Private Practice Kickstart
with Miranda Palmer, LMFT
& Kelly Higdon, LMFT

Business Mindset for Therapists

Guest Post: Tips for Writing Notes Part 3 – Putting It All Together with a Template

Guest Post by Dr. Maelisa Hall. This is part 3 of a 3 part series on clinical documentation.
Now that we’ve covered the mindset needed for good clinical notes, let’s get to the technical part- templates. I recommend every therapist pick a template they like and stick to it (or try a new template if you hate the one you’re currently using). This saves you time because you get familiar with documenting in one format and you quickly get in a “groove” when writing. Here are four easy and popular templates that can work for any practice:
Data- Subjective and objective information from your session. This can include things such as client quotes, therapist directives, family

Business Advice for Therapists

The 1 Question to Ask When Marketing Your Private Practice

You can read countless blogs on how to market your private practice. With all the information it seems easier to follow an xyz formula in our marketing. Marketers make a living selling their formulas for launching businesses and marketing them. Wouldn't it be nice if it were simply - Make a brochure, take the brochures to your local doctors' offices, and voila - you have marketed your practice? While standard formulas can work, there is an element missing that keeps them from being maximized.

Truth is, if there was 1 guaranteed way of marketing your practice, we would all be doing it and I would be out of a job.

So here you are, with a ton of advice on how to market your practice, how do you choose what to do?

When you decide to market your practice - no matter if it is online or offline, there is one question to ask yourself and this question will be your litmus test for implementing what is important and chucking all the other suggestions that seem like a good idea, but they aren't a good idea for you.

Ask yourself...

Business Mindset for Therapists

Free Training: How to Set Fees in Private Practice

Therapists in Private Practice

The truth is many therapists in private practice aren't making a lot of money. Some common explanations for this fact that I hear repeatedly are:

Our culture doesn't value therapy
I can't get on "fill in the blank" insurance company's panel
Insurance companies have reduced reimbursements
There aren't enough clients in my area
Nobody will pay "fill in the blank" for therapy

Business Advice for Therapists

Guest Post: Tips for Writing Notes Part 2 – The One Phrase Every Therapist Needs to Ask Before Writing

Guest Post by Dr. Maelisa Hall. This is part 2 of a 3 part series on clinical documentation.
There is one phrase every therapist needs to ask before, during, and after writing clinical case notes: “Could another therapist read this and know my actions were appropriate?” You’re a professional and you’re held to specific standards. If any case were investigated for some reason, the general rule by which you’ll be scrutinized is whether or not your professional peers would have acted in a similar way given the same circumstances. This is referred to as the “standard of care.”
The first thing therapists usually think about when writing anything is confidentiality.

Business Advice for Therapists

Guest Post: Tips for Writing Notes Part 1 – The 3 Most Important People to Consider

Guest Post by Dr. Maelisa Hall. This is part 1 of a 3 part series on clinical documentation.
There are a lot of things to consider when writing clinical notes but I find that most therapists tend to look at the process from a restricted angle. They think only in the moment about how to write the least possible amount and consider client confidentiality more than anything else. I would encourage you to look at notes from another perspective; look at them as if you were someone else reading them five years from today. Specifically, look at your notes from the perspective of these three people:
The Client - Most therapists don’t consider the fact that their clients may one day ask for their records. There is one key qualifier in that sentence- their records. The records you keep are your client’s property that you safely store. They do not belong solely to you as the therapist and clients can access their records at any time, within reasonable state and federal timeframes. What kind of language do you use when discussing your clients? Is it language you would want someone else to use when writing about you? Are your notes something you would feel embarrassed or nervous to show your current client right now?
A Lawyer - This is probably the person a majority of therapists worry about most. If a lawyer has access to client notes, this likely means some legal battle or investigation is the cause. Regardless of the specific reason, consider what a lawyer who is not on your side would be looking for. She would be looking for holes, times when you got lazy or sloppy and omitted something. She would be looking for vague language that leaves the outcome open to interpretation. She would be looking for inconsistencies that make you seem untrustworthy.

Business Advice for Therapists

4 Keys to Identifying Your Niche

When I was in high school my parents built a house and they had a couple of niches built into the walls. Those niches became the place in the house where treasures, mainly my mother's artwork, were displayed. They were special and sacred spaces to me.

Like those little places in the walls, holding something special, so are we as we sit in our offices helping people heal and soar above adversity. We all have a special place in this world. No one is like you. No one does therapy like you. No one can help exactly the way you can. That is what it means to have a niche, to literally carve out your space in the world and be there fully.

So how do you find your niche? And once you do, how do you articulate something so unique and special?

Business Advice for Therapists

Is This Innocent Mistake Keeping Your Clients From Calling?

In this guest post, Keri Nola shares about building your practice from the inside out. 
By: Keri Nola, Psychotherapist & Founder of the Design Your Ideal Practice Academy
I remember the feeling of being a new private practitioner. I was filled with excitement and passion, ready to have my calendar full of amazing clients on my fabulous couch, in my cozy office knowing I had a special part in holding space for their healing. I crossed every “T” and dotted every “I,” got myself listed in all the best therapist directories, went to networking meetings, spent hours writing and designing my website and business cards and then I waited.
I got a few calls here and there, but they were inconsistent and not from my ideal clients. At this rate, I definitely wouldn’t be able to pay my bills and live the life I wanted, which was why I went into private practice in the first place—to make a living doing the work I loved.

Business Advice for Therapists

Moving Beyond The Couch

Once you have established a practice, your 1:1 sessions are steady and filled, have you arrived? Are you done building your business?

For some of you, this is the ultimate goal. Nothing more would make you happy and complete. Others of you, once you have arrived to this point, begin to wonder how to reduce your 1:1 but still help more people and work less. Is this even possible in our field?

Therapists have tons of untapped potential when it comes to moving their practices from beyond the couch. It is one of the creative aspects of our work - finding different ways of helping people. 1:1 is merely a component of what we do. Already in your practice you probably see this in effect. You see couples, families, maybe you consult,  provide supervision, or teach. So simply what changes as you move from 1:1 is the modality in which you provide the information and its ability to reach more people.

Why even consider it?

Business Advice for Therapists

Private Practice Kickstart: Should I get certified in?

I talk to therapists often who report their business plan is to get certified in “fill in the blank.” At an EMDRIA conference it was amazing to speak to so many therapists whose practices were going well and packed! Many of them reported their certification in EMDR was a major determination of their success.

Correlation equal causation

These therapists are successful. They got a certification in EMDR. They can verbalize how valuable the certification was to...