Not all private practices are made the same. Some practice owners go the extra mile in terms of what they do to create a thriving practice that benefits not only clients but the people that work within them.
If you are considering moving into a private practice, here are 4 key things and a whole host of questions that you should consider when weighing up different practices on offer.
1. A positive team environment
Working in private practice can be isolating. As a psychologist we are often in a closed office just with our clients, perhaps not even seeing the other people working in the practice with you as you welcome and farewell each client. We all know that a positive work culture has a big impact on job satisfaction and in turn overall wellbeing. To ensure the practice you are looking to join has a positive team environment I encourage to consider the following questions:
Does the practice operate as a team?
Does the team interact with one another regularly?
Are there regular team meetings?
Are there team culture days?
Do the team interact socially with one another?
How long have team members been a part of the practice?
2. Investment in the growth of team members
Following on from the silo mentality that often occurs in private practice is the expectation that individual practitioners will take care of their own professional development and learning. Some private practice owners have an expectation that all they need to provide is a space for therapy to occur whilst others will understand the importance of nurturing their team and providing opportunities for growth that benefit everyone involved. To explore whether the practice you are considering does this, you may want to ask the following:
What PD opportunities are offered?
Is there paid PD?
Are their options for career development and pathways?
Do they offer an induction program? Do they offer mentoring or supervision?
Are they offering a job or a career?
3. Supports and Systems
Not all private practice owners invest in robust systems that make the job of being a clinician easy and seamless. Even less take the time to establish proper clincial governance, policies and procedures. In the words of James Clear, ‘You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.’ Without good systems and supports your role is likely to be a lot harder than you anticipate and again will impact on your satisfaction and wellbeing. Be sure to ask the following:
What supports are offered?
Is there administration support?
What systems are in place to make for efficiency of service delivery?
Is their good clinical governance in place by way of policy and procedures?
What is the commitment to quality service and outcomes for clients? How is this measured and what is done to improve quality of service?
Are Feedback Informed approaches used in therapy?
4. Clients and Caseloads
The expectations placed on clinicians can vary widely from practice to practice also. Within the psychology world the range may be anywhere from 4 to 10 clients in a day. It is important to consider how many clients you can comfortably see and ensure that you are going to be seeing your ‘ideal’ client, when you want to see them. With this in mind be sure to consider:
What sort of clients would you see?
What size caseload would you be expected to see?
How many clients would you have to see a day?
What days and times would you have to work?
In summary, not all private practices are created equally and the provision of services in private practice runs much deeper than what we do in the therapy room. The things that happen in the back end are just as important. Getting the answers to these questions can ensure that you find the role that you are looking for without the risk of stress and burnout in the process.
If you are considering joining a private practice be sure to explore everything that is on offer and not just the figure they are wanting to remunerate you with. Higher pay may come at the cost of job satisfaction and personal wellbeing in the long term.
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