Building a Private Practice: Real Life Stories Featuring Robyn D'Angelo, LMFT

As part of our ongoing series, today we are sharing Robyn D'Angelo's story of building a private practice. She shares so much wisdom in this interview. She was also super gracious because the first round the camera didn't record - so this was her second interview! If you would like to connect with Robyn you can find her at http://www.therapywithrobyn.com

Share below your take away from hearing Robyn's story!

Post Your Question for Irvin D. Yalom- Yes- Really!

Post your questions for Irvin D. Yalom in the comments section below

Post your questions for Irvin D. Yalom in the comments section below

We get to video interview Irvin D. Yalom for PsychCentral. Let me repeat that. Kelly Higdon and Miranda Palmer get to sit down and have a conversation with Dr. Irvin D. Yalom- the father of group psychotherapy- the still practicing 84 year old psychotherapist. 

Wow! So how did this happen? The really short story is we asked. The long story is that we have done a lot to build our business in the last few years that made it easy for Irvin D. Yalom to say yes! We will be sharing the Video Interview on PsychCentral in Spring of 2015, but we haven't interviewed him yet. And guess what that means? 

You can submit your questions! Share the burning question you would LOVE to ask Irvin D. Yalom in the comments below. You never know, we might choose one of your questions! Don't be shy- remember Yalom is a business owner, an entrepreneur, a teacher, a supervisor, he has built a speciality, launched a career as an author, and is known all over the world! These things don't just happen to most people. Most people plan for these things to happen. 

Oh- and did you know that Yalom has a new book coming out? You can pre-order your copy of Creatures of a Day here, and join me and Kelly for a book club here. I've gotten chance to read the pre-release copy and it is ah-mazing! 

Do you need help developing the business side of your private practice? Check out our next free webinar for therapists. 

Miranda Palmer

I have successfully built a cash pay psychotherapy practice from scratch on a shoestring budget. I have also failed a licensed exam by 1 point (only to have the licensing board send me a later months later saying I passed), started an online study group to ease my own isolation and have now reached thousands of therapists across the country, helped other therapists market their psychotherapy practices, and helped awesome business owners move from close to closing their doors, to being profitable in less than 6 weeks. I've failed at launching online programs. I've had wild success at launching online programs. I've made mistakes in private practice I've taught others how to avoid my mistakes. You can do this. You were called to this work. Now- go do it! Find some help or inspiration as you need it- but do the work!

Building a Private Practice: Real Life Stories Featuring Colleen King, LMFT

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”  - Mother Teresa
 

I am a lover of stories as I imagine are most therapists. It is in the telling that healing occurs and in the rewriting that our paths shift into new light.

We have been interviewing therapists* and asking them to tell their stories about becoming a therapist and the process of building a practice. It is our hope that from these stories you glean nuggets of inspiration and information to help you on your path. You will find parts of your story in theirs. We are a community connected in so many ways.

It takes courage to talk about our businesses. I want to thank each person that participated in this series. You are brave and I have learned from you. Your vulnerability challenges me to be better.

First up is Colleen King, LMFT (http://www.insightcounselingsacramento.com). Her private practice is a melding of her first career, her life experience and her passion. You can listen to the podcast or watch our skype chat. Enjoy!

Say hello to Colleen on twitter @ColleenLMFT and share what you learned from her story. 

5 Steps to Find Out How Many Clients Need You

I was making a presentation to the Seattle Division of the Washington Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and made a statement to the audience: "There are more than enough clients to fill every single practice of all of you- and all of the other private practice therapists in Seattle." 

Or I said something like that... But, this time a therapist pulled me aside and said "How do you know? How do you know that there are enough clients for all of our private practices?" I thought it would be fun today to share how I can make such bold claims about the deep need of our communities for therapy, mental health care, and coaching by qualified experts (like therapists). 

When I talk to therapists and do private practice analysis sessions- I love to look up actual data about where they live, and what people who live there are searching for. Here are a few tools I use to determine: Are there really enough clients for everyone? 

Google Keyword Tool

Did you know that Google tracks what people search for online? Did you know that they have statistics that anyone with a Google account can access. Today I went in and checked out what people in Seattle, WA are specifically searching for. Each of these are keywords people are typing in to Google monthly. 

  • Schizophrenia 2400 monthly searches
  • depression 1600 monthly searches
  • bipolar disorder 1300 monthly searches
  • anxiety 1300 monthly searches
  • depression test 720 monthly searches
  • postpartum depression 480 monthly searches
  • couples therapy 480 monthly searches
  • couples retreat 260 monthly searches
  • marriage counseling Seattle 170 monthly searches
  • Seattle christian counseling 140 monthly searches
  • Seattle freeze 880 monthly searches
  • life coach 170 monthly searches

Let's say just 10% of those 480 people searching for couple's therapy are ready to actually find a therapist. That would be 48 new couples needing treatment each month. Or 576 couples requesting support each year. How many couples could a couple's therapist realistically take on each year? 

Or, let's look at depression searches. 720 people searching specifically for a depression test each month. Or, 880 people typing in Seattle Freeze every month here. This isn't the whole picture of how much help people are needing in Seattle- but it gives you some ideas about how much support is needed. What happens if these individuals don't find great therapists or easy assistance to make things better? 

Population Information

Another statistic I look at is simply searching for the population in a given area. The population in Seattle in 2014 was more than 650,000 people. Almost 3/4 of a million people living in just a few square miles. 

What if we thought about what general research tells us about rates of depression, postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, etc. What would be your guesstimate on how many individuals or couples are wanting or needing support at any given time? Would 1% be a high number? How about 2%? What are statistics you know by heart about rates of sexual assault for men, for women, rates of substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and just general need for help during transitions? 

Local Trends

Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. From July 2012, to July 2013- almost 18000 residents were added. What do you know about making a major move? Or moving to a place where over 800 local area searching something called the Seattle Freeze? My husband gave me a statistic (which I am still searching to verify) that the majority of newcomers only last a year or two on average in Seattle. I searched Seattle Freeze and NO therapists came up.

Keep your eyes open, search for information about your city and local trends. Modesto, where I built my private practice has a well-known and publicized issue with meth. So much so, that we've got the fabulous nick-name of "methdesto." Nice, huh? Let me guess- you don't want to work with meth addicts? What about their families? Their siblings? Their ex-spouses?

Incidence and Occurrence Data

I mentioned it briefly above. If there is a specific issue you work with, check out the research. How many people in 1000 struggle with this issue? Are there any mental health states that are local to your area, check it out. Put those numbers in front of you. Write them down and use those statistics to calculate the need based on the population of your area. 

Availability

How many other therapists are providing this service? How many can you find online? Notice I said to check the availability, not the "competition." Many therapists are fearful that there isn't enough to go around. When in reality- there is a LOT of people needing support and direction! However, knowing how easy it is to find someone who can help in a particular area is good information to have. Many therapists are multi-passionate. 

Be the client- go out and search as if you are looking for help in a specific area. You can even use the specific search terms you identified previously! Do you come up? Do ANY therapists come up? Have you ever searched for something using every word you could think of it- and not found it? It is frustrating for sure! How many times have you given up? I have! 

Abundance

I feel like lately the word abundance is pretty over-used. Some therapists even associate it with a sense of lala land magical thinking. While I truly believe in abundance, part of the reason I believe deeply in abundance is because of the abundance of hurt and pain I see in the world daily. Look at your group of friends, people at church- look at the overwhelmed moms, couples splitting up... 

Of course my sense of abundance is bolstered by things like the 8 requests for services that were called in to my private practice in the first 8 days of 2015- despite my not actively marketing that private practice for almost a year. 

What about you? What steps have you taken to know that there are sufficient clients for you? Clients who would feel relieved to be able to easily stumble upon you and find out you exist? 

Miranda Palmer

I have successfully built a cash pay psychotherapy practice from scratch on a shoestring budget. I have also failed a licensed exam by 1 point (only to have the licensing board send me a later months later saying I passed), started an online study group to ease my own isolation and have now reached thousands of therapists across the country, helped other therapists market their psychotherapy practices, and helped awesome business owners move from close to closing their doors, to being profitable in less than 6 weeks. I've failed at launching online programs. I've had wild success at launching online programs. I've made mistakes in private practice I've taught others how to avoid my mistakes. You can do this. You were called to this work. Now- go do it! Find some help or inspiration as you need it- but do the work!