New Year, New Opportunities

Happy New Year! Each year I try to identify a single word that is my focus for the year. Last year was “Finish,” this year is “Risk.” I’m generally a risk averse person, even though many of my friends would not say that about me. For me, taking risks means that I have to face […]

Some Thoughts on Brand Building

Creating a brand is one of the best ways to generate referrals for your practice. A brand is a story, a set of unique values and ideals. A private practice without a brand is like a person without a personality: They just aren’t very attractive. Creating a brand is an involved process that can be overwhelming. But […]

The Need for Productivity: The New Disorder

I have begun to notice this trend with my clients, and not just with a couple of them, but with almost all of them. At some point they say things like, “I feel like I am not doing enough.” “I should be doing more.” “I’m not as far in my career as I should be.” […]

Private Practice Questions

Last Friday I gave a presentation to a group of therapists eager to start or grow their private practice. Over the course of our time together, several questions were asked that I think would be helpful to post here: Q: Do I need a business license to open up a private practice? A: I’m not […]

photo credit Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr

The Happy Therapist

“Caleb, I just want to be happy.” When a client says this to me, I am often struck by the solidarity that I have with my client. A colleague of mine once told a 15-year-old girl client, “There isn’t very much that is different about me and you. I too am trying to figure out […]

ICD-10 Coding Coming October 1st

After multiple delays over the past few years, beginning October 1 insurance companies will require ICD-10 codes. ICD-9 codes have been in use for decades, so the tenth revision of these codes will likely be the first change the majority of practitioners will have faced. This is an important change as it will affect anyone […]

courtesy of Bart Everson via Flickr

Private Practice SWOT

I recently wrote about the need to plan tasks needing to be done in your business. I approach these tasks on a weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly timetable. Doing this gives me bite-sized portions of tasks that keep me ahead of the business curve. One of the tasks I advocate for private practicians to engage in is a personal/professional […]

Guest Post: Managing the Flow of a Therapy Session – Jeff Morgan

  Editors note: This is a guest post from Jeff Morgan. We occasionally have other practitioners share their story and experience of building a private practice. Jeff shares some insights he has gained from building a private practice in Nashville. We’d love to hear your story. If you have ideas you’d like to share with our readers, click here to contact us for […]

courtesy of Davide Restivo via Flickr

Hitting 60

Today marks the 60th published article here at A SMART PRACTICE. When we launched in January of this year, we weren’t exactly sure how everything was going to shake out. Looking back over the past 6 months, and 60 articles, there’s been a lot of great content, resources, and community development here. Our goal here is to […]

Seasons of Practice

Over the past 10 plus years, I’ve seen plenty of ups and downs in my client load. When the schedule is full, I tend to feel very confident and can find myself approaching my clients differently than when my schedule isn’t as full. Part of this is that I have some belief that I am the […]

Practice Budgets

image courtesy of www.gotcredit.com From a practice management standpoint, this might be the single most important habit to setup: Develop on a budget. Income will be variable, and to keep money from sinking your business (or credit), you need a plan. Regardless if you practice a budget in your personal life (and I think you […]

Private Practice Resources

When we launched A SMART PRACTICE earlier this year, our goal was simple: To provide engaging content to help practicians build their practices. We are six months in and have published over 50 articles by almost a dozen contributors and engaged our readers with bi-monthly newsletters. This week we launched a new feature of our site: Private […]

Counseling 13th Most Stressful Job

I recently ran across this article in Business Insider that detailed the 14 most stressful jobs in America. I don’t think many of the jobs listed would be all that surprising: Air Traffic Controllers, Supervisors in the Police force, Doctors, and police/fire/911 Dispatchers. What was surprising was that Mental Health Counseling was included in this […]

Want a Thriving Practice? Do Good Work

You can make the most amazing website, hire the best designer, and decorate your office to the nines, but if you do not do good work with people your business will not last very long. You might be asking, “How does one go about doing good work?” There are a number a different factors that […]

Book Review: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

The Premise: My professional crush with Brene Brown started a few years ago with her infamous TEDx talk on the power of vulnerability. She spoke so beautifully; holding a great tension between information and vulnerability. She’s done a marvelous job bringing rich research and marrying it to real life settings and relationships. Daring Greatly is a book about […]

Guest Post: Am I Good Enough? – Erin Pierson

Editors note: This is a guest post from Erin Pierson. We occasionally have other practitioners share their story and experience of building a private practice. Erin offers her reflections on being in the early stages of her career. We’d love to hear your story. If you have ideas you’d like to share with our readers, click here to […]

Private Practice Coaching Group

Are you struggling to get new clients, develop solid referral sources, or overwhelmed with running a business? Join Samuel Rainey, LPC-MHSP and founder of aSmartPractice.com, this summer for a private practice coaching group to help you grow and stabilize your private practice. This is a group for beginners and seasoned professionals alike. Participants need to […]

Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters

Everyone has been there before: Down in the pits, wondering why the same thing keeps happening. In Private Practice, this might mean that you’re starting another week without any new clients, or struggling to pay the bills for yet another month. Something I share with my clients is the “Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters.” I’ve […]

Guest Post: Managing Expectations – Laura Anderson

Editors note: This is a guest post from Laura Anderson. We occasionally have other practitioners share their story of building a private practice. Laura offers some excellent insights about starting a practice. If you have ideas you’d like to share with our readers, click here to contact us for more information. March marked the three year anniversary of […]

Tech Tuesday: Wearable Technology and the Therapist

“How do you like your fitbit?” Every so often I get asked for my opinion on wearing a Fitbit (a device worn on your wrist to track your physical activity and other health related data). I usually respond with the positives and negatives of wearing it, giving a 45 second product review like I’m on a […]

Try Failing

Like most new therapists, when I was beginning my practice I had no idea where my referrals would come from. Over the next several years, I developed some good referral sources but it wasn’t until around year 4 that I felt firmly established in my community. To get there I did a lot of experiments. […]

Thursday Tidbit: People Remember How You Made Them Feel

I met this other therapist about 7 years ago. It was a brief meeting, and one I recall holding a bit of tension as we disagreed on several aspects of mental health. We haven’t spoken since, to no fault of either party. This past week I was asking a local referral network for some suggestions […]

Photo courtesy of Teo via Flickr

Tech Tuesday: Technology Limits

This might seem antithetical to the category of “Tech Tuesday,” but I think all good strategies have to include limits for how you’re going to implement them. The same is true for our personal lives as it is for business: Getting sidetracked with technology is an easy trap. We can spend too much time in virtual […]

Flickr photo courtesy of Leu Gardens

Building Rocking Chairs: Practicing Self Care

It was Thursday afternoon at 4:30 and I was finished with my full day of appointments. As I locked my office, my colleague noticed I was leaving and said, “You look exhausted.” His observation couldn’t have been more true. I’d scheduled 7 sessions for that Thursday, with a scant 30 minute lunch break. One day of […]

Thursday Tidbit: Saving for No Shows

No shows are part of the business. Sometimes these no-shows don’t ever come back and pay. One way to mitigate that is to follow Caleb’s advice and take a credit card number to reserve each session. Another option is to save $5 from every session you complete, put it in a cash lockbox (I use this […]

Guest Post: How I Built my Practice – Luke Brasel

Editors note. This is a guest post from Luke Brasel. We occasionally have other practitioners share their story of building a private practice. Luke offers some great insights into this process. if you have ideas you’d like to share with our readers, click here to contact us for more information. When Samuel asked me to share […]

Book Review: The War of Art

I think everyone would agree the practice of counseling is an art, not a science. To take that one step further, the practice of building a private counseling practice is also an art (which is one of the reasons we created this website, to help you create your art). This book review is about Steven […]

Thursday Tidbit: Time Audit

Facebook can be a fantastic resource for community and even for marketing. Something I’ve noticed in my own usage of the site is that it’s easy to get distracted. I can intend to get on the site for business purposes, but can get sidetracked with other conversations that don’t really have anything to do with […]

Your Practice Needs an Emergency Fund

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “if something can go wrong, it will.” It’s a hard mantra to live by because it requires that we live with both our present and future needs in mind. This is a topic we often address with our clients, but can so easily forget to practice them in our […]

Practicing DBT Can Help You Run Your Private Practice

Running a small business on top of holding the stories of your clients and caring for them can quickly fill your time and energy reservoirs. Intrinsic to running a private practice are the multitude of moving parts that always seem to require attention. Invoices have to be made, insurance billed, emails and voicemails checked, appointments […]

Photo Courtesy of Jerry Nihen via Flickr

Measuring Success & Goals: Tracking Client Load

It’s a difficult balance to strike between running a profitable business yet not becoming overly obsessed with the financial health of your practice. Profit is not a four letter word, yet it’s easy to assume that because we deal with the complexities of others’ lives, we don’t need to profit from them. And to a large extent, I agree: […]

Integrating your Therapist Self with your Small Business Self

Often our clients only see one side of who we are as persons, which is our therapist self. Hopefully, they experience a non-anxious presence that provides safety and encourages them as persons, facilitating their growth process. Because of the nature of the therapeutic relationships, they do not experience another side of us who takes care […]

The Ups and Downs

I’ve been in private practice for over 6 years, and there have been some very lean months. What I’ve noticed about myself is that I will work all kinds of crazy hours when my schedule is full to try and “make up” for the slower weeks and months. It’s hard to intentionally slow down and […]