What is Private Practice?

Private practice is a professional setting where licensed therapists, psychologists, or counselors offer mental health services to individuals, groups, or families on a scheduled, session-by-session basis without the need for hospitalization. These services are typically offered in a private office or clinic, and they are designed to be flexible, allowing clients to visit and return home the same day. The practice is managed and owned by the mental health professionals themselves, often providing a more personalized and confidential experience for clients seeking mental health support.

Requirements for Starting a Private Practice:


Obtain the appropriate state licensure to practice as a mental health professional (e.g., LCSW, LPC, Psychologist).

Business Registration:

Register your practice as a legal entity (e.g., LLC, PLLC) with your state's Secretary of State.

Billing System:

Establish a method for billing clients or insurance providers, which may include private pay or accepting insurance.


Secure liability and malpractice insurance to protect your practice.

Office Space or Virtual Space:

Find a suitable, private, and comfortable space that is compliant with ADA and privacy laws for client sessions.

Professional Website:

Develop an online presence with a website and possibly an appointment scheduling system. (provide a link for your tab here)

Marketing Plan:

Create a plan to attract and retain clients, which might include networking, online marketing, and community involvement.

Benefits of a Mental Health Outpatient Private Practice:

Autonomy: Complete control over your work environment and the type of therapy or services you provide.

  • Flexibility: Set your own hours and schedule, allowing for a better work-life balance.
  • Client Relationships: Opportunity to build long-term relationships with clients in a one-on-one setting.
  • Professional Growth: Freedom to continue learning and incorporate new therapy techniques or niches into your practice.
  • Earning Potential: Set your own fees and have the potential for a higher income than some agency-based positions.
  • Privacy: Offer a confidential and safe space for clients without the institutional feel of a hospital or clinic.
  • Specialization: Ability to focus on specific client populations or treatment modalities that align with your interests and expertise.