Private Practice
with Julie Hanks, MSW, LCSW, BCD


Why I ‘Broke Up’ With Managed Care

At times, working with managed care insurance panels in private practice felt like dating a bad boyfriend. I was constantly investing more time and attention than "he" was in the "relationship" and it started to wear me down. I got up the nerve to break it off for good. I've never looked back.

I understand that building a practice free of managed care isn't for every therapist. I am grateful for excellent colleagues who participate on insurance panel because and there is a great need for their services and I frequently refer clients to them. However, if you're a private practitioner considering building a practice outside of managed care, I share my experience of resigning from managed care to give you the courage to take the leap, and the faith to know that it can work. So here's my story...


Business Planning: Does Your Private Practice Have A Treatment Plan?

Many private practice therapists don't have a business plan or think of themselves as a "business owner."  A private practice is a business and successful businesses have a plan to help guide their growth.

Even if you've never taken a business course you already know how to write a business plan.  Think of your private practice as a "client" in need of a clinical treatment plan.  Here are some tips to transform your clinical assessment and treatment planning skills into a private practice business plan so you have a clear path to grow your practice.


Overcoming Blogophobia (part 2): Quick and Easy Blog Post Ideas

Are you a beginning blogger feeling overwhelmed by the thought of coming up with original content to write about on a regular basis? I have some good news for you! Much of what is posted online is not entirely original content. Braden Talbot posted this insightful comment on my post  5 Tips To Overcoming blogophobia.
Once you understand that 99% (if not 100%) of information [posted on blogs] isn't really new, it’s not so scary.

The new part is your story and your spin and you’d be amazed at how many people are interested to hear it.


5 Tips For Overcoming Blogophobia

Blogging is a great way to talk to potential clients about your private practice services and specialties. You can set up a blog account for free at,, and many other blogging sites. Since blogs are search engine friendly and blog posts are easy to share on social media sites they are a great tool for attracting new clients to your therapy practice.

In addition to reaching potential clients, blogging is also an avenue that allows you to provide valuable resources for current clients. In spite of the many business benefits of blogging, many therapists are hesitant to venture into the blogging world. This hesitation or anxiety about blogging is known as "blogophobia."


5 Free Ways to Market Your Therapy Practice

Thanks to technology, there are many free ways to effectively market your private therapy practice. Since these free strategies do take time to implement, I suggest focusing on the ones that sound interesting, fun, fulfilling, and a little challenging so you get something back personally from your time investment.

It can take some time until you actually see the benefits of your marketing in terms of clients coming to your practice. Part of effective marketing is simply raising awareness of your practice and your specialties, which will bring in clients over time.

After nearly 10 years in private practice, I've found that the most effective strategies for building your practice use what we already know as therapists about building relationships: building rapport, using your authentic self, starting where the "client" is, to name a few, and translating those skills into a new formats that reaches larger audiences.


Tweet Your Elevator Speech!

How's your elevator speech coming along? Are you ready to try it out in "public"? One of the most helpful ways to refine your elevator speech is to practice it and ask for feedback. Here's your social media challenge to help you get the word out about your practice message and to get feedback.

Twitter Challenge

Tweet your elevator speech (in only 140 characters or less) to me @Julie_Hanks and I'll give you feedback on it. If you tag your tweet with #elevatorspeech then other twitter users can find it and give you feedback, too.


Why Therapists Need An Elevator Speech: Crafting Your Basic Message (part 2)

An elevator speech, or practice message, is the building block of marketing your private therapy practice. Getting comfortable saying what you do and how your work helps your clients is essential to drawing additional clients to your practice. In case you missed it, here's a link to Why Therapists Need an Elevator Speech (part 1).

A great resource for developing your basic practice message is Lynn Grodzki's book Building Your Ideal Practice. Ms. Grodzki outlines four styles for crafting your basic practice message. Try these out and see which one flows most naturally.


Facebook Pages for Therapists: Some Benefits and Risks

Some therapists have embraced Facebook and others are hesitant to venture into social networking arena.  Here are my thoughts on the benefits and risks of setting up a Facebook page.

Benefits of a Facebook Page for your Practice

Free marketing.
Raises visibility of your practice.
Allows Facebook users to easily find your practice.
Provide education and resources to those who "like" your page.
Post links to your website on your page wall to increase your web traffic.
Network with other local businesses to increase referrals.
You will have the option of posting on Facebook as your therapy clinic page name (instead of your personal profile name) allowing you to network, post on other Facebook pages, and increase visitors to your Facebook  page.
People who "like" your page can not contact you directly or message you through Facebook.
As the page administrator you have many options to control what content others are allowed to post on your page.
There are amazing apps available for pages that will help you build your business.
You can set up your website blog feed to automatically post to your page.


6 Ways To Give Yourself A Raise

You're in the mental health field because you want to make a difference AND an income. Too many therapists are making a big difference but only making a small income. Here are 6 ways you can make your private practice more profitable within the next month.

1) Cut expenses

Look more closely at your recurring monthly expenses. Can you find a way to reduce any of them? You might want to sub-lease your office on the days you're not there so you're paying less rent. Do you pay monthly for a therapist referral listing that rarely sends referrals your way that you could cancel? How about buying bulk printer paper of files online? We recently cut expenses by replacing water bottles that we offered to for all clients with a water cooler in the waiting area. This save $100 a month. The little things add up.