So maybe the sky isn't falling after all. Private practice is alive and well—but only if you realize that excellent clinical skills are a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for success. To have a successful practice and serve more people, you have to learn how to run a small business, tolerate risk, and be comfortable spending money. Much like our clinical training, building a small business is a complex, ever-changing discipline that takes a commitment of money, time, and feedback from successful mentors to fully master. But if you're serious about being successful in your private practice and helping more people, investing money and time will reward you handsomely for the rest of your career. You just have to remember always that your work is your business, your business is your work, and you are as much businessperson as therapist. These days, to be successful at one, you have to be successful at the other.
Joe Bavonese, Ph.D., is the codirector of the Relationship Institute, an outpatient psycho-educational organization in Royal Oak, Michigan. He's the cofounder and codirector of Uncommon Practices, a training organization that helps psychotherapists create their ideal practice through the study and implementation of business and marketing principles. The group offers consultations and workshops, and develops websites for private practitioners. Contact: email@example.com. Letters to the Editor about this article may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.