My Story: How to Stay Connected and Beat Isolation In Private Practice
I left my position at a busy hospital after 15 years to follow my dream and open my private practice. In the back of my mind, I knew that the daily work environment would be very different. However, the reality of being in an office by myself, seeing patients without random colleagues saying “hello” took getting used to. I had to learn to stay connected and beat isolation in private practice.
When I left I knew that I wasn’t going to have co-workers and the ability to socialize like I was accustomed to. Yet, having it was still important to me. I had to find a way to not become so socially isolated in my private practice. And, thankfully, I was able to find a few great ways to truly enjoy my work in private practice stay connected.
My Tried-and-Tested Tips to Stay Connected and Beat Isolation in Private Practice
For any of you wondering how to do the same thing, here’s how to stay connected and beat isolation:
I couldn’t believe the number of Facebook groups that existed out there for me to start networking and connecting with other professionals. And, when I say other professionals, I mean just that.
It was through members in the groups that had absolutely nothing to do with therapy where I was encouraged or inspired to try new ideas. This ultimately helped grow my business in ways I never would have imagined.
Seek out groups like Entrepreneurs; Women Business Owners; Marketing; Small Business Owners.
I found these groups so helpful because I, as a psychologist, now needed to learn how to run a business. These groups are spaces where members can ask for feedback, before trying something new in their business. Or, where members can share their successes and receive the encouragement and acknowledgment they might not otherwise get by being in business alone. And, they’re also places where new ideas, resources, and useful products are shared and discussed.
The only downside is that groups are mainly online and not in-person. I did join one local group that just so happened to (pre-Covid) have many fun local events and networking mixers. So, given that we really can’t mingle in person right now anyway, these are, in my opinion, great ways to stave off some of the isolative nature of our work.
Meet Up Groups
Now, granted, this was really my number one “go-to” to actually start having more in-person business networking opportunities prior to the pandemic. There always seemed to be an event going on somewhere. Now, however, while there are still plenty of events going on, they are virtual. In the future, once the pandemic is over we may be able to “meet up” in person again. So this is a great way to consider staying connected to beat isolation in private practice.
Chamber of Commerce
People always said that it was a great idea to join the local Chamber of Commerce if I were to open my own business – and it really was a great idea. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that mine held regular social and networking events. Meeting and connecting with other local business owners was integral in starting to establish myself in the community.
Being known as “the expert” at the hospital meant that it took some getting used to to realize that outside of there, I was essentially a nobody. In reality, I had to start from scratch. I had to build a reputation, and connections to let people know who I was and that I was open for business.
By joining, attending events, and being an active member can be a great way to balance out your more isolative days in the office while also starting to get referrals coming your way. Again, probably not an option now given that we are in a pandemic. But definitely worth a mention for future reference.
Local Chapter of any Professional Association
Are you a member of any professional association? APA, AAMFT, IAEDP? If so, they most likely have a local chapter that meets near you. This can be another great way to stay connected to other professionals in your field. Most offer opportunities for CEU’s and peer consultation for those times you may need another professional’s opinion.
Reach Out Yourself
One of the more surprising ways that I found successful in connecting with others was by reaching out. I spoke individually to local business owners I thought I would refer to in the future (psychiatrists, nutritionists, etc..)
I sent an e-mail introducing myself and asking if they would like to meet for coffee to discuss how we could possibly collaborate and mutually refer to one another. More often than not, I received a reply of “yes”. Now that we’re in the pandemic, I have still found success in doing this. However, all my invites have involved a Zoom link instead of a suggestion of a coffee shop location.
I understand that with most of us now providing virtual therapy, the only way to network with others is also virtual. But, there are ways, as mentioned above, to connect and balance out the sometimes isolative nature of private practice.
Additional ‘Must’ Reads to Stay Connected and Beat Isolation in Private Practice
About Cristina Castagnini, Ph.D., CEDS
Cristina Castagnini, Ph.D., CEDS, is a licensed psychologist and is recognized as a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist by the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP). She graduated with honors, earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of California, Santa Cruz, her Master’s Degree in clinical psychology (with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy) from Pepperdine University, and her doctoral degree in counseling psychology at the University of Southern California. Find out more here. Listen to Cristina’s Behind the Bite Podcast Series here.