I read a post a few days ago titled “The End of Private Practice” and it was essentially speaking of current reasons of how health care, and mental health care, was being taken over by the insurance industry and how clients are continuing to move away from out of pocket costs, and this may be signaling the end of private practice.
There is nothing more freeing, satisfying, and amazing than having a successful private practice doing the work you love. Most therapists I meet dream about one day having a practice that can give this to them. I’m excluding here therapists who want to, and choose to, build careers in agencies and non-profits. Its a completely different world – beyond compare.
For those of us who want to make it in business and be self-employed, its a long and hard road. We were not given the business skills to make it work. I meet too many therapists who are discouraged, who cant seem to make the phone ring enough, and buy into the idea that private practice is dying, and only therapists who take insurance can have a full caseload. This is not the case!!!So when I read something like that, it upsets me to think that many of you who are already feeling defeated will buy into it, and believe there is no hope.
For those of you that are feeling defeated, I tell you there is hope. The hope is within you! You may need to go within for a little while, to determine what within you needs tending to, development, learning, resourcing, or support.
A Few Tips for Building a Successful Private Psychotherapy Practice
1) Renew your energy: Emotions are contagious. If you reach out to a potential referral source and your look and feel is depressed or defeated, that energy passes and you wont be getting any referrals. Take some time for self-care. You need a spark, for others to feel a spark.
2) Take business classes, seminars, workshops, or read books about marketing and the business side of your practice. A part of your regular routine needs to be training and support around the business end of things. Its not in our bones – we didn’t go to business school. We need regular reminders of how to think like a business and how to work our business every day.
3) Diversify your services: There are other ways to make money than 50 minute face-to-face sessions. See what others are doing for some ideas.
4) Find a mentor or coach: There are plenty of people making it in business in your area. reach out to someone over coffee or lunch and ask how/what they do. Hire a therapist who is successful in practice and pay for weekly coaching sessions. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel.
5) Spend money on marketing and advertising: This is the single most direct factor I see in why therapist’s private practices aren’t doing so well. When we go over budgets/expenses I find that a very small amount of money and energy goes in this direction. You need a website!! (I build them). And you need to spend time and money for people to find it.
6) Create a community: We can’t do this alone!!! Meet a bunch of like-minded therapists and other practitioners (Doctor, OBGYN, Psychiatrist, Acupuncturist, etc.) who can become your go-to referral sources and you will become theirs. Join your local organization to get resourced. The more you put yourself out there. the more you will find comes back to you.
I hope the best for you and your practice and I tell you that this can be done!!!