At the end of the day, if you aren’t doing great clinical work, it is going to be difficult to have a successful, sustainable business. Ultimately, everything you do from your business vision, business planning, business processes, development of your niche, your marketing message, and your marketing activities should be focused on doing excellent clinical work.
How Your Business Decisions Impact Your Outcomes
What a lot of therapists know intuitively but aren’t honest with themselves about is that they are not good at working with everyone. We all have unique skills and abilities that allow us to get better outcomes with certain types of clients. If you are simply focused on getting anyone who can pay you into your office, you are missing the entire point.
Only Work With Clients You KNOW You Can Help
Yes, we all have moments of clinical doubt that we need to work through via training, consultation, or our own inner work. But, ultimately you need to get to know more clearly who you do great work with. Practicing phone assessments and trusting your intuition about who is a great fit, and who you should refer out is an incredibly powerful, and ETHICAL skill to develop.
But, What if the Clients I Want Aren’t Calling Me?
If the clients you work best with aren’t calling you, it is a marketing issue, it seldom means that they don’t exist or don’t want to find you. When you do it right, marketing can not just attract great clients, but it can improve your outcomes with clients. And guess what happy clients do? They refer other people!
But, What If the clients I want are coming in, But I am Not Getting Results?
Consistently I see this with therapists and when we explore it comes down to clinical confidence. Many therapists know what works best in terms of treatment, but they feel guilty being honest about that and holding to the highest standard of care. Who do you get better results with? Someone that comes in for 8 weekly sessions in a row? Or, someone who comes in for 8 sessions over a 4-5 month period? Be honest with clients about what it takes for them to get great outcomes. Hold the frame and stop offering subpar services because you feel guilty about your clients investing in their health. You have invested a LOT in your own healing, training, and education. It is good for your clients to do the same!
But, how do I KNOW that I am getting great outcomes?
It is time to integrate an outcomes process in your clinical work. There are a ton of great and easy ways to do this that can work within your framework. But, ultimately- you need to actually ask the questions! If you haven’t read Scott D. Miller’s article “SuperShrinks: The Path to Clinical Excellence” I HIGHLY recommend it (link to the full article below).
But, what if people are unhappy with the progress they’ve made?
You will likely find, as the research suggests and clinicians report- that simply integrating asking for outcomes and feedback improves your outcomes! Asking about outcomes is a great way to deepen the relationship, make adjustments before the relationship is too broken, and give the client the chance to express themselves with more vulnerability within a trusting, safe relationship!
Resources for Improving Clinical Outcomes in Private Practice:
Recommended reading: SuperShrinks: The Path to Clinical Excellence