What Freedom Means to Me

As some of you already know, I spent ten years working as a consultant before I got into private practice. I was so blessed to have worked all over the world, and I’ve traveled to more than 20 countries. This was an incredible experience, and it had such a profound impact on who I am and how I understand life. I’ve seen the poorest countries in the world, and some of the wealthiest countries in the world.

Through it all, I was deeply touched by the sense of humanity, the sense of connection, the sense of meaning in life. It was through this experience that I got, truly, deeply, GOT that we are all the same. We are all striving for the best in ourselves and we all want the best for our families. What drives us is the same wherever we are, whoever we are. I believe that we are all searching for that love and connection that gives meaning to our lives.

Prior to that travel, I always presumed what stood out was all of our cultural differences, and there were plenty of those. I made several faux pas in each country, and was lucky to be so graciously received despite these mistakes. However, I came home understanding that the differences really are trivial compared to the connection between us.

As much as I loved that experience, I realized that no place was truly home for me except the United States. (Although Paris can be pretty tempting!) This is where I truly feel free. This is where I belong, surrounded by the people that I belong to. But it wasn’t until I had those experiences that I understood what freedom was and how important it is to my life.

When I was ready to open my private practice, I had learned enough about myself to know that freedom was a core need for me, and private practice suits  that need perfectly.

Private Practice Offers the Freedom to Make Your Own Schedule

My sister is a Vice President at a large global organization. She loves her job, and is very good at what she does. But she has the typical 8 – 5, Monday through Friday job. This works for her. It really works for her. But I know myself well enough to know that wouldn’t work for me. It just doesn’t suit the lifestyle I want to create. I want to be able to take a morning off to see my kid’s school performance, or take a yoga class on Monday morning. Most weeks, I work T, W, Th. Sometimes on Saturday morning. But that’s what works for me. It allows me to have the perfect balance of doing the work that I love, and devoting time to my family and friends. That freedom is priceless to me.

Private Practice Offers the Freedom to Work with Clients that You are Called to Serve

When I worked for an agency during my Master’s internship, I felt drained and stressed at the end of the day. I was seeing clients that weren’t that motivated for therapy, and the system was so broken that it made it difficult to work effectively with clients. I later worked for a treatment center, and soon realized that there’s a reason the success rate for those programs is so low. These experiences could’ve easily convinced me that therapy wasn’t for me, and frankly, that was a thought I contemplated.

But in private practice, you work with the clients you CHOOSE, and they CHOOSE you. Big difference. I find, even now 10 years later, that I look forward to seeing my clients, and leave at the end of the day knowing that I made a difference in their lives. When I client isn’t the right fit for me, I have the freedom to refer them on to a therapist better suited to serve them. That freedom is priceless to me.

Private Practice Allows You to Determine How Much You Will Earn

Yes, you read that right. In private practice, you have the freedom to choose how much you will earn. You can choose to accept insurance, you can choose to offer a sliding scale, you can choose to charge a premium for your services, and you can choose how many hours you work each week. No one else determines this for you. Whatever it is that you desire for your practice, you have the freedom to pursue that. I’ve worked with therapists that have many different visions for their practices, and many different ways of reaching that vision. No one will ever dictate the direction you need to go.

I’ve chosen to have a small boutique practice, charging a premium for my services and limiting my practice to only 15 clients per week. This allows me to be selective in the clients I see, while still reaching the income goals I’ve set for myself. I don’t have to see 30 clients per week, which would exhaust me. That freedom is priceless to me.

Private Practice Challenges You to Grow Beyond Your Current Limitations

You simply will not get to a whole new level in your practice without becoming a whole different person. You’ll free yourself of your current limitations and barriers. You’ll find a way to accomplish feats you never thought were possible for you. You’ll be amazed to learn what you are truly capable of. And that is the ultimate freedom. Freedom from your self-imposed limitations. Freedom from a pre-set notion of yourself. As you embark on this journey, prepare to amaze yourself.

I started private practice with a traditional competitive mindset: One client for you was one less client for me. I was also very fear-based in my thinking: Is this really going to work for me? I also mis-used too much of my time invested in worry: Am I going to get another client soon? When I first broke the 6-figure barrier, I found myself free of all of those limitations. I was truly free to create my future and grow as I see fit. That freedom is priceless to me.