rhettsmith-frontIt is not unusual for me to get about 5-6 messages a month from people who want to meet up either in person, or on the phone, to talk about building a therapy practice. For whatever reason these people have found what I’m doing as a therapist in private practice appealing, and they are curious to pick my brain about it.

I love this.

I consider it a great honor and privilege that other graduate students and therapists feel that I have something to offer. After all I was in their shoes at one point, contacting therapists, trying to pick their brain. And I am still in their shoes in many ways, as I’m always contacting plenty of therapists and I belong to several peer groups. I feel like I can never learn enough.

In fact, I believe that to be a great therapist one has to have the mindset of an ongoing, lifelong journey of acquiring new skills as a therapist. So I am as curious about therapy and private practice as many of the people who contact me. And no matter how successful my vocational life is going, I still struggle with feeling like it is never enough (that is another conversation all together that I will bring up to my therapist in our next session).


What Kind of Therapy Practice Are People Looking to Develop

What I most often hear from these students and therapists is that they like how I have somehow struck a vocational balance of doing therapy, writing, and speaking. They all express that is something that they desire to do….therapy, writing, speaking. And then almost immediately conversation turns to how I seem to be everywhere online as a therapist, which is somewhat surprising to them as they know many therapists don’t even have a website, and graduate school ethic classes often scare therapy students out of making a personal imprint online. If I hadn’t already been blogging as a pastor before I entered graduate school for therapy, I too might have shied away. But I’m thankful I have not.

I love sitting down with people and brainstorming therapy practice. It seems like time flies by as we cover all kinds of topics. We talk about whether to take insurance or not to. How to effectively use social media as a therapist. How to market a practice. What kind of continued training needs to occur. What’s the best way to build a referral network. What’s the best location and set-up for office space. How much should I charge for session rates.

Whatever the conversation, I almost always leave feeling energized by these conversations.

And ultimately, I’m just grateful that I am in this position to help others.

But something has changed for me over the last 6-7 months.

And it’s a good change, but it has impacted my ability to meet with as many people in person, or respond personally to them, than I used to be able to.

I’ve become busier and busier in my therapy practice, busier writing for a couple of new books, busier speaking at places, busier working on my men’s online group, etc.

All great things, but ultimately I no longer have the ability to thrive in my vocational, home, and personal life…without setting some better boundaries about how I spend my time.


New Blogging Series

I will always meet with people. It’s just something I love doing. But I’ve decided that in order for me to take care of myself, help people who want to talk about a therapy practice…then I need to start blogging about some of this stuff.

By writing about some of this stuff I hope that as therapists find me online or connect with me in person, they will find at my site a reservoir of helpful material about building a therapy practice. So over the next couple of months I’m going to blog about what I think are the essentials of starting and thriving in a therapy practice.

Whether you are a therapist in a clinic, a small group therapy setting, or a solo practitioner in private practice, I believe that what I have to share will be helpful to everyone who wants to build not only a thriving therapy practice, but one that is balanced with other activities such as writing and speaking.

So join me as I share some of the wisdom that I’ve gleaned from all my conversations with so many people who have helped me along the way, and who I have had the opportunity to help as well.

And if you have a minute or two, I would love for you to answer this 5 question survey — which will help me better understand your questions and concerns as I write about building a therapy practice over the next couple of months.

Click here to take survey