This is an outline of a guide for professionals considering private practice. Dr. Lazarus, a psychologist in Littleton, Colorado would be happy to do a phone consultation with you to discuss these issues at length. This process can help you decide if private practice is for you and if so, the steps needed to have a successful practice with as many clients as you would like.
Advantages: Freedom to do what you want, see who you want. You can have your ideal clients. No boss other than your clients, no mandatory meetings or trainings. You have complete autonomy. You have flexibility and can set your own schedule. You can make much more money. It’s fun, you can be creative, grow, change what you’re doing
Disadvantages: You have to do your own marketing; It can be isolating and lonely. You don’t have a consistent income.
What is your specialty? Who do you like to work with? Who do you want to come in? Groups, Individual, couples, population, children, divorce, GLBT, Bereavement, substance abuse
2) Marketing: (Create a funnel system for people to find you) Evaluate your Rate of Return of each system.
Web site (creating a website), what should it say, how do people find you i. Blogging, Google Adwords
Lunches with professionals (RATE OF RETURN)
Do a free talk about a topic
Local paper (write an article, do an interview)
Insurance companies, managed care panels, Psychology today, Theratribe
Physicians, doctors’ offices
3) Location, Location, Location: Where can you make a difference? Is it therapist central or are you unique. Where do you find your clients?
Windows vs. interior, size, furniture, play therapy equipment.
Rent someone else’s space by the hour, half day, full day until you’re up and running vs. jump in head first with full rent
Your own space vs. multi room suite (strongly recommend multi room), kitchen, built in referrals, shared expenses.
4) Paperwork, Records
Know your professional standards. In Colorado, look at DORA for requirements. i. Mandatory Disclosure Statement
Releases of Information
Intake Paperwork, forms
Progress Notes (DAP, SOAP)
Doing notes during sessions vs. after?
A note about HIPPA: If you transmit any client information electronically, you need to be HIPPA compliant
5) Storage and keeping of records and information
Paper records, locked up (3 locks)
Computer, laptop (Encrypted)
Storage and retention of records(10years) 5) Money, Legal, Accounting
How much do you charge per session? Sliding fee models vs. no Sliding fee
Office Liability Insurance
Taxes: Self Employed, LLC, Corporation
Schedule C for business
Track money in and expenses
Banking: Get a separate business checking account for all transactions