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Adventures in Private Practice: Weight Management Counselor Michelle Lewis, LCSW

By Julie Hanks, LCSW

Screen shot 2015-01-26 at 9.14.14 PMThis series highlights the successful private practitioners’ journey in private practice so you can learn from their successes and missteps. One of the unexpected benefits of writing this blog is that I’ve been able to meet and connect with practitioners around the globe. The therapist featured today actually is not on the other side of the world, but is in the same city, and practices only a few blocks away from my practice.

Michelle Lewis, LCSW and I worked together for one consultation and since then, I’ve been able to watch her really dig in, focus on her niche, and develop a successful practice. She is not only a great practice owner, but is a compassionate person and passionate about her work. Get to know Michelle.

Tell me about your practice…   

I own a group practice called Salt Lake Weight Counseling. We specialize in helping clients identify and overcome emotional barriers to weight management. We specifically target emotional eating, food addiction, body image, and patterns of self-sabotage. Working with these issues, we also treat a significant amount of trauma. By addressing the trauma, we are able to help  clients heal their relationship with food and end the war with their body.

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4 Steps to Breaking Up with Managed Care

By Julie Hanks, LCSW

go your own way!

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

We’ve talked a lot recently about the benefits of switching from using a managed care system to a private pay model. It benefits your clients, it benefits you, and overall it just benefits your practice (click here for a post detailing the math and financial advantage of a self-pay model)! But how exactly do you do it? It’s quite a change, so it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are 4 strategies to help you make the transition:

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The Power of Online Presence: Blogger Dawn Friedman uses her Advanced SEO Skills to Rank High in Google

By Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Discover how some very successful mental health professionals use blogging, social media, and other technologies as powerful tools for their therapy practices.

Dawn Friedman, MSEd LPC, is a clinical counselor specializing in issues surrounding family building, including infertility, adoption, pregnancy, and parenting. An early adopter of technology, Dawn started a blog that became the basis of her strong online presence and has helped her grow a thriving practice. Read about her story here:

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4 Ways a Private Pay Practice Model Benefits Clients

By Julie Hanks, LCSW

Private pay practice benefits clientsThe value of using a private pay model (instead of a managed care system) for your therapy practice is clear: less stress about additional paperwork requirements, greater autonomy to provide the services you deem are in the client’s best interest, and immediate payment of your full fee are some of the main advantages. But some therapists are understandably hesitant about how to make the switch because of the potential impact this choice it might have on their clients.

Some common fears are “Clients might stop getting the therapy they need because they can’t afford me” or “charging a higher fee is selfish and means I care more about money than helping people.” When I was considering making the switch, I too had thoughts like these cross my mind. But I discovered that the opposite was true; breaking up with managed care and embracing the new way of structuring my practice actually benefited clients who received services. Here are 4 ways that a private pay model benefits clients:

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Therapist Blog Challenge #17: Managing Social Anxiety

By Julie Hanks, LCSW

challenge_17

Here’s another Therapist Blog Challenge to get your creative juices flowing!

Therapist Blog Challenge #17 deals with how to cope with Social Anxiety Disorder. Those who experience this condition often feel crippling insecurity and fear in social situations. Here’s some inspiration to write a post where you explain what SAD is and also offer ways to effectively manage it.

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Top 10 Best Books for Building Your Practice

By Julie Hanks, LCSW

10 TOP Best books for Building Your Private PracticeI asked members of my Private Practice Toolbox Facebook Group what books have helped them succeed in Private Practice and added them to the list of my favorites. Some of the following are specific to the mental health profession, while others offer insight that applies to the business world in general, but all of them can teach you valuable tips and strategies to use for your practice.

1) “Building Your Ideal Private Practice” by Lynn Grodzki

This groundbreaking book is first on the list for a reason. Dr. Grodzski leads the way in offering time-tested strategies to grow and improve your therapy practice (read here).

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4 Common Business Blunders of Newbie Private Practitioners

By Julie Hanks, LCSW

oops! mistake“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

When starting out in private practice, there’s a lot to know. A lot. The learning curve can be painfully steep, particularly in ways for which we received no official training (finances, hiring practices, etc.). And no matter how knowledgeable or skilled a clinician is, he/she will inevitably take a few wrong steps. And that’s okay!

We recently opened up a discussion on our Facebook page to get feedback about common business mistakes that therapists made when they were getting started in private practice. The responses were overwhelming; it seems many of you were eager to reflect on and share lessons that you learned the hard way! Though there were many answers given, a select few kept coming up that are worth addressing. Here are 4 common business mistakes to avoid when starting private practice:

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The Power of Online Presence: Facebook Brings Australian Parenting Expert Elly Taylor International Opportunities

By Julie Hanks, LCSW

Screen shot 2014-12-09 at 12.20.24 PM

 

Discover how some very successful mental health professionals use blogging, social media, and other technologies as powerful tools for their therapy practices.

Elly Taylor, AARC, is an Australian Relationship Counsellor, Parenthood Researcher and advocate for emotional health. She teaches parents and professionals about the eight stages of early parenthood following pregnancy so families can bed down solid foundations for psychological, emotional and relational growth. You can learn more about Elly’s work at www.ellytaylor.com.

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Tough Love: How to Be Firm About Finances

By Julie Hanks, LCSW

firm about finances

When you decided to go into the field of professional psychotherapy, it’s likely that your reasons had little to do with money. Even as you first started, you probably didn’t have dollars on the brain all the time (payments, insurance, fees, collections, etc.). Billing specialists deal with that stuff, not us, right? But those of us in private practice quickly discover how important it is to acknowledge and successfully navigate the financial aspect of our businesses. And resigning from managed care panels and switching to a fee-for-service model means that the responsibility to collect fees relies on the individual therapy practice; now, it’s our job.

I certainly understand that it can be awkward. People get weird about money. I used to be uncomfortable asking clients for payment after they’d born their souls to me. But thankfully, there’s a way to conquer money anxiety, serve your clients, and still meet the needs of your practice and of yourself. Here are some strategies I’ve discovered about how to be firm about finances and present your stated fees to clients with confidence:

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Therapist Blog Challenge #16: Surviving the Holidays

By Julie Hanks, LCSW

challenge_16

Therapist blog challenge #16 focuses on how to help readers make it through the crazy emotional stress of the holiday season.

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