Why this blog matters... A LOT

There are times when I wonder why I do all this. Times when I get overwhelmed or even feel cranky after having done this work for so long. It is hard to see the same issues continue for so long and not see changes to the system. Then, I get emails like this... and it truly makes my day. This is why I write this blog. This is why I continue to put myself out there. This is what makes it all worth it! 

"Hi Miranda-

First I want to say thank you again for your news letter and blog. It has really helped me to keep my eye on the prize. I finished my masters in December and figured that there were going to be no opportunities or at least limited opportunities for me as a trainee awaiting my intern number. I thought retail was imminent.

I remembered reading your blog where you said that a lot of interns go around crying that their are no jobs that pay and that some are getting multiple interviews. This was my second week sending applications and I am so encouraged to say, that as of today, I have FIVE interviews all for positions that pay.

I also was able to apply for the MFT consortium stipend program which I did get for $18,500. I did not send this to toot my own horn. I just want to echo to interns that it is not that bleak out there and with a little creativity and a positive outlook I think we can all make it to licensure.

Again thank you for encouraging people in my position to fight the good fight.

Happy New Year!"

What would this person have done if they didn't think a job was possible? I LOVE it when we have truth in front of us- and it keeps us motivated to do what needs to be done. Get out there pre-licensed therapists- I won't promise it will be easy- but I can promise it will be worth it! 

Miranda Palmer

I have successfully built a cash pay psychotherapy practice from scratch on a shoestring budget. I have also failed a licensed exam by 1 point (only to have the licensing board send me a later months later saying I passed), started an online study group to ease my own isolation and have now reached thousands of therapists across the country, helped other therapists market their psychotherapy practices, and helped awesome business owners move from close to closing their doors, to being profitable in less than 6 weeks. I've failed at launching online programs. I've had wild success at launching online programs. I've made mistakes in private practice I've taught others how to avoid my mistakes. You can do this. You were called to this work. Now- go do it! Find some help or inspiration as you need it- but do the work!

Marketing a Counseling Practice Can Make You a Better Therapist

Many pre-licensed therapists and student therapists enter a graduate program with the express intention of working in private practice. 

Unfortunately, not many (if any) psychology, counseling, or social work programs are developed to prepare you for launching a private practice. The focus for most psychology students and graduate students is "after I'm licensed I will..." The vision is that once they go through this strenuous process of licensure- the other pieces will come together. 

I help licensed therapists market their psychotherapy practices daily. And guess what? The process of getting licensed doesn't necessarily prepare you for the process of opening a private practice successfully. 

Good news for pre-licensed therapists who plan to go into private practice! 

Here is the good news. Actually, here is the great news. The process of preparing for private practice WILL make you a better therapist, counselor, or clinician. How cool is that? In fact, the process of preparing for your future private practice might even help you gather hours faster, develop a better clinical intuition, navigate the process of licensure with more ease, pass your licensing exams, and get paid better! 

Preparing for private practice WILL make me a better therapist? 

Ok, that might be a bit of an over-statement. If you prepare for private practice the right way, I believe it will. Here are just a few ways you can prepare for a future private practice and how it can make you a better therapist now and in the future:

1. Successful private practices have referral sources. 

Now, this might sound simplistic, and redundant. Stick with me for a second. In order to have a consistent pool of clients, people have to know you exist. Simply putting up a website, or sharing your business cards won't magically fill a private practice with paying clients. You need to be known. People need to know what you do, understand the value, and be excited enough to remember you and share your name with others. 

How does this make me a better therapist? 

It forces you to build relationships in your community. This doesn't mean you have to be an extrovert, or be on TV if that isn't your thing. However, you do need to build solid relationships with people out in the world. That means getting to know them as well. This means you will have more access to resources when your clients need them. This also means you are less likely to be isolated, stressed out about getting clients, and burn out in the future. All of that means you will be a better counselor!

2. Successful private practices understand their unique value. 

I know you may have been taught in school about many theories, psychotherapy processes, evidence based practices, etc. However, here is the truth: You bring something unique to the table. I agree that in most cases, just bringing your "you-ness" without any background or training won't be clinically impactful. I also believe that really great therapists begin to understand why they are good at what they do, what they are good at, what they need to work on, and who they should refer out. 

How does that make me a better therapist? 

If you can't identify what you are good at, how you can identify what you aren't doing well in? If you don't believe what you specifically do as a therapist has value, why would anyone else believe that and pay you for it? If you don't believe what you do has value- will you be looking to your clients to validate your work? How will that impact your clinical work? 

3. Successful therapists in private practice can convey their value to others

This may seem like a repeating of #2- but it isn't. Many therapists who understand they bring something deeply unique and valuable to their work- struggle to convey that in words to others verbally and in writing. This ability to convey our value in words is an extension, or sometimes even a precursor, to finding our deep clinical voice. 

How does that make me a better therapist? 

Seeing a therapist tap into, and settle into their deep clinical voice is like watching your child take their first steps. It is an amazing, beautiful, tear producing, scream in delight sort of moment. And hearing how that newfound confidence and peace transforms their work with clients- it is the stuff that makes my job awesome. 

Have you ever met a therapist where it just feels good to be around them. When they talk about what they do- it makes you smile? That is someone who has tapped into their passion, into their clinical voice and they have the words and confidence to convey it. 

I'm just an intern... 

But, you don't understand... I'm just a student... I'm just an intern... I've got years for these things to naturally develop! 

Truth moment: These will only develop if you give them attention. Just like we teach our clients, where we put our focus and energy is where we see development. If you focus your attention in these areas starting today, you will see major shifts between now and licensure. If you focus on simply "getting licensed" you will find you "get licensed" but not necessarily feel confident, be known, and know who you truly are as a therapist. 

The coolest part? When you focus on these aspects of your development, you will find major opportunities will come to  you. You will find out about jobs before they get posted online, you will get letters of reference that land you interviews, you will get people offering you opportunities that they just wouldn't offer to someone they didn't know and believe in. 

Go out, get to know your community, let your community get to know you- and get to know and love yourself. All of these are pieces of successfully marketing a private practice now and in the future! Go! Be great! 

Now, comment below what you will do TODAY to go out into the world and be great! And, of course, if you want more fun stuff like this- feel free to get on the list for free tip sheets, podcasts, and trainings geared towards the needs of pre-licensed therapists and clinical supervisors. 

 

Finding a Paid MFT Internship or Private Practice Internship

Are you looking to get a paid internship? Well, in many areas of the country the competition is fierce and the jobs are scarce. And you know what that leads to? A lot of of fear, frustration, and hopelessness. 

Calling all pre-licensed therapists! You CAN be successful- even in this economy! I'm going to give you some tips to finding a paid internship as a MFT Intern, ACSW, Associate LPC, etc. today.

Ok, so let's starts simply: 

1. Be professional. 

I think it is crazy that I should even have to write this one down. It seems so obvious. And yet, I talk to therapists who are searching high and low to hire pre-licensed therapists for private practice internships. What do I hear about? 

 

  • Unprofessional clothing
  • Interns who aren't taking care of their own mental health
  • Unprepared therapists
  • Entitled therapists
  • Angry therapists

 

While I know that none of you would ever do this. I want you to take a moment to think about this. A private practice internship is someone's baby. It is a licensed professional's small business that they built from scratch. It is should (hopefully) be successful if they are looking to hire someone to come to work for them. 

However, an unprofessional therapist who dresses poorly and doesn't know how to carry themselves could lead to more than just a headache for the supervisor. It can lead to a loss of new clients, a loss of income, and even the loss of the business. It is a VERY big deal for someone to trust you with their practice. Their business will be judged by your actions. 

So, put a little extra oomph into your dressing choices. Dress as you would if you were presenting at a state conference, or you were going to be on Television. If you find the position is more casual- great. But never assume. And prepare for that interview! 

2. Understand the position

One of the key tips i describe in my job interviewing 101 podcast are ways to gather information about the position you are interviewing for. Understanding the position more completely prepares you beautifully for an interview. You need to know what they are looking for,  and, you need to know whether this is even a position you want! 

Private practice internships are not like traditional agency jobs. In 95% of cases you don't show up and see clients. In fact, if you find an internship where you show up and see clients- chances are the pay will be low, or non-existent. 

A successful private practice internship gives you an opportunity to legally market your psychotherapy services. It is a chance to present yourself to the world, start to build your reputation online (and offline), and it can be the foundation with which you launch your own private practice after you get licensed. 

You want a therapist who is going to give you freedom to develop your own website, market in the community, etc. If you get an internship where you aren't allowed to do these things, you are going to have difficulty finding clients- either now- or when you launch on your own. 

A private practice internship that includes the responsibility to market your practice isn't a minus- it is a plus. It is a perk! Having a clinical supervisor who expects you to get clients means having a supervisor who understands how business works and will have more support for you as you move forward. 

A private practitioneer is looking for someone who doesn't just "want to go into private practice someday" but someone who is "preparing to launch a successful private practice in the future by taking specific steps today." Are you passionate about starting a private practice? Are you willing, and ready to learn about marketing, business planning, business boundaries, clinical boundaries, and more? 

3. Don't wait for things to "happen." 

I see many therapists who are complaining that there are "no jobs." While therapists in the exact same places are getting offers from multiple positions. How can this happen? Are some therapists just "lucky?" Maybe. However, every pre-licensed therapist I've seen experience this has made some very specific choices. They make time for trainings and networking early and often in their careers. They are well known by licensed and pre-licensed therapists alike. They are strategic in their thinking and have a bigger plan in mind. 

Do you have a goal of starting a private practice once licensed? Start developing your specialty today. Start your blog today. Start building a contact list today. If you wrote even 1 blog per month, and got even 30 new subscribers per month, in 3 years you would have over 1000 people on your e-mail list. Google would know who you are, 1000 people would know your name. Let's say 50% of those people unsubscribed, and only 1% of those that were left wanted to become your client when you opened your private practice. Do you know what that means? Five new clients when you open the doors. 

Pre-licensed therapists, you can be successful! Think outside of the box. You have (or are getting a master's degree). Build your reputation, make connections, and choose to be successful. You can do this! 

(Are you on the list? If not, get on the list and you'll get the Job Interviewing 101 podcast send out to you after a few days). 

 

Start Your CV Today!

A curriculum vitae (CV) is a powerful tool for the aspiring financially successful therapist. Most therapists have an income stream coming from several different avenues, which allows for diversity in the week and helps professionals avoid burnout (done responsibly). Income can come from teaching, consulting, workshops, presentations, supervision, and other avenues.
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