Perhaps you have considered doing something about practice development, but have not known how to begin. I was in a similar position for many years, not knowing how to go about it and having no mentors to guide me. However, when I left my position at McLean Hospital for full time private practice, I knew that action around practice development would be necessary if I wanted my clinical practice to thrive.
Though I have had an extremely interesting and satisfying professional life*, one of the things that I have found the most personally satisfying has been creatively stretching into this new realm in which I had no experience and feared little aptitude.
Despite my initial trepidation, I learned about web design, SEO, and how to develop a professional presence to successfully connect to clients and other therapists. Equally important, I learned how to manage a professional practice in a way that has been consistently rewarding with, as they say, “lots of gain and little pain.” I’ve had the satisfaction of helping other therapists to do the same by:
- Identifying areas of change that will make private practice more satisfying
- Examining roadblocks that impede implementation of practice development strategies
- Formulating solutions to override the impediments
- Creating a plan to support commitment to specific change
Therapists in private practice, even those who are doing quite well, often feel the prick of thorny, unappealing aspects of their professional lives. Frequently, though change would feel desirable, the hurdles around accomplishing change seem insurmountable.
I work with therapists at all levels who, like most of us at varying points in our careers, have wanted some aspect of our professional lives to be different. Some of those I consult with have ideas about how to change things, but lack the steam for implementation. A practice development coach is needed to uncover the hurdles (both psychological and practical) that have impeded making headway, along with development of a specific action plan that supports a commitment to change.
Others need help articulating what needs to be changed, and the practical steps that are a good fit for their particular private practice and their way of working with clients. For these therapists I offer an interactive process of creative problem solving, along with specific tips from experience building my own highly successful practice and mentoring others in launching theirs.
As I coach people on practice development, we make concrete, specific plans to address a variety of issues, including the following:
- Too few individual patients or groups
- Too many clients or groups (especially difficult ones)
- Income too low, but fear of raising fees
- Dissatisfaction with the ratio of insurance to self-pay clients
- Working too many hours in order to earn enough
- Work-life demands interfering with family life and fun
- Too little stimulation and opportunity for peer contact and generativity
- Too much time spent outside of the clinical hour doing insurance authorizations, calls to therapists, insurance forms, and reports
- Difficulty negotiating thorny payment issues: billing for no-shows and phone time; modifying old fee reductions; keeping long-time patients who switch to Medicare when you have opted out
- Being stuck in a niche that you are known for, but is no longer appealing
- Pressure to promote your practice/yourself, but discomfort about doing so
- Reluctance to improving your web presence
If you’d like to consider addressing these or other practice development issues, I’d be happy to help you jump start the process with an initial, one-shot consultation.
* I set up and ran for many years a large outpatient program, have taught graduate courses in doctoral psychology programs, provided training events for mental health professionals around the country, lectured nationally and internationally, and written books and many articles for professional and lay audiences.
© 2022 Marsha Vannicelli