Best Books for Starting a Private Practice

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You’re not the first to start a private practice or a business. But it can sometimes feel that way. That’s why it’s helpful to learn as much as you can from those who came before you. Then you can build on their success.

Here are some of our favorite books to help you explore opening and managing a private practice. We also encourage you to find resources about your specific therapeutic approach or niche, type of clientele, and the legal processes for opening a private practice in your state.

Pre-Launch Books

Your interest in starting a private practice has solidified into more of a plan. It’s no longer just a pipe dream. You’re going to do it. But, you don’t have much, if any, experience opening a business. These texts can help.

  • The E-Myth Revisited – A classic bestseller with modern updates, Michael E. Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited, explains how and why to focus on daily operations. In fact, Gerber says you should focus as much on the day-to-day operations of your business as you do on the business’s ultimate goals.
  • Before You Quit Your JobBefore You Quit Your Job by Robert Kiyosaki emphasizes preparing and setting your life up for success before leaving a current job. Kiyosaki includes information about the pursuit of entrepreneurship that can apply to any business you want to own. It’s an excellent foundation for anyone looking to own a business and succeed financially.

Financial Books

You have a business plan, and you’re motivated to start your private practice. It’s time to get your finances in order! These books will help.

  • Be a Wealthy Therapist – Casey Truffo teaches you to value yourself as an expert in your field in Be a Wealthy Therapist. Valuing yourself serves as your foundation for ensuring your practice is successful. If you’re in the helping profession, chances are you didn’t pick this career envisioning an abundance of wealth. Truffo challenges the idea that counselors can’t be financially successful.
  • Profit First – Look to author Mike Michalowicz for no-nonsense guidance on account and money management for your private practice. Though Profit First isn’t specifically for mental health practitioners, it can help anyone with a small business. You, as a counselor, are the business!

Marketing and Management Books

Marketing is essential for growing your customer base. You’ve worked for years on your counseling skills. Use these books as inspiration to jumpstart your marketing plan.

  • This is Marketing – A successful business has a robust marketing plan. Seth Godin gives practical tips that help you think like a marketing specialist in his book This is Marketing. Particularly important to Godin’s book is establishing empathy and honesty within your marketing strategy. It’s a great foundation for an empathetic, honest counseling practice.
  • Building a Story Brand – Donald Miller’s trademarked Storybrand process has helped many business owners optimize their marketing plans. He emphasizes the use of stories to reach your target audience. After all, stories make us human, and humans are your customers. Read Building a Story Brand if you’re looking for encouragement regarding your marketing plan.
  • Who – Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street is a succinct guide to hiring the right employees for your business. You might not want to hire employees when you’re first starting out. But there will come a time as your practice grows when you do. You’ll do yourself a favor if you read this book in advance of hiring.

Running a Practice Books

What about more specifics for counseling professionals? Take a look at these recommendations for inspiration and wise words from individuals who’ve been where you are.

  • Building Your Ideal Private Practice – Lynn Grodzki stocks Building Your Ideal Private Practice full of checklists, exercises, and case studies from her adventures in her own private practice experience. She highlights common mistakes newcomers might make and provides empathetic suggestions for a thriving private practice of your own.
  • Private Practice Essentials – Howard Baumgarten authored Private Practice Essentials, a workbook-style guide to opening a successful private practice. It includes an array of networking tips, marketing suggestions, financial advice, clinical forms, legal documents, and more. He aims to help counselors focus on their goals by explaining the dos and don’ts of business.

Counseling Books

You may be familiar with some of these titles on counseling. Perhaps you read them in graduate school. Or maybe they’ve been on your “to read” list, but you haven’t made time yet. Now is the time to dive into these works that remind you why you choose counseling in the first place. These classics are classic for a reason.

  • On Becoming a Person – Carl Roger’s classic work, On Becoming a Person, touches the heart. Rogers is credited with founding person-centered therapy, an approach that many counselors utilize in their practices today. As a therapist, Roger’s warmth and genuineness colors his words to counselors of all ages and experiences.
  • Emotional Intelligence – Emotional intelligence is becoming recognized as more important by the general population. The book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman is a key reason. Emotional intelligence theory reminds you that you’re a creature who feels your way through the world and that emotional skills can be learned and fine-tuned with practice. Counselors might find research regarding emotional intelligence helpful to their practice, clients, and themselves.
  • The Heroic Client – The Heroic Client by Barry Duncan, Scott Miller, and Jacqueline Sparks looks critically at the field of counseling and the harm that can come from popular quick fixes. It also helps you dive deeper into your practice as a counselor. This book reminds counselors to focus on developing clients’ innate strengths and provides guidance for maintaining the integrity of counseling while dealing with third-party payers on a day-to-day basis.
  • Love’s Executioner – Irvin Yalom is a contemporary pioneer of psychotherapy. This hallmark book is a staple for counselors and mental health professionals. Yalom writes with honesty, humor, and an earnest desire to demonstrate the intricacies of human connection. You may laugh and cry, but you will surely cherish the glimpses into Yalom’s client interactions Love’s Executioner provides.

Books Just for You

You’re a human being. You need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, even while growing your private practice and caring for others.

  • The Resilient Practitioner – The Resilient Practitioner will help you find strategies for self-care that work for you. Thomas Skovholt’s book is for counselors and therapists. It details various ways to find a balance in your life between giving to others and giving to yourself.
  • Work Won’t Love You Back – Sarah Jaffe’s book, Work Won’t Love You Back, explores the themes of labor and equity. She reminds people to maintain themselves over our jobs and that they deserve fair compensation. This knowledge provides empowerment that can help you and your working clients.
  • Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring For Others – Trauma is becoming increasingly common due to people realizing its impact on their daily lives. Counselors can expect to deal with trauma at some point in their practice. Laura van Dernoot Lipsky and Connie Burk provide information on how to take care of yourself while caring for your clients who have experienced trauma. Their book, Trauma Stewardship, is a must-read.

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