Now featuring…Megan Zesati, LCSW
“I work as a psychotherapist in private practice. After gaining clinical field experience in school, medical, and child welfare settings, I felt that I had the clinical skills to establish private practice as a solo practitioner. While I did not enter the school of social work with the intention of going into private practice, what I most liked about my fieldwork experience was always the individual clinical work. The more I did clinical work, the more I wanted to deepen my ongoing learning and experience of it. Private practice allows me to grow and deepen in this work as well as the flexibility to meet the shifting needs of my family and my clients.
In a typical day at my job, I see clients, respond to emails, make collateral contacts, tend to administrative tasks, perhaps attend a consultation group, training or lunch with a colleague. Most days I finish working by 2:30 to spend the afternoons and evenings with my kids.
Sustaining a private practice requires a lot of initiative and independent work skills, strong self- care skills, doing your own therapy, seeking out consultation and connection with other helping professionals and ongoing attentiveness to the business-end of the work. It is a balancing act!
My appreciation for the systems perspective, social justice issues, client advocacy, and the ability to work well in groups and across disciplines are all directly connected to my social work background. Students who are well-organized, self-motivated, and well connected to sources of professional and personal support might enjoy this line of work. Just as there are many different kinds of therapists, a broad spectrum of students will be drawn to private practice for many different reasons. I also think that it is a good fit for students who are interested in lifelong learning and growth. As a therapist in private practice, I consider it a crucial part of my job responsibility to do my own therapeutic work and to invest in continuing education and training. The MSSW program was just the beginning of my clinical training.
Social workers often don’t think about private practice from a business perspective. I believe we all want to help people and so many of us are naturally comfortable in this helping role but wearing the hat of a small business owner has been a steep learning curve for me and did not come naturally. I had to develop the necessary skills in business, marketing, and accounting and face a lot of discomfort in learning these skills and I continue to be challenged by the business- end of maintaining my practice. You have to wear many hats in private practice, especially as a solo practitioner!”