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  • Writer's pictureAvivit Fisher

What Therapists Neglect to Do for Their Private Practice Success


How to avoid provider burnout by recognizing business opportunities for a private practice

As I was scanning the news of the mental health industry, I was preparing to write this post about business opportunities. Technology companies have been developing extremely fast in the last couple of years and many have been receiving generous funding from investors.


Just yesterday I saw an ad for Headway, a software company that handles insurance claims for therapists. This software company brought in over 100M in funding.


Google is also tapping into the industry by bringing a top executive from Headspace, Megan Jones Bell.

"She will be overseeing Google's approach to mental and behavioral health and leading a team of clinicians and health experts who support a number of the tech giant's consumer products, according to a Google spokesperson. Bell will start her new position this week."

Noticing the trend?


Tech companies are recognizing opportunities in this tremendous need for mental health services. But this is not what I want to talk to you about today.


I want to discuss the business of your private practice and its weaknesses.


The current "tsunami" of demand for mental health services, provider burnout, and staff shortage is showing us our ugly weaknesses. We are witnessing the weakness in our society, the healthcare industry but also in the private practice businesses.

 

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What Google and Headway are doing is seeing this crisis from the "user perspective". Obviously, technology companies are trained to do just that.


Mental health providers are not.


Therapists are looking at their businesses through the lens of the services that they can provide. Read any book on private practice building and you will notice that the content is being presented to build a mental health practice, not necessarily a vision for a sustainable business. A business that is strategically seeking out opportunities.


Developing a strategy for a sustainable business requires us to look at the big picture, assess our strengths but also our weaknesses. As someone who went to business school, I can assure you that a SWOT analysis is one of the first exercises they teach us to assess a business, imaginary or real. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.


When we are not looking at our weaknesses, we are in danger of missing out on threats and opportunities outside the control of our business.


This brings us to what is happening today. A crisis.


Private practitioners are overworked with a high percentage of burnout reported. Emergency workers are not trained to deal with the growing number of mental health emergency calls. And kids' mental health is declared a national emergency.


I'm not putting this crisis on the shoulders of private practitioners. It's a societal problem and a human problem of not wanting to look at our weaknesses. It's much more fun and exciting to acknowledge our strengths.


But it's also a symptom of starting and growing a private practice. Not noticing the big picture outside the industry, not really focusing on communication with people who are not professional therapists, and not trying to see the opportunities to optimize the time and reach more people through marketing and technology.


So what do you do now?


Well, this is the time to wake up and see that the old way of only trading time for money is not sustainable for you, the provider, nor the person who's working with you.


You can look around and see the speed in the way technology is changing this industry and analyze how you can create a business advantage for your private practice with the changes that are going on.


Or maybe you will realize that your in-person services are becoming even more valuable and need to be presented as such.


It's your choice, but it will require you to look at the big picture and be honest about your weaknesses.


And let me know in the comments how do you feel about the changes in the industry now. How are you adjusting your practice?




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