Being in private practice can be very lonely… BUT, it doesn’t have to be.
Even when we work in agency settings, most of us spend the bulk of our work time behind closed doors. Confidentiality forces us to keep things to ourselves. Most of us maintain a low profile in our communities. At times, our work can cause us to feel quite isolated.
Private practice can magnify the isolation and “alone-ness” that comes with the territory of mental health professionals. This can be even more noticeable when you are just starting up your practice. It can also be compounded with feeling unsure of where to start and what to do next.
Here are a few things you can do to help you feel supported and less alone as you enjoy the independence of building your private practice.
- Surround yourself with positive, energetic people. You know from the work you do, that negative energy can suck the life right out of you. What you need now are people in your life who will listen enthusiastically to your goals, plans, and dreams as they stand by you or walk with you on your journey
- Identify a couple of professionals that you admire and who have walked this path before you. Be sure to choose folks who have generous spirits and who will treat you like a colleague and not a competitor. Call on them when you need an answer to a question, ideas for referrals, or just a kind word
- Utilize the groups on FaceBook and LinkedIn to connect with other private practitioners. There you can read or participate in discussions about topics that might really benefit you personally or professionally
- Stay connected to the profession. Don’t ever get too busy to go to conferences, trainings, and networking opportunities. Read and surf the web as much as you can about that which interests you. Now that you are in private practice, you can continually re-create yourself as a professional
- Team up with a Private Practice Coach who will guide you through and meet you where you are at in the process. You should be able to count on this person for the nuts and bolts of establishing and building your practice, and for the motivation and accountability that will help help you achieve your goals