Envisioning Your Private Practice

Going into private practice is a dream for many helping professionals, even while in graduate school. It certainly was for me. So even as I accrued my requirements for licensure, even as I studied for my credentialing exam, I dreamed of private practice. It was a dream I actively nurtured by “starting” the practice well before it became a reality.

How did I start? By looking at available office spaces online and by envisioning myself in those spaces. By preparing my intake paperwork packet. By designing my business card and website, going through many, many versions until things felt just right. By thinking of who I wanted to serve and how. By drafting my Psychology Today listing.

In short:  I started by using my imagination.

I took the initiative to actively visualize the look and feel of my practice, my clients, and the kind of day I wanted to experience. I imagined what my office would look like, where it would be located, and the tone it would convey. I worked with writing and sketching to “speak” to my prospective clients through marketing materials that expressed who I was as a therapist, while providing information to help a client decide whether I was a good fit.

In the field of design, this kind of concrete visualization is often called prototyping. Prototyping lets you envision a proposed solution, product, or idea by creating mock-ups - by dynamically modeling (and remodeling) what you have in mind. It’s part of the creative process.

Prototyping elements of my private practice (mainly marketing materials) helped me nurture and clarify my vision well before I was ready to implement it. It helped me sort through options, identify strengths and weaknesses, and hone in on what I felt uniquely poised to offer as a therapist.

But most important, it was a way for me to keep my creative vision alive and well until the time came when I could make it real.


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