says it was "the perfect opportunity to take the step of faith into full-time private practice. I love private practice because I can be as successful as I want or as flexible as I want."

What motivated you to start your private practice?

If you're thinking about venturing into private practice, what do you hope to gain?

 

Creative Commons License photo credit: Leo Reynolds