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

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...

Private Practice Marketing

Do You Care to Share? 5 Ways to Share your Message

Last time we talked about your writing your marketing message for your private practice here. Now let’s talk about what to do with it.

How do you get your message out to the world?

Start with who you know. My friends and colleagues knew me, but they didn’t all know who I helped and how. Phone calls are better than emails. They are more personally, connecting and typically are more poignant than email. Start calling people you know. You don’t have to do coffee with everyone, but you want to at least have a conversation.

Connect with those you want to know. The people in your life may know of other connections that will be valuable to

Private Practice Business Planning

Private Practice Business Planning

Several months ago we developed analysis for therapists in private practice. It took them through an in depth series of questions that was aimed at helping them identify what was working in their private practice, and what needs extra attention.

Free Private Practice Analysis

Hundreds of therapists completed the free Private Practice Analysis within a few days. Of course. We learned a ton about the current state of therapists, social workers, counselors, and psychologists, in private practice today.

While we our analysis is by no means scientific, we saw some interesting correlations of the people who took the survey. In addition, because we gave people the opportunity to chat with us directly about the status of their practice- we got to follow-up verbally and expand on what the survey told us.

What a survey told us about business plans for private practice therapists.

Private Practice Marketing

A Message For All Private Practice Owners

Have you ever shopped for a therapist before? It builds a lot of empathy for our clients. Just get on any directory and look for an issues such as anxiety or depression and read through the profiles of the therapists listed.

How do you choose?

After awhile your eyes might glaze over at the repeated statements of years in the profession, technical terms of types of therapy used and the conditions treated. But then, someone stands out. Someone resonates with you. How does that happen?

They have a clear message.

The message you put out into the world should connect with a personal intimately and create a resonance that makes you stick in their mind which leads them to picking up the phone to reach out for help. You want to compel people to action.

So how is that done?

Your message needs essentially 3 components.

Business Advice for Therapists

Psychotherapy Networker: Picking a Great Conference

Have you ever been to a terrible conference? I have. While I've found something beneficial at EVERY conference I've ever attended- it is often because I am determined to make that experience worth my time. I go out of my way to make sure it is the best conference experience possible.
However, that doesn't mean there aren't conferences that are easier to get value out of. I was speaking to someone a few weeks ago about conferences and realized I am still talking about a conference I attended a few years ago. The Psychotherapy Networker conference rocked my socks off.
If you are starting out in private practice, your budget for trainings and conferences is pretty tight. So you really want to ensure you are investing in trainings that will truly inspire you and build your psychotherapy skill-set.

Why the Psychotherapy Networker conference was amazing: