Michelle is a Marriage and Family Therapist who graduated from Seattle Pacific University's MFT program in 2012.
Alright, Michelle. Tell us a bit about your private practice.
My focus is on emotion-focused therapy for families and couples. At this point, I work with primarily with families and college students. I am very passionate about families and providing them with the tools they need to strengthen their relationships within the family unit. I also work with college students during their transition to adulthood. That is such an important and challenging time, as they figure out what they believe and who they are, so it's great to be a part of that process. I'm also trained in premarital and marriage enrichment (Prepare/Enrich) and have taken continuing education courses through the Gottman Institute.
How long had you been dreaming about private practice? What made you finally go for it?
I finished graduate school in 2012 and then worked for two years as an extern at a local therapy agency. I had wanted to "strike out on my own" for a while, and so when my husband and I found out we were pregnant, I decided to take the leap and start my practice. There's so much preparatory leg-work that goes into starting your practice, so I wanted to finish that before the baby arrived.
What is your favorite part about having your own practice? You least favorite part?
I don't directly bill insurance companies and that gives me a lot of flexibility in working with clients. I am not constrained to work with them for a finite period of time and I am not required to give them a formal diagnosis. This means my work with them is much more relational and I have the freedom to work at their pace. I also love having a flexible schedule!
My least favorite part was the start up process. It can be a very slow process to get all the right paperwork in order, and it is difficult to "get your name out there" in the beginning. In the future, I would love to start a group practice with other therapists.
What's been the best business advice you've received?
Stay well connected. Being a therapist can be very isolating work, so I always seek out consultation groups and support from colleagues. I also meet regularly with a seasoned therapist for supervision of my cases as part of my licensure requirements.
What would you do with your practice if you knew you couldn't fail?
I'd love to expand into offering groups and classes - from support groups to Bringing Baby Home classes and parent education groups in preschools. I'd also like to start offering premarital counseling through local churches.
Thank you Michelle! Be sure to head over to her website for more information!
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