What You Need to Know Before Starting a Private Psychotherapy Practice
What an exciting endeavor, venturing out to start your first psychotherapy practice. While this is a time of great elation, there’s also so much to think about. Good planning and anticipation of what’s ahead can make the opening of your practice a time of heightened bliss.
Finding the Right Location
One of the first, most titillating steps can be looking for your new location. Will you locate yourself with other psychotherapists, or will you be in practice for yourself? Where your office is will affect how your clients find you. It will also affect your bottom-line costs. Your considerations will include what benefits the location offers you, such as Internet access, waiting room availability and access to support staff.
Setting up the Office Systems
Whether through school or previous jobs, you already have experience with note-taking and treatment-planning. Have you explored mental health practice software such as TheraNest for your private psychotherapy practice? Such applications can save you time, energy and money by streamlining everything from the intake to the billing into one smooth process that includes insurance coding and DSM-IV and V diagnostic codes. Such a system ensures you will meet any licensing regulations and are ready for audits if they come.
Advertising Your Practice
With the advent of social media, you must implement Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms to promote your business. If your town has a local newspaper, you will still want an ad that puts the news out regionally, and any picture used should echo photos that you use on your Facebook page and your web page. Carrying similar images throughout your advertising on cards, Facebook, web page, ads or brochures will help develop name recognition of your business. Depending on the focus of your practice, you will want to consider whether to use your name as your business name or to use a business name that focuses on the type of practice you are developing.
Planning an Official Opening
A simple, effective form of advertising can be scheduling an official opening of your business aimed at other professionals in the community. Send invitations to those in a position to refer to you: doctors, lawyers, other psychologists and psychiatrists, and government officials such as parole or probation workers, along with helping agencies. Plan a late-afternoon event when people are leaving the workplace and might be likely to stop by for appetizers or wine and cheese. Have helpful handouts and attractive brochures that give information about your business and information related to your field.
Meeting Your Clients’ Needs
Coping with insurance co-pays and deciding what insurance you will accept is something you will want to think about ahead of time. Psychotherapy practice management software, such as TheraNest, should be equipped to help you deal with the coding necessary to file claims electronically. You will want to contact insurance companies to guarantee that your license is accepted by certain insurance companies; then you can post on your website those insurance companies you can definitely accept. Insurance contact information will help in attracting clients to you. Offering a sliding scale or payment plan can also be helpful in meeting your clients’ needs.
Networking With Other Therapists
Networking with others in private practice and forming a peer supervision group are great personal tools if you are starting out in practice. It will replace the support found previously in agency supervision. One of the downsides of private practice can be feeling alone. You will find that other therapists are as eager as you are to connect. Avail yourself of support through this avenue and through training to keep your own mental attitude healthy and happy while growing your mental health practice.