The business of therapy: examining the process of working in private practice
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Therapists are continuously entering the private counselling sector, and as a result extending their occupational roles, becoming business owners and evolving in their professional identity. The purpose of this study is to understand the process of establishing a private practice while examining the development of the professional identity of private practice therapists. Specifically, the decision to enter private practice, the process of opening a business, and ethical and supervisory concerns within this field. Using systematic grounded theory, 10 female counsellors in private practice in Manitoba were interviewed. This inquiry led to the development of Professional Development in Private Practice: A Phase Model, providing an overview of therapists’ professional development in their roles as private practitioners. The five phases are seeking autonomy, logistics, transition and attitude, embracing the business and authenticity. The implications of this study are multi-faceted, influencing institutions, professional groups and therapists.