Stuck in a therapeutic rut? Find inspiration from other therapist’s creative strategies and get outside the box!
As therapists, especially those of us who have been practicing for a few years, it’s easy to get into a rut and become less creative than we were as eager, bright-eyed interns. Feeling the need to be more creative in the therapy hour inspired me to reach out to other therapists for ideas and inspiration and start this series about practicing outside of the box.
Because I managed to kill every plant I have ever owned (I have a “black thumb”) and because I have always fantasized about living in New York City, I was intrigued by psychotherapist Janet Zinn, LCSW’s use of “outside the box” strategies to help her clients. Janet found that incorporating nature in the form of a garden in the middle of a New York City practice was a welcome and healing environment for her clients.
You may be surprised to learn that “moderation in all things” applies to moods, too. June Gruber, a professor of psychology at Yale University compares happiness to food. We need it, but too much of it can actually cause problems. While happiness is associated with many positives like a stronger immune response, longer life, and ability to endure painful experiences, it also has a “darker side”.
Michigan therapist finds niche providing in-home psychotherapy services
Would you travel to a client’s home to provide therapy? After witnessing the high no-show rates while working at community mental health centers Michigan, therapist Tomanika Witherspoon, LMSW, CEO of Growing Counseling Services, decided to do just that.
She created an “outside of the box” specialty practice by focusing on providing in-home therapy.
In Witherspoon’s experience, individuals who discontinued traditional therapy cited transportation, time and family responsibilities as the biggest barriers for receiving treatment. By providing in-home therapy, Witherspoon saves her clients travel time, travel expenses and time spent in an office waiting room.
This guest post is written by Ashley Eder, LPC. Ashley is a counselor and supervisor who believes we each have the potential to create a more satisfying life. Located in Boulder, CO, she works with clients and therapists through curiosity, self-awareness, and acceptance in order to create lasting change.
A successful private practice is not just defined by how many clients you see or how much income you generate. One critical stream of non-monetary compensation is the satisfaction your practice brings you.
That’s right–as a business owner in an inherently flexible field, part of your “payment” is the freedom to create a work week that works for you.
There is an “it” factor when looking for interns to train in your private practice.
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:
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.
One of the most difficult challenges of private practice is finding consistent referral sources. Come up with a marketing plan and secure a few referral sources before you hang up your “shingle.” (Read Private Practice Marketing Made Easy)
2) My only overhead expense will be leasing office space
Not so. Plan on buying software for billing and record keeping, malpractice insurance, business license, incorporation fees, professional consultation, website costs, paper goods, furnishings, marketing materials…
If you’re a graduate student in the mental health field planning on going into private practice, here are a few things that you won’t learn during your program. Most of what I learned about psychotherapy and private practice came after I graduated.
After 17 years of practice, here are a few things I wish I’d known earlier:
1) Clients don’t care about your degree
I’m rarely asked what degree I hold or what school I attended. I’ve found that very few clients know the difference between an MSW, MFT, PhD, MFCC, PsyD or any other degree. What clients really want to know is that you’re qualified to do therapy, and if you can help them.
Meet Ashley Eder, LPC and her therapy dog “Angel.” While I know therapists who’ve brought their dog into the therapy office occasionally (it wasn’t necessarily “therapeutic” for colleagues or clients) Ashley is the first therapist I’ve met who uses a therapy dog as a purposeful tool in clinical practice.
It makes sense that certain clients would feel at ease and find contact with a dog to be calming during therapy sessions. In her Boulder, CO private practice, Ashley specializes in body-centered psychotherapy and mindfulness interventions to treat somatic complaints, such as body image, self-harm, chronic pain, abuse recovery, and eating disorders in young adults in their teens and twenties.
In addition to her clinical practice Ashley provides counselor education, training, community building and supervises other counselors toward licensure. See how Ashley spends her day balancing family (she’s a mom of one) and her clinical practice.
A Day In The Life
January 23, 2012
Wake up to the sound of my 15 month old son chattering to himself in his bedroom. He is currently my alarm clock, and this is excellent arrangement when he sleeps past 6AM. I listen to him babble and do a quick first check of email to see if there is anything I need to know heading into my day.