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5 Signs It’s Time To Raise Your Fees

10.02.09

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.

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Do You Need Permission To Succeed?

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?” Read more

How To Find Top Student Interns To Grow Your Practice

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: Read more

10 Self-Care Strategies For Private Practice Shrinks

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Compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and caregiver burnout are common among helping professionals, including psychotherapists. Psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, who coined the word burnout, defines it as ‘‘the extinction of motivation or incentive, especially where one’s devotion to a cause or relationship fails to produce the desired results” (source).

Many of us come into the field with devotion to helping others and idealized expectations about our ability influence other’s lives. Once we enter the field we come face-to-face with the realization of our own impotence – that we can’t take away our client’s pain or help them quickly solve the complex situations they face. Have you felt an “extinction of motivation or incentive” in your clinical work? I sure have.

After having been in the mental health field for twenty years, most of those years in a private practice setting, I’ve learned a few things about the importance of self-care. Here are a few things I’ve learned from my own experience and from the experiences of private practice therapists I’ve worked with in my consulting practice.

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Top 10 Private Pratice Toolbox Post of 2013

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As the year draws to a close it’s always fun to check Google Analytics and see which blog posts caught your attention throughout the year. The following is a list of the posts with the most unique page views on this blog during the 2013 calendar year. Interestingly, some of the most visited articles are from past years, but are obviously topics that are of interest to therapists this year. I’ve featured many guest posts this year, and two of them make the top 10 list!

1) What I wish I’d known before starting a private practice

Seasoned therapists share what they wish they’d known prior to starting their private practice in an attempt to help private practice newbies avoid the same mistakes.

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Therapist Blog Challenge #12: Share Holiday Tips

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We all know the holiday season can be stressful and filled with everything from difficult family dealings to enhancing feelings of depression and loneliness. Take this opportunity to reach out and share helpful tips to get your clients and readers through the holiday season. Whether lighthearted or serious, how you approach the topic depends on how you can best serve your ideal client.

One of the most popular blog posts on my private practice site Wasatch Family Therapy was a blog inspired by the 2003 movie, Elf. A therapist used Buddy the Elf’s most popular sayings to write a blog incorporating positive psychology. This lighthearted approach using a beloved holiday character can be a sweet way to offer some great tips for getting through the holiday season. Remember to write something that speaks to you and your ideal client.

Here are a few possible topics:

  • Holiday stress
  • Difficult family situations
  • Co-parenting and the holidays
  • Preventing loneliness
  • Giving back/community service
  • Gift giving
  • Creating Holiday traditions
  • Don’t forget the Griswolds, The Grinch, Santa Claus, A Christmas Story or any other characters you love that always have something to teach!

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Creating Income Stability: Publishing Success Story

Income stability in private practice can be challenging. Publishing is one way to create an additional income stream.

In addition to traditional publishing there are many options for self-publishing an e-book, a workbook, produce a product, or create downloadable resources like videos, handouts, or audio resources. Publishing doesn’t have to be a daunting task.  You may already have content from workshops, papers, blog posts, and your clinical experience that you can re-purpose as part of a book or workbook.

While publishing may sound daunting getting started may be easier than you think. Here are some ideas to help you get stared developing publishable content.

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Therapist Blog Challenge #11: Promote Gratitude

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Let the benefits of gratitude inspire your next professional blog post.

It’s the time of year when Facebook posts, blogs, and tweets take on a tone of gratitude. This is an excellent opportunity for you to share with your readers things that you are grateful for or encourage them to express their gratitude.

  • Share your own gratitude list: This can be as easy as creating a simple list of things you are thankful for, or writing an article about the positive benefits of gratitude on mental health.
  • Write about gratitude and mental health research: Expressing gratitude is beneficial for a person’s well-being (Emmons, 2003). Enjoy the benefits this blog might offer for you and your clients. As a marriage and family therapist you might want to cite Gottman’s work on positive versus negative interactions with couples and how that can predict relationship longevity (Gottman, 1989).
  • Encourage readers to keep a gratitude journal: I came across this nifty Gratitude Journal app that you could share in your article. Writing down what you are grateful for has been associated with increased happiness and well-being.

Enjoy sharing the benefits gratitude during this time of Thanksgiving!

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Social Media Ethics: What Private Practice Therapists Need to Know

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Familiarize yourself with social media ethics and use technology intentionally to educate your community and to build your private practice.

The Internet and social media offer social workers and mental health therapists unprecedented opportunities to educate communities, to advocate for disadvantaged populations, to raise awareness about their private practice and professional services, and to establish themselves as experts in their specialty areas. Because people search online for health-related information, developing a strong online presence is increasingly important for social workers in private practice.

One aspect of developing an online presence is through social media. Although social media sites were often originally seen as “kid’s stuff,” that is no longer the case. For the first time in history, more than half of adults in the United States—65 percent—report using social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others. Even though these numbers are continuing to climb, many social workers seem reluctant to use and embrace social media as a valid professional activity. Fear regarding breaches of client confidentiality, potential dual relationships, and maintaining personal privacy are often cited as reasons for this reluctance.

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5 Key Questions to Help You Develop Multiple Income Streams

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By developing additional income private practitioners can create greater income stability and add variety to professional endeavors.

Developing multiple income streams, or revenue from sources other than direct client hours, is a great way to create greater income stability as a private practice therapist. I’m often asked, “Where do I start when developing additional income streams?” In response to that question I’ve put together five key questions to help inspire you and guide you in developing additional sources of income.

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