Making money in a mental health private practice requires business tools often not taught in school. Profitability in mental health is often viewed in a negative light. The truth is money is a necessity. It is both ok to make money and important for your emotional and professional well-being. Here are tips on how you make money in your private practice while helping people.
Call people back as soon as possible
You are not the first nor the last therapist the potential client is calling for therapy. The term the early bird get’s the worm is fitting. As a rule of thumb call back within the same day they called you. Within a couple of hours is best.
Ask for more than you think you should
Set a rate that is higher than you feel you should ask. Remember the hours of time spent studying, the amount of those student loans and the ongoing expenses for trainings, licensure and insurance. You deserve to be compensated well. You also set the market rate for therapy services in your area. Don’t drive the market rate down by selling yourself short.
Find a specialty
Distinguishing yourself from other practitioners through unique experience is important. Since you also need CEU’s for your license, simply decide on an area you would like to focus and target most of your CEU’s for the licensure term in this area. Areas of expertise can be with eating disorders, EMDR, children, employee assistance, PTSD, etc.. Make sure you find a subject specialty you’re passionate about.
Understand you are a public figure
You are a professional in the community. As such you become a walking advertisement for yourself. People will see you in the grocery store, at restaurants, local sports events etc. Be yourself, but also remember that when people see you they are asking themselves, “would I be comfortable talking to that person.”
It is imperative that you list yourself in online directories, 95% of all searches for professionals are online. More and more insurance and EAP companies are finding therapists on line to contract with. Signing up with therapist registry sites like EAPprovider.com will make your services visible not only to people, but also to local companies and larger EAP firms.
Connect with local family doctors, psychiatric hospitals and schools. Let them know your areas of expertise and drop off cards. They need trusted people to refer to in the community and would welcome more mental health resources.
Become a Supervisor
There is a huge need for therapists to supervise in their discipline. Most states require 200 hours of one on one supervision for a new therapist to get their license. This means lower no show rates, a set amount of sessions and a break from the ordinary therapy session in your day. For more information on supervision go to: How to become a social Work Supervisor.
Schedule your billing
Keeping a set schedule to bill (write the time in your book) creates a process in which you can insure that you get paid for the work you do. Also note that some of the major insurance and EAP companies refer based in part on how you handle paperwork and billing. Stay timely with your billing and notes and you should get more referrals.