This month’s guest post is from Seida Hood, MSW. She has been an active member of the Abundance Practice Builders Facebook Group (c’mon in, you’re welcome to join) from it’s early stages and has given and gotten lots of great support there. As a pre-licensed therapist, she is in the trenches with the rest of you on the path to get the magical letters after your name after years of work. I love this post because it so beautifully encapsulates the soaring highs and demoralizing lows of early private practice. She helps you stay present to who you are, what you have to offer, and how awesome things are going to be as you ride those waves.

I should quickly mention that some licensure boards allow pre-licensed folks to be in private practice and others don’t. It’s state and board specific. Make sure you check with your board to see what’s what. On to the good stuff…

You just attended a wonderful conference last week and made some really strong connections! You have to choose between 2 clinicians, both willing to offer you their space on a part time basis at a pretty decent price. You wrote an awesome blog that got you tons of unique visitors to your website! Some of the people you worked with 2 agencies ago SWEAR they have your perfect client and will arrange for you to meet. Your fees are set and you are pretty confident that THIS.IS.IT. This is your big moment! The moment you never thought would arrive – the moment you make your seamless transition into the world of private practice!

Then it all falls apart… The people you met at the conference haven’t returned your phone calls or responded to your email reaching out to go get coffee. You go to the website of one clinician only to find out they hired someone else and the other clinician wants to raise the rent price to some insanely, unrealistic price for the 3 days you will be using the space. Those perfect clients? Yea they went the other way when they found out you weren’t licensed or you didn’t take insurance. Then to put the icing on the cake… you fail your licensing exam…by a couple of measly points! Literally in one week, everything just fell completely apart…now what?

EXHALE. I know this statement doesn’t seem like its true, but it is: everything will be ok. Failing your clinical exam doesn’t take away the gift you have for connecting with people! You haven’t heard that you’re great at what you do simply to make you feel good – you really ARE great at what you do! You help transform people’s lives and one piece of paper doesn’t stop a transformation from taking place! Not meeting with some colleagues for coffee doesn’t mean you don’t have that gift for connecting either. Perhaps those weren’t the people who were meant to challenge you and keep you motivated on this journey.

RELAX. Don’t dive head first into Plan B. Give yourself permission to relax! The anxiety of prepping for the exam, sitting for it and preparing to launch your practice was probably stressful! Take some time for you. Whatever that looks like for you – do it. You need time to clear your head. You will be surprised at the people you “randomly” meet when you aren’t paying attention. The most inspiring women I know in private practice, I met by “chance” or they reached out to me.

HOLD YOUR HEAD UP. People disappointed you. People changed the terms of their commitment to you. Life happens and this is just one more example of life happening. How could you speak with such passion to your clients about resilience if you don’t understand what it feels like? I’m sure there are plenty of other examples of resilience in your life and this moment will be one of them. Celebrate the fact that you had courage to do what others have feared! You stepped out on faith and began to set the wheels in motion to build the life you want. The reward will come!

GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD. What do you want to do next? Do you want to register for the exam right now? What is happening in your life right now? Is this a good time to be trying to start a private practice or should you delay your launch for a couple of months? These are questions that only you can answer, but certain things just make sense… For example, if you are 8.5 months pregnant launching a private practice with new clients probably isn’t a good idea right now. Or if you’re moving to another state, sitting for the licensing exam in your former state probably wouldn’t be very beneficial.

TRY AGAIN. J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter author), Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple), Steven Spielburg (Filmmaker) and Vincent Van Gogh (Key Figure in Post-Impressionism Art) are all failures. They all failed at one point or another in their life, yet they are world famous people! Remember this: Failure doesn’t take away the gift you have inside. Your dream may be delayed for a while, but you are certainly not doomed to remain where you are. Life is a journey and this is one step!

If you failed your exam or things didn’t work out with that clinician you thought was so great or a colleague didn’t return your call – know that you are one step closer to passing the exam, meeting the right person to sublet with and the perfect colleague to keep you sharp!

The most important thing you should know is this: You are not at the bottom of the totem pole! You are smart! You are resilient! You have a gift to help heal people! You matter to many people and the work that you do matters! You are important! You have not failed in life! This is part of the journey, embrace it with confidence!

From the Heart Counseling provides counseling services to angry kids, kids who have experienced trauma & frustrated parents in St. Charles, IL. I believe there is hope for every family! Every family has its own unique challenges to overcome and navigating through these challenges can be stressful. From the Heart Counseling exists to help diffuse some of that frustration.

How did you survive the pre-licensed phase? How did you balance learning more with owning your skills and confidence? Comment below!

Allison Puryear is an LCSW with a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development. She has started practices in three different states and wants you to know that building a private practice is shockingly doable when you have a plan and support. After retiring her individual consultation services, she opened the Abundance Party, where you can get practice-building help for the cost of a copay. You can download a free private practice checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row, get weekly private practice tips, listen to the podcast, hop into the free Facebook Group. Allison is all about helping you gain the confidence and tools you need to succeed.

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