For several years I have hoped and planned to phase out my part-time private practice, and now I'm in the process of doing just that. After nearly ten years, next Friday will be my last day to see private clients, and at the end of the month I'm moving out of my office. I do so look forward to saying goodbye to managed care hassles and wondering if/when I'll be paid, goodbye to sitting and waiting for people who don't show, goodbye to the isolation and, yes, loneliness that can be part of a mental health private practice. The enjoyment I've received there--for example, the pleasure of conducting evaluations that are like solving a mystery or an intricate puzzle--is available at my "day job" too, along with a steady paycheck and supportive coworkers. I had supportive officemates at the practice, too, but spending all day behind closed doors with one's clients usually precludes more than a quick hello on the way to the waiting room.
Closing my practice has been a goal for several years, but every change involves mixed feelings. Ten years is more than long enough to spend on something I haven't really enjoyed. However, I'm not sorry I did it, and I won't say I'll never have a private practice again. But even if I should choose to get back into private practice in the future, in a few years most of my testing kits and materials will be obsolete. I decided to sell what I could, and placed an online classified ad where other local psychologists would see it. This morning a young psychologist from across town came to my office and got a great deal on some of my equipment. I know selling this stuff is the wisest thing to do, but when I handed over my WISC-IV kit, which I've probably used about 100 times, I felt like I was selling a puppy. I hope she gives it a good home!