Working from a Private Practice
Once you have a counselling qualification, and quite possibly additional specialist counselling training, under your belt you will be able to consider earning a living by providing this service to clients. You will be in a good position to research job openings and to consider where your counselling skills would be put to the best use.
Although working in the community – perhaps within a voluntary organisation – can provide rewarding opportunities to expand your counselling career, working on a self-employed, or private, basis may allow you to develop your skills in a different way. To work in a private practice however, counsellors should have extensive training and a wealth of counselling experience.
Private CollectionPrivate counselling practitioners are in high demand. This is due to the fact that these counsellors often provide low-cost or free counselling support to a greater variety of clients. A private counselling practice can provide counsellors with an opportunity to build a successful business, whilst they continue to expand their own skills and personal development. A private practice can also be set up online, providing a convenient internet service for clients.
Business HurdlesAlthough counsellors will be highly skilled in providing a supportive and caring service, and environment, for their clients, most will be lacking the business skills required in order to successfully work privately. Most of the necessary skills can be gained on easily accessible business courses and training programmes however.
An initial hurdle that many counsellors may find daunting, is viewing themselves as a therapeutic practitioner and a business person. Identifying this initial concern will help counsellors focus on ways of making the move into private practice work for them. Understanding how marketing works, and how client referrals can help expand a practice, will enable the counsellor to apply professional business skills to their therapeutic counselling practice so that it can grow.
Before taking the plunge counsellors should carefully assess their own skills and experience, and should also consider expanding their counselling and business knowledge further.
Making ChoicesCounsellors may decide to explore working within a private practice after having worked in another counselling environment, or as part of a larger organisation. For some counsellors working privately means they can control their own workload more easily, whilst having sufficient personal time for themselves. Mid-career practitioners may find the freedom, of having this much control, is a challenge they are keen to explore as it provides more autonomy. The trends in salary, and increase and decrease in careers in this field, may also persuade a counsellor to consider working in a private practice, or even setting one up.
Working from a private practice can provide a counsellor with more independence, career fulfillment and a good income. Practitioners must be aware however, that there are just as many restrictions as there are benefits. These may include a greater workload, at least in the initial set up of the practice, more responsibility and not enough business knowledge. All these hurdles can be easily overcome with good preparation and business planning.