Many new psychotherapists begin their practices excited over the prospect of earning a stable income from providing psychotherapy as a provider under managed health care. Within the first year, they quickly realize that this option is fraught with obstacles.
The following factors are some of the real keys to success: The most important key is competence in a narrow area of practice. Clinicians who want, and try to, do everything are doomed to failure. If is far better to seek Post Graduate Training or Certification in a niche area that is not crowded.
Examples are anger management, organizational development, executive coaching, behavioral intervention, for special needs children and development disability intervention.
Practice location determines your client population. If your practice is located in a modest income-community, your income will be modest at best. If you locate in an upscale area, the chances of a higher income will increase.
Select and pay for consultation from someone who has demonstrated that they are achieving or have achieved success in private practice. Most of the people who claim to teach others how to get rich in private practice have really never succeeded in their own right.
Any intervention that can be provided in a group format is far more income sensitive than an intervention offered on an individual basis. Here is a simple and true example: In our Brentwood Office, we offer anger management in a small group of 10 participants on Saturdays. This is an accelerated class which lasts for 8 hours. Each participant pays $30 for the client work-book, $90 for the assessment, and $50 per hour for the full day class. On average, that earns us $5000 minus the cost of the books for just one day. We do this each Saturday and the income is predictable.
On December 15, I provided four hours of training in emotional intelligence for 50 physicians from a major Health Maintenance Organization. I received $10,000 for this training.
Finally, your practice must be treated like any other business, which means you must borrow money to operate on at least a year without depending on income from your practice.
George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomat, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management