Understanding How to Start a Private Therapy Practice

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The American Psychological Association says that more than half of therapists are in solo practice today. Private therapy practice comes with unique challenges, but the rewards often outweigh the challenges endured. In 2020, about 55.8 million American adults sought counseling. This underscores great potential in the business. Furthermore, the advisory services of experts like Strategique Partners make it easier to go solo. This blog will help you navigate stepwise to understand how to start a private therapy practice. 

Do you intend to venture into the therapy practice in private capability? If yes, you will be interested in our program development support, or you can contact us directly here.


What is Private Practice in Counseling or Private Therapy Practice?

Private counseling practice means working independently as a mental health professional to engage with clients directly. This form of practice has the following unique features that differentiate it from agency counseling:

  1. Greater control on scheduling
  2. Control over client intake
  3. Fees Identification
  4. Autonomy over the capital generated
  5. Freedom of spending on expansion of services

Suffice it to say that private therapy practice is like your own business, where you can exercise more control than working for an agency. This is the key difference between the two forms of therapy practice.

Benefits of Opening a Private Practice in Counseling

Its characteristic feature of affording you greater control and liberty is its biggest benefit. You exercise more freedom in making choices and decisions about your operations and business than working for anyone else. There are additionally some other benefits as well, which we have written here:

  1. Flexibility in Scheduling 
  2. Liberty in Setting Appointments
  3. Better Earning Potential
  4. Self Accountability
  5. Greater Decision Making Power

Such benefits and countless others help you offset the challenges in private practice. 

Steps to Start Your Therapy Practice

If you have graduated from an accredited school and have relevant subjects and necessary supervision, you can choose to enter into the rewarding business of private practice. Apart from a degree, you must consider the following aspects to open and sustain your business as a private practitioner.

1. Identify Your Area and Target Audience

It will always help your business if you target a specific area and gain expertise in that. With a deeper understanding of a niche in mental health, you are better suited to intervene effectively, get better results, and establish credibility. You can gain expertise in either of the areas and target a specific client base:

  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Specific Communities like War Veterans, Minorities
  • Specific Age Group

All these are covered in our program development.

2. Develop a Business Plan

Business planning is a must in starting any sort of mental health business today because it serves as a blueprint for your practical steps, vision, and finance allocation. It showcases how well-prepared you are from a business standpoint before starting your practice. If you seek external financing opportunities, you must convince them through a business plan. Similarly, a business plan also charts out your development and growth strategy. Therefore, it is one of the first things you must develop.

3. Acquire a Location Having Good Demand for Your Services

At this stage, you know your target audience and specific area to target. You also know your amount for various segments when opening your business. These two deciding factors will be your guiding stars in finding a place. An ideal place for private therapy practice should necessarily have two characteristics:

  1. Need for Services for the Identified Niche
  2. Within Stipulated Budget

Strategique Partners’ real estate services add a third bonus feature to the place it finds for you: ease of accessibility for your clients. Being easily found and in a prime location is another way of marketing you to new clients. This is why we target it.

4. Research Legal and Regulatory Requirements

Legal and regulatory requirements can only be researched after finalizing the place because they vary from place to place. It is a huge challenge to understand what legal certificates and licensing you must earn before starting up. We realize how difficult it can be for a startup to get a behavioral health license successfully. You may not require help in other aspects, but you will surely need assistance from experts in:


  1. Licensing
  2. Accreditation
  3. Regulatory


 Comparison between private practice and agency counseling
Characteristics of private practice and agency counseling


5. Find Funding Prospects

You can find numerous financing options for a mental health business. Government funds, research grants, corporate sector financing, mental health organizations and others can be secured as the practice is encouraged more with increasing awareness. A robust business plan can get you funding for your business.

6. Plan for Cost Allocation and Financial Management

You must spend wisely, especially when starting your mental health business. As a private therapy practitioner, it becomes more important for you to do financial planning as your professional success hinges on your startup. You will do the following things:

  1. Plan and outline a budget
  2. Project all expenses and 
  3. Decide how much you will charge for services

Financial management can become tough for you. You can look for software services to keep your accounts. Similarly, you can get our financial services.

7. Develop a Strategy to Operate

Another aspect that you need to plan is your day-to-day operations. From client onboarding and care dispensation to payment and bill clearance, you must take care of many daily affairs. This can become a hassle for a single person. It will be handy to have a small team to take care of your business’s operational aspects. Therefore, our operational services include staffing, billing, and outcome management. 

8. Engage with Relevant Referral Sources

A good source of earning clients is referrals from other organizations. You must make good contacts with communities where your services are spoken of, and relevant clients are referred to you. Referrals can be earned from some of these sources:

  1. Primary Care Physicians
  2. Directory Listings
  3. Mental Health Awareness Conferences
  4. Other Mental Health Professionals

9. Devise a Marketing Strategy

Lastly, you must consolidate your company startup efforts through a robust marketing strategy. Without a good marketing campaign, you will risk jeopardizing your hard work in the above-mentioned domains. Digital marketing today helps you find out online. Clients rely on online platforms to make decisions about the services they need. Therefore, you can entrust your marketing efforts to digital marketing & SEO services of experts like Strategique Partners.

Start Your Therapy Practice With Strategique Partners

Strategique Partners is a team of experts which specializes in behavioral health business consultancy. We help you with mergers and acquisitions, financial valuations, and company development. However, as a private therapy practitioner, you will be interested in our program development, preparations to launch, and turn-key solutions. You will be interested in knowing how our services will benefit you. Here are some of the features that separate us from the pack:

  1. Special Advisory on Clients and Market Expectations
  2. Research and Innovation Integration
  3. Special Focus on Client Retention



FAQs About Private Therapy Practice

We have answered a few commonly asked questions about private therapy practice here for your deeper understanding and analysis.

What Is the Best Way to Start a Private Counseling Practice?

First, you will need to identify your target client base and niche. Then, decide on your budgeting, property acquisition, and marketing according to your client’s expectations and requirements. This is the best way to approach a new private counseling practice.

What Does One Need to Know about Starting a Psychotherapy Private Practice?

One needs to know about legal and regulatory requirements, listings in online directories, referral sources, financing options, and demographic demands of services. Knowledge about all these aspects will help you find a solid foundation for your private therapy practice, which will help you make your business successful and sustainable. 

What Is Difference Between Agency Counseling and Private Therapy Practice?

Private therapy refers to the practice of mental health professionals who work independently. Agency counseling involves practitioners who work with some mental health service providers. The difference is the liberty one exercises in practicing privately and working under an organizational setup. 


Private Therapy Practice Expert

From Author

The liberty that private therapy practice offers you is unparalleled. It is the most attractive feature as you are free to take your business whichever way you want to. With flexible client intake and appointment scheduling, you can set your priorities. However, in my career as a private therapy business expert, I see better-earning potential as its most valuable feature. You are an employee of the company as an agency therapy practitioner with little freedom in decision-making. This makes it easier to choose between practicing privately and practicing under a company. I always keep encouraging professionals to go for their private practice. However, the main hurdle they think is setting it up and mitigating the risks. This is because they do not consider it from a business point of view and do not see how these challenges are in actuality great opportunities to fill in a huge market gap. It is a humble effort from our side to encourage you with our consultancy services. Let us minimize the risks for you.


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