Sexologists working in private practice have to deal with numerous challenges, and reaching the top is certainly not an easy journey. After 20 years of private practice as a sexologist, several strategies proved highly beneficial, and others that I wish I had followed earlier! Here they are:
- Be prepared to work hard. Maintaining a private practice that provides high-quality care requires you to dedicate your skills and talents to improving your service unceasingly. No matter how much you want to provide top-level service, it’s not enough if you are not willing to actively and continuously pursue it.
- Invest, invest, invest! Money, time, your attention, and your passion. Be very selective with how and where you invest your resources and continuously assess the outcome.
- Keep focused. If you are a psychologist or a psychiatrist specializing in clinical sexology, consider narrowing your services to include only sexual health care. It may not be a good idea to keep your service open to a broad range of mental health issues beyond sexual health. On the contrary, focusing explicitly on sexual health means you will gain tons of experience in a specific domain; therefore, the value of your clinical service will multiply quickly.
- Routinely prepare for your sessions. Organize by allocating enough time to think over and plan your next sessions. Think about new material you could use, new exercises, and new examples to communicate with your clients. Be continuously resourceful.
- Be selective. Be proactive, so you don’t run out of inspiration or feel lost when confronted with complex cases. Continuous education is necessary, so make sure you learn from the best. Select a reliable resource for your inspiration and knowledge. It makes a huge difference! IOSS can significantly help because the platform gives you the world’s top sexologists. They share their best practice, clinical discussions, examples, suggestions, inspiration, etc. The material is well organized with features designed to help you easily find what you need.
- Get some regular supervision, especially if you are working alone. Choose your supervisors according to their expertise, so don’t stick to one supervisor forever. If you are mainly seeing male dysfunctions, select a supervisor with knowledge. If you are working with couples, choose a supervisor that works primarily with couples. The same goes for other domains. But this may require that you manage your supervision needs mindfully. You may consider switching to a different supervisor after some time.
- Find out your bookkeeping tasks and ensure you understand your obligations and tasks well. Make sure you comply daily. Allocate specific time on your agenda to revise these tasks.
- If possible, hire a secretary. Today a secretary can provide services online or by telephone if you prefer. Your clients need to be able to contact you quickly, and your administrative issues need to be well organized and in place. If your administration is a mess, your work is probably in a lot too. Of course, this may not be the first step, but once your agenda starts filling up, it’s probably time.
- Work with the media, including social media, but try to connect with your audience in a meaningful way. Pay attention to your posts and make sure you share information that is scientifically driven and useful to your audience’s concerns and needs.
- Chase your professional development. When you reach the point where you are happy with what you’ve achieved, then that’s when you DEFINITELY need to go over this list again! If you stop actively pursuing excellence, you will see the negative outcome faster than you can imagine. If you don’t stop, the benefits will be multiplying every year!
You may ‘promise’ a top-quality service to your clients, but if you don’t provide it according to best practice and clinical expertise, you will lose credibility. It’s much easier to lose credibility than to gain it back.
Enjoy the ride appraising it as a continuous learning experience.
It’s fascinating and rewarding!