A guest post by Veronica Tunis
Before I get started a quick introduction is in order here. If you have not already heard Smart Practice Central has made a new addition to its ranks, me, Veronica Tunis, SPC’s new Associate Director. You might be wondering who I am and how I am connected to Howard. In the Fall of 2013 I was a student of Howard’s at the University of Colorado Denver in his course, the Business of Private Practice. This class planted several seeds for how I wanted the next several years of my professional development to unfold and it armed me with the basics skills, knowledge, and most importantly the confidence to launch my private practice. The following spring I jumped at the opportunity to participate in Howard’s internship program and secured my position with a private practice internship for my last year of graduate school. In the summer of 2014 through Howard’s internship program I had the opportunity to build my private practice from the ground up. My practice, Rooted in Recovery Counseling LLC has now been up and running since August of 2014. Private practice internships are somewhat rare and it was a unique opportunity for me to begin my practice during the last year of my graduate school program. After graduating with my Master’s degree this past May I chose to continue in private practice under the clinical supervision of Howard while working towards my licensure in Colorado.
These first couple of years in private practice have been full of ups and downs and have challenged me both professionally and personally taking on new roles and experiences. As the title of this blog post suggests one of these new roles is being a new mom. You may be asking yourself what being a new mom has to do with building a business in private practice and why I am talking about it here. Well here’s the thing, whether you’ve been in private practice three years or thirty years you know that what happens in your personal life influences, shapes, informs your professional life. Life transitions are continually happening and while for you this transition might not be in the form of a baby it is important for us to recognize, evaluate, and reflect on how our personal and professional lives intertwine. Furthermore by increasing awareness around this we are better able to make adjustments and exercise intention around what might need to change either in our personal or professional spheres. Since motherhood is a transition I have just recently been thwarted into this is the place I am reflecting from. Whenever you see the word mom/baby/motherhood I’d encourage you to insert whatever transition/new role/change you might be currently experiencing. My insights on being and becoming a new mom could probably fill a small book however I have chosen to highlight a few that seem to be pertinent and parallel the journey of building and maintaining a private practice. Also for the sake of attention spans this segment is broken into parts which I will continue to post in the upcoming months.
Birthing a baby and raising a little human has many similarities to the process of birthing a business and nurturing one’s goals and dreams to fruition. During the first part of building my practice I immersed myself in everything having to do with my practice from designing my business card and figuring out how I wanted to brand myself to creating my website, and following through on my marketing and networking plans and on and on. My motivation, energy and drive to create a private practice I could be proud of, that was a reflection of who I am and what I value as a clinician was sky high. In a similar way my son is a constant reminder and motivation of my desire to be the best version of myself possible. This naturally led to questioning what is the best version of me? Who is that woman? Feel free to ask yourself the same, who is the best version of you? Both in your personal and professional lives? Do they look different, have different values or priorities? The funny thing about asking questions is that it typically breeds more curiosity. Having my son shifted around a lot of things in my life and had a significant impact on my private practice and rightly so. You may find that right now or maybe within the past year your practice has been impacted in both big and small ways by life changes you have experienced. After all the dust settled, I found and continue to find myself asking how successful have I been in private practice, this parallels moments I question just how good I am at this thing called being a mom and parent. A big question for all us in private practice is how successful am I at it? And how do I measure success in my practice?
Perhaps I measure success by how many clients I see a week or the number of new client’s per month, where my referrals are coming from, client feedback/progress, the number of networking events attended per month, the number of continuing education credits I’ve earned. How you choose to define and measure success is clearly significant, individualized, and likely reflects what you value and where you are at in your practice. My definition of success in my private practice has shifted over the past year and my goals (at least short term goals) for my practice have undergone big adjustments. For instance how I manage my time both in my personal life and professional life has changed a lot and led me to make adjustments to how I handle no-shows and cancellations in my practice which I will go into greater detail about in the next blog post.
For now the lesson I’ve learned and would like to leave you with is this…success—how you define, how you measure it—is a continually moving piece of the puzzle and rather than spending time questioning it I’m finding it feels much better to trust my instincts, in both private practice and in motherhood, and do what feels right for me, my practice and my family and by doing that success happens naturally.
About the Author: Veronica Tunis lives in Lakewood, CO where she has a private practice that specializes in counseling for individuals struggling with addiction, substance abuse, and eating disorders. She has worked with teens, adults, and families seeking support from their addiction with substances or behaviors since 2010. She also has a passion for group counseling and offers workshops and counseling groups focused on helping women learn how to build healthier relationships with themselves and others. Visit her at www.rootedrecoveryllc.com for more information about current workshop and group offerings.