Welcome back to my Top 10 Tips! I started this as a single-part blogpost but realized that I simply had too many tips for graduate students in psychology to squeeze into one post. So if you’re wondering why the tips start at #6 below, it’s because the first five tips are in Part 1 of this post. If you’re a future therapist in private practice who wants to lay the groundwork for success today, I hope you enjoy the tips below!
Are you planning to start your private practice
but got discouraged because you don't know where to start?
Many graduate students in fields like clinical or counseling psychology plan to have a private practice one day, but have been discouraged from thinking too much about that exciting part of their professional life till much further down the road. As a clinical psychologist who was able to start a thriving practice within weeks (yes, weeks) of getting my license, I respectfully disagree-
The good news is that there are plenty of smart and relatively simple steps you can take now to be poised for success when the time comes.
One of the biggest fears that graduate students have is how they will get clients, and they are often given very few resources to address this-- probably because their professors aren't necessarily private practice experts and may not really know how to go about it either.
If you're a graduate student wondering how you can sow the seeds for private practice success today, read on for some quick and easy tips!
Balancing empathy with business in therapy is a dance, especially when late cancellations come into play. How can therapists navigate this with grace and professionalism?
Many psychologists, social workers, LMFTs, LMHCs, or other therapists find that creating a successful private practice while still working at a clinic, hospital, agency, or some other day job can be a “chicken and egg” problem:
How are you supposed to create your private practice while you’re still occupied with your other work?
I know this dilemma from firsthand experience: I started my private practice while working full time at a demanding (yet wonderful) place where I had earned my licensing hours. A lot of the steps below can be done while you're working a full-time job and building your practice, or even just in anticipation of opening a practice if you're still in graduate school. I laid the groundwork for myself as much as possible so I wouldn't have to worry about all these things upon licensure; when I'd want to just focus on seeing clients as much as possible. It worked out REALLY well.
Here’s how I did it!
Spare yourself from admin work
Did you know that you can use blogs to charm clients?
If you’re like most therapists, you weren’t taught much about marketing in graduate school, especially about online marketing. Online marketing for therapists is an incredibly easy (yes, easy!) and inexpensive way to let your ideal clients know who you are and how you can help them. A super easy and inexpensive form of online marketing is blogging, but there are a few tricks you need to turn a random blog into an online marketing tool. So what are we waiting for? Let’s dive in and learn how to do it! By the way: If this seems like a lot of information and you'd like support in the process, please feel free join my program for an extra sense of support!
Afraid to raise your fees?
As a mental health professional, you will need to determine what fees are most appropriate for the services you provide. As your experience and your client base grow, you may be faced with the decision to raise your fees for your own financial benefit; and to improve your space or the amenities you provide to your clients. It’s understandable that there may be some discomfort or fear about how raising your fees might affect your practice and customers. However, through slow and steady increases over time, you will find that many of your customers can absorb these costs and the few that leave will be replaced by new customers.
|This article, which I wrote to help consumers choose a therapist, originally appeared in US News and World Report. This article is also helpful for therapists seeking to attract online clients since it would help them understand what sorts of factors clients might be considering in choosing a therapist.
You may also check out the article here and my author page here.
Snowstorm? No problem! Have the sniffles? Stay in your pajamas.
And do your therapy session from home!
Online therapy offers numerous benefits to clients. It's a convenient way to see a therapist without having to waste a moment of precious time on even a short commute.
- gives clients the ability to connect with therapists who may be too far geographically, even if the client were willing to commute.
- Online therapy also allows clients to have a greater choice in therapists as well as schedules, making therapy more convenient than ever.
- And allows many clients to be more vulnerable and share things they might find more difficult if they were actually sitting in a doctor's office
My office has done online therapy since 2012, and we have a large number of online therapy clients in New York, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as a large number of online coaching clients around the world.
Mindfulness is not just about relaxation and being present,
it is more than that.
As a clinical psychologist and former yoga teacher who works with driven business people, I want to clarify a common myth that mindfulness is mainly about relaxation and “being present”. Relaxation and feeling fully present are certainly positive components of mindfulness practice, but mindfulness can also be used to increase your insight and awareness around one of your most valuable business assets: your thoughts. By learning to observe our thoughts without reacting to them, we can save ourselves considerable time, money, and energy by choosing to “follow-through” only on the thoughts that are truly in service of what we actually want in any given situation. I know this sounds abstract, so here are some real-life examples of how growing your “mindfulness muscles” will help you in day-to-day life:
Promoting yourself is an essential part of running a successful practice, but it’s something some therapists have trouble allowing themselves to do. Other therapists feel uncomfortable creating goals that include making more money, or hesitant to position yourself to get more high functioning, private pay clients.
3 Things You Should Remember When Promoting Yourself
- YOU'RE NOT ALONE
I want to help alleviate some of these concerns by reminding you that you aren’t alone in this! I’ve seen firsthand that it can be hard for therapists to really give themselves the permission to want to have a strong practice. You might find that it’s difficult for you to put a lot of work into getting your name and your good reputation out there by promotion. These fears and hesitations are understandable, but they don’t have to be absolute.
- EARN MORE, GIVE MORE
In graduate school, we are taught the importance of helping disadvantaged populations. I don’t want to diminish the importance of this, because it is an essential aspect of our jobs! I only want to point out that having a private practice and focusing on helping disadvantaged communities is not mutually exclusive. In fact, the two can be complementary: the more you make in your own practice, the more you have to give and share to those who need it.
If you position and promote yourself to encourage the growth of the private practice, just imagine how many more people you’ll be able to reach and help.
As an example of this in practice, I am proud to support Kiva, an organization that funds microloans to female entrepreneurs in disadvantaged economies. Because I’ve allowed myself to open up to building a private practice, I’ve been able to expand my reach and help women across the globe achieve their goals.
- Reframe your thoughts
I’ve seen firsthand that therapists can sometimes shy away from self-promotion: this sometimes has to do with feelings of worthiness, or fear about whether it’s appropriate to want a private practice. One thing I have found helpful is reframing your thoughts around this. Think about promoting yourself not for yourself, but doing it so the people who hear you, know you, and need you can find you easily and quickly get a sense of who you are