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Who’s Your Ideal Client?

Who do you want to work with? was the question I asked workshop participants in a recent private practice workshop at a local university. For many workshop participants, this was the first time they’d ever even considered asking themselves which clients they wanted to see in their clinical practice.

Shrinking funding, crowded managed care panels, and a saturation of therapists have left private practitioners feeling desperate to fill their schedules with anyone who is willing to see them. However, based on my personal experience of nearly a decade in private practice, Who do I want to work with? is one of the most important questions a clinician can ask themselves.

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Adventure in Private Practice: Interview With Diane Spear, LCSW

Why did you decide to go into private practice?

I had worked at an agency with wonderful colleagues, but private practice gave me the opportunity to set my own hours and fees, determine what level of pathology I want to treat, choose the theoretical orientation and supervisor I’m most comfortable with, and set the environment as I prefer. In short, autonomy, autonomy, autonomy!

What do you wish you’d known before starting your practice?

How important marketing is! You can be a terrific therapist and have a tiny practice if you’re not good at marketing. And if you’re not naturally good at marketing and networking? Practice! A lot.

What marketing strategies have you found to be most effective?

1) Forming relationships with other therapists who have a similar theoretical orientation, so that we’re comfortable referring to each other.
2) Joining a networking/referral group. I joined BNI, which has been wonderful.
3) The biggest thing has been learning to network in everyday life–there are millions of opportunities to mention what I do and that I’m expanding my practice, and educating friends and non-therapist professionals about how to refer their friend, colleague, patient, colleague to me.

How do you use social media in practice?

I haven’t learned that part yet. Still a dinosaur!

Finally, tell my why you love private practice.

I love private practice because it allows me to help people grow and change–if they want to! I’ve been in private practice in NYC 16 years, treating individuals and couples. Hope this helps.

Diane Spear, LCSW-R
Individual, Couples, Group Therapy
212 353-0296
111 Third Avenue, Suite 17D
(Third Ave@13th/14th)
NYC 10003

A Day In The Life: Meet Online Counselor Terrie Browning, LPC

What does it take to build and maintain a private mental health practice? Terrie Browning, LPC, DCC, CFC was among the first to respond to my request for therapists to track their activities for a day to shed light on what it takes to be in private practice. Friday, the day she uses  for last minute crisis appointments, online counseling appointments, website meetings, phone consults, and runs errands, was the day she chose to track her activities.

Terrie provides in person, and online counseling, in addition to providing court testimony as part of her private practice, Alternative Therapies. Terrie is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Forensic Consultant, Distance Credentialed Counselor, and holds a Masters Degree in Science of Psychology, with specialization in Counseling Psychology.

To learn more about Terrie’s practice visit her website

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