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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

How to Start Your Private Practice When There is No Map

There is no map when it comes to creating a private practice tailored to your needs. It cannot exist because it is individualized to who YOU are.

So if there’s no map, where do you start?

I suggest you start by being clear on what you want.

Write out what would be ideal for you in:

  • What times of day you prefer to see clients

  • What days of the week you want to see clients

  • What kinds of clients you want to work with (ages, populations, types of mental health conditions)

  • What kinds of services you want to offer (individual, group, etc.)

You will hear ALL sorts of opinions about business and private practice. It can be dizzying. You can remain grounded if you know what you want. Then, if different ideas and opinions conflict with that, you can toss them aside. If other ideas seem like they would support what you want to do in your business, you can incorporate them.

This is one of the reasons that I share interviews with private practice therapists. I want to show the range of things that private practice therapists are doing in their business, as well as how they honor their needs.

The second thing you can do is to write out your values.

What needs of your own do you want to honor?

What identities and perspectives do you want to center?

List out all of the things that will impact your therapeutic work and private practice. You can view my values to get your brainstorming practice jumpstarted.

Your values will also guide you as you make business decisions. For example, one of my guiding values is that I honor my emotional and energetic limits. For me, this means I only see 2-3 clients a day. When other therapists suggest seeing 6-7 clients a day so that they only have to work 3 days a week, I know this is an idea that will not work for me.

Art Therapist and Private Practice Owner Jackie Schuld wrote "I am confident I can do this" between two stretches of abstract colors.
"I Am Confident I Can Do This" Mixed Media by Jackie Schuld

The next impactful thing you can do is to write out what might get in your way.

What are the fears, obstacles, money stories, and other topics in your life that might hold you back?

It’s important to think about them and name them before you start your private practice, because creating a private practice WILL bring them up.

So go ahead and write them out. Create a support system or game plan for how you will move through those things when they come up.

For me, I named some of the things that I felt were holding me back: Invisible therapist Myth, Fault Proof Mentality and Martyrdom Mentality. Giving them names and writing about them helped me to become familiar with them. When various experiences then triggered them, I could remind myself, “Ah yes, this is Martyrdom mentality again. Let’s not get trapped in that crap.”

Once you have done these things, you are more clear on who you are, what you value, and what you won’t let get in your way. You can then move forward with following pre-made plans that show you the steps of how to set up a private practice. As you follow offered guidance, you can make sure every choice is tailored to your needs and values.


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