Category Archives: Recommended books

Counselling private practice – Love what you do.

Reflections on starting my own counselling private practice

My decision to starting my own counselling practice was based on two reasons.  Firstly, I loved being a counsellor and secondly, I really wanted to be independent.  

You simply have to enjoy being self-employed and love counselling.

You also need to be prepared to work at being successful. The reality is that it is more likely that you will not make much money at the beginning of starting your counselling practice or be inundated with clients. There is a lot of counsellors out there and plenty of competition. Every day I see a new counsellor going into counselling private practice. It is no longer difficult for someone seeking help privately to find a counsellor.

The question therefore to ask yourself, ‘why would someone choose YOU instead of another counsellor?’

Be different in your counselling practice.

You need to be different and stand out from the crowd or be doing things in a different way. This is what will make you unique. Reflect on what niche you want to focus on, for example, trauma therapist and think how you can make yourself stand out. If you say you can do all types of counselling, does this make you any different from anyone else?

Do not be afraid of competition.

The sad reality is that many people are suffering from a wide range of mental health issues. This means there is demand for counselling. Networking with other counsellors and embracing the competition is a positive way forward. I recently remember a new potential client ringing me up for a session when I was full and could not take on more clients. Rather than put him on a waiting list, I recommended another counsellor who practices nearby. The client seemed surprised another counsellor would recommend a nearby counsellor. 

However, I see it as business sense. If you remember there is enough for everyone and keep self-belief, then you stop feeling threatened by competition. Recommending someone else, not only helps the potential client out, but it shows kindness. Kindness can go a long way. It is not forgotten. When I started up, various people helped me in different kinds of way, so I am only too happy to help others. What goes around, comes around.

Be patient

It does take time to build up your practice. Once it is built you will get recommendations and people will come to you. Do not expect results overnight. It can take time. Patience is key. I never stopped believing in myself. I know that one day I would have a full client load.

Always remember you are a business

You need to put a business hat on. You have all the essential counselling qualifications and skills. So, what will make you look professional? Some helpful first steps are:

  • Find a venue to hold your counselling. You may choose your home or prefer to rent a room. I’d recommend started renting a room which you can rent ad hoc. This means you have less costs to worry about.
  • Take out liability insurance. Popular companies who provide insurance for counsellors are  Balens and Towergate.
  • Design a counselling contract and privacy statement.
  • Decide where you will advertise and who you want to attract. More information about that later on. You may find it helpful to devise a one year strategy on how your business will grow.

What do you charge?

One of the most common questions asked by people setting up private practice is how much do I charge as a counsellor?  You need to think about covering your costs (membership fees, room rent, insurance etc). Remember to be successful, you need to make a small profit as well as a wage. The more skilled you become the more your wage should increase just due to the fact that not everyone has the same skills and experience as you.

Give yourself an identity

The final, yet most important step, is that your business needs an identity and you need to think how you will advertise. You will not get any clients unless people know that you exist.

Some ways to advertise are:

  • There are a few counselling directories that specially for counselling. Counselling Directory, Welldoing.org and Psychology Today are a few worth looking at.
  • Social media–  Facebook is an active way to advertise your business. You can pay to boost a post. I suggest you only pay £2 at a time or the charges will run away from you. I also share my page to different groups. You must limit this, or Facebook will think you are spamming and will ban you for 30 days. Don’t forget to have a social media policy if you use it. You need to protect your client’s confidentiality 
  • Website –I started using WordPress. You can get a page for free. However, many domain names are not that expensive. I have my own domain name through 1 and 1 and have never had any problems with it. I pay less than £10 a month. I have found blogging is the way to finding my way up the google rankings. More information can be found here.
  • Google –Once you have found a venue, subscribe to google maps. This will get your business onto google maps.

There is much more to starting up a counselling practice. If you want more information, there are a few books which may help you. In the meantime the above basic steps will get you started.

Remember network.

Do not fear competition.

And never stop believing in yourself.

 

 

 

 

5 Easy steps to practice Mindfulness

Often clients ask me whether they should practice mindfulness or if I have any information about mindfulness. They’ve heard the buzz word but are unsure what mindfulness is and if it would help them make positive changes in their life. Well, the good news is that anyone can give mindfulness a try. It takes practice but it is achievable.

This post will briefly look at mindfulness. It will give 5 Continue reading

Working with Interpreters in Psychological Therapy

A book Review

Working with interpreters for the first time in a psychological therapy setting sounds daunting. For me it instantly created feelings of anxiety and I thought ‘is it possible to bring a third person into the room? It would take me the counsellor into an uncomfortable setting. Surely this would affect the quality of the therapeutic relationship?

Last autumn I took on the role of psychological therapist Continue reading

Birds have anxiety

A new acquisition in our therapy room that I rent from cornerstone has been the book All birds have anxiety by Kathy Hoopmann. This anxiety book is there for clients to browse at. All birds have anxiety is aimed at children but I feel it is an useful and fun read for anyone experiencing anxiety or wanting to find out what anxiety is all about. It is written in an easy to understand language with just the right empathy Continue reading

Inspiring books

Inspirational bookToday is National Library Day #NLD14.  Our local libraries are a good starting point for getting hold of self-help books.

I find that books in different stages of my life, have offered me inspiration and guidance throughout my life.

I continue to look out for recommended books that can offer inspiration to me. Continue reading

Why do I feel so low after the birth of my baby?

Royal baby news

Baby talk is the forefront of most people’s mind this week as we welcome the arrival of our new baby prince to his proud parents, William and Kate. Woman’s Hour mentioned that 80% of the population would be feeling happy on Monday. A close friend of mine heard this and said “Maybe some of us aren’t  joyous, as the pain of seeing a healthy baby. It saddens us when it reminds us of our own losses and failures”.  She had suffered Post Natal Depression (PND) with her first child and only remembers tears and sadness in the first year of her baby’s life. We are slowly hearing of more and more women who suffer from PND and there are a lot more who continue to suffer in silence. Postnatal depression affects 15% of expectant mothers. Continue reading

Behind closed doors

Behind closed doorsThe report on an alleged public attack upon Nigella Lawson was not pleasant reading. Clearly, the involvement of her husband has reignited the debates surrounding domestic violence. Domestic violence does not discriminate and can happen to anyone, both men and women from any background. The majority of it happens behind closed doors. We know that no-one should be faced with this pain or living in an abusive relationship. Yet those affected by abuse are increasing as reported by Women’s Aid –  1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime – many of these on a number of occasions and on average, two women are killed per week by a current, or former life partner. Women end up ashamed and do not realise that help is out there. Continue reading