I believe it is very important to educate counselors about the path to building and marketing their private practice. It is important since this part is usually missing from the counseling master’s programs, and by default, counselors either choose to go and work at an agency or simply stumble and fall through the process of starting their own private practice, usually without any previous business knowledge.
I believe that the beauty of education is in learning new and useful information. Many times I see my colleagues invest their valuable time and many in constantly expanding their clinical skills. I believe that this is crucial for the development and competency of every counselor. That being said, many counselors do want to go to private practice, but the knowledge about the business and marketing side of running a private practice is missing. That many times leads to enormous fear and failure to take action or making crucial mistakes along the way.
My principal objective in educating counselors about this topic is to prepare them to build a thriving private practice so that they could serve the clients they were taught to serve, and also thrive themselves. There is no reason why professional counselors with at least three years of training and hundreds of hours of experience through their practicum and internship experiences can’t do the same thing that agencies do and simply cut out the middleman. By doing so they can create the freedom to schedule their own hours and boundaries, choose the clients they want to work for, get paid more, and many times deal with much less bureaucracy, politics, and paperwork.
I am not saying that counseling agencies are not a valuable resource for society, because they clearly are. A big majority of these agencies offer incredible mental health services, and often very affordable ones. I do believe that therapists need to realize that it is not the only option, that they can still offer affordable therapy if they want and still get paid more than at an agency, and that it can be many times easier to run a private practice than working at an agency, given that you get educated about the business and marketing side of things, and truly understand that this becomes a big part of your work when building your private practice.