Aimee Barr, LCSW
Company: Aimee Barr, LCSW Psychotherapy
Education: BS-Psychology and Sociology double major, University of Delaware
Continuing Education-National Institute for the Psychotherapies, Ackerman Institute for the Family
EHC: What is your daily schedule like?
Being in private practice means that every day is different. I work from roughly 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., and on Friday, I try to finish work by 3 p.m. By starting work at 10 a.m., I allow myself time to go to the gym and not feel rushed.
EHC: What is your favorite part of your job?
I love connecting with people and supporting them. Giving people hope and helping them learn who they are is the best part of my job.
EHC: What were the steps you took to get your job?
Well, I created it. I hired a great consultant, who ended up becoming a mentor, and she helped me decide on the big aspects like location and office space, and after that, I put the word out that I was taking on new clients and let it grow naturally from there.
EHC: What is your best piece of advice for girls interested in this field?
Don’t rush. Often the ego runs the show, and our actions aren’t mindful. In any business, you want it to be a contribution to your community. Focus on how you can achieve that and how you can build a solid foundation for that contribution. It is easy to be sold on exciting aspects of business like having your work published by big names, but what are the results of it? Does it help you build a lasting relationship with people?
EHC: What inspired you to pursue this career?
I liked the idea of independence and living by my own metric of success. Since I am my own boss, I get to set my own schedule, practice the way I want to, and have the freedom to decide who I want to work with. I won’t take on a client that I don’t feel I have the adequate skills to help such as people suffering from addiction or eating disorders. When someone like that contacts me, I will refer them to someone well-qualified to help.
Aimee is a licensed clinical social worker and owner of the private practice Aimee Barr, LCSW Psychotherapy. Every day, she sees clients and offers techniques to help them overcome challenges and to find a life that fits with who they are. Before starting her own business, she spent four years working in the psychiatric unit of Bellevue Hospital where she helped patients to get well and prepared them to be successful once they left the hospital. After those four years, she went to work at a nonprofit agency called the Center Against Domestic Violence. In this role, she worked with domestic violence survivors, survivors of intimate partner violence, as well as childhood victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault. It was during her time there that Aimee decided to start building her private practice.
Starting a Private Practice
Once Aimee knew that it was time to go into private practice, she found a business consultant who specialized in her field. This consultant helped guide Aimee on a lot of the big decisions that came with starting her business, such as focusing on Brooklyn instead of Manhattan and helping her find a suitable office space. Then initially maintaining her full-time job, Aimee put the word out that she was looking for private clients and dedicated one day per week to her practice. As the number of clients grew, she dedicated an additional day to the practice and fewer days at her other job until she had eighteen regular clients and was working four days a week at the practice. At this point, she left her job at the Center Against Domestic Violence and was full-time at her practice. Each step of this journey was an achievement and special memory–starting the company, paying rent for the office space for the first time, and each time she increased her private practice days.
Aimee said you should never rush your process. You should get as much experience as you can before going into private practice whether it is with an agency, in a hospital, or anywhere else. This will allow you to build the skills necessary to help you know how to handle different kinds of people and situations–something that is essential to be a good therapist but often difficult to teach in school.
Also, you should trust your instincts. Aimee was told that she should start a private practice long before she finally decided to, and this was because she didn’t feel ready to leave the security of her full-time job. Ultimately, she found a mentor to help her build the practice she wanted, and she did it in a way that was comfortable for her.