Overcoming Mental Roadblocks to Starting Your Private Practice

There’s no denying how important it is to give back to your career. That’s something we emphasize often on The Missing Link for SLPs podcast. It’s also a point Jena Castro-Casbon drove home during our latest episode. In fact, her entire business model has been built on the notion of mentorship. The Independent Clinician’s primary objective is to show SLPs how they can work toward their dream of opening a private practice. And one of the things Castro-Casbon attempts to teach them is how to overcome mental roadblocks.

Mental roadblocks aren’t exclusive to speech-language pathology. They prevent professionals in any number of fields from going after what they truly want. Of course, when it comes to being an SLP, there’s more to the business end than is typically taught in schools. Unfortunately, that’s where clinicians often become stuck. After all, one can have the skills needed to treat speech disorders but no idea how to run a business.

Rather than let that prevent you from moving forward, however, it’s crucial to solve these problems holding you back. So, how can SLPs go about overcoming mental roadblocks on their path to success?

Turn Challenges Into Opportunities

One interesting take away from our conversation with Castro-Casbon was the concept of turning challenges into opportunities. The example the episode elaborated on was the COVID-19 health crisis, but this applies to any obstacles SLPs may face. It’s normal to meet hurdles on the path to your goals. Seeing the opportunities in these situations, however, is the key to leaping over them. For example, the transition to teletherapy this year wasn’t easy — at least, not at first. However, when private practice owners realized the demand for treatment once provided through public facilities, they acted on it. 

This is the type of out-of-the-box thinking required, not just to overcome roadblocks, but to turn them into positives.

Seek Out Mentorship

The Independent Clinician strives to provide SLPs with the information they need to start their private practices. This includes the legal and financial components of doing so. Sadly, these often become mental roadblocks for clinicians, many of whom don’t know where to start when it comes to these facets of business. All the information out there can be overwhelming. Uncertainty about what’s correct only adds to the stress.

Fortunately, other SLPs who have run their own practices already have the knowledge necessary to move forward. Seeking out mentors — either through programs like Castro-Casbon’s or your own network — is a step in the right direction. This is especially true for SLPs who feel that a lack of information is what’s holding them back.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that having the knowledge relevant to run a practice is only half the battle. The other half involves doing the work to implement that knowledge. 

Don’t Wait Until It’s ‘Right’

Another key takeaway from Castro-Casbon is that clinicians shouldn’t wait for confidence to start their practice. That confidence, she suggests, should come with experience. And the only way to get that experience is to dive in and do the work.
The misconception that SLPs should be experts in everything they do is a mental roadblock for many. Realizing that it’s acceptable to learn as you go is freeing and necessary to running a private practice. There’s no reason to wait until later in your career to start. Even then, there’s no way to have all the answers. SLPs get those answers from doing. And the more experience they gain, the more confident they’ll feel in their abilities. 

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October 15, 2020

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