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4 Myths of Starting a Private Practice

The Private Practice Startup kicked off it’s launch with not 1, but 3 podcast shows! The first was an interview with Sean Davis, PhD, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist from Roseville, California. On Episode 01, Dr. Davis identified the 4 Myths About Starting a Private Practice. The interview was primarily aimed to assist start-up private practitioners such as Psychologists, Marriage and Family Therapists, Mental Health Counselors, Clinical Social Workers, and Psychiatrists by addressing relevant myths about starting a private practice.

Developing the correct mindset for operating one’s own practice is crucial to its success. Dr. Davis believes there are four thinking patterns clinicians should focus on beforehand, literally becoming your own therapist.

  1. Myth #1: Private practice is too competitive. In his perspective, the market for excellent therapists will never be saturated as he believes “there’s always room at the top”. Dr. Davis highlighted how therapists in private practice often refer new potential clients due to having a full private practice. Instead of being discouraged by the many therapists already running practices, mental health professionals can rest assured that therapists are mostly working with versus against each other. In his perspective, the private practitioner’s focus needs to be on developing competency with excellent clinical and business skills, networking with other clinicians, and establishing solid referral relationships.

  2. Myth #2: The market is already saturated. Although it would be amazingly useful, therapists can’t clone themselves. Therefore, therapists will always be limited by only being able to see a certain number of clients. Therapists with busy practices refer the spill over to other therapists who would be a good fit for the client’s needs. Therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists often network with each other. In this key element lies the key to a successful private practice in the field of psychology or therapy. Instead of looking at it as competition, change your perspective to focus on collaboration. At The Private Practice Startup, we believe in abundance and encourage other private practitioners to operate from that position as there are plenty of clients to go around.

  3. Myth #3: I can’t afford to go into private practice as it’s too risky. According to Dr. Davis this is simply not the case as you can spread your risk across multiple streams of income in private practice as opposed to working for someone else where your risk is solely dependent on that one income source. There are many resources for starting slowly in private practice such as renting space by the hour so you don’t have to pay for the space when not seeing clients, which allows you to grow at your own pace. When starting out, make sure to minimize your overhead expenses. Private practitioners must be willing to take calculated risks since without that, there can be no possibility for reward.

  4. Myth #4: I’m going to get rich in private practice. Davis stated, “The truth is, you will only be successful financially in private practice if you get over your issues that you might have around money.” Therapists looking to start a private practice should always do sound market research for their specific location and specialization to ensure they don’t under or over-value themselves. Some key advice given by Dr. Davis notes that one can reason the price of good mental health or a saved marriage could be worth to clients, effectively drawing a conclusion on what therapists can charge for their services.

Although this article may seem to paint a rosy picture of running a private practice, one should remember that your primary tool for success in the field is networking. Although many clinicians starting a new practice often overlook this key element, it can be the difference between a stagnant and growing practice. It’s essential to find a mentor who has been successful in private practice to learn from, grow with, and potentially refer clients your way.



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