When I was in college I read a book called “Lies My Teacher Told Me”. It’s an excellent book and I recommend everyone who hasn’t already read it to go ahead and get a copy. The basic gist of the book is that there are a lot of things we’re told by people in power that are actually lies. People believe these lies because they believe that the people in power are more knowledgeable than us and have our best interests at heart. Unfortunately, they do lie to us. They may lie out of simple ignorance or because they don’t like the idea of someone one day surpassing themselves.
I named this post “lies my supervisor told me”, because I do believe that our supervisors lie to us about going into private practice. They lie because they weren’t able to make in private practice or lack the guts to go into business themselves, so they lie about how hard or impossible it is to keep others from succeeding where they failed. They lie because it keeps them in power. They will no longer be your superior if you go into solo practice. They may also lie because they want to keep you working at their agency. Looking back, my supervisor told me a lot of lies about the realty of being in private practice. Those lies were:
1. You’re not ready to go into private practice: Actually, if you’re independently licensed and feel the drive to work for yourself, you’re ready. There’s no magical number of years of experience where you’ll officially be “ready for private practice”. If you feel ready, you’re ready.
2. You’re not good enough for private practice: If you’re good enough to work for the agency, you’re good enough for private practice. The truth is, the clients in private practice are often easier and there’s less paperwork, so you can definitely handle private practice if you can handle working at the agency.
3. The insurance panels haven’t let new therapists on in over 20 years: The panels are letting new therapists on all the time. Again, not true.
4. It’s impossible to get on the insurance panels: I’ve managed to get on all of the panels I’ve applied for and I’m nothing special. Clearly this is a lie.
5. You’ll never make any money in private practice: Instead of giving 60-80% of your reimbursement to the insurance agency, you’ll be able to keep 100% of it. You’ll definitely make more working for yourself than somebody else.
6. You’ll have to do your own billing and it’s really hard: I do my own billing and it’s not hard at all. I don’t know why people get so scared about doing their own billing. You have an advanced degree, you can handle it.
7. You should wait a few more years: In a few more years, you’re going to be glad that you started your private practice now.