Congratulations!!! You have finished grad school, completed the necessary amount of hours, and have now passed the licensing exams. That is a huge accomplishment! You have invested a good amount of time, effort and money into becoming a licensed mental health practitioner, be it a Social Worker or Marriage and Family Therapist. And finally you have something to show for it. Don’t you just love how beautifully your name looks printed on that license?
After taking some time to celebrate, you wonder what lies ahead. What do you want your professional career to look like? Do you want to stay at an agency? Become a supervisor? Teach or climb the admin ladder? When asked what we want to do when we grow up, many of us have envisioned the idea of having a practice of our own. And now that it is a real possibility, is it truly the route you want to take?
Let’s be honest, most graduate schools did not spend any time teaching us how to be business owners. And most of us have come from a non-profit world of community agencies. Thus, the idea of running a for-profit business is both intimidating and completely unknown to us-and it isn’t for everyone. Just as it is more fitting for some to rent, as opposed to dealing with the hassle of owning a house, many practitioners are better suited for agency, hospital, or clinic work, as opposed to having a private practice. So what does it entail and is it right for you?
Before I go on, let me introduce myself. My name is Asya Mourraille, MFT. In addition to helping people pass their MFT licensing exams, I have had a successful private practice for the past 5 years. Amanda Rowan invited me to write a monthly blog to give therapists support in starting their own private practices. My goal here is not only to help you navigate the world of owning a business, but also to support you in staying compliant with legal and ethical demands of such endeavors. In this blog I will discuss a variety of topics that deal with both clinical and business elements of owning a practice. I will look at common mistakes and challenges practitioners go through, so hopefully you can have an easier time of it. I will also take a look at various options that exist for private practitioners out there, so you can decide which route is best for you.
Be sure to check in with me here next month as I talk about the specifics of what it’s like to have a private practice and help you determine if it is the right move for you.