Private practice is a method of performing mental health, medical, and other services. Private practitioners have their own offices and typically set their own schedules.
What is Private Practice?
When many people picture a therapist, they picture someone in a stand-alone office seeing clients throughout the week. This is a type of private practice, and professionals ranging from clinical social workers to doctors have the option to go into private practice. Private practitioners often set their own schedules, and may work evenings or weekends. Some clinicians in private practice also have staff; staff typically work according to the owner’s schedule.
Other Types of Practice
Private practice stands in contrast to several other ways mental health professionals may work. Some therapists or social workers, for example, may work at government agencies and see clients, make policy recommendations, or conduct research. Others work in psychiatric hospitals or provide mental health services to people at hospitals or at medical practices.
Issues With Private Practice
Each state establishes its own requirements for mental health professionals in private practice. State licensing boards may authorize or prohibit a particular profession from working out of a private practice. Private practice generally offers less supervision, so professionals in private practice may be required to have more experience or a certain number of clinical hours. In some states, therapists can only work in private practice under the supervision of a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Private practice can also be challenging as a career choice because it requires therapists to recruit their own clients and to cover expenses associated with the practice. Private practice can mean less time interacting with colleagues, and often provides less support than other practice opportunities. Some private practitioners target a specific niche such as trauma, couples counseling, or depression.
- DeAngelis, T. (n.d.). Are you really ready for private practice? American Psychological Association. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2011/11/private-practice.aspx
- Psychologists. (n.d.). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Life-Physical-and-Social-Science/Psychologists.htm
Last Updated: 04-18-2016
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