Since 2011, I worked as a counselor in higher level of care agencies. A ton professional growth occurred during those years. I taught clients how to effectively cope, apply therapeutic strategies, and believe in their own strengths. Days ranged from 8 to 16 hours long. One agency didn’t allow for breaks, I would literally work for 16 hours straight while working with a group of four to eight clients.
One month, I took an overnight shift. I battled insomnia due to the crazy shift hours. The insomnia followed me for the next two years after deciding that I was finish working at agencies. It wasn’t the clients that drove me out, my clients were wonderful, it was how poorly the agencies treated their staff. 100%. What I learned during those times, working with supervisors and clients, still helps me to this day. And I beat the insomnia.
Around the end of 2019, I felt the desire to go into outpatient private practice. My husband and I moved, so it was good timing to make a shift in where I practiced. Outpatient private practice would be a completely different experience and slower pace as far as working with people.
I was interested in the business side, as well. For almost an entire year, I researched how to properly set up the independent contractor and business details, then chipped away at putting the pieces into action. I was also pregnant, so there was no hurry during this process. With the bare bones in place, I began my private practice.
The business didn’t start out as teletherapy. I shared an office with another counselor and saw people in-office. That was alright, but I wasn’t happy with a few of the business aspects that weren’t within my control, nothing counseling related. It felt off. I didn’t feel like I was supposed to be there.
In the back of my mind, I was thinking about teletherapy, but I didn’t believe that it could be as secure as in-office and wondered about some ethical aspects. I had a lot of questions. Back while I was researching how to set up the business, teletherapy came up, but I had too many concerns about doing harm or something going wrong. So, I didn’t go there.
Well, Coronavirus struck and the nation went into lockdown. Our office was open because we were essential workers. Coronavirus was my sign to leap into teletherapy. I took a 12.5 hour course on properly running a teletherapy private practice and did more research. No one was inquiring about in-person services due to the lockdown. I jumped ship and into the new waters, I swam.
As everything fell into place, it was rewarding on many levels, personally and professionally. Of course, I was setting everything up from scratch, doing it the hard way to save money because I was just starting out. I created my own documents, made sure everything was HIPAA compliant, secure, and private, and used as much free software as I needed. It ran like clockwork. How about that?!
I completed continuing education and became certified in telemental health and in treating anxiety. My business grew and remained steady throughout 2020. With my heart full, I wanted to upgrade my business and give more to my clients. I researched practice management software and EHR software, comparing all of the platforms, perks, ease of use, and which one would be the best fit for myself and my clients. I went with SimplePractice because it was intuitive and had a great client portal.
The free trial was handy, I picked through everything that SimplePractice offers and learned about it. When it came to getting the system and paperwork to align with what I already had set up, it was a bit overwhelming and difficult. SimplePractice has good “how to” videos and I was getting daily emails from them to make sure things were going well. After fiddling around during that free period, my business was operating on SimplePractice. I felt so happy!
My small private practice has come a long way, as it started from scratch and now uses a fancy EHR. There’s a lot to be proud of and grateful for in this journey of business ownership. The practice has been fruitful. I look forward to meeting and helping people in the years to come.
Mental health professionals: use this code below to try out SimplePractice, and when you’re ready to sign up for a paid account, receive a $50 discount
Visit these articles to learn more about me
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