As you and your cohort settle into practicum, you will hear at some point about the intake process, specifically how different sites may have different ways of approaching an intake. Department of Mental Health sites in your county may have an intake form with questions that go on for several pages. For example, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Adult Intake form has nine sections, with subsection questions for each one!
However, if you find yourself in a site that allows you freedom to conduct a semi-structured intake, it may still be challenging to find the balance between having an organic session with the client while obtaining relevant information that can inform your treatment plan.
Many therapists and graduate students would like to do the legwork of starting a private practice while still in training or earning their licensing hours, but they struggle to find the time: How are you supposed to create your private practice while you’re still occupied with your other work? I know this dilemma from firsthand experience: I started my private practice while working full time at a demanding (yet wonderful) place where I had earned my licensing hours.
A lot of the steps below can be done while you’re working a full time job and building your practice, or even just in anticipation of opening a practice if you’re still in graduate school or earning your licensing hours. I laid the groundwork for myself as much as possible so I wouldn’t have to worry about all these things upon licensure, when I’d want to just focus on seeing clients as much as possible. It worked out REALLY well. Here’s how I did it!