A common private practice question is whether a therapist should join a group practice or venture out on their own as a solo practitioner. The answer is different for everyone depending on your strengths, goals, personality, financial needs, and many other factors.
There are also other options in between solo and group practice, like sharing an office space with other practitioners while maintaining your own practice. “There are numerous ways of forming a group practice including cost/office sharing, partnership, and employment as associates under a licensed provider,” according to Kansas Psychologist Wes Crenshaw PhD, ABPP of Family Psychological Services, LLC.
To help make your decision easier, here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of joining a private practice group.
Benefits Of Joining A Group Practice
1) Established business systems
If you’re considering joining an established practice, a huge benefit is that they already have office systems in place to support the practice. Michigan therapist Jacquelyn J. Tobey, MA, LLP of Sollars and Associates says, “I have benefited from joining a group because many of the business practices such as marketing and billing are already established.”
2) Shared expenses and responsibilities
Sharing the costs of operating a business can be appealing. Therapists often underestimate the financial requirements when starting a private practice. Sharing operating costs, office space, equipment, marketing, and administrative expenses are just some of the benefits that North Carolina counselor Erika Myers, LPC enjoys about group practice.
Tobey has learned what it takes to run a business by first joining a group practice. She likens a group practice to renting a furnished room in a house that is already built, whereas private solo practice is more like designing and building the house on your own. I think that is an excellent analogy.
3) Consultation and camaraderie
Meyers enjoys having colleagues to consult with on difficult cases as well as the camaraderie inherent in interacting regularly with colleagues. “The work we do can be isolating, so having fellow professionals around can help you have more social contacts beyond the professional consultation,” Meyers says.
Melissa J Templeton, MA, LPC, LMFT compares working in a group setting to a good relationship. “Like a good marriage, it is the ‘fit’ of the various personalities that determines whether the cohabitation is going to work and work well,” shares Templeton.
4) Referral sources
Illinois counselor Melanie Dillon, LCPC, at Center For Wellness, Inc values the internal referrals generated within her multidisciplinary practice.
My business partners are both chiropractors. One provides acupuncture/Chinese medicine and the other chiropractic care/sports medicine. We have also employed a massage therapist. This way we have created a system that supports internal referrals. The other benefit is that all expenses are now shared, and that my income is no longer dependent on how many clients I see, but on the group as a whole.
Now that you have a feel for the benefits of joining a private practice group, check back later this week for part 2 – the drawbacks of group practice.
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Hanks, J. (2012). Pros And Cons Of Group Practice (part 1). Psych Central. Retrieved on July 30, 2014, from http://pro.psychcentral.com/private-practice/2012/06/pros-and-cons-of-group-practice-part-1/
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Jun 2012