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Podcast Episode 21: From Social Work Training to Running A Group Private Practice

Enlightened Practice Podcast

Our hosts welcome Daniela Tempesta, a social worker and group practice owner in the Bay Area. She shares with us her academic background and insight about the cooperative work social workers engage in with mental health professionals. We believe you’ll find this episode beneficial and a learning experience. Enjoy!

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Transcript of the podcast

Ken: Hi, Kari. Welcome back to the podcast. 

Kari: Hello. Thanks for having me. 

Ken: Well, it’s so wonderful to have you here today, and we also have a special guest joining us today, and I’m very excited to have her join us. Please welcome with me, Daniela Tempesta. Daniela is a social worker in the Bay Area, and we’re going to be talking with her a little bit about what life as a social worker is like. And perhaps she can educate us and help new grads be thinking about important decisions to be made in their journey and also can just enlighten me, at least if not our general listeners about what life in her world is like. 

Kari: Yeah, so excited to have her. 

Daniela: Thanks for having me, guys. I’m happy to be here. 

Ken: Thanks. Well, thank you so much for finding the time to come join us. So first, tell us a little bit about your background and how you ended up going into the world of social work. 

Daniela: Sure. Yeah. I mean, I think that you know, I was always knowing that I was going to end up in a helping profession, even from a very young age. When I was even in elementary school, in middle school, I was always volunteering in other classrooms and, you know, in middle school, I remember I was volunteering in like the special ED classroom, and that was a very unpopular thing to do. And I don’t even in retrospect know what pulled me towards it. I just knew that I really got a lot out of participating in these various helping, you know, modalities. And so that continued on, you know, through high school and undergrad and in undergrad, I was like trained as like a peer counselor, and I was doing a lot of health education. So I was a sexual health educator. And I also worked for three years on a body image enhancement eating disorder prevention program. And so I was really interested in and you know, how do we support people around these things, both from one on one support, but also from a broader perspective of providing education that’s accessible. 

So when it came time to think about grad school, which I sort of knew was inevitable, I felt like I needed more social work was the obvious choice for me at that time because social work is so broad and I didn’t entirely know at that moment what I wanted to do with this sort of passion of mine or this interest in being in a helping profession. 

Daniela: And so social work allowed me to sort of make the leap into graduate training without having to fully know exactly what it was that I was going to do. Because, the first year of social work school is a general social work education and then in your second year you specialize. Each school has different specialties, but you know you can specialize in mental health or in children and families. And then some people do something completely different. They specialize in things having to do with policy or community organizing. Some people go into hospital work, so there’s all these different hats that you can wear as a social worker. It’s so broad. And so I just wanted to be able to kind of leave that open for myself to be able to decide as I understood more what I was enjoying doing, what I was gravitating towards. And then, the one thing that’s kind of interesting about social work school, and I don’t know if any of the other you guys might be able to comment on this. 

Any of the other programs do this. But in social work school, literally your first week of school, they put you in a clinical internship. Like before you’ve even taken any classes, you are like, Boom. Yeah, they just put you right in. And so my first week of school there, I was doing therapy in a group home and they really want you whether you’re going to go into policy, whether you’re going to go into, you know, nonprofit, whatever, they want everybody to have that clinical experience, especially because there’s such a focus in social work on the human component and really building those relationships and learning how to work with people, as they always say from, meet them where they’re at. 

And so that was it for me. I mean, being in that situation where I was able to do therapy right away, I found that it was something that I just loved. And it was pretty easy for me then to say, okay, yeah, I’m going to do the specialization in mental health and go down that path where I know specifically I will be doing individual group or some sort of counseling with folks. 

Ken: Wow, yeah, when I started out, they tried to keep us as far away from patients as possible, first, do no harm, I think was their philosophy, but I think that’s fantastic that you were able to get a taste of it right from the beginning. Are all social work programs two years? 

Daniela: As far as I know, yes. 

Ken: Okay.

Daniela: I’ve never heard of a three-year program. 

Ken: Okay, so you don’t have a lot of time to figure out what resonates with you. You got to get going right from the beginning. 

Daniela: Definitely. And I think a lot of people do tend to come in knowing, I mean, I was sort of an unusual person in that I came straight from undergrad. A lot of people in my program had been out working in the field already and already had a flavor of what it was they wanted to do. So it was easier for them to really hone in on that. Like maybe they were working somewhere as a case manager, a bachelor’s level position, and they decided, Oh, I know I want to, you know, do this work as the therapist. So they were able to just jump right in knowing that.

Kari: I’m curious, I don’t know, it sounds like people go in all different directions. As a social worker, I’m curious, is it typical for people to go into private practice? And I just would love to know more about your journey to private practice. Was that something you did right away or eventually got to and how did you make the decision? 

Daniela: Sure. So, you know, statistically, I don’t know how many, like what percentage of social work graduates end up in private practice. I mean, not all social workers go on to get licensed, right? So if once you have your MSW, you have the option, then to go the licensure track, and to do that, you know, you have to do the same as pretty much all the other professions we have to do. Thirty-two hundred clinically supervised hours, all the extra classes and you’re not allowed to count any of the hours you did while you were in school, actually. So, you’ve got to start from scratch after you graduate and then sit for the licensing exams. 

So and that’s when you would become an Elks W, a licensed clinical social worker. So in order to become an LCA W, you first have to have your MSW. I would say that it probably depends a little bit on where you are geographically located or maybe even what school you went to. But in the social work world, there sometimes can be a little bit of a negative association with private practice because social work at its core is really a practice that’s aimed for working with more disenfranchised communities, working with people around oppression, poverty, severe mental illness. 

And so because that’s the lens that social work takes, private practice tends to be seen as something that’s a little bit more inaccessible for the larger society. And so sometimes in some social work circles, it can be sort of frowned upon, like oh, you’re not really doing the real work. And, you know, I don’t think there is, “real work” or “not-real work”. I mean, suffering is suffering and we show up for people in whatever best way we can at that particular point in our life. I know that after grad school, worked in community mental health for six years, and that was great. It was super rewarding. And you know, I learned a lot and I also got super burned out and was ready for a change. And private practice was a perfect transition. When I was ready for that, for that change and to just have a little bit more freedom, more control over my own schedule, over my clientele. 

Ken: Sure, interesting. Did your training prepare you for private practice at all, or you had to figure it out on your own? 

Daniela: Not at all. I would say there was nothing I learned in graduate school that would prepare me for anything having to do with private practice. No. 

Ken: What led you to feeling burnt out in community working? 

Daniela: Well, I think, you know, a lot of us who go into social work, the idea of, you know, working with underserved populations is really exciting. But then sometimes once you actually get into the work and you’re in the nonprofits and you see how dysfunctional a lot of the nonprofits are, you know, you realize that sometimes you’re a little more idealistic than it really turns out to be. And I think there can be frustrating because you’re often overworked, underpaid, under-resourced. I mean, my very, very first client when I finished grad school, I’ll never forget was a teenage boy who was having a psychotic episode and having delusions of wanting to harm his mother. And it’s like, Oh my God, I was not equipped for that. So this is like they just throw you in oftentimes, and so I think burnout can be easy when you know you’re working with really high-stress populations and communities. I mean, to be fair, I learned a lot and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’m glad I had that experience. It was really important for me, but you know, and then I went into program management. 

So, I was running housing programs for foster youth for several years where I was overseeing all aspects of their care, mental health, education, job procurement, you know, their day-to-day living. And so I was on call a lot too because these were 24-7 facilities. So, I was just ready for something where I was going to get a little, a little bit of my life back. It was a hard choice because I really did love those clients. I really got a lot out of working with them, but I also was ready for something a little different. 

Kari: Well, that makes a lot of sense, and it’s nice that you were in a position where you had options that you could have stayed. You could have gone down a different path. And it sounds like what you ended up doing is taking control through starting your own private practice. It’s just nice that you had that luxury and we’re able to actually act on it and take care of yourself in that way. And yeah, I’m so curious to hear about how you actually figured out how to open a private practice because similar to, you know, I had a similar experience where you don’t get that training in grad school and it can be really daunting. And I know in previous conversations with Ken, we’ve talked about how we what our journeys were to starting a private practice. And I’m so curious to hear yours. How did you make it happen once you made the decision? 

Daniela: Well, the private practice war stories. So, I was still working full time at the nonprofit at the time that I started my practice. So, I got licensed in 2008 and I knew I wanted to start a private practice, but I just didn’t even really know where to begin or how to begin. And you know, I always thrived in school. I always do really well when I have an assignment or the due date on something. And so the way I started my practice is actually kind of a funny story. I have a family friend who is an LCSW, and somebody had called her about wanting to find a therapist for their teenage daughter. And she goes, I’m not available, but you should call Daniela Tempesta and gave her my personal cell phone number. And this is I have not started anything at this point, so I’m at a friend’s house on a Saturday afternoon. I get this random call. I answer the phone like, hello, and there’s the woman is like, I was referred to you by so-and-so and do you have an opening? And I’m just like, oh my God, what’s going on? And in that moment, this like split second, I just was like, you know what? I’m working on moving into a new office. 

If you give me a couple of weeks, we can schedule an appointment. I had no intention before that phone call of like finding an office yet. It was just one of those things where it’s like, okay, I have my first client. It was just handed to me, so I’m just going to make this happen. So I got off the phone. I, you know, looked for an office. I ended up just getting the first one I saw for just one day a week. And then, you know, looking up all the other sort of things that I needed to register with me, make sure I had like an EIN and an NPI. And I’m sure you guys have talked about all that fun stuff, and I just sort of jumped in, put up a hung a shingle, as they say, you know, and put a profile on Psychology Today and was able to get like two more clients within a couple of months. So for a little while, I just had this teeny tiny practice three clients one day a week and it just started there, and as more momentum began to happen in the practice that’s when I really started thinking about expanding to more days. But starting a practice from scratch is really, really hard. 

And I think there are a lot more resources nowadays. These Facebook groups, all these other things, you know, EHRs like Luminello who are there for their community and want to support them in building their practices. Like there was nothing like that that I was aware of back in 2008 when I was starting my practice. So I was just sort of winging it and, you know, word of mouth getting recommendations from people like who are good people to meet. And that’s actually how I know Ken, is that somebody told me, if you want to work with teens, you should really meet Ken. And so I cold-called him and I was like, Can I come to your office and meet you? And somehow, luckily, he said yes, and he gave me 15 minutes of his time and we met and I told him about what I was doing. And that was sort of what I was doing at that time was just trying to go around and meet people, have coffees, shake hands, you know, show people who I was in the hopes that they might send a referral my way, so, very, very old school before all kinds of social media. I’m making myself sound old by saying that I swear I’m not that old. 

Ken: Did you have any background in business or that side of running a practice? 

Daniela: No, I didn’t have any background in business per se. I mean, I guess in running these housing programs, I got a lot of insight into things happening behind the scenes, but still totally different. I think I was born with an entrepreneurial spirit, and my mother was an entrepreneur and ran a very successful business from the time I was three years old and I grew up, you know, spending time with her in her office and all of her coworkers. And so I think I saw that around me and probably a little bit of it wore off. But yeah, otherwise, no, it was really just kind of taking each step as it came. 

Ken: It’s great that you met the challenge head-on. I actually remember in my fellowship specifically being told by one of the attendees, you are not here to learn how to go in private practice. And I was like, okay, guess I won’t ever bring that subject up again with you. But yeah, there seems to be in the academic world. Perhaps people go into academia because they’re really just not that interested in private practice or they don’t. It’s scary for them. And the thought that you’re supposed to go a particular pathway can be really powerful when you’re in training. And so I think the fact that you kind of found your own way is really refreshing as probably comes in really useful when doing therapy. We often see clients and patients who are kind of stuck or feeling like they’re supposed to go one direction, but they maybe feel some anxiety or whatever the issue is that’s keeping them from taking risks. 

Daniela: Right. And that leap is hard to go from something that’s safe and secure that, you know, even if it’s uncomfortable can be hard. And I think, you know, that’s why it was nice for me to be able to start out without having to give up the security of my full-time job. And then I had the flexibility they allowed me to stay on just as a clinical supervisor. So I was still working some hours for them as a supervisor. And so it was a gradual phase-out which how long nice? 

Ken: How long did it take you? 

Daniela: I’d say it took me probably about two years until I was full-time in private practice because during that time I also started teaching. I was teaching at Holy Names University in Oakland in their psychology program, so I had my hand in a lot of different pots, which is very, very typical for me. I tend to get bored if I’m not doing a couple of different things at once, so. 

Ken: Got it. 

Kari: Yeah. And I think it’s so helpful for people to hear that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I’ve seen that question out there, how do you make the leap and the transition? It’s so hard and scary, especially if you were already kind of established on one track, if you will, like working in community mental health, whatever. And there are benefits and there’s a lot of risk in private practice and a lot of benefits too. And so I think it’s really helpful to hear that doesn’t have to be all or nothing that there is a slow transition. It might make people feel in general a little bit more willing to try it out and with like just less pressure in general because it’s real. I mean, the financial pressure, and it does take time to build a private practice. I don’t think I know anyone who hit the ground running and had a full practice overnight. So, I think that’s reassuring for anyone who might be starting out just to know that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. 

Daniela: That’s what we teach our clients, right, to move away from black and white thinking. And I think it’s great to be able to do that in our day-to-day lives. And, you know, in some situations, it would make sense for somebody to just go for it, right, depending on what else they have going on. But not everybody’s situation is going to be like that. And I think the other thing that’s nice is that I don’t know if you guys have ever heard of the book Designing Your Life. It’s from the design school at Stanford, and it’s just the best book I’ve found on really trying to help people pick which direction they want to go and life career, etc.

But, they talk about it from a product design perspective, and they talk about the importance of like trying everything, modeling things, prototyping. And they talk about going try something before you just completely sign up to do it. If there’s an opportunity to prototype it, can you do it a couple of hours a week, even if it’s a volunteer on a, you know, volunteer basis? You know, give it a try to make sure it’s actually something that you like before you jump ship. 

Ken: And you were doing that in elementary school, but over time working your way up. I’m curious, that is great advice. How did you finally decide to take the leap and go full-time private practice or what did you need to have to happen for that to become a reality for you? 

Daniela: It’s a good question. I think part of it was having enough clients to feel like, even if I didn’t have a ton more overnight that I could sustain myself with the group that I had. The other thing that was really a forcing function for me, in all honesty, was that I was getting pushed out of the office space I was in. I was subletting two days a week and we all had to leave. And it was during this time when it was so crazy and it was so hard to find an office. It was so stressful. And then I ended up finding an amazing office, but it was really expensive and I had to just commit to it, you know? And so I signed the lease, I got the office and now it’s like, okay, now it’s time to make this happen. So, that was also a forcing function for me where it was all right, well, I’ve got to fill these days because I’m paying for the space now. 

Kari: Right.

Ken: Sometimes it takes an external push to seal the deal. Did you ramp up your marketing at that time or did things just over time naturally fall into place? 

Daniela: You know, I can’t say that I’ve ever done any super formal marketing outside of what we talked about in terms of me trying to meet other therapists for coffees and just get to know other people in the field. Obviously, having an online presence is super important. So, I did have a website at that time and I think I did start to work on updating it at that time. That was also the time when I contemplated, like, should I go on an insurance panel that would fill my practice really quickly. Is it worth it? 

So, there was a lot of sort of hemming and hawing about that at that particular moment, and I did actually go on a one panel for a little bit of time. But I was just so frustrated with the low payouts and all the extra paperwork that I was, you know what, I’m just going to go it alone, and I think you have to have a little bit of faith to do that because you can’t know for sure that those clients are coming. You have to just sort of trust a little bit. But luckily, actually almost all of the insurance clients I was seeing, which was just like a handful. But when I told all of them, I was going off the plan, almost all of them decided to switch over to self-pay and stay with me anyway. So it kind of worked out. 

Kari: Yeah, so…. 

Ken: Sorry Kari. What was the most painful paperwork that you had to be doing for the insurance companies? 

Daniela: Well, back then we were submitting all the claims via snail mail. I mean, there may have been some better way, but that was the way that was offered to me. And so that was just challenging to have to fill out all this paperwork by hand and then mail it in and then wait, however long for them to process it and then mail it back. So I was getting paid like months after I actually saw the client. And then, you know, sometimes they would come back and they would ask me to provide records in order to try to basically legitimize the need for the client to have the treatment. And this is not why I’m doing this. So, it felt frustrating that I was doing all this extra work and getting paid about half of what my cash rate was. 

Kari: So, if someone new was starting out and they were kind of in this position as they’re fresh out of social work or just starting to make the transition from a different job and considering private practice and they’re in that position where they’re not totally full or they’re not full at all, and they’re trying to figure out the best strategy, what would you advise them? Would you say, stick it out and see if you can build a practice with private pay clients? Would you encourage people to kind of like what you did, try out an insurance panel to help fill, and just see how that goes? Or I’m sure maybe it depends a little bit on where you’re located and some other factors, but having been through it and kind of experienced both, what would you advise someone? 

Daniela: Yeah, that’s a good question. And I think you’re right. I think it would probably depend somewhat on geographic location because I think, you know, paying out of pocket is really normal in the Bay Area, and it’s something that I think is almost expected when somebody says, “oh, can I get the name of your therapist?”, you know. People almost expect that they’re not going to be in their insurance network, but that’s not going to necessarily be the case everywhere. And I think there are a lot of practices that really are insurance only because, you know, that’s what’s available for people. And so I think it really depends on that. 

I think it also depends on your particular situation in terms of, could you whether a couple of months of not getting paid that much to sort of wait it out because for some people, that’s just not going to be an option and I wouldn’t want anybody to put themselves in financial peril. But I do think I mean, this is just my personal opinion, but I do think if you can just commit to something and go for it, it tends to work out better. So, if you have that option financially to swing it, I would say just commit to trying to make the leap. If that’s what you ultimately want is to be totally self-pay because I think when we’re kind of straddling both sides, it’s hard to really do what we need to do to make the other side happen. But there’s a forcing function again if you don’t have that backup of insurance, it’s like, All right, I got to get out there, I got to meet people. I’ve got to go to these networking things. And so it really kind of drives you. 

Kari: Right. Yeah, it’s I love that that was your experience with both the first client and then also with the office space, how it was just like, all right, the phone call came. So now I have to make this happen and same with office like. So, it’s, I think, it’s inspirational, honestly, to think about like it’s really vulnerable and it takes a lot of courage to take that leap. And it’s I think it’s reassuring for me and I hope for other people to hear that as a success story. You know that you can make the commitment first and then things fall in place after that. 

Daniela: Totally cliché to say, but you’ve got to believe in yourself, right? 

Ken: And then you took it to the next level by starting a group, right? I’m curious how that came to be. 

Daniela: Yeah, in 2017, I decided to expand to a group practice model. So, I did that initially by just adding one clinician. And then over time, I added a few more. And, I had never really thought that much about having a group practice. But at that particular time, I had a lot of referrals and not enough spots. I had a pretty long waiting list and I was constantly trying to find a colleague to refer this client to because I mean, I knew if somebody calls me, I do try to make sure I help them find somebody, even if it’s not me. And so I was doing a lot of work calling around other colleagues to see who has availability and whatnot. And so I said, what if I were to in-house this? What if I had another colleague who worked here with me in my practice and I could funnel those referrals to that person? 

So, I decided to just again forcing function waitlist and, you know, being tired of trying to always find people with openings and decided to just give it a try. And it was one of those things where I was like, okay I’m going to give it a try. If it doesn’t work, then you know, I’ll just go back to the tried and true solo practice. But I hired my first clinician and it went pretty well, and not effortless by any means. But from there on, I added a few more clinicians. The number of clinicians in my practice sort of ebbs and flows because unfortunately, people come. They learn a lot about private practice. They get full and then they leave to start their own practices. So, it’s hard to hold on to good people for a really long time. But it’s still just a nice way to kind of change it up. 

Ken: What’s the model you have of them, did you start paying them a salary, that’s risky at the beginning, right? Because you don’t know if they’re going to bring in more than you’re paying them? 

Daniela: So good question. And no, no salary the way that I have it structured. And I would say probably a lot of the smaller group practices, if you’re a gigantic group practice, I do think they have people on salary. But for the smaller group practices, you get a percentage of any clients you see. So you’re paid out hourly based on the clients that you see. So basically, it’s not like if they were sitting there in an office that was empty all week that I would still have to pay them. And so it’s risky for them too, just like it is for someone starting in private practice that there is going to be a little bit of ramp-up time. I mean, the better part is that you don’t have to worry about any of the business headaches and somebody else gives you all your referrals. 

Ken: Sure. What’s the process of choosing somebody you want to bring into your group? How do you evaluate their skills as a clinician? Are you even doing that? I’m curious how you get to know them.

Daniela: It’s hard. It’s a good question and I wish I had a super synced answer. I think I’ve gotten better at it over time I will say. I think I relied really heavily initially on their recommendations from other people. So, I would call their reference, people who had supervised them before and hear from their perspective. If somebody is giving a glowing review that’s always a good sign. But I think it’s also important to remember that just because somebody did really well in one environment doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to do well in yours. Over time, I shifted my interview model more to bringing a lot more vignettes into the interview process. Other than just asking them, tell me about how you work and give me an example of a time when you did X, Y, and Z. 

I would give them vignettes of a typical client that we would see in our practice and I would ask them how they would conceptualize it, what types of interventions might they use, to really get a sense of how they think on the spot. I think the conceptualization part is particularly important. We all have a bag of tricks of interventions we can pull out that we know, but it’s like, why are you using that intervention? How does that fit into the model of how you understand the client and what’s going on for them? So, it’s hard to find good people and there’s a lot of competition now because there are a lot of good practices now all of a sudden. It’s definitely competitive but sometimes it’s just instinct too. When you get that feeling sitting in a room with somebody, like, oh my God, I’m so comfortable with this person, I can totally imagine talking with them, that is so important. I think, maybe I undervalued that a little bit at first, and I learned from that mistake. 

Kari: Is this a supervisor/trainee relationship or are these licensed providers themselves?

Daniela: They are all licensed providers in my practice. I do not have any trainees. So, everybody needs to be licensed to work in my particular group. I contemplated taking on trainees before, but it is a different level of commitment and responsibility, and oversight that it felt for me at the time more manageable to work with licensed clinicians. 

Kari: Yeah, that makes sense.

Ken: Are they independent contractors? Do you provide benefits? How does that work?

Daniela: Great question. At first, they were independent contractors but then the law changed, I don’t remember what year. It was maybe 2018 or 2019 there was a lot of change regarding independent contractors. You may have heard a lot about it because it had a lot to do with Uber and whether or not their employees were classified as independent contractors. Anyway, everybody needed to be switched over to employees. So, everybody is now a W2 employee. They get paid hourly and I have different clinicians who work varying hours depending on their particular availability. I have one who is a stay-at-home mom and who just works one day a week because that’s all she can manage right now. 

So, there are no benefits available for her working so little. I have other folks who are more full-time. I mean, full-time is kind of a relative term in private practice but if they’re working at least more than 20 hours then there are benefits available to them, health insurance benefits. But nothing yet like retirement plans or anything like that. 

Ken: Yeah, that would make it even more complicated. 

Daniela: Yeah. You know Ken, there’s a lot of ins and outs of having to deal with even just having employees. It’s not as simple as I thought it would be. 

Ken: No. There’s a lot of regulations around it, a lot of taxes, paperwork that goes with it. Are you a corporation or did you think about going that way?

Daniela: Yeah. I’m an S Corp. I made that transition in 2017 when I opened the group and that was for the recommendation of my CPA. 

Ken: Interesting. Okay. So, for new grads, would you recommend they look to join a group if they want to go the private practice route, or is it not so important whether they’re on their own or joined in a group as long as they give their time?

Daniela: I think it totally depends on the personality of the clinician. I think that there are some people who are maybe a bit more oriented like I am, in that they have that entrepreneurial spirit. They want to run a business in addition to seeing clients because there’s just a lot of things you need to figure out, hoops you need to jump through in running a business. So, I think if you feel up for that, I would say go for it in private practice. If you just want to show up and see clients and not worry about any of the headaches then a group practice is a great way to go. You’re probably going to get compensated a little bit less than you would if you were seeing the clients in your very own practice, but you also don’t have any of the overhead. You’re not paying for the office. 

You’re not paying for the liability insurance. You’re not worrying about any of the headaches. So, I think for somebody who is really new, it can be a great way to just dip your toe in the water without having to worry about too much of the headache. Get a flavor for private practice, see if you like it. If you do, then you can think about, would I want to do this on my own? I think for some people they just know. They have that business sense. They just want to do it on their own. I think otherwise a group practice can be a really good way to just jump in.

Ken: It’s interesting the amount of time they save by not having to run a business. They can see more clients. 

Daniela: Oh my goodness, if I could tell you the amount of time I just spent over the last two weeks trying to understand the no surprises act, which might help me later on. I spent so much time and I built all the templates and I built everything. And all they have to do is send them. They don’t even have to think about it or research it. So, there are definitely benefits to being an employee in a group practice. 

Ken: Right.

Kari: Yeah. I think that’s helpful to know that’s an option. Because again, going back, probably for all of us across the different professions but under the same umbrella of wanting to help people, private practice is just not really talked about. So, I think it’s really daunting to go into it. So, it’s nice to know that there are easier ways of getting into it or testing it out without taking on all the responsibility and all that kind of stuff. In my world, you can actually get your hours if you’re still training to get your license within a private practice, like that’s another way that you can figure out, is this something I want to do, and also just understand the business side of things and all that kind of stuff. But I think it’s helpful to know. Because I think maybe a lot of people, and this is my experience too, they might think, you just have to somehow know how to do everything one day when you wake up and decide I want a private practice. It’s just very comforting to know there are lots of steps you can take to just make it feel easier and more manageable for people who are interested. 

Daniela: Yeah. I think that’s a great point. The same thing with social workers, they can get their hours in a private practice setting as well. So, I think that’s a great point, that’s another great way to just sort of try it out. I think for people who do that and then get licensed, the transition is so much easier because they already have a client load. And they’ve already been doing this. They may need to take on more responsibility in different ways now but so much of it is familiar. Whereas, when I left the non-profit, I was taking any of my clients with me. That wasn’t going to happen. I was starting from scratch. 

Kari: Right.

Daniela: I think that’s a great point. 

Ken: It’s exciting to think about your journey and now you’ve over the years just added on additional layers of growth. It’s been really nice hearing your story 

Kari: Yeah.

Daniela: Thank you. Thank you for having me. This was really fun.

Ken: That’s great. It’s been wonderful to have you. And looking forward to talking more about private practice and helping new grads to figure out their pathway. Soon, we’ll be back in a couple of weeks with our next listener question. Maybe, Kari, we have a couple of those that we could be going through. So, thank you both for joining the podcast today. And look forward to chatting again real soon.

Kari: Bye. Thanks. 

Ken: Bye.

Daniela: Bye.


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