It’s common for therapists in private practice to have anxiety around money issues like how much to charge per session, how to ask clients for payment, and when to raise your fees. Getting comfortable talking about fees with clients is crucial to private practice success.
After all, you own a business. In general, I think therapists charge too little for their services.
Several years ago, I resigned from managed care and I raised my psychotherapy fees at the same time. Fortunately, my practice didn’t suffer financially from those decisions. What surprised me most about raising my per session fee was that the perceived value of my services went up. “You don’t take insurance and charge a lot? You must be really good,” was a sentiment that I heard frequently from potential clients.
Interestingly, I’ve found that clients tend to invest more in the therapy process because they are investing more money out of their own pocket for treatment.
As a recent private practice consultation group that I was leading came to an end, we took a few minutes to celebrate the growth and successes of each group member. I asked what each group would take away from their consultation group. One therapist turned to me and said, “Thank you for giving me the permission to succeed.”
I have never really thought about my private practice consulting services as giving colleagues “permission to succeed,” but it seemed to fit. I asked myself, “Where did I get the permission to succeed?”
Here’s how I’ve found amazing interns that stay at my clinic even after graduation.
Over the past several years I have trained and mentored many graduate students and new graduates working toward clinical licensure. Working with interns has been a great way to build my practice, leverage my time, and satisfy the part of me that loves mentoring.
Most graduate students who train at my clinic during school are offered a therapist position after graduation which creates a win-win situation — the student gets a job they’re already trained for and I get to add talented and enthusiastic therapists to my team! After interviewing several therapists, I’ve learned to be very selective about who I bring on at Wasatch Family Therapy.
I recently consulted with a private practice therapist who has a waiting list for new clients. As we started exploring the option of hiring a graduate student to train she expressed some concerns. Her biggest questions were:
Last week, I blogged about the benefits of joining a private practice group. Today, I’ll discuss the downside of being in business with other practitioners. I briefly worked in a group practice where all therapists owned equal parts of an LLC (Limited Liability Company).
At first it sounded like a good idea. After a while, I could see that it wouldn’t work long-term for me and for my practice.
The Drawbacks of Joining a Group Practice
After several months in a group practice, I realized that the drawbacks far outweighed the benefits. One of the biggest drawbacks was sharing liability for other mental health provider’s actions and decisions, of which I ultimately had no control. Therapist Melissa J Templeton, MA, LPC, LMFT agrees, “It’s really important to be aware of the legal entanglements of being in practice with another mental health provider, as it exposes you to all kinds of liability. Being in the same building even without a formal partnership agreement could open you up to being sued by someone who was injured on the property or who accuses your co-leaser of a criminal or civil action.”
Get private practice resources at your fingertips on your mobile phone or iPad with the new “Private Practice Toolbox” mobile app.
Several months ago I blogged about how to develop a mobile app for your practice, and how it’s easier than you’d think. So, I got thinking, “Why not create a mobile app for this blog – Private Practice Toolbox?”
I imagined therapists around the world reading articles and getting support through this app on their mobile devices in between clients. The first 500 downloads of this app are free.
A common private practice question is whether a therapist should join a group practice or venture out on their own as a solo practitioner. The answer is different for everyone depending on your strengths, goals, personality, financial needs, and many other factors.
There are also other options in between solo and group practice, like sharing an office space with other practitioners while maintaining your own practice. “There are numerous ways of forming a group practice including cost/office sharing, partnership, and employment as associates under a licensed provider,” according to Kansas Psychologist Wes Crenshaw PhD, ABPP of Family Psychological Services, LLC.
To help make your decision easier, here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of joining a private practice group.
Last week Dr. Christina Hibbert contributed a guest blog highlighting her experience of sharing an office with her husband in rural Flagstaff, AZ.
In this post, Dr. Hibbert gives us a tour of the office space she shares with her husband, Dentist O.J. Hibbert. Peek into a rural Dentist/Psychologist office and see how this clinical psychologist keeps business “in the family.”
Would you like to let other shrinks peek into your office space and be featured on this blog? Get details here.
Eleven years ago I ventured briefly into the world of providing online counseling services. It was short-lived because there was not enough interest from potential clients in online counseling. At the time, there was a sense that online interventions would revolutionize counseling, and that it might even become a preferred method of treatment for many.
While online counseling, also known as telemental health, and e-therapy, hasn’t “taken over” the field of therapy in the past decade, electronic delivery methods have steadily grown.
According to APA’s Center for Workforce Studies, the use of videoconferencing jumped from 2 to 10 percent between the years 2000 – 2008, and the use of email for service delivery tripled during that same time frame.
Whether you like it or not, when you’re in private practice you are a business person. A common complaint I hear from new private practitioners is “I had no idea how much time (and money) it takes to run a business!” I nod my head in agreement.
With no business background, I ventured into private practice nearly 10 years ago. Starting out as a solo practitioner, I have learned how to maximize my time. Over the years I learned the importance of automating as many business systems as possible in order to decreases stress, and free up mental and emotional energy for the things I’d rather be doing…like therapy.
Here are 6 suggestions for automating your business systems in private practice:
1) Automate social media posts
While actual human conversation is the point of social media, I do automate some of my posts, tweets and status updates. The two social media management platforms I use are Hootsuite and Socialoomph. I use both because they have different strengths. Hootsuite allows me to manage multiple social media accounts from it’s dashboard and respond to them in one place. SocialOomph is great for posting recurring tweets and updates because you can set the frequency of the recurrence and alter the text slightly.
I also use SocialOomph to set up auto-responders to thank new Twitter followers. SocialOomph also sends me daily digest email of keywords I’ve chosen to follow on Twitter so I can see who’s tweeting about relevant topics and I can find new and interesting people to follow.