Growing my private therapy practice continued . . .

Now to focus on growing my home based private practice.

My favored method of advertising is word of mouth. It is free and I love to talk. I can start this now.

My second thought is to host a workshop in my town. I am thinking of several topics including raising self-esteem, improving communication, becoming more balanced, and coping with stress.

My third thought concerns advertising. I can go on the radio and publicize my business for free. I can pay to put advertisement in the paper. I need to wait on advertising due to the conflict of interest with my current job.

My last thought is a question. Do I want to have an office in a nearby small town? My answer is yes. I want to have an office away from my home. I can run anger management groups. I can see court-ordered individuals at my “office”. Yes!!

This will also allow me to hold workshops in my office. Needs include enough parking, easy to find and reasonable.

I reread my blog. I sound all enthused. I am not. I’m 91% angry, 7% disappointed and 2 % enthused that my Richmond gig is not happening.

I’m pissed off that I am going to be working on the Crazy Train for at least 6 more months. I’m disappointed as I have to regroup and try a different path. I am teensy bit enthused of moving more quickly into my own business than planned.

One positive thing – My Finances are in excellent condition due to my obsessive-compulsive planning. Only six more months on the Crazy Train.😮

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More Challenges in Growing a Private Practice.

Truth is stranger than fiction! I went to my office and Richmond and noticed a “For Rent” sign at the entrance to the large office building where I work. I didn’t think anything of it.

I later shared with another therapist that I plan to tell my clients at my full-time job that I am leaving.

She told me the owner of the company is very ill at this time, and was hospitalized last week. He is out of the hospital now but his condition is unstable. He is in his late 60’s. His wife will have to take over running the business or sell it.

I am sorry that the owner is ill. He is a very nice and ethical man. I was looking forward to working with him. Plan A is kaput. Dead. Done. I am guessing the family asked the owner if they could get out of the lease. The owner is trying to rent the space to allow the family some financial relief. I pray for the owner and his family find peace.

I will not resign from my full-time job this spring. I need to regroup. Time to promote my own business. Five months to make my dream come true.

December 29. Termination Issues

Transitioning is tough work. To make my life easier and to allow a smooth transition for my clients, my last day is now March 15th.

When I return to work in January, I plan to get started on terminating my relationship with my clients. I have been in a therapeutic relationship for up to 15 years with some individuals.

My current clients struggle with severe mental illness. I want to give them enough time to process their feelings. Many of my clients experienced severe emotional and physical abuse as children.

They may feel abandoned and need to talk about their feelings. I want to give them that space.

Growing a Private Practice Continued . . .

December 26. Sixty four days left before the launch of my private practice. I will increase my billable hours at an established practice in Richmond to support my transition

In January, I plan to keep up my crazy three job schedule, and hopefully keep my sanity.

In February, I start working every Friday in Richmond. Scheduling seven to eight clients a day is 30 billable hours per month.

In March, I will add Tuesday afternoons/evenings. Goal of 40 billable hours per month.

Goal Income: 40 hours x $50 = $2000 month in Richmond.

Now for my home practice. . . That is the subject of my next several blog entries.

65 days till launch 🚀

Only 65 days until my transformation to Private Practice. I will spend the first few weeks of my Private Practice visiting family in Florida.

Sounds like a perfect start to a new chapter in my career.

I know in my gut that this is the correct way for me to start anew. I plan to soak up the Florida sun, play golf and swim. I also plan to bring a few notebooks to jot some ideas down.

As I am an intellectual dreamer type, this will allow me to nurture my intellect and my creativity. This is my way to success.

Growing a private practice, part 1

I sit in my home office and evaluate my surroundings. The book shelf is tidy and the furniture is comfy, high-end, and professional. And . . . there is paper everywhere. Pieces of paper stacked in small, medium and large piles. Stacks of paper sit on any flat surface available. Sadly, my office at the community mental health center is in a similar condition.

I have a “paper problem”. I need a solution. I have one cabinet to stored unused paper. I have paper charts in a portable tote. I have a small file cabinet for everything else. I have a shred box at my day job and I am determining where to put my shred box at my home office.

I need to file / trash/ return/ shred nightly. This is a positive change I need to make as I return to the world of paper charts.

Future of Community Mental Health in Virginia

My dream of opening a private practice zooms in and out of focus, as it has done over the last 20 years. When my day job as a community counselor is going well, opening my practice and jumping through the required hoops seems absurd. I am helping people and getting reimbursed through pay, retirement, and health insurance.

I attended a business meeting / Christmas Lunch at my day job, The CEO spoke on the economic changes in mental health. The insurance companies are hiring case managers to provide their clients support and direction. (These case management services are paid by Medicaid and keeps our Community Service Board in the black. Without this Medicaid reimbursement, the company will collapse.)

The CEO was positive about our company surviving. However, the one layoff we experienced took a toll on the employees. I don’t want to experience another one.

From everything I’ve read, one layoff leads to another layoff. And eventually to the death of the company. I will press forward. I will continue to work towards my goal of private practice.

Getting credentialed through private insurance

This was by far the most challenging task for me. I am an experienced licensed counselor with over 16 years experience. I resent numerous faxes and played many games of phone tag.

Step 1. Purchase Malpractice Insurance.

Step 2. Get two large 3 ring notebooks, and label the Insurance 1 and Insurance 2. Get dividers and plenty of paper.

Step 3. There is a credentialing Department at each insurers site. Write all numbers down. Some insurers want you to reapply and others want you to add a Tax ID.

Step 4. I started with Magellan and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. These were the easiest to obtain. I reapplied with my new tax ID and address . . .30 days later, done. I later became an EAP provider for both those insurers. My first 6 clients were through these insurers.

Step 5. Start applying to other insurers. Keep track of all contacts, reference numbers and phone numbers in your binder.

Good Luck!

Costs of Starting a Therapy Private Practice

Starting a private practice can be costly. I spent $ 400.00 on malpractice insurance and a little over $ 1000 on furniture. I did not rent an office as I decided to use the sunroom in my house. I bought 3 ring notebooks to keep records, pens, Manila folders, plastic file cabinets, and a new printer. I estimate the cost of these supplies at $300.00.

I also purchased a web site /domain name. Caring confidential counseling.com My internet service is a dsl through my phone provider. I have a cell phone that I use for all business calls. My monthly costs for the above are approximately $220.00 per month.

I am still part-time and am not advertising. These factors will be covered in Growing my Business.

Establishing my Private Therapy Practice

My path to private practice was not direct nor simple. Initially, I was going to work for a friend who had a private practice 20 minutes from my home. She guided me through the basics:

1. Obtain malpractice insurance through HPSO or another insurer. This cost less than $400 a month in 2017. HPSO Malpractice Insurance

**This must be done prior to being approved or crendentialed by any insurance company.

2. Contact your state licensing board to be approved as a supervisor for future counselors. This is a very good income source. I previously completed the experience and coursework required for this certification.

I completed these 2 steps at my friends request. However, my friend became overwhelmed at the thought of starting a larger practice and backed out. So, I pushed forward.

3. Determining your physical address. You must have a physical address for your practice. Due to financial constraints, I determined the sunroom in my house was a good place to start. It has a separate entrance and I separated it from my kitchen with a large screen. I purchased classy and comfortable furniture as I wanted to exude professionalism.

**The insurance companies require your physical address but it takes months to be credentialed / paneled and later paid.

4. Start contacting insurance companies to be paneled. Each insurance company will have a slightly different process. Keep good notes and keep calling. And, keep good notes!

This step took me from one month to nine months, depending on the insurance company.

5. Obtain business cards. I used Vista Print.

6. Set up a website. A must for 2017 to give your business credibility. My web site link http://www.caringconfidentialcounseling.com

7. Use word of mouth to get the word out you are in business.

Five months into the process, I received referrals from insurance companies and from word of mouth. I work full–time in the community and fill up evenings with my own clients. It took about five months to build my base. I now have an active part-time Private Practice.

Next Question: How to morph my part-time Private Practice into a full-time business?