How to Thrive in Private Practice, Part 1

UAMFT Annual Spring conference May 21-22, 2010  Panel: Shannon S. Boxley, MS, LMFT, Pamela Kings, MS, LMFT, Victor Nelson, STM, LMFT, Jonathan D. Sherman, MS, LMFT & Nancy Webb, MS, LMFT

Pam King compiled these “Tips From the Field” from the above panel members.

Professional Health 

  1. Establish a good consulting group. If you practice in isolation you are putting yourself at risk as well as limiting your potential therapeutic impact.
  2. Embrace "failure" learn from it.
  3. See continuing education clinical skills and business skills
  4. Identify your clinical and business resources
  5. service of AAMFT

Personal Health 

  1. Be flexible while maintaining the boundaries that are necessary to keep yourself healthy and assist your clients in the process.
  2. Develop a fulfilling practice rather than a full practice
  3. Embrace the seasons of your personal/family life as you make business decisions.

Financial Considerations 

  1. Remember you are running a business (with all kinds of business expenses); don't apologize for requesting payment for your services!
  2. Be able to offer clients the use of a debit/credit card machine to make payment easy for them.
  3. Charge what you're really worth and for the value your clients are really getting
  4. Develop a business mindset and diversify your income streams.


  1. Get the word out
  2. Change how you think about the money you spend on advertising-a $500/year ad in a phonebook or Psychology Today will be made back in one client in a few sessions, and everything after that is pure profit!
  3. Look professional
  4. Announce your practice, market your practice-use free media for publicity
  5. Maintain an online presence
  6. Leverage social media.

Develop and maintain referral sources 

  1. Get a business card right away so you have something to leave with new referral contacts.
  2. Network outside of your field
  3. Identify your main referral sources and market to that audience.

Define your practice 

  1. Limit the scope of your practice to a few areas of interest rather than being a generalist
  2. Define your practice-Create a niche or specialty
  3. Develop systems that work for you
  4. Offer more than expected.