Day in the life of
Licensed Professional Counselor – Courtney Kirkpatrick MS, NCC, LPC
I am an LPC (licensed professional counselor) in the state of PA and currently operate a private practice called Consilium Behavioral Health. I specialize in trauma/PTSD and work with clients anywhere from 14 years old to 70. I also treat anxiety, depression, substance use, grief/complicated grief, and stage of life issues (transitioning to retirement, young adults transitioning from college, etc).
Since I’m in private practice I get the opportunity to create my own schedule. I tend to start my day by answering any e-mails then begin to see clients around 9am or 10am.
My week is never the same; some days I’ll only see 4 people and other days I have 8 so my schedule always changing. My busiest days are Tues/Wed/Thursday. I tend to start late on Mondays and Fridays I don’t work past 1pm if possible. I tend to leave some time in between clients to decompress and do any business-related tasks if needed.
Generally, I have a caseload of around 25 clients and for me, that’s a realistic number. Too many more and I find I’m not as effective. I’m also in the process of expanding the practice and bringing other counselors under me in order to serve more people.
On Saturday mornings I meet with my business partner to review anything that occurred over the week and we also put out videos (The Counseling Geeks) about mental health topics. Altogether I’ll work 6 days a week but there’s a lot happening outside of just seeing clients.
Therapy is my passion so for me, there are lots of pros! I get the opportunity to help people who find they are stuck or overwhelmed with life circumstances and walk with them as they begin to manage their mental health and improve their quality of life. It is incredibly satisfying to be part of that journey with others!
Another pro is the flexibility to make my own schedule and the ability to work from home. My thought is that this trend will continue for therapists even after the pandemic.
A con is the emotional tax that comes with holding space for others; self care needs to be really high in order to be effective with clients. Being a trauma therapist means I’m discussing some pretty distressing events so I need to ensure that I’m not holding onto any of my client’s traumas as I move through the day.
Another con is times when crisis happens and you need to ensure your client is safe despite what is happening in your own life. While making your own schedule is great, that also means that you sometimes have to fit people in who are in need of additional therapy or take time to do case management tasks. People don’t realize how much work goes into a session since there’s prep time as well as time spent looking for additional resources or collaborating with other professionals regarding your client.
Mental Health Counselors
counsel and advise individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health, with an emphasis on prevention. May help individuals deal with a broad range of mental health issues, such as those associated with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; or aging.