I have been running a successful counselling service for 9 years. During this time, it’s grown from being one therapist in her living room solo enterprise to a 14 therapist, 4 consulting rooms clinic.
Here are my top tips on making your private practice work.
- Remember Therapy is a Relationship
The key to building a successful private practice is not just about attracting new referrals, you need to attract the “right” clients, so that they stick with you.
We all know that successful therapy hinges on a solid therapeutic relationship and so it’s important that you express your personality on your website and directory entries to let clients know who you are and how you work. Giving clients a feel for who you are will help the right clients to find you.
Think about the tone and type of language you use in your marketing and remember to put yourself in prospective clients’ shoes. Arranging therapy for the first time is really stressful so think about what you’d want to know before booking and how to put clients at ease.
- Be Clear and Set Your Boundaries
A great way to put clients’ minds at ease is transparency. Knowing what they can expect from the first session and what the rules of your service are demystifies the process and prevents any nasty surprises later on down the road. Put a clear cancellation policy in place to protect your income and make sure that clients understand what it is and why it’s there.
I’d recommend providing your clients with this information prior to their first appointment. The first session can often be a blur for clients and so they won’t always remember what they’ve been told. Providing the important details in writing means that they can take them in at their leisure and be allowed to start telling their story straight away, instead of anxiously waiting for us to finish our blurb. You can reiterate the key points when you request their signed consent at the end of the session.
- Be Conscious of the Whole Client Experience
Building a successful counselling business, takes more than simply being a good therapist. Your clients’ experience of your service is a 360 degree thing that starts at the point of initial contact and extends to the environment you create, how you hold them through the therapeutic process and the reliability of your service administration.
If clients are going to stick with you, they need to feel safe and well held throughout. Have an eye for details, create a soothing, quiet space, be mindful of smells and ensure that your client isn’t walking into a room that still holds remnants of your previous session. When running your service, you need to be efficient and reliable and to manage expectations with clear opening hours. If organisation isn’t your strong suit, get help managing the administration side.
Keep these top tips in mind and I’m sure your private practice will go from strength to strength. Good luck.