Mentoring for going into private practice

Regardless of whether a counsellor/psychotherapist (i.e. a ‘therapist’) is recently graduated or has many years of experience from employment in an organisation, going into private practice can be a really daunting task.

Taking on this task with the support and guidance from a mentor who has accumulated many years of experience, both of the administrative issues involved in running a private practice, and of the actual counselling/psychotherapy issues that you will face as a private practitioner, makes the process of setting up a successful private practice smoother, more enjoyable and more rewarding.

Issues that mentoring can address

Having a mentor means having someone to turn to with issues that are related to your clinical work, but are not actual supervision issues. Mentoring may cover various common elements for setting up, and running, a successful private practice, such as practice location, set-up costs, ethical issues, insurance, record-keeping, business planning, accounting, marketing and advertising, yet is individualised according to each therapist’s particular needs.

Some of the points that you may have to consider are…

  • What kind of premises will you need for your practice; business premises or a work-from-home clinic?
  • Does the room need to be big enough for seeing families and groups?
  • What equipment will you need to purchase; furniture, office equipment etc.?
  • Will you be a generalist or a specialist? Perhaps you have a particular field of interest, or your education and experience is related to a specific field, like relationships, families, drugs etc.?
  • Which professional associations may be advantageous to be a member of, e.g. for the purpose of obtaining registration with Private Health Funds?
  • What will you charge for your services, and how can clients pay you? Do you need to set up credit card facilities?
  • How will you market your services? Internet, website, public talks, networking with other professionals?

After having been in full-time private practice for more than 25 years, I can confidently say that I have learned a vast number of important lessons along the way. A fair number of those lessons I had to learn by making mistakes, since I had no one to consult along the way – particularly in the beginning. To try and save other therapists the ordeal of making those same mistakes, I am now offering mentoring to therapists who are starting in private practice.

If you are in a different area, and you are not looking for mentoring in Brisbane, I can also provide mentoring over the telephone or internet (via Skype).

And regardless where you are located, in addition to mentoring, as your practice becomes established and you are seeing clients regularly, I will also be able to offer you clinical supervision relating to your client work.

To find out how you can benefit from mentoring, please, contact me today!