18 years ago I started my private practice. Having your own business is a little like being in a long-term relationship. There are ups and downs, things about it that drive you crazy, and, hopefully, lots to love. There are also considerable pros and cons. And, as with anything worth doing, things get hard sometimes.
As I was reflecting with deep gratitude for my business, I was struck by the essential worthiness of doing something like this over time. It is fascinating to look back and marvel at all that I didn’t know, and to remind myself that there is still an incredible amount to learn moving forward.
I thought it might be fun to describe the changes in my practice over the years, as represented by the different spaces where I have housed my business.
The first iteration of my practice was in a dark shared office, in a suite with 2 seasoned, and excellent psychologists. The suite had an ample waiting room and a clever, separate exit for clients leaving their sessions. My desk was tucked into a closet, and the office got approximately zero hours of sun exposure per day. My suitemates were patient, helpful and supportive. Since I shared my office with another therapist, I only had part-time hours to work. I was there Tuesday and Thursday nights after working full days at my primary job in community mental health. It was a great place to start.
My second iteration came with more formality. I incorporated to become a “real” business and started working in my practice full time. I moved with those same kind, supportive, excellent psychologists into a high rise where I had my own full-time space for the first time. This suite had a nifty mechanism in the waiting room where clients flipped a switch to let us know they had arrived, turning on a light in our respective offices. The high rise was stuffy and the heating and cooling never worked right. Despite my fabulous suitemates, I wanted to move out of there pretty much the instant I moved in. Here, though, was where I met one of my favorite integrated doctors and we worked together to help clients for years to come.
My third office was in a fabulous Victorian mansion in the heart of Capitol Hill in Denver. The parking was atrocious but everything else was magical. I was in what had been the receiving room of this 1906 mansion. It was a large space with high ceilings, sliding solid wood door, windows that opened onto the front porch, and incredible, cheerful yellow color on the walls. It took years not to pinch myself every Monday when I would unlock my door and walk into this gorgeous space. In this building I had the pleasure of working with two incredible psychiatrists. We still share clients to this day.
The fourth office was acquired under duress. I was already in a period of epic transition in my life, and then, my landlord at the marvelous Victorian cancelled our leases a year early. There are times in life, for all of us (even psychologists!) where it feels like you’re drowning in problems. This was one of those times. As with many times like these, a strategic, systematic plan for forward movement helps get a person out of the water and back onto dry land. For my practice, dry land came in the form of my sweet little office I still occupy. It cut my commute in half, it has a dedicated parking lot, and a lovely community of other therapists to work with. This, is a nice place to be.
It is difficult to describe how grateful I am for my business. It’s an honor and a privilege to do the work I get to do. My clients are brave, thoughtful, resourceful, and remarkable people. Many thanks to each and every one of you that I have seen over the past 18 years, in all of my sweet spaces.