Breaking away from the packFor Margie Williams, the goal was always to be her own boss. “In grad school, I knew that I’d have to learn to be a therapist by actually doing it, and that meant putting in the time at the best training site I could talk my way into. The years I spent working at a residential treatment center gave me a solid foundation in every aspect of this field, until there came a point when I was ready to call my own shots.”

Williams, who runs a private practice in Tucson, Ariz., is hesitant to call herself a born entrepreneur, but she knows she’s never been happier. Many counselors-in-training and veteran counselors alike have dreams of one day working in private practice, so Counseling Today reached out to a handful of private practitioners and asked them to share a little about the challenges they have faced, the lessons they have learned and the strategies they have implemented to ensure success.

One message came through loud and clear: Private practice is gratifying for so many. As Williams says, “It’s so much fun, it’s silly to call it work.”

Putting the dream within reach of others

Stories of successful clients are never far from Deborah Legge’s mind. Legge, a private practice mentor and a member of the American Counseling Association, recalls one counselor who was involved in agency work for several years before getting the itch to start a private practice. With Legge’s help, the counselor went from having no clients to having more than 30 per week, running her own practice and renting space to other clinicians.

Then there’s the psychologist who worked for many years in a college counseling setting before transitioning to self-employment. “Before she had to juggle her responsibilities as a mom around a Monday-to-Friday, 9-to-5 job,” Legge says. “Now she sees as many clients as she likes during the hours her kids are in school. And in the summer, she decreases her practice so she can spend even more time with her children and family. Isn’t that great?”

Legge also mentions a social worker client who had been employed by agencies for about 15 years. The social worker moved into private practice but didn’t see much of a spike in finances. After working with Legge, however, the social worker found a new space with significantly lower rent, her client hours increased and her overall income grew to six figures. “This is a woman who settled for a piece of the pie when she really wanted the whole thing,” Legge says. “Our work together showed her that it was her pie to take. Soon she had the courage, resources and confidence necessary to have what she really wanted all along. She has been going strong for almost four years now in her new and improved private practice, and I can’t help but feel joy whenever I think of how happy she is.”

Legge, an assistant professor in the mental health counseling program at Medaille College, also sees counseling clients out of her Buffalo, N.Y., practice. She points to the growth of the counseling profession as the reason why her work as a private practice mentor is so vital. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, counselors held more than 665,000 jobs in 2008, and an 18 percent increase in jobs for counselors is projected between 2008 and 2018. “As our field grows, more and more counselors break away from the pack to pursue private practice,” says Legge, who will present the Education Session “Beyond Dollars for Hours: Maximizing Your Private Practice Potential” at the ACA Annual Conference & Exposition in New Orleans on March 27 at 10:30 a.m.

Legge sees clients at all stages, from those who have a dream to open a private practice to those who have already made that move but are struggling to make it work. Although some of the mentoring is conducted face-to-face, Legge works with about 75 percent of her mentoring clients, who hail from all over the country, via Skype, e-mail or phone.

Counseling is a second career for Legge, who worked in sales before going back to graduate school. After graduating, Legge says she quickly realized that to survive financially, she needed to go into private practice. She worked part time as a research assistant for about three months while she got her practice up and running. To find clients initially, Legge networked with anyone she thought could provide referrals, from physicians and psychiatrists to other counselors, clergy members and school systems. She also volunteered her time speaking in the community on mental health issues, as well as offering trainings and workshops.

Although Legge now has a strong referral base in the community and gets many of her counseling and mentoring clients via word of mouth, she hasn’t pulled back from efforts to get her name out there. She writes blog posts, networks with colleagues, uses Facebook and even reaches out to other practitioners who work as private practice mentors in an effort to collaborate. Legge runs for her counseling clients and uses to share information about private practice work and to provide mentoring services. “When people start to read things that are important and helpful, they think of you when they’re looking for a mentor,” she says.

With the knowledge she’s gained from starting her own practice, Legge helps her mentoring clients forge their own paths. She says she creates a personalized plan for each mentoring client because each client has unique needs. Some want to go into private practice part time, while others want full-time work. Some have trouble with the business aspects of private practice, while others want help with marketing. “I try to help people reach the potential they’ve set for themselves,” Legge says.

Breaking free from the “dollars for hours” mentality is one topic that Legge addresses with many of her mentoring clients. Most clinicians learn in school that one client equals one billable hour, Legge says, so counselors receive the message that they can make as much money as they want — just as long as they’re willing to fill a corresponding number of hour-long slots each week. “But when you want that to be your full-time career and something you want to take into retirement,” she says, “people don’t know how they’re going to make more money than the hours they put in or how they will ramp down in retirement.”

Legge acknowledges that some practitioners are happy with the dollars-for-hours mentality but says many of her clients are not. She helps those who want to broaden their income opportunities explore how they can generate more money or work less time in their practice. “You need to find ways to either take your own work and your own ideas and make them more accessible to more people without having to invest more of your time, or you need to find ways to utilize others to bring in income for you,” Legge says.

Legge leases rather than owns the space where her practice is located, and one way she makes additional income is by subleasing the space to other counselors. Another revenue-generating idea she offers to counselors is creating products from the work they do, such as videotaping a seminar or workshop, and then selling those products. She also recommends that private practitioners look into writing books, hiring other professionals to conduct trainings or groups on the practitioner’s behalf or taking a role as an affiliate for products that the practitioner believes are helpful. With the last option, Legge says, counselors should be careful about first checking into any potential ethical issues.

Legge tells her mentoring clients to market themselves as best they can by picking a niche, getting trained in it and then going out and talking about it everywhere. But she also advises budding private practitioners to ditch their competitive natures and pick up a spirit of collaboration in their search for new clients.

“I’ve seen that professionals who feel in competition with others usually end up spending a lot of time looking over their shoulders and looking at life with an expectation of scarcity,” she says. “It is a lonely existence. Recognizing and celebrating the abundance life has to offer, including clients, referral sources and business opportunities, allows us to collaborate freely, learning from each other and feeling supported along the way. I truly believe that the joy of success is found in sharing it with others.”

Branching out

A little over 10 years ago, Janet Slack read an article about coaching in Psychotherapy Networker magazine. She cut the article out and told herself, “I’m going to do this.”

Now running a successful private practice in Hendersonville, N.C., Slack admits that getting into coaching was one of her best decisions. “If I had not added coaching, I would no longer be in private practice,” says Slack, who splits her time between counseling clients and coaching clients. “It has invigorated all the work that I do. By adding coaching, I am a better counselor and less burned out. The work with my coaching clients is less stressful and the clients are less vulnerable. My coaching clients are making obvious progress and obvious changes that I can see on a daily basis, and that’s really rewarding to me. It’s the reward and invigoration and the challenge of it that have made the difference for me.”

Slack, a member of ACA who presented on “Adding Coaching to Your Counseling Private Practice” at the 2010 ACA Conference in Pittsburgh, has been a counselor for almost 25 years in a range of settings. Shortly after reading about coaching, she decided to leave her job at a mental health center in Asheville, N.C., and strike out on her own by opening a private practice while simultaneously going to coach training. Slack says she wouldn’t recommend that others learn about coaching while simultaneously trying to start a practice, but she made it work. She worked part time as a counselor at a rape crisis center for about 18 months before she was able to go full time with her practice.

Slack received many of her original referrals through the phone book, but that was a decade ago, she points out, and things don’t work the same way now. “Quite frankly, if a counselor today is not marketing their private practice online, they are not really marketing,” says Slack, who maintains for her coaching business and another website,, for her counseling business. “A website or blog is a necessity, along with attention to search engine optimization. Online directories and social media sites are also good marketing options.”

Between 12 and 15 of Slack’s weekly spots are set aside for counseling clients; she has 10 to 12 coaching clients as well. Slack works with about 90 percent of her coaching clients by phone, which is a big reason why coaching held such appeal for her. “A private practice is actually relatively confining, and I wanted to have some time where I didn’t have to be in an office,” she says. “There’s a lot of freedom to coaching people by telephone.”

Slack says her counseling clients require services and skills that are distinctly different from those she uses in coaching. Slack sees both adolescents and adults in her counseling practice, where she focuses on marriage counseling and treatment for depression, anxiety, substance abuse and trauma. In her coaching work, Slack works with business owners of all kinds, including counselors and other therapists, pharmacists, writers and graphic designers, on business growth and development.

The relationship between counseling and coaching is akin to that of pairs figure skating and ice dancing, Slack says. “They might look like they’re the same, but they have different rules, purpose, skills and structure. I think of coaching as joining someone in their process of change. I think of it as being an accelerator for someone. It is not a helping role; it’s a partnering role. A coach sees the client already as creative, resourceful and whole.”

“What I bring to the [coaching] relationship is the second brain, the understanding of growth and change,” Slack continues. “I bring the ability to notice and speak what’s happening. I bring my intuition. I bring my wisdom and understanding if the client wants it.” With coaching, Slack says she is not leading the session — the client is. “They have on the agenda what needs to happen,” she says. “I don’t come in as the expert with the idea of ‘This is what we need to do.’”

With coaching, Slack is less hesitant to share her take on what is going on with clients. She also feels more freedom to self-disclose and to bring accountability to the client. Depending on the method of counseling a practitioner uses, coaching skills might not sound all that different from counseling techniques, Slack says, adding that some coaching skills are transferable to counseling sessions. Some private practitioners might be coachlike in their counseling, she says, while others might prefer to offer coaching as a separate service.

One benefit of offering coaching services that Slack appreciates is the reduced paperwork and red tape. “I don’t know of any health insurance that covers coaching,” she says, “so clients are either self-pay or it’s paid by the employer.” Slack also credits coaching with expanding her reach to new markets — the business clients who come in as coaching clients offer a new arena of work for her. It also expands her word-of-mouth referrals because a counseling client might recommend Slack’s coaching services to a friend, or vice versa. “I also think that in spite of what all of us counselors would like to think, for some people, there is a stigma about going to see a counselor. Having a coach does not have that stigma.”

The first step for counselors interested in adding coaching to their work is to get trained, Slack says. She recommends looking for a school accredited by the International Coach Federation, then hiring a coach for yourself. “I don’t think anyone can be an adequate coach if they haven’t been coached,” she says. “To really understand the difference between that and counseling, you have to experience it and feel what it’s like to be in that kind of relationship.”

On-the-ground perspective

A cross-section of ACA members discuss what led them to pursue private practice and what they have experienced since taking the private practice plunge.

Margie Williams opened her private practice in Tucson, Ariz., in 2007. Find her at

Share a little about your specialty.

I’m probably best known for my work with adolescents and young adults, both locally and around the country. At the end of grad school, I talked my way into an internship at a well-known residential treatment center here in Tucson. They weren’t hiring, but I wasn’t taking no for an answer. They assigned me to the adolescent girl unit. I was absolutely terrified, sure that the patients would chew me up and spit me out. It turned out to be the greatest experience of my life because I found my niche with adolescents and had a fabulous supervisor and mentor who remains a trusted friend and colleague to this day.

How did you transition into private practice?

After working for about five years at the residential treatment center, I was burned-out. While my experience there had been fantastic, I craved the freedom to be more creative and grow professionally. I resigned and took three months off to decompress and plan my next adventure — private practice.

It was a true Field of Dreams experience. I got on Craigslist and found the exact location I wanted, two miles from home and walking distance from my kids’ schools. Once I had an address, I got a phone, designed business cards, brochures and stationery, ordered office furniture and opened the doors. I contacted colleagues in the community whom I had dealt with before and let them know I had opened my private practice specializing in teenagers and young adults. The referrals started coming.

In the beginning, I dreamed of the days when I’d have a whopping three clients in a single week and how that would be a true marker of success. Once I had three, I focused on five. When I had five, I focused on eight. And it took off from there. I worked it as a full-time job even before I had clients to see.

What tips can you offer to others looking to work in private practice?

It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be successful, and I never second-guessed my decision. So my best tip would be first and foremost, believe in your ability to be successful. Believe it will happen.

How do you market yourself?

I don’t generally follow the pack, so my methods may seem unconventional to people with real business backgrounds. For example, I didn’t do a business plan and honestly don’t even know what that is. I made a deliberate choice from the start not to take insurance. I have a set hourly rate, payable by check or cash, and I don’t take credit cards. I don’t do a sliding scale, but I do have a limited number of discounted slots. I offer a discount to college students. I use a cell phone for business, separate from my personal cell, so I can be reached anywhere. I answer my own phones, return my own calls and schedule my own clients. I have a website through TherapySites, which was fun to set up, is easy to edit and looks very professional. I’m listed on the NBCC (National Board for Certified Counselors) CounselorFind and Psychology Today websites. Whenever I receive a referral from a new source, I send a handwritten thank-you note and include a couple of business cards.

How has specializing helped your practice?

I’ve found that it’s helpful to be known as the “go-to” person for a specific population. When people are looking for a therapist for a teenager, I want them to think of me first. I’ve been a speaker at national and local conferences, in the court system, for specialty groups, at public and private schools and have consulted with school districts on substance abuse and self-harm policies. I’m also willing to donate my time, which always seems to pay off in some bigger way. My next big adventure is to write a book for teenagers based on my experiences working with them.

How can counselors working in private practice find support?

I’m a great collaborator, so I was concerned about becoming isolated and stale in my work. I got myself into a consultation group with five fabulous therapists. We meet once a month and do case consultations, inform each other of changes in policy by the state board, share best practices, discuss personal and professional challenges, and process the issues that arise in each person’s practice. We’ve also become tremendous referral sources for one another, since we have varied and complementary skills.

What business advice would you give to others starting out?

Return phone calls within 24 hours. Pay your bills on time. Establish good relationships at your bank, with your accountant and with the licensure board in your state. Donate your time and give back to the community. And have fun with it!

Shelagh Stone runs her own practice in Wakefield, R.I., which she opened about 15 months ago.

Share a little about your practice.

I was a high school English teacher with a master’s degree in English education before I became a counselor, and I continued to work with adolescents throughout my clinical training. Once I completed my master’s in counseling, I worked in various counseling roles in several secondary schools across the country. I chose to continue to build on my experience with adolescents, and now in private practice, I market my 19 years of experience as an expertise with adolescents and college students.

How did you transition into private practice?

The process included securing an office space and outfitting it, including a telephone and fax, becoming paneled with the major insurance companies in my area, creating a brochure and business cards, and letting my colleagues in the area know I was open for business and accepting referrals.

For me, having appropriate intake paperwork was more challenging than I anticipated. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I chose to purchase forms from a company that specializes in creating paperwork for therapists. I also needed to learn how to bill insurance companies. I received some direction from friends who are colleagues and some [direction] from Google. I learned very quickly that the majority of my colleagues in the area use a biller in exchange for a percentage of their insurance reimbursement. A biller felt like an extravagance to me since I had the time to do it myself, so I ordered a box of HFCA-1500 forms and learned through trial and error how to navigate the insurance billing system. As I become paneled with more insurance companies, there is more to learn, but I am able to keep up at this time.

What tips can you offer to others looking to work in private practice?

Take a marketing class and be certain you are thinking of yourself as a businessperson, not just a clinician. Find other clinicians or a supervisor whom you can talk to about money. Often, clinicians coming from agency work have not had to deal with the financial piece of the services they provide. This can deeply affect how a clinician values his or her time, and they can have difficulty in private practice with collecting copays, self-paying clients, setting appropriate rates that reflect the clinician’s market value and creating and implementing a missed appointment/late cancellation policy, for example.

How do you market yourself?

After taking a marketing class, it became clear to me that to try and capitalize on my experience with the adolescent population was the best way to get my name in the marketplace. I learned about the importance of a niche in marketing and have reaped the rewards of that. Initially, I was very hesitant to market only to adolescents and their families, but my marketing teacher and coach assured me that other clients would come. She was right.

Lucy Pirner works as part of a small holistic practice in Hudson, Wis., and has been a counselor for almost 20 years. Find her at

Share a little about your practice.

Two counselors, an acupuncturist and a massage therapist are independent contractors working together sharing office space. The practice includes a small studio space for weekly yoga and meditation classes. Workshops on various holistic topics related to mental health are offered. I believe in the mind-body-spirit connection and often cross-refer. I specialize in adolescent and young adult issues, as well as those struggling with persistent mental health diagnoses. Along with traditional methods of psychotherapy, I weave in yogic philosophy.

How did you transition into private practice?

In the 19 years that I have practiced, I have worked in three nonprofit residential facilities and in three private practices. The process of getting into private practice was confusing at first. There were so many details. In general, the paperwork and approval process of getting in-network with insurance companies was overwhelming. But once in, the renewal process is fairly simple, and if you’re contracted as an individual, then your contracts go with you if you change practices. Some companies took up to three months for approval. So, it took awhile to build my practice. Working part time was the only choice while waiting for the contracts to come through.

Having to pay quarterly taxes while finding and financing my own health insurance were responsibilities that took awhile getting used to. Another hurdle was budgeting for vacation and sick time. There was no human resources department to ask for help. I had to figure it out on my own by asking other counselors. Hiring a billing company was one of the smartest things I did.

How did you land in this specialty?

I got into holistic counseling following my own bout with anxiety and depression following the suicide of a client. In recovery, I found that traditional models didn’t meet my needs. One wise practitioner suggested I take the Jon Kabat-Zinn mindfulness-based stress reduction course, which in turn introduced me to yoga. I became a registered yoga teacher in 2001 with the dream of integrating yoga and mental health.

How do you market yourself?

I work with populations that many others don’t — adolescents and severe diagnoses — and our practice is the only practice in the area that offers complementary healing under one roof. Teaching “Yoga With a Mental Health Twist” and offering workshops also makes my practice unique.

What are the challenges and benefits of being in private practice?

The benefits and challenges are often the same. It’s great being my own boss when things are going great, but when times are hard, I wish I had someone to share the responsibility with. Working without a secretary saves me a lot of money, but when the work piles up and the phone is ringing off the hook, I wish I had help. Overall, the benefits far outweigh the challenges.

How do you maintain balance and keep from overloading with clients?

Learn how to say “no.” Block out times in your schedule for paperwork, phone calls and urgent clients.

What business advice would you give to others starting out?

It’s important that practitioners support each other and not be competitive. Willingness to collaborate and refer makes people more willing to do the same for you.

Dorothy Firman is a private practitioner in Amherst, Mass., who has worked in the field for more than 30 years. Find her at

Share a little about your practice.

I work with a general population, including couples, but not kids. My work is based in psychosynthesis, a transpersonal or spiritually oriented psychology. Psychosynthesis works with the concept of an internal unifying center, “I” or self, and focuses on the assumption that purpose, meaning and values in life are as important as what Ken Wilber has called “pre-personal” issues, family of origin, etc. It’s a “both and” orientation. We are both our wounded selves and our most enlightened selves.

What tips can you offer to others looking to work in private practice?

I think in two ways, inner and outer, like the in-breath and out-breath. The inner work is making your practice congruent with your beliefs, your passion and your own inner reality. If you are doing work you love, it is more likely to blossom. The outer is about networking and specialties. It’s great to be able to take a wide range of clients, but having a specialty as well moves you into a niche market. This also allows you to represent yourself in your community as an expert on one thing or another.

When would you recommend that a counselor move into private practice?

I think it depends on the goals that a counselor has. Some prefer the regular job, the security of a paycheck coming in weekly, the benefits, the community of people practicing in an agency. To move into your own private practice requires being at least a bit of an entrepreneur and involves a fair amount of work behind the scenes. In that regard, it is a good fit for someone who can afford to move into it slowly or someone who is moving into a semiretirement phase or doing private practice part time in conjunction with other work. [There are] lots of things to consider, but the bottom line for me is the sense of calling — the purpose, meaning and values — that the counselor is moved by.

How can counselors working in private practice find support?

This is, of course, key. It is so important to have collegial support, peer supervision and the sense of community. Ethically, it seems that this is essential. I support the idea of peer supervision groups, group practices, cross-platform associations like massage therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, herbalists, etc. If some systems of support are not built into the initial move into private practice, I’d say make it happen.

Vincent Dopulos is a drama therapist in Montclair, N.J., who has worked in private practice since 2006. Find him at

Share a little about your practice.

My clients are primarily people in bereavement. I see children as well as adults. I often work with my patients in some form of imagery. People will work with objects on the floor creating representations of their lives, relationships to loved ones or time lines. I also spend a good bit of time working with sand tray. I have a magnetic bar seven feet or so high up on one wall where I can hang paper for people to create paintings.

How did you make your way into counseling?

My master’s degree is from New York University in drama therapy. I worked in the theater for 10 years. Drama therapy is a model of investigation of meaning in both our inner lives and our relationship to others and society as a whole.

What tips can you offer to others looking to work in private practice?

Private practice is very technical work and, most important, requires a very competent supervisor. This can be a financial strain, but it is not an option, so it must be budgeted prior to beginning practice. The reason for this is that the relationship created in the therapy room between the patient and the therapist is a highly specialized one. It is comprised of dependencies and unconscious psychodynamics that have importance to the life of the patient. How these dynamics work is not something we know instinctually. They require examination on both the part of the practitioner and an experienced clinician together.

There are very good publications on starting out in private practice. These will have CDs that have billing systems, therapeutic contracts, ethics and recommendations for sharing office space, as well as how to handle leases. There are also books on ways of marketing your practice and suggestions of forms of writing to let people know what you do. I took advantage of all these.

How do you market yourself?

One requirement of private practice is to have some form of presentation you can do to groups. You must have the ability to come to those groups to speak about the population you serve, what that population’s needs are and how you see them being addressed. This has the double effect in community service of raising awareness on important issues as well as introducing yourself as someone who is doing this work.

What business advice would you give to others starting out?

As a private practitioner, you must be aware that there is no clinic or institution that is representing you. Every word that you speak, every piece of clothing you wear and the way you pick your kids up after school informs those around you of who you are as a professional. People will be less likely to refer to the United Clinic of Hooserville having one kind of policy or another. They will say, “He is the guy I saw in the grocery store who …” disagreed with the checker or helped that older person pick up the vegetables they dropped or talked with the Salvation Army volunteer. This may seem burdensome. However, moving from institutional work to private practice is a move on to your own. You are taking on public and private responsibilities that other entities held when you worked for someone else.

Patricia McCormack works in private practice in Brentwood, Tenn. She has been a private practitioner for more than 20 years. Find her at

Share a little about your practice.

I do a lot of marriage and individual counseling. I enjoy working with clients who are experiencing relationship problems. I like to work with individuals who have anxiety or depression because I love to watch them overcome these painful emotional states. I do hypnosis as well as many other types of therapies.

How did you transition into private practice?

Originally, I worked with another person in private practice to build up my own practice. As I learned how to network, the practice grew. I worked part time and still do, as I enjoy other types of things. I work with the local school system as a school psychologist.

How do you market yourself?

It requires a lot of networking and advertising. Things have really changed with advertising. The Yellow Pages used to be a very good source. Few people look there now. It takes a website. Local networking groups are good. When I began, I sent brochures to other therapists with information about my specialty areas, specifically hypnosis and how their clients could benefit from hypnosis as well as inner-child healing techniques.

How do you set yourself apart from others in private practice?

I am certified by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and I am trained to do eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). The majority of therapists do neither of these.

When would you recommend that a counselor move into private practice?

Currently, the economy makes this a tough decision. Beginning part time with another way of making money would be pragmatic.

What business advice would you give to others starting out?

Be a professional with every person with whom you come into contact. Then, keep very good records!

Jef Gazley has worked in private practice since 1986 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Find him at

Share a little about your practice.

I see 40-plus clients a week face-to-face and then have four websites where I have a staff that does online counseling and where I sell hypnosis CDs, mental health books and 13 mental health videos. The age range of my private practice is 6 to 80-plus. Over the years, I have specialized in chemical dependence, marriage and family, family-of-origin issues, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. I do a lot of hypnosis, EMDR and energy psychology techniques like the Neuro Emotional Technique and Emotional Freedom Technique.

How did you transition into private practice?

I worked in psychiatric hospitals for five years [and] outpatient mental health clinics for three, then went in with a psychiatrist in private practice for one year and then out on my own. I worked full time at the clinic and part time at my practice until I had enough clients to risk full-time private practice.

What tips can you offer to others looking to work in private practice?

Work in the field while going to school and get all the varied experience you can before you specialize. Then specialize in a needed and upcoming part of the field that is underrepresented, such as pain management, children under 6 or gay issues, because it is easier to get onto HMO (health maintenance organization) panels. Also, get as many licenses as possible. Think practically, look out for new trends, take risks and stay with it.

How do you market yourself?

Besides specializing, I got into the Internet early to not be too dependent on HMOs. I own the oldest and largest online counseling service. We provide e-mail, chat, phone and video counseling. We also provide articles, books, hypnosis CDs and mental health videos. A good third of my clients find me by seeing that site and then coming in for face-to-face counseling.

When would you recommend that a counselor move into private practice?

I want to say when they are ready, but I don’t think anyone ever feels totally ready. I waited longer than I needed to and only did it when I went to an Ericksonian Evolution [of Psychotherapy] Conference and watched some of the pioneers in the field working with clients and realized I was making the same interventions with my clients.

Letters to the editor: