Find Out How Mental Health Professionals Can Start Their Private Counseling Practice
Many clinicians dream of opening their practice. It allows them to help people on their terms.
Owning a private practice also allows mental health professionals to structure their business around their lifestyle, providing essential freedom they may not currently have access to working for a therapy app or agency.
However, building a private therapy practice from the ground up can be challenging. You may already have your degree and obtained licensure in your state, but running and marketing a business is a new set of hurdles.
So what do you need to know before diving head into establishing your private therapy practice?
Let’s look at seven things you need to do to establish your private practice and launch your new business successfully.
Seven Things You Need To Know Before Starting A Private Practice
Private counseling practice is another way for clinicians to provide essential mental health services to promote the psychological wellness of their clients.
Private practice therapists have their own offices and set their schedules. You can choose if you want to work full-time or scale your schedule back to part-time for specific periods of the year. Typically, a private practice has no partners and retains a minimal support staff, if any.
Starting a private practice allows you to be your boss and call the shots, making it an appealing option for any licensed practitioner.
Let’s look at what you need to do to get your private practice off the ground.
1. Network With Other Therapists By Offering Online CME courses
Even though you are starting a private practice, networking with other providers will help you earn valuable referrals. If they meet a client who requires an expert in a specific niche, these therapists can refer them to your practice.
A private practice therapist can network with other mental health professionals in many ways. You can attend industry conferences or join professional organizations.
However, another great way to build connections is to host online events, like continuing education webinars. These live virtual events allow you to connect with other professionals and share essential knowledge about your niche that can help other therapists with their clients.
And since many mental health professionals must complete a specific amount of CME each licensing period, you’ll be helping them with credentialing requirements while making connections that may bring in your ideal clients.
So it’s essential for you to interact with a licensed clinical social worker or a licensed marriage and family therapist so you can build critical connections that may benefit your new clients.
2. Build A Marketing Plan To Establish Your Online Presence
When you think about marketing your private practice, you may envision designing business cards and networking with other healthcare professionals.
However, many patients search for potential mental healthcare providers online. Whether launching a telehealth counseling practice or opening the doors to your new office space, you must build an online presence.
Establish yourself on social media and make it easy for your ideal clients to get to know you and book your services.
Create engaging content, like blog posts, videos, and infographics, to post on your therapy website and social media channels. This will increase your credibility and show you have what it takes to help potential clients.
You can also host a webinar or start a podcast to discuss topics relevant to your practice area. This is an excellent way for a start-up therapy practice to show off knowledge and create valuable content to help build a virtual presence.
3. Research The Legal REQUIREMENTS of Owning A Private Practice
Each state has its regulations and requirements for opening a medical practice. Additionally, the municipality you live in may have additional rules to follow.
Plan to meet with a business lawyer to ensure you have everything you need to open your practice. Here are some questions you should consider.
Do I need a business license to practice psychotherapy?
Are there state or local zoning laws that determine where I can practice?
How much malpractice insurance should I secure?
How do I incorporate my business as a separate entity?
You must understand the legality of owning a private practice to avoid any bumps in the road.
4. Decide On Your Policies
As the practice owner, you need to decide what your policies will be to ensure everything runs smoothly and that you can provide top-quality care for all clients.
Clear policies will set expectations and help expedite practice management. Here are some things to consider as you develop your policies:
Payment types you will accept
Appointment cancellation policy
Procedures for if a patient is a danger to themselves or others
Steps to protect client privacy and ensure your practice is HIPAA compliant
Referrals to other treatment providers
Create worded forms to communicate your policies. However, don’t expect clients to read everything. During your initial session, discuss your policies, so they are apparent to your patient. This will help set expectations and prevent issues.
5. Decide If You Want To Hire Help
While you technically can run your private practice independently, an administrative assistant can save you time and, potentially, money.
Administrative assistants can schedule patient visits, collect payments, answer phones, and perform other vital duties. This means you can focus your time on your caseload while they handle day-to-day tasks.
While you will need to pay their salary from your profits, you will increase your earning potential by freeing up time to see clients when you’d otherwise be performing administrative tasks. They will also help you streamline and uphold your policies, making it easier for your practice to run smoothly.
6. Join Insurance Provider Panels
An insurance provider panel is a group of healthcare providers working with an insurance company to offer patient care for those with that health insurance. You can apply on the insurer's website.
Joining an insurance panel will help you find more new clients because your private practice will be listed within that company’s network. It also allows you to receive payments directly from the insurance company as the insurance claims are filed.
Not only will you be able to expand your network, but it will also make your top-notch care more affordable and accessible to the people who need you most.
7. Make A Difference
There’s a reason you became a therapist: to make a positive impact on your patients and help them cope with whatever they are dealing with.
Your patients’ wellness is at the top of your priority list, so ensure that every business choice you make is developed to help your clients.
Focus on being the supportive person who will listen to their troubles and offer strategies for healing. The more comfortable new clients feel with you, the more likely they will refer you to a family member or friend.
Become A Business Owner With Your Private Practice
Starting a private practice is an exciting step for all clinicians. You can help your clients become independent business owners who can set their own rules and make their mark on the world.
If you’re looking to craft CME courses that will help you establish your private practice, BeaconLive can help. Our platform makes it easy for healthcare professionals like you to create and launch courses that demonstrate your knowledge and help your peers earn valuable CME credits.
Contact us today for more information on how BeaconLive can help elevate your private practice.