A common question: “What does a realistic day look like as a therapist in private practice?“ This is my typical working day in London, UK.
The picture above is what I see from my current therapy room – At the heart of London’s financial district, this is a high-energy place to work from. It’s a city space that I know very well and my base since 2009. There’s something about this part of London that attracted me, even though I had no idea about what the therapy community was like before I re-launched in this location. Before then, I was working from different locations in London and it never felt quite right for some reason. While everyone was telling me this was not a good place to be for my work, I went ahead anyway – And I am happy that I trusted my own intuition with that choice! As the office workers go for lunch or head home, another world opens up in this part of the city – This is where you will see the creative and therapist community come alive!
I always get asked about what it is really like to work as a freelance therapist. People assume it is always calm and I am always meditating! Sometimes but most times, there is a lot more going on that can be hectic… The usual business of private practice. I often juggle many different ways of working with my clients as I am also a yoga teacher and health coach. Every therapist I have met who is interested in health always continues to learn and expand. So for me, psychology/CBT is my base but I have also enjoyed studying complementary healthcare and having a holistic approach to my work. This is also reflected in the places where I work from.
Always evolving – Since 2009, I have worked from 3 different locations and started my own therapy centre on London Wall where everything really started to take off in my business. Now, my main base is still in London but I also enjoy travelling and doing online work.
Each day may be slightly different, depending on my bookings and business tasks – But essentially, this is how my schedule usually is.
6am – Wake up and do personal Sadhana
This time is dedicated to my own personal yoga and meditation practice. As much as I love London, its fast pace can often feel overwhelming and inspiring at the same time. So, having a good start where I can anchor my Self makes a big difference. As an empath, I also feel that I am able to manage my own energy better and show up feeling fully present and grounded.
I am definitely NOT a morning person – I have always been a natural night owl so this has been a part of my daily routine that has required a lot of discipline and facing my own resistance. This sets off the whole day in a positive way, which usually has a knock-on effect on everything. So I do my best to stick to this. Your average Londoner wakes up early for work (or sometimes earlier, depending on the commute) so for me, this is something I have been used to in London life.
This space includes meditation, kriya and setting intentions. I might use visualisation for what I would like to invite into my life on this day. Journal writing is part of this. Listening to a podcast while I do yoga is my favourite thing. I try to make the most of this space. I end this part of the day with chai tea.
8-9am – A hearty breakfast
I love breakfast! For me, a good hearty breakfast is something I do look forward to. This also keeps me grounded and gets my mind working. As I am not a morning person, my energy levels tend to be low before lunchtime so a big breakfast really helps.
Breakfast is protein-packed. A typical breakfast is something like a vegan tofu omelette or maybe some fried chickpeas or black-eyed beans with avocado toast slices. As much as I love coffee, it always sends my energy crashing in the middle of the day if I have it with breakfast so a yerba mate tea works well.
9am – On the computer
Face-to-face client sessions happen during out-of-office times – As the majority of my clients work a 9-5 day job, the hours when they are at work are perfect times for doing all the other things that running a business involves.
The behind-the-scenes of a freelance therapist’s life – This is when I begin my online work and the business paperwork. So, this would be anything related to marketing, confirming bookings, invoices/receipts, answering emails, writing blog posts and these types of tasks that keep my work running smoothly. This is usually what happens during the work week when I don’t have lunchtime sessions at the therapy centre.
Weekdays with lunchtime sessions at the therapy centre – For the office workers that work around the corner from my therapy centre, this is a good time to have a session during the day. This could be online (where I do this from my home) or if it is in the therapy centre, I will spend most of my morning doing the above tasks and then start my commute to the therapy centre during the late morning time, depending on what time the session is.
Weekends are often booked during the morning time – If it is not a weekday then the weekend mornings are when I usually have client sessions either online or at the therapy centre. If I am commuting to the therapy centre, 9am is often when I leave home.
An easy commute – Luckily, the commute is not too stressful or complicated during the weekends – I only need to take 1 bus and in 20 minutes I am there. As many Londoners know, morning commutes to work during a typical rush hour are often intense! Therefore, I am grateful that I don’t live too far (the average commute time for Londoners is 1 hour) and I avoid those times.
12 to 1pm – Lunch
I don’t eat a big lunch – My lunch is often simple. If I don’t have any sessions (online or in the therapy centre) I would take a walk either around my home area or around my therapy centre (Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane are my favourite places to walk around and get some food). I try to make sure that this time is away from my work area.
After Lunchtime – Getting ready for evening sessions
After lunchtime – This is normally a time to return back to the computer to start, continue or finish my morning tasks. I try to plan ahead of time so I can do the smaller things in the morning and then the harder things in the afternoon when I have this space much more dedicated just to this.
Preparing for my evening sessions – This is when I also go through my client notes, revising the information I will need for later in the evening or making new notes for my sessions to come. My evenings are usually the busiest time to see clients so I like to be fully prepared.
4.30 to 8.30pm – The evening sessions
A busy time – This is by far the busiest time that I see my clients during the week – Everyone either finishes work early for a session or I see them directly after their day job. So by 4.30pm, I am often ready to head out of the door to the therapy centre.
While the office workers head to the train station, I move in the opposite direction – I often smile as it literally feels like I am a trout moving upstream. Everyone is rushing in the same direction towards Liverpool Street station and here I am trying my best to walk in the opposite direction from the crowd flow. By now, I have mastered the art of dodging and ducking! I notice that I am not the only one as different crowds come to the city at these times, including other therapists in the neighbouring office towers.
I like to make time before my sessions – Some therapists can jump straight into their sessions… I prefer to have space before my block bookings. This is the time when I do some breathing exercises, finish off any notes I will need and get the room prepared. Luckily, the places that I have worked from allow us to enter inside the room early if no other therapist is using it. It’s not always the case as evenings are peak times for therapists in the city. I try to make the most of it.
Block bookings – The rest of the evening is spent with my clients and writing notes between sessions. To tell you the truth, I enjoy working in at this time – it’s not for everyone but this is the time of the day when I feel very inspired. As I said, I am a natural night person so I have no issues working later in the day with clients.
8.30 or 9pm – The Commute back home
Typically by this time during the weekdays, I am done with my clients and ready to go home – I love this time… the city feels so peaceful and the bars are usually busy with office workers having a pint with their work colleagues or partner. I will pack up at the therapy centre and I might take a quick walk around or take my time to have a chai tea at the coffee shop. I try to use this time to unwind and release from my sessions.
10pm – Home sweet home
Personal creative projects – I eat dinner and enjoy doing creative projects alone or with my partner. This is the time that I love to spend getting lost in something that fuels my creative side.
Bedtime, it depends – Remember I said I am a night owl? I do try to get to sleep by 11pm but realistically, I naturally find that I am ready to go to bed at midnight. It really all depends on my energy levels. If I am feeling tired, I know I need more rest.
The question that I normally get asked after the last one is – “Can you see your Self doing anything else?”
The truth is I have done many jobs, especially at the start of my business. I have worked in an office, in a charity organisation, doing marketing for venues – and so many other different jobs. Did I enjoy these jobs? Well, yes because I learned so many skills that came in handy for my business. I also juggled studying at university when I first started working in this area. So, it has been a long journey to get to this point and to find what works for me. But it was SO worth it… It’s not always easy and I had to learn a lot along the way (through the big highs/lows) but I am glad I did continue and not give up!
I love being a therapist – My clients inspire me… always. One of the reasons I started to create this website is to share with everyone who may be interested in doing the same – And living a life that we truly enjoy while making an income that would support our journey! In tough times, I always remember my WHY and keep going. I hope this inspired you!