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Choosing Your Niche in Private Practice: Consider Working with Multiple Sclerosis

When you’re attempting to establish a successful private practice, one of the most essential things to think about is identifying a specialization. I’m going on record as stating that multiple sclerosis (MS) is a niche worth exploring.
 
To be fair, I’m a little biased. But let me convince you why working with individuals and families impacted by MS is so rewarding.
 
There is a lot of need. One thing to consider when choosing your niche is the need. When it comes to multiple sclerosis, the need is huge. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, approximately one million people in the United States live with MS. The need is also growing. The prevalence of MS is increasing, with an estimated 200 new cases diagnosed each week. This means that there are more people than ever before in need of support from a qualified therapist.
 
Working with this population provides opportunities to make a real difference. Approximately 50% of individuals with MS will experience a diagnosable depression at some point in their life. There are also lots of opportunities to help individuals learn skills and tools to cope with uncertainty, change, and the daily frustrations of living with a chronic illness. You can provide support during difficult transitions and help them advocate for themselves.
 
But, beyond traditional psychotherapy, there are also other ways to work with people that have multiple sclerosis.
 
Goal setting and motivation are key features of working with this population. Part of managing MS is also helping people engage in wellness behaviors. This includes things like promoting physical activity, managing stress, and helping people make healthy lifestyle choices.
 
There is also the opportunity to help people with vocational challenges and do some job coaching. This may include educating individuals about ways to prepare if symptoms impact their job, obtaining accommodations (e.g., providing resources like the Job Accommodation Network, JAN), or helping guide people through applying for disability.
 
Further, you will have the option of working with an amazing team of medical professionals. When you work with people with MS, you get to be part of an incredible team. You’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with neurologists, primary care physicians, social workers, nurses, and other specialists. This interdisciplinary approach is essential for providing comprehensive care.
 
So, if you’re looking for a rewarding private practice niche with lots of need and opportunity for growth, consider multiple sclerosis. It’s a population that will keep you challenged and engaged and provide you with opportunities to make a real difference in the lives of your clients.
 
What do you think? Are you convinced yet?
 
If this sounds intriguing, check out our first Podcast CE Series on Multiple Sclerosis. Each episode includes a wealth of information to help get you started working with this population.
 
Meghan Beier, PhD

Meghan Beier, PhD

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