Therapists possess an incredible potential for applying their unique skill sets and creativity to establish and run counseling practices. Yet the mindset of the therapist is typically insufficient for business success. Walfish and Barnett (2010) assert that “being a caring professional and earning a living are not mutually exclusive” but this requires “resolving the conflict between altruism and being a business owner.” Further, they note that many therapists “have an elitist attitude about being a professional in which the primary objective is helping others and not making money.” This can be compounded for the Christian clinician who values selflessness and sacrifice. I discovered valuable resolve for this dilemma when I sought advice from a trusted Christian business consultant. He poignantly told me, “Your vision for touching and inspiring the hurting with Christian counseling will fail if you do not think like a business owner.”
Therapists do not go to graduate school to become business people. In fact, the concept of business may bring with it negative connotations. As therapists, we typically value compassion and serving which can be viewed in opposition to business success and financial gain. The Christian therapist who chooses to become a practice owner, however, must embrace the importance of being both a minister and a business owner. Often, this involves facing a steep learning curve, which begins most critically with mindset. The therapist’s altruistic vision to provide care to others will not be realized without a successful business model. As Christian counselors, we must strive for excellence in both counseling and business to effectively and sustainably serve those who God has entrusted to us.