FROM AGENCY TO PRIVATE PRACTICE —A PSYCHOTHERAPISTS' JOURNEY
For the intern navigating the future work possibilities, private practice is one consideration. I need to say at the outset that it wasn’t my first-choice due to the comfortability I already had with agency work. The latest research says around 50% of small business will fail within the first five years according to the US Small Business Administration. The corporate ladder, per say, was appealing in that I could rise to level of clinical director or own my own agency like so many have done before.
The risk of failure was a piece for me also; not having a steady paycheck that I could depend on. Upon starting my internship, I hadn’t known anyone that had a successful private practice that was thriving, but had heard and seen friends unsuccessfully try but move in a different direction after a few years.
Now that I am in private practice I can’t see myself ever going back to agency work. Here are some differences I found at both:
1. Is typically a set schedule which is easier to plan around and includes vacation, sick, and mental health days which can be freeing
2. Comes with a consistent paycheck that is easier on a budget and planning for family events
3. Is by a set of known rules and codes of the agency and some unwanted demands like meetings, credentialing, and the drive for the corporate ladder
4. Gives the chance for a growth in a position or the ability to create a program with the help of the agency which can be very exciting
While Private Practice work
1. Is typically a flexible schedule. One can work early mornings or late evenings, lunch when it feels best, and carve out time for exercise or family events
2. Pay is according to how much you want and need to work. If your partner has a full-time job and money is less of an issue then work when you want. If you’re a new practitioner and building for your own private practice than work without burnout.
3. Be your own boss. This gives the freedom to do things how you want but it comes with the responsibility of making decisions that could affect an audit or your professional license.
4. With a potential 20% increase in job outlook for LMHC/MFT through 2024 which is much faster than the national average according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, you as an intern or agency work, could benefit from taking the liberating step into private practice.
I am available for consultation, mentoring, and qualified supervision via my office in Orlando or telehealth within the state of FL and can be best reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you the best in your future possibilities,
Scott Jones LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor)
CAP (Certified Addictions Specialist)
Qualified Supervisor in the state of FL
New Directions Counseling (Orlando FL)
Hanks, D. (2016). What I Wish I’d Known Before Starting A Private Practice. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 27, 2017, from https://pro.psychcentral.com/private-practice/2011/09/what-i-wish-id-known-before-starting-a-private-practice/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm (visited May 27, 2017).