Head Start To Private Practice for Students

Head Start To Private Practice for Students

Are you currently in graduate school to become a mental health professional? Do you already know you want to go into private practice ASAP after graduating? Well, if you do, the good news is you’re in the right place to get a head start (and trust us you’ll want to!)

7 Things To Do Now That Will Make You Thank Yourself Later:

1. Become A Virtual Assistant For An Established Therapist

This may sound overwhelming especially if you have no idea what a virtual assistant does, but the experience and relationships you can form from working closely with a mental health professional years ahead of you are endless!

Here’s the thing, as a grad student you’re already learning tons of great information about mental health, and understand the nuances of working in the mental health world.

Therapists everywhere running private practices NEED assistants that can help them with things they just don’t have time for on top of seeing clients.

These tasks you can do for them are already things you’ll need to learn how to do when you have your own practice (hello head start!).

Tasks like working with EHR platforms, scheduling, consult calls, newsletters, social media, blogging, and working with other organizational platforms are just a handful of tasks you can help a therapist with, and learn for yourself early!

On top of helping out another therapist, building a relationship with them, and learning skills you’ll need for your own practice, you’ll also have a great flexible side gig while in school!

It’s truly a win-win for everyone.

Wondering how to learn how to become a VA for a therapist? We have you covered!

Check out our friend Taylor Anderson’s Course Virtual Assistant University, where she not only teaches you how to specifically become a VA for therapists but places you into a private FB group with therapists actively looking for VA’s so you know you’ll get a job right away.

Check out Virtual Assistant University Here

And if you’re a practicing therapist looking to just join this FB group to hire a trained VA, go here to become a member of the group and find your VA!

2. Be Thinking About How Your Want To Market Yourself

When in school, the last thing you might be thinking about is how you’ll want to market yourself in private practice.

While in Grad School you’re already learning endless amounts of material, practicing that new knowledge in your internship, all the while going to supervision, and most likely working on the side to support yourself..we get it if you’re already overwhelmed.

But it can be extremely beneficial to ALSO be thinking about how you’re going to get the word out there after you graduate that you’re an awesome therapist ready to see clients (and get PAID!).

Learn more about what you can be asking yourself NOW so you can save yourself time, money, and a headache later by watching our video where John talks all about marketing yourself as a therapist in more detail.

3. Ask Yourself What You Want Your Niche To Be

As you make your way through your graduate program, you might be noticing a particular type of issue, population, or technique you feel most congruent with.

This might be teen clients struggling with depression, couples needing help with communication, or adults that have experienced trauma.

Keep a log either written or just in your head of the clients that give you energy rather than ones that are more difficult for you. This will matter as you build your practice because you want to attract the clients that fit your “niche”.

Now, when we talk about a niche, narrowing things down TOO much doesn’t actually help in the long run unless there are a lot of people that fit it within your market.

You want this to be narrow yet broad enough to actually get a good amount of clients in your area and/or state.

You also want to be thinking about how people in your area are going to find you when they search for you on the internet. What is most likely to be searched for when someone within your niche is looking for a therapist?

Watch our video here if you want to know more about how to find your niche, and how to get a head start on this.

4. Do Trainings Before You Graduate

Again, we get it–grad school takes a lot out of you. But doing those offered extra trainings over the weekend or taking one of your breaks to get certified in something will pay off later.

Once you graduate, potential clients will want to know what you “specialize” in. If you know for example you want to work with children primarily in private practice, it could be a very good idea to get trained in play therapy.

Trainings can be expensive, but with many being online now, you have options for finding affordable ways to up your game in specializations before you graduate.

5. Get To Know Therapists In Your Area

Is there a private practice you admire in your area? Maybe it’s one you follow on social media or have heard of from a friend.

Ask yourself why you feel drawn to this practice and what aspects of it you’d want to implement into your own after you graduate.

Reach out to them and see if there would be a way to connect and ask them a few questions. Usually, other therapists love helping therapist-to-be’s because we know how challenging it can be to get started!

So don’t be shy, go ahead and reach out!

6. Read Books on Business and Marketing

So, as you may have already guessed, a private practice doesn’t just happen because you have a Master’s in mental health (we wish!).

At the end of the day, you’re running a business, and knowing as much as you can about business and marketing BEFORE you graduate, is truly essential to avoiding mistakes that can be a costly waste of time.

Here are a few books we recommend from the get-go that will give you a head start:

  1. Building a Storybrand https://amzn.to/3nn1jYE 
  2. Clockwork https://amzn.to/3nr2Nlf
  3. The Personal MBA https://amzn.to/2Lfbx07
  4. Blue Ocean Strategy https://amzn.to/2Lbc6YN

To learn more about the business of private practice watch our video here

7. Get Support!

Do not do this alone!! Working in private practice can be isolating if you don’t reach out for support and community.

We aren’t meant to do this alone, and there are other practice owners out there wanting to connect and grow with you (trust us we have a whole community of them here!).

If you want an encouraging community of therapists to help you reach your goals and let you know you’re not alone, click “Work With Me” below to learn how you can be apart of our community. We can’t wait to get started with you!

Work With Me

While you’re prepping for the future, give our video a watch below on what mistakes to AVOID before you start!




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