Have you ever known a psychologist who specializes in helping expatriates through relocation transitions? Me neither. Talk about an interesting niche! So, how does one develop this kind of specialization?
While living in London, England Clinical Psychologist Jill Kristal, Ph.D. of Transitional Learning was instrumental in transforming the US Embassy internal counseling center into The American Counseling Center, a community based organization hiring American trained and licensed therapists to work with the expatriate community. Since returning to the US, Dr. Kristal has continued to work with expatriates, served as Special Education Consultant to School Choice International and established a private practice in Larchmont, NY. With over 20 years in private practice, Dr. Kristal has worked with with children of all ages, adults and couples.
Peek into a day in Dr. Kristal’s life.
I’ve never actually met Stephanie Adams, LPC face to face, but I like her a lot. I’ve connected with her on Twitter, exchanged emails, and visited her website so I feel confident that I can say that she’s a “go getter” and like me, Stephanie loves to reach out to clients and professionals through technology.
She founded Beginnings Counseling & Consulting, a boutique E-Therapy practice based in College Station, TX, where she uses video conferencing, email, phone and real-time chat to meet with clients and coach beginning counselors. She’s co-authoring a book “The Beginning Counselor’s Survival Guide” aimed at supporting new therapists in building their practice.
A Day In The Life
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wake up and make coffee. Spend time with my husband before he leaves for medical school.
Check email and plan out the day.
One of the many challenges of private practice, especially solo practice, is efficiently and effectively juggling administrative and practice management tasks with clinical work. Since I often blog about my favorite technology tips, I reached out to other therapists “in the trenches” of private practice to see what technology they find most helpful to streamline practice management. Here are the devices, programs, and software they use most and how it helps them successfully run their practice.
Dr. Trevor Small, Clinical Director and Psychologist for Bridges to Recovery, a private, behavioral health facility has several tech tips that help streamline his practice:
Peek into a work day in the life of private practitioner and licensed clinical psychologist Marla W. Deibler, Psy.D. Founder and Director of The Center for Emotional Health of Greater Philadelphia, LLC. Her outpatient behavioral health group practice specializes in the treatment of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders.
She’s also a wife and a mother of three children and has found a nice work/life balance working 2.5 days per week at her clinic, and spending time the rest of the time home with her children. Thanks to email, phone, and text, Dr. Deibler operates her business remotely “in spurt” during the days she’s at her home. And apparently, she doesn’t sleep much!
Here’s a day in the life of one of Dr. Deibler’s “work” days:
What does it take to build and maintain a private mental health practice? Terrie Browning, LPC, DCC, CFC was among the first to respond to my request for therapists to track their activities for a day to shed light on what it takes to be in private practice. Friday, the day she uses for last minute crisis appointments, online counseling appointments, website meetings, phone consults, and runs errands, was the day she chose to track her activities.
Terrie provides in person, and online counseling, in addition to providing court testimony as part of her private practice, Alternative Therapies. Terrie is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Forensic Consultant, Distance Credentialed Counselor, and holds a Masters Degree in Science of Psychology, with specialization in Counseling Psychology.
To learn more about Terrie’s practice visit her website TerrieBrowning.com.
After reading my recent posts on multiple income streams for therapists, Psych Central Associate Editor and blogger, Margarita Tartakovsky asked me how I, and other therapists, juggle so many different aspects of private practice. I’ve been thinking about her question and thought it might be fun to start a series that peeks into “a day in the life” of therapists in private practice. I thought I’d start with me, and start with–today.
Just to give you a little background…I’m a wife and a mother of 4 children ages 5 to 21. I’ve been in clinical practice for 16 years and I serve as director of Wasatch Family Therapy, a private outpatient clinic that I founded in 2002. Recently, because my clinic has grown significantly, I’ve stopped taking new clients in order to spend more time leading, training, and pursuing other passions, like writing, media contributing, etc.
You’ll notice that my “day in the life” doesn’t include seeing any clients. I am currently on a month-long sabbatical from clinical work, and from as much administrative work as possible, during the month of November to dedicate time and energy to finishing up my first book. After being approached by a publisher a few months ago I decided that it was an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up, but it would require cutting back on a lot of other responsibilities in order to make the deadline. I will resume seeing clients, running staff meetings, and training therapists the first week in December.
Many therapists have ugly offices. Does your therapy office reflect your personality, practice specialty, and appeal to your ideal client? Here’s one creative solution.
During a private practice consultation meeting a few weeks ago psychologist Kimberly Sieber, PhD expressed excitement about securing a large office space at an amazingly low rent for her private practice Good Medicine Healing Community. New to private practice she was concerned about the costs of furnishing such a big space. We estimated a budget and listed the basic furnishings she’d need to start seeing clients: a couch, chair and desk for one office, and a few chairs for the large waiting room.
She turned to me with a worried look and asked, “But what about the walls? They’re blank and white and ugly!”
My grandpa used to say, “I never met a shrink who didn’t need one,” as if that was a valid reason for not seeking help for mental health problems. After being a therapist for nearly two decades, I totally agree with my Grandpa.
Therapists are an interesting and colorful bunch and we definitely have our own share of mental health problems. I’d take grandpa’s phrase even farther by saying I’ve never met a person who didn’t need a shrink. We can all benefit from examining our experiences and getting an outside perspective from a mental health professional during difficult times.
The most effective therapists I’ve worked with, as a colleague and as a client, are those who’ve already worked through some of their own mental health and relationship struggles with a therapist, have a handle on their own pain and vulnerability, understand their family relationship patterns, and are comfortable walking with others through their pain. Not only is working through issues with your own therapist good for your own mental health and personal relationships, it’s also good for your therapy practice.
Ask me about my private practice and I light up. I love it. I just spent the last day and a half furnishing and decorating an additional office location in a neighboring city. I’m excited to be able to expand the reach of my practice and help clients in other geographic locations. There is such a satisfaction in feeling fully self-expressed professionally and to make a difference in the lives of my clients and my colleagues. My passion for building a private practice is why I asked Dr. John Grohol, CEO of PsychCentral.com if I could start this blog. I can’t imagine being happier with a work situation and I want to help you develop the tools to feel the same way about your practice.
I asked several successful private practice therapists the question, “What do you love about being in private practice?” I wanted to share their answers with you to inspire those of you who are considering going into private practice to do it! If you’re unhappy with your practice, I hope you’ll draw from these successful private practice experiences to create a practice that you love.
My motivation for starting my private practice, Wasatch Family Therapy, was very clear. I wanted to create my ideal work environment and I knew that no one else could do that for me.
I felt called to help people heal themselves and their relationships. I knew that I wanted work with therapy clients who valued my services and time, and who were dedicated to working hard to improve their life. I wanted the flexibility to set my own schedule and take time off to be with my children and attend school and sporting events. I wanted to do paperwork that was relevant and helpful for treatment. I wanted to invite other clinicians into my professional space who were gifted therapists, genuine people, and who I enjoyed spending time with. I wanted to work as a social worker part-time and make a full-time income (a lofty goal in a profession where many work full-time and make a part-time income).
I know why I chose to go into private practice but I was curious if other therapists and counselors around the country had similar motivation opening private practice. I recently asked several therapists about their reasons for taking the leap into the business world of owning their own practices and noticed three common themes emerged. I call them the 3 “F”s of private practice: flexibility, freedom, financial opportunity.