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Avoiding pitfalls in setting up a private practice

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 6:46 AM
James Rye 

People want a professional service that is easy to access and packaged for them. 

Mistakes I’ve made and learned from. 
- Profit equals income minus expenditure.
- I was a naïve amateur with dysfunctional beliefs about private practice
Dysfunctional beliefs
- money is dirty: no, money is important
- there is difficulty in charging for help but solicitors and doctors charge for help
- it’s OK to charge for help
- some people believe aspects of private practice is beneath them (advertising, charging, doing the accounts)
Marketing sharks
-       supermarket cards
-       voucher schemes
-       hospital/surgery cards
-       advertorial in the police service, local fire-station, hospital magazine (don’t pay as policemen can get therapy for free)
Make it easy for people to work with you
-       We need to advertise : directories, web-page
-       Multiple contact methods: webform in googledocs.
-       Handling calls professionally – virtual assistant: diverting the phone
-       Payment: buying a £50 card reader
-       Paypal link if working online
-       Avoiding the numbers: not logging all expenditure (e.g. mileage)
Unrealistic charging:
-       balancing what we’re worth, what it cost us to train, what local people charge, what is moral
-       If we are keeping people out of the welfare system, out of secondary care we are saving people a lot of money so charge.
-       Don’t subsidise people by paying for their therapy
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
-       too many counsellors/psychologists delivering the same thing
-       why are you different/unique
-       what are you going to offer and are you the person to deliver it
-       what do clients want?
-       only 30% of his clients come from self-referral, agency referrals or EAP’s (55%)
-       Other sources of income: internet/phone, supervision, couple counselling, CBT, training, consultancy
-       How can you specialise: either in the content or the method of delivery. Be different in some way!
-       It is a mistake to not see the landscape.
-       There is a whole industry training people to see clients for a long time which is costly and people have limited resources
Seeing the landscape: reaching people through technology
-       What seems unusual now fifty years from now will be the norm
-       Accepting that online/telephone counselling is different
-       Delivery method: technology is happening whether we like it or not. Be weary of conservatism and judgements against new methods of delivery. Having to learn about new methods although. We can reach clients who we couldn’t reach otherwise (disabled, living abroad, suffering from agoraphobia)
Risk Naivety
-       house insurance companies will see more risk if you're working from home
-       personal safety (buddy system, not leaving key, emergency services on speed-dial, panic button)
-       people cross boundaries: higher proportions of complaints come from private practice and most of them are about boundary crossing.
-       Business boundaries: life/work balance is difficult to keep if working from home. Most people want to come in the evening, after 5pm. The danger is to take anyone at any time of day or night.
Link resources

Categories: Private practice

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