Frequently Asked Questions for Starting a Private Practice

A pink flower lying on top of a pile of smooth beach rocks1. Do I need to have a written contract or agreement with my directees?

A written agreement between the director and the directee is always recommended. A sample of the template can be downloaded from the TASD website.

2. Do I need to collect HST on my fees?

If you earn less than $30,000 from your practice, you do not need to collect HST.

3. Do I need a business license?

In Canada, if you do not earn more than $30,000 and hence do not need to collect GST, you do not need to obtain a business license.

4. Do I need to issue receipts?

Receipts should be issued to directees. An annual receipt showing all sessions and amounts will usually suffice.

5. What are eligible expenses?

Expenses directly related to your practice are deductible. For example, office supplies, phone, mileage if you are driving to your clients, professional membership fees, supervision fees, conference fees. It is best if you check with a certified accountant on these matters as this is not an exhaustive list.

6. Should I have liability insurance?

It is highly advisable that you purchase liability insurance (or be assumed under your church’s liability insurance policy, if possible). If you work solely out of your own office, you might want to consider contacting the Canadian Council of Professional Certification or the Canadian Association of Pastoral Counsellors to see if they can help you purchase the insurance (but be sure to state that you are not a mental health professional).

7. How much should I charge?

You can set a fee or give a sliding scale based on your directee’s income. The amount you choose is dependent upon the natural tension between providing accessible service to the directee and providing a source of sustainable income for yourself. As in all things, setting a fee is a matter of prayer and ethical living.

Other Resources

Browning, Charles and Beverley. Private Practice Handbook. Los Alamitos, CA: Duncliff’s International, 2000. ISBN 0-911663-77-0

Grodzki, Lynn. Building your Ideal Private Practice. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2000. ISBN 0-393-70331-2

Tallman, Bruce. The Spiritual Guidance Handbook: Practical Methods for Developing a Spiritual Direction or Counseling Practice from Beginning to Full-Time Employment. Contact Dr. Tallman to order this book at

Starting a private practice in Spiritual Direction