Sometimes it is hard to know what is working and what is most important when starting a private practice, or when trying to figure out how to get clients calling when you are in private practice. We asked some of the alumni of our Business School Bootcamp for Therapists what some of their pieces of advice are about building a private practice today.
"Follow your passion and don't be afraid to refer people out! Build a solid referral pool so that you have good therapists to tell people about when they call you needing something that is not in your niche, or when they ask for a lower fee than you've set. And a good referral pool will also bring you more of your ideal clients. Do the work you love with the clients you can serve best." - Renee Beck, LMFT21060, Dreamwork & Transpersonal Therapy for Alternative Healers, Online in CA and Oakland office.
"I started my practice in 2016. My advice is to be selective about who you take advice from. Many people I've talked to (including my office mates) can't believe I'm not taking insurance. I've encountered many times the assumption that I will take insurance and will want advice on getting on insurance panels. And yet, my practice is doing great and I'm very happy! Along the same lines, talk about your ideas, insecurities, and challenges with your carefully selected supportive group. I find I get paralyzed when I'm scared about something. Just putting it out there to the BSB group or talking something through with another business oriented private practice therapist has been very helpful to get me to break through the blocks." - Rebecca Williams
Specialty: Helping couples find stability and happiness again after a major life change
Location: Riverside, CA
"Find someone that's achieved what you're hoping to mentor you through the initial stages of growth. Get a solid marketing plan in place, Then bite the bullet and just start. Analysis paralysis and perfectionism will undermine your success. There's no way to predict all the possible eventualities. Your business will evolve as you do, and where you end up isn't likely where you thought. So just start."
Erika Martinez, Psy.D. Miami, FL "I help bright, but disillusioned, high achievers get unstuck in love, work, and life."
"Ask for help, and get support! Being in Facebook groups like the one that comes along with BSB is priceless, but don't just stay in the groups, develop deeper relationships with those that you vibe with and use them as accountability partners. Having support and people to bounce ideas off of has been internal in my journey." -
Alicia Taverner, LMFT from Rancho Cucamonga, CA. I specialize in helping women and couples struggling with infidelity.
"Don't be afraid to be different! Stand out. Proudly + Loudly. Pick a niche with purpose + on purpose. Try things that other therapists aren't. Think (and act) outside of the box. Just because everyone else is "doing it," doesn't mean you must simply follow suit; create your own way of doing it or do something completely different. Get creative. The more comfortable you are with being YOU, the more your ideal clients will be absolutely drawn to you. Authenticity is magnetic. So go out there and STAND OUT." -
Robyn D'Angelo, LMFT - Rogue Psychotherapist Turned Relationship Coach. Living in Orange County, CA - practicing globally. I help people create epic relationships that last, by learning to LOVE + BE LOVED, better. <""
"My advice is to tell everyone who asks (and some who don't) what you do and what your specialties are. It starts conversations and invites connections, if not referrals. I find that the more out I am as an LGBTQIQA - affirming psychologist who works with people who identify as queer and/or transgender and those who love them, two things happen: 1) I get referrals and 2) positive social change happens. The more I let people know that I, an LGBTQIQA - affirming psychologist, am enthusiastically supporting LGBTQIQA - identified people, the more I am sharing that it is just fine to be queer and transgender and that there is affirming support available for those who want it." - Dr. Abi Weissman (PSY 27497) Specialty: LGBTQIQA - affirming clinical psychology Location: Poway, CA and Hillcrest, San Diego, CA
"There are going to be times when you feel overwhelmed because of all the hats you wear. Time is your most precious commodity, so make sure the time of things work for you and you work for it, meaning use your time wisely, don't be afraid to say no to some things or people, and scheduling is your best friend." -Brittainy Wagner, LPC
Practicing in Sherman, TX
I am a couples therapist that specializes in helping couples reconnect and regain the spark and intimacy they believe they have lost.
"Be committed to working on your personal growth if you want to see practice growth! Your yucky stuff WILL show up in various aspects of your practice, so best to be attentive to this from the outset. Specifically, be aware of your mindsets around money, growth and success and heal them so you can take your practice from surviving to thriving!"
Sarah A Gilbert, LCSW
Transitions Therapy, LLC
Specializing in helping people to navigate life transitions
"Have a plan and FOLLOW IT! Don't just wing it. I created so many headaches and mistakes for myself by trying to tackle the fun, shiny, new ideas I had without getting the foundation down. The interesting part is once I started to hone down and concentrate on 3-5 items week, I ended up being *way* more successful and productive than I had the past two years in practice!" -Mallory Grimste, LCSW anxious teen girls; location: Woodbridge, CT;
"Take in what all the private practice coaches suggest and then modify or create your own way of doing things. Minimize comparing your progress or methods with others, except to get ideas, because we are each unique and have to build our private practice the way that works and fits our individual style. Be courageous and experiment with ideas and then change it up, if it doesn't fit or work out!" -Ginger Bahardar LMFT
I practice in Bonsall California, which is halfway between Vista, Fallbrook and Oceanside. My speciality niche is people who are having a difficult time coping with life-transitions.
"Don't be afraid to explore new approaches! This might mean investing in being trained or certified in a new technique, being open to new innovations and technology, or broadening your definition of what being a therapist allows for! Not only does this help your practice grow by bringing in new tools, approaches, niches, connections and clients, but it helps you grow as a therapist and a person as you get to experience curiosity and a beginner's mind about a new undertaking." -Sarah Gray Specialty and location: Biofeedback, and Boston, MA
"Noting that OF COURSE we are all in this to help and join our clients on their journey towards healing and wholeness, I am choosing to offer up a piece of advice that is purely about money. It's not why we got into counseling, but it is exceptionally important in private practice that we find solutions that cover our expenses, put food on our tables and remind ourselves and others of the value of our time and expertise. We started having clients put a "card on file" and authorize us to run recurrent payments for their sessions when we started group sessions. It was simply too cumbersome to line people up to "check out" from a group by running their cards one-by-one. I developed a simple authorization form that I later started putting in every intake packet. Little did I know that it would transform my practice by transforming our cash flow. It was one of those seemingly little solutions to a problem that turned out to have a huge impact!" - Ginny Mills, MAEd, LPC-S, LCAS, LPC-S, CSI. Location: Winston-Salem, NC.
"Build your private practice around your life, not the other way around.
It's 100% ok for you to be a wounded human. Prioritize tending to your own hurting parts and relationships. It'll transform your practice (as well as your life and relationships)."
Rebecca Wong, LCSW-R, New Paltz NY
Relationship Therapist & Consultant
"It's ok to take time for yourself and enjoy vacations. Your business will survive and you will be well rested to come back and be your best!" Kari Ann Greaves, MS, LADC
I specialize in working with clients who struggle with issues related to addiction and substance use disorders. Wethersfield, CT.
"Reach out to other therapists in private practice- Don't be afraid to ask for help! Also do not be afraid to say no- to clients who are not a good fit, to plans you don't have time for- your time is your most valuable resource! OH yeah and don't forget self care! Schedule it in if you have to!!" - Meghan Renzi, LCSW- Location: Betheseda, MD
"If you feel strongly for a niche or a therapy and have a long-term goal, being shy and hesitant will keep you from working to make that real difference in the world. You can be that change in the world and you can make a huge difference. Regardless of support when you start, when you begin doing what you feel matters most, you will find the right support, and the right supporters will find you also. Everyone starts out feeling unsure and uncertain of whether they are doing things correctly (heck I am still there many days!), but you will learn along the journey. Be okay with the fear of the unknown. Sometimes you will be the only person stepping outside of the box, but if that is where your heart is most happy- Go there! This is what we teach our clients, after all. We too must remain cognitive dissonance to best serve our clientele. You can tell yourself that you have so many barriers to starting, and whether it be that you are unsure where to start, are still under supervision (but allowed to practice independently), you have too much debt, you just have to go for it, dive off into the unknown, and if that phone doesn't ring for a month, keep on marketing, refining your paperwork and digging for people who are willing to help. Shake off the negative people and keep your eyes on your dream, and know they are just scared for you, but fear is only natural.... feel it, release it, and let it go! A private practice is about defining and refining your vision and the possibilities are endless, so the great thing is, is that you are capable to mend and meld your practice to fit you and your vision, and just having that feeling even the weeks when you launch and you are awaiting your phone to have its first ring is so empowering. Being able to yourself and to represent something you believe in is amazing and incredibly worth getting through those initial months and creating all those initial paperworks." -Kimberly Carroll MA, LPC, LADC Location: Bemidji, MN
"Give it time! When you start out in private practice you want it to happen...right now! When building my practice I spent a lot of time worrying, stressing and wondering when it would happen, if it would happen. But, it takes time. If you do the work, they'll find you!" - Elizabeth Cush, LGPC, Annapolis, Md.
"Find people who support you and believe in you (including yourself), and actively cherish them. Spend time with them and let them know what you're trying to do. Don't give energy to the naysayers (including yourself)." Peg Shippert Trauma specialist in Boulder, CO.
"Believe in yourself. If you don't; no one else will. And along with that do not give up. Whether it is networking, marketing or just trying to implement something into your practice turn no into a yes..or at least a maybe." Julie Kull Anxiety specialist in Madison, WI
Isn't this an amazing group of private practice therapists? Surround yourself with people who inspire you today!