There are common fears that therapists report across the world when it comes to growing a private practice. These fears can stop you in your tracks if they become overwhelming. However, If you know how to confront and overcome them, they become fuel for rapid practice growth.

Here are the 7 most common fears therapists face and ways to overcome them:

I’m Not That Great at Therapy

If you’re a newer therapist you may feel that your clinical skills are not up to par. Low-self confidence usually follows. This can have an impact on your marketing efforts and your ability to believe in what you do and how you help people. It’s important to make a distinction between actually having weak clinical skills versus having low self-confidence. If you truly feel limited in your clinical skills for private practice, it’s going to be helpful to continually receive more training. However, if your knowledge as a clinician isn’t actually the problem and it’s low self-confidence, therapy or coaching can help you overcome this common fear that is in your way.

I Don’t Have Enough Money

Maybe you don’t have enough money at this moment in time to thrive off of your private practice. Very few business owners start out earning enough to even break even. Planning is essential in order to not let this fear stop you from ever taking action. Having a small amount of savings to ride out the leaner months will help greatly. Some therapists choose to take out loans, while others ask for support from people who care about you in the first few months. If you allow yourself to be as resourceful as possible, the risk of pursuing your dream will outweigh the possibility of not reaching it.

I Hate Marketing

Many people feel an aversion to marketing. When you think of the term “marketing” what comes to mind? Marketing is truly about getting your voice out into the world so that you can get a service into the hands of people who need it. The more you are able to leverage authentic marketing practices to get your service in front of others who need it, the more clients you will have in your office chair. If you feel burned by marketing in some way, it’s important to work through your relationship to it so it doesn’t continue to burn you in your business.

What If I Totally Fail

There’s a possibility you will fail. If you set a goal of having a full practice in the next six months and it doesn’t happen, you could call that a “failure.” It’s likely you’ve had many “failures” with goals that you’ve set all of your life. It hasn’t stopped you from pursuing other ones has it? Failure isn’t the problem when growing a practice. The problem is what you do when you don’t reach your goals in the time frame that you allocated. Private practice success is about staying in the game even when you’re not getting exactly what you want.

I’m Not Disciplined

Maybe that’s true. Do you feel chaotic in your approach to setting up your practice? Do you already have an established practiced, but seem to loose your steam a lot? Are your work hours all over the place and you have difficulty prioritizing what’s most important? If you struggle with discipline it’s actually good news. It means if you grow in this area it will have a major impact on your business. Growing a small business requires quite a bit of discipline. There are many methods that can help you. If discipline is a problem, set aside five minutes a day to do different discipline exercises you can find online. A very small amount will go a long way.

I’m Too Much of an Introvert

Most therapists identify as predominantly introverts. If introversion was a determining factor to successfully building a business very few people would be able to succeed. Actually, introversion is an asset in running a private practice. There are many hours spent alone, in the office planning how to grow and doing paperwork. It’s important to focus on marketing efforts that require a blend of extroverted and introverted qualities. In the beginning, it can be really useful for introverts to generate an online marketing campaign with more individualized techniques. There are some great ways to use Facebook groups and LinkedIn connections to grow a professional network without the stress of constant exposure.

I’m a Procrastinator

If procrastination is your gig, it can definitely slow down the growth of a private practice. But there is hope. Typically, procrastination is a sign of turning toward a lot of short-term gratifying behaviors when you feel uncomfortable. If you’re growing a practice and it’s truly important to you, but you keep getting trapped in procrastination, look closely at what you’re avoiding and why it’s so uncomfortable. Procrastination isn’t typically the actual problem. Turn toward what you’re avoiding in your business and the procrastination behaviors and the need for short-term pleasure will subside.

Fears will arise in the process of growing a private practice. It’s unlikely you will ever stop experiencing fears. However, how you choose to respond to the fear makes all the difference. If you understand the nature of the fear and take a courageous stance when they arise, your private practice will grow faster, while living a life filled with more strength and possibility.

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Keith Kurlander

Keith Kurlander is the founder of Higher Practice, a company dedicated to helping therapists achieve their highest potential in private practice. He has two decades of combined experience in business administration, group facilitation, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level, yoga instruction and as a licensed professional counselor in private practice.

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