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"How To Launch A Successful Counseling Practice" will teach you step-by-step literally everything you need to know to open a private counseling or psychotherapist practice. If you are a Psychologist or LCSW, MFT or LPCC or if you want to do your internship hours in a private practice setting with a supervisor, this course will teach you about setting your fee, the best ways for clients to contact you, why your office location and its amenities are important, all of the sundry influences that go into deciding your "brand" and how to market to potential clients, networking, the benefits of teaching workshops, and the responsibilities of being an independent contractor. It's all here. And if you have any questions I'm 100% available to answer them!
Thank you very very much!
Ira Israel, LPCC, LMFT
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|Section 1: Introduction & Setting Your Fee|
Note: Currently I do not take insurance. I applied to several panels but all replied that the markets in my 2 different office zip codes were saturated and they were not taking on any new providers. Please consult other psychotherapists and counselors in your area to see if it is worthwhile to submit applications (some are up to 30 pages long).
Please see the notes in Section 4 regarding procuring your EIN number, you NPI number, and you CAQH number.
Lastly, aside from accepting personal checks and cash, it is extremely convenient to accept credit cards. I recommend using Square - their website is www.squareup.com - and I also like Paypal - www.Paypal.com - for sending invoices to people and getting paid by Skype clients.
|Section 2: Your professional telephone number and email address|
You will note that I have my telephone number prominently displayed on my website because - in my experience - people who call to make a first appointment are more likely to show up. Again, this is just my experience and I do know many psychotherapists who schedule appointments primarily through email; however, I've found that many clients who make appointments via email eventually flake (flake out) on the appointments whereas once I've spoken to a person on the phone, scheduled an appointment and then given then all of the details on where to park, etc., that they are less likely to cancel or no-show.
|Section 3: Your Office|
Here's a close up of the street that my office is on in Google Maps. I Googled "Psychotherapist 90025."
|Section 4: Legal Considerations|
It is not imperative to do these three things today, but if you plan on taking insurance then you will want to obtain an EIN which you can do easily and for free at https://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online. Then you'll want to get a National Provider ID (NPI) which you can do at https://nppes.cms.hhs.gov/NPPES/Welcome.do. And you'll also want to be in the CAQH database and get a CAQH # which must be renewed every six months: http://www.caqh.org/solutions/caqh-proview-faqs
Again, there is no imminent threat if you do not have those three numbers today, but if you plan on applying to insurance panels then I suggest you get them; also, if you are a counselor and a client employs you as an independent counselor and gives you a w-9 to fill out and then a 1099, you will want to use you EIN instead of your Social Security number.
In addition, here in California we must have our psychotherapy licenses and city business licenses displayed so if you are subleasing an office I recommend putting you psychotherapy license and city business license together in one 8'10" frame (Bed Bath & Beyond" has them for $20) so that you can carry them with you and stand up on whatever desk or table is in the office that you are subleasing when you are there.
|Section 5: Necessary documents|
1. Informed Consent
2. Informed Consent for minors
4. Suicide Agreement
5. Professional psychotherapy never includes sex pamphlet
|Section 6: Note-keeping|
www.SimplePractice.com is the software I use for note-keeping.
|Section 7: Bookkeeping|
Office expenses (phone, paper, computer, signs, etc.)
Marketing (website, Psychology Today, business cards)
Networking (restaurants, cafes)
Personal Development (classes, books, events, workshops, etc.)
Professional memberships (CAMFT), license renewal, etc.
3. Your gross income minus your expenses will be your Adjusted Gross Income
|Section 8: Marketing|
As mentioned in this clip, www.IraIsrael.com is my main website and then all of the ancillarly websites lead directly to www.IraIsrael.com.For example, here is my LinkedIn profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/ira-israel-449364
and my Facebook account https://www.facebook.com/ira.israel.5
as well as my Yelp page http://www.yelp.com/biz/ira-israel-los-angeles-2?osq=ira+israel+psychotherapist
and my Psychology Today profile https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_detail.php?profid=239682
Marketing part 2
|Section 9: Networking|
Referrals from doctors, psychiatrists, pediatricians
|Section 10: Your personal life|
Here is a random sampling of Disciplinary Actions from CAMFT's magazine "The Therapist" http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/154a6222#/154a6222/86
You may think that I may have overstated how psychotherapists are held to a higher standard than our clients but if you read the Disciplinary Actions every month I think you will be inspired to err on the side of caution.
|Section 11: Your professional life|
I strongly recommend to any LMFTs and MFTis in the state of California to join CAMFT. It's a wonderful organization and I have received thousands of dollars of free legal advice from their highly trained team of expert lawyers. Honestly, I do not know how I would have maintained my private practice as and MFTi and LMFT without the help of their attorneys - from everything such as business card promotions to stalkers to confidentiality to informed consent agreements, they have been extremely extremely helpful. www.camft.org
On the other hand, I have not found the LA Chapter of CAMFT to be particularly fruitful except for connecting with a psychotherapist who could sublease an office. If you are just starting out in Los Angeles then it may behoove you to attend one of the monthly events where you are given 30 seconds to announce to the group an offering or a need (or just introduce yourself and your services).
|Section 12: Writing articles, blogging, publishing, self-publishing books|
|Section 13: Making videos for your website|
If you don't have an iPhone 6s, which has a 12.5 megapixel camera on both sides of the phone, then I would recommend a GoPro Hero Plus for $399. The downside of the GoPro is that it is so small without the case but the case obscures the sound so you have to place it on a flat surface about 3 feet away from your face and then the sound and image are both stellar (assuming that there is no background noise). For these videos I shut my windows, unplugged my refrigerator, and shot mid-morning when traffic outside was a little calmer than it is during rush hour.
|Section 14: Podcasts|
Currently I have the podcasts in which I have been interviewed on the "Press" page of my website: http://iraisrael.com/press/
You may want to have a separate site or a separate page for podcasts.
|Section 15: Continuing Education Credits|
|Section 16: Teaching Public Workshops|
Teach Public Workshops
|Section 17: Teaching CEU Workshops|
Teach CEU Workshops
|Section 18: Facilitating Therapy Groups|
|Section 19: Being an Independent Contractor|
|Section 20: Summary|
Your To-do ListPreview
Ira Israel is a Licensed Psychotherapist, a Licensed Counselor, and a Certified Yoga Therapist. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and holds graduate degrees in Psychology, Philosophy, and Religious Studies. He is the creator of the "Meditation Made Easy" app and leads "Cultivating Meaning and Happiness through Mindfulness and Yoga" workshops at the Esalen Institute twice a year.