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Home The Economy Just Crashed. I No Longer Have Enough Clients. I Am A LCSW. Should I Close My Practice and Find a Job?

The Economy Just Crashed. I No Longer Have Enough Clients. I Am A LCSW. Should I Close My Practice and Find a Job?

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The past year has been challenging for many, and the recent economic downturn has left countless professionals, including Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs), grappling with difficult decisions. As an LCSW, you may find yourself pondering whether to close your private practice and seek alternative employment. Let’s explore the various factors to consider, the potential benefits and drawbacks, and offer guidance to help you make an informed decision during these uncertain times.

Understanding the Current Situation:

Before diving into the decision-making process, it's essential to acknowledge the impact of the economic crash on your practice. The sudden decline in clients and financial instability may have left you feeling overwhelmed and questioning the future. Remember, you're not alone in this struggle. The first step towards finding a solution is to explore all available options with a clear and open mind.

Evaluating Your Options:

Assess your financial situation: Begin by taking a comprehensive look at your practice's financial health. Evaluate your savings, income sources, and potential cost-cutting measures. This analysis will provide a clearer picture of your financial standing and help guide your decision-making process.

Explore alternative employment opportunities: Consider the availability of job prospects within your field or related areas. Explore positions at hospitals, clinics, schools, non-profit organizations, or government agencies. Assess whether these opportunities align with your professional goals, values, and desired work-life balance.

Reassess your practice model: Instead of closing your practice outright, explore alternative strategies to adapt and survive during this challenging period. Consider offering teletherapy services, expanding your online presence, collaborating with other professionals, or adjusting your fees to attract new clients.

Weighing the Pros and Cons:

  1. Closing Your Practice:


Reduced financial stress: Closing your practice and finding a job may provide a stable income that can alleviate immediate financial concerns.

New learning opportunities: Exploring different work environments can offer new perspectives and enhance your professional growth.

Increased work-life balance: Employment in an established organization may provide a more structured schedule and better separation between work and personal life.


Loss of autonomy: Closing your practice means relinquishing control over your professional decisions and relying on others for direction.

Limited therapeutic freedom: Employment in an organization often comes with specific protocols and guidelines that may restrict your therapeutic approach.

Potential distance from direct client work: Depending on the role, you may have less direct interaction with clients, which could impact your sense of purpose and fulfillment.

  1. Continuing Your Practice:


Maintaining autonomy: By continuing your practice, you retain control over your therapeutic approach, scheduling, and business decisions.

Building on existing relationships: You have the opportunity to deepen connections with your current clients and further their progress in therapy.

Long-term potential: While the immediate future may seem uncertain, economies tend to recover over time. By persevering, you position yourself for future success when the demand for therapy services increases.


Financial uncertainty: Continuing your practice may involve navigating a period of financial instability until the economy stabilizes and client numbers rebound.

Increased workload: You may need to invest extra effort into marketing, networking, and adapting your practice to attract new clients during this challenging period.

Emotional toll: The stress of managing a struggling practice and concerns about financial stability may impact your well-being and ability to provide effective care to your clients.

Making an Informed Decision:

When considering whether to close your practice or seek alternative employment, it's crucial to prioritize your long-term goals, financial stability, and personal well-being. Here are some final steps to guide your decision:

Seek professional guidance: Consult with fellow LCSWs, mentors, or trusted colleagues who can provide insights based on their own experiences or industry knowledge.

Revisit your initial motivations: Reflect on the reasons that led you to become an LCSW and open your practice. Reconnecting with your passion for helping others can provide valuable perspective in navigating this challenging period.

Consider a hybrid approach: If you're undecided, explore the possibility of maintaining a smaller private practice while pursuing part-time employment elsewhere. This can provide a safety net while allowing you to continue serving clients in a setting you're comfortable with.

As you navigate this challenging crossroad, remember that you possess the resilience, skills, and dedication that brought you to this point in your career. The decision to close your practice or seek alternative employment is not an easy one, but it presents an opportunity for growth and adaptation. Keep in mind that change often brings unexpected opportunities and rewards. Whether you choose to close your practice and start on a new professional journey or persevere through the current economic downturn, trust in your abilities and the value you bring to your clients and the field of social work. Remember, you are not defined solely by the circumstances you face, but by how you respond to them.

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The Economy Just Crashed. I No Longer Have Enough Clients. I Am A LCSW. Should I Close My Practice and Find a Job?
Feiran Liu