Coping with the Routine of Clinical Practice

When we talk about the stresses of private practice, we’re usually talking about taxing demands that overstimulate you and eventually cause you to feel worn out. But some aspects of practice may feel understimulating and cause similar frustration and discontent. There is an inevitable routine and regimentation in psychological practice that, as in other professions, can make it feel like, well, –- work!

  • The Routine of Intake

Though every patient is unique, the intake protocol requires you to ask the same questions of all of them. This can get old over the years and tempts some to start changing the process in order to keep it “interesting.” Resist this temptation. You don’t have to be robotic in your interview style to stick with the customary “standardization,” but get used to the fact that this structure exists for a reason and ensures that you get all the information you need to form the expert opinions the public counts on you to render.

  • The Repetitiveness of Testing

We love our tests and take great pride in having the special education and training to use them. The novelty of new test releases can spark particular excitement, but this may be short-lived. Like other clinical procedures, the administration will become routine so accept this reality. Don’t set yourself up for trouble by making unsanctioned changes in the test administration or taking shortcuts to counter the repetitiveness. Get a grip when you find yourself glazing over so you don’t make mistakes or miss important nuances. Each patient brings something distinctive to each test no matter how many times you’ve given them.

  • The Therapy Regimen

Some therapies are more structured than others and practitioners of these approaches are expected to stick with this structure to get the most efficacious results. But open-ended approaches have routine too – if only that the therapy takes place at the same time and place each week. Seek collegial consultation and support to discuss any frustrations you feel about being locked into these regimens before you develop clinical problems or ethical issues.

As interesting as clinical work is, it’s accompanied by considerable routine. Many practitioners realize this once they get their first “real” job.” But often it dawns upon others once they start their own practice and have lots of freedom but realize that they really can’t just do as they please. You can control many variables in your business, but this doesn’t include changing the routine nature of the core evaluation and treatment services that you provide.

Enjoy These Other Success Articles

Attitude Adjustments Aren’t Just For Patients

Stay On Top Of Your Game

The Stress of Success in Private Practice


About the Author:

Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,

The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at or call 954.797.9766.

E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262  Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317

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