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Tuesday 16 October 2012

Private Practice: The Work Journal

Moleskine - A good option.

Opening or operating a private therapy practice? You’re going to make mistakes. Lots of them. Plus, you’re going to have to do a lot of things that come up only occasionally – the instances being just far enough apart to allow you to forget all about how you did them last time. Things like:'

Buying a web address.
Setting up your wireless network.
Rebooting a crashed computer from your spare boot disk.
Dealing with a major unpaid bill.
Reviewing your lease renewal.

One strategy is to keep your clinic manual up to date, and to create a new page for each task. The manual, after all, isn’t just for your assistant.  It’s for the future you.

Another is to have the private practice version of the lab journal.  Open it up, write the date, and make a diary entry on significant events in the adventures of a clinic manager. Avoid entering the names or identifying information of clients, because once the book is full you’ll want to label it with the dates (“Jan ’10 – Jun ’11”) and put it on a shelf for future references, rather than locking it away in a file cabinet.

“Wait, wait, wait,” you say. Wouldn’t the clinic guide idea make more sense? Entries by topic rather than by date, and all that? Every time you want to consult your past wisdom you’ll have to hunt for the right entry.

True. But if this system works for you, you’ll actually use it. And for almost everything you want to find, you’ll be able to track it down – particularly if you enter a title beside each date (“March 21 ’11:  Setting up credit card system”). If you perfectionistically insist on a topic-wise system that feels too cumbersome to use, you won’t keep it up for long anyway.

As well, you can feel free to use your work journal for items that wouldn’t make sense to put into the clinic manual. Prices of suites in nearby buildings. Work goals for the coming year. Problems for which you have not yet found a solution.

The work journal can be a bound collector of many of the random notes that otherwise will go astray and necessitate a file-by-file hunt through the clinic. “Where did I put my list of options for last year’s air-con system?”  You may have to do some page flipping, but you won’t have to tear the place apart.

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Want more information on operating a private psychotherapy practice? 

Check out my book Private Practice Made Simple, available at bookstores and through Amazon here.

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