Basic “truths” for Private Practice

These are the 7 “truths” I value most, and promote to my mentees:

  • You have to provide value.  What you do for your referral sources and your clients has to be so valuable that they cannot help but come back for more.  They MUST feel that you are giving your “all”, without question
  • You cannot forget that your Private Practice is a business.  That is not a bad thing – it’s a FACT.  If you are not able or have no interest in the business aspects of your practice, hire someone who can help you.  Don’t kid yourself by thinking that the business will take care of itself.  It won’t
  • You must be a good colleague and collaborator.  If you start out in this business feeling like you are in competition with other private practitioners, you could spend the rest of your career looking over your shoulder and waiting for the bottom to drop out.  Both of those things are a waste of your energy and time.  I will go as far as to say, if you can’t get past that – forget about private practice
  • You should have a definitive answer to the BIG QUESTION:  “Why, given all options including doing nothing at all, should I do business with YOU?”  If you can’t answer that question with passion and certainty, stop everything until you can
  • Recognize that you cannot be everything to everyone.  Find a niche (or two) that you are passionate about; one that really needs your help and services.  Then, make it your job to be the best you can be and do everything you can to ease the pain or meet the needs of your niche
  • Experience and express your gratitude every day.  Not just when things are going well.  Not when you are in trouble and trying to turn over a new leaf.  Each day you should have a time or two when you do nothing but count your blessings and give thanks – no matter your spiritual beliefs.  The positive energy and magnetism generated in this process is unique and very real.  It will keep you healthy and sane even when things are tough
  • Give ’em what you promise.  Follow through.  Do what you say you are going to do.  Let them count on you**

** funny story — when i first published this post I only had 6 truths listed.  I got busted (thanks Deb S.) and came back to fulfill my promise.  lol

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11 Comments

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      Thanks Bobby!

  1. Maureen Shea /Reply

    I like all of the truths. But the 3rd truth of collaborating and being collegial takes two! I am more than willing to do both. I know I will make out better and so will those I collaborate/partner with but I am in an area where providers seem to be so afraid they will lose business that no one has that same mind frame. How do I get the rest of my potential professional partners to become more collaborative and collegial? Yes, I figure I must lead and set the example. Any ideas how to do that?

  2. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

    @Maureen – this is a great point (and I’ve heard it a couple of times since I wrote this post). Yes, I believe you need to take the high road and set a good example. You might start a networking group for the purpose of building referrals and being supportive of others in private practice. Invite them to a happy hour and encourage them to come. You can also send a note to some of them letting them know that you’d love to know their specialties as you are looking to develop a network of colleagues to whom you can refer. In that note, let them know your areas of expertise.

    I’m all about transparency, so you don’t have to trick anyone. Let them know what you are doing and why you are doing it. The ones that “get it” will enjoy the collegiality. Those that don’t can spend their time looking over their shoulders. Your energy can be spent building your practice!

  3. al /Reply

    reviewing truths is helpful – they appear different each time i see them. thank you for resending them. gratittude is difficult when the practice is building adn there is not enuf traffic yet. i agree that it is necessary to do this – when clients call i will feel less ‘desperate’ to sign them on and more able to help them. im sure that how i feel comes thropugh in that first phone call.

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Al – great point Al! Clients take their cue from you. When they call in and ask about your services and your fees, the more comfortable YOU are, the more comfortable they will be. If you stammer over the fact that you only take private pay, or struggle for an answer when they ask “what is your specialization?” — it starts everything out on the wrong foot. I encourage my coaching students to practice in the mirror! Get more comfortable with your answers to tough questions, and your clients will hear your professionalism and expertise right through the phone!

  4. Stephanie Adams /Reply

    Wow! This message came at a great time for me. I had been working hard today and really feeling like I gave my “all” – it was so good to read that that is normal. It’s part of the truth of being a private practice counselor, it’s a business, and ultimately it’s worth it! To me this post answered a BIG QUESTION for therapists, “Why, of all the other businesses out there, do I do this business?” My answer tonight is that we are too passionate about it NOT to! Thanks Deb! You’re great!

  5. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

    @Heather – Thanks! I helps to stay grounded and “real”, right?

  6. Lanada Williams /Reply

    Deb,

    Thank you DEB! I met you at ACA in Ohio and I read your post once a week.
    I’m in DC working, smarter not harder!

    Lanada Williams, MA, NCC,LPC,LCPC

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Lanada: It is so great to know you Lanada. I am truly happy to serve!

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