Recently Charlie and I reminisced about his days as an agency counselor. It looked like this:

Work at 8:00 am, clients until lunch, a small break to return calls and chart and yep, 4 more clients.

“What’s different now?”, I asked.


Well, you know the answer. Nothing except, more time, more pay and more autonomy. Oh yes, and a little thing called referrals. Except that the referral part was the easiest piece of the puzzle. Why?


Charlie had put in enough time at the agency (insert here: hospital, treatment facility, church etc.) to earn trust, respect and influence with a wide range of referrals. From the parents of the adolescents he saw, the physicians he referred to, the schools he spoke with–there were countless moments over a year that he had showed what a careful and skilled clinician he was.

In addition, he had led a few workshops, consulted in groups and kept up his license requirements all the time he was going to work and seeing 30 clients a week.


That might be what you’re doing now, thinking that you might not have what it takes to make the jump. I have written about the slow start before, but it’s worth repeating. One hour, one day at a time. This step only requires the confidence to know that as you have gained experience, you have gained the right to create your own practice. You will still show up at work at the appropriate time, see your clients and take a break for lunch. And with the extra hours that you are not filling out paperwork or seeing too many clients? You will offer a free talk, reacquaint yourself with the physician you worked with on that difficult case and remind your friends in other businesses about your work.


Soon, You’ll still be in practice. And isn’t that what you wanted all along?