5 Common Challenges to Growing Clinically as a Therapist in Private Practice

5 Common Challenges to Growing Clinically as a Therapist in Private Practice

“Teachers who are not actively involved in the learning process themselves, force their students to drink from stagnant water” Jean-Baptiste de La Salle

As therapists, we spend years learning and studying as we go through the process of school and licensure. It can be a challenge to keep learning after we get licensed. I know many therapists along with myself who have the desire to keep growing clinically. However, there are a few possible challenges of growth.


Running a private practice can take a lot of time. You may be wearing a lot of different hats in addition to being a therapist. Learning may seem to be a luxury with most of your time spent growing your practice, seeing clients, and caring for yourself.

Burn out

Learning takes effort and energy. The process of getting licensed, the daily emotional energy spent doing therapy, along with the challenges of running a private practice takes a lot of mental and emotional energy. Thus, the thought of picking up a book or taking the time to attend training can feel exhausting. Here are some tips to proactively prevent burnout with self-care.

Too much information

We live in an age rich with information, theories, and modalities. There are 60 types of therapy listed on Psychology Today with many more that are unlisted. The enormous amount of information creates opportunities for growth and refinement and it also can be overwhelming. I love playing modern designer board games and there is a term often used called “AP or analysis paralysis” where the game offers so many options during your turn that you are paralyzed in making a decision. AP is real in regards to choosing an area to grow in clinically. We can freeze and do nothing with so many choices of what we can learn.


Sometimes the more we know the more realize what we don’t know. As we keep learning and growing we can feel like there is a long way to go before we get to mastery. We would think that feeling like we aren’t good enough would cause us to seek to learn and grow. However, the emotional weight of feeling inadequate can sometimes be paralyzing and cause us to withdraw from the process of growing. If you are struggling with feeling adequate you are not alone and this article can help you feel empowered.


Being on your own in private practice can be an isolating experience. You may be in an office space by yourself with no other therapists in the building. Even with other therapists in the building, you may have little structured time and space to talk about therapy with other therapists. Without points of contact with other therapists, it can be a challenge to grow as a clinician. If it takes a village of people for a child to blossom, it also takes a village of therapists to support, encourage, and help us grow as a clinician.

If you feel a little bit stagnant in growing clinically you aren’t alone. The fact that you’ve taken the time to read this article reveals your heart to grow as a therapist.

Which one of these challenges holds you back from growing clinically? Are there other challenges not mentioned that you have encountered? Share the challenges you face with your colleagues, friends, and family. Learn how they overcame these challenges along with sharing how you overcame them. You may find that you aren’t alone and that you already have great ways to deal with these challenges.

Stay tuned for part 2 where you’ll find 5 Tips to Help you Keep Growing Clinically as a Therapist.

Casey is the owner of Rooted Hearts Counseling and specializes in Couples and Marriage Counseling with advanced training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). He gets to the heart of the matter in issues of communication, conflict resolution, infidelity, and infertility. He helps couples heal wounds, grow together, and connect emotionally.



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