Starting a Private Practice
Support teams for therapists in private practice
Building and sustaining a private therapy practice is a lot of work. As a solopreneur, it can be exhausting to take care of all of the needs of your private practice. You cannot be the expert on everything needed in your counseling practice. A proper professional support team for therapists will provide relief and decrease burnout, but it will also help to ensure that tasks and responsibilities are completed accurately and safely. In other words, when you take it all on yourself, you can place your practice, your clients, your team, and your livelihood at risk.
Who offers professional support for therapists?
A support team can vary based on your strengths, knowledge and abilities. Some therapists may need IT support whereas others may know exactly what to do when technology malfunctions. Some therapists may enjoy bookkeeping tasks and others may dread opening their bookkeeping program. This article will discuss some of the important players for your support team.
Legal support for therapists
Just as a therapist specializes in mental health, attorneys specialize in advising you regarding all things legal. Consulting with an attorney can protect you from making a poor or even costly decision for your practice.
Some legal advisors to consider include:
- Employment lawyer: This lawyer can advise on hiring employees and contractors. They should have knowledge of state-specific laws regarding labor laws, compensation, contracts, and other issues related to your employees and/or contractors.
- Business lawyer: This type of attorney can guide you regarding establishing your business and legal needs related to your practice. Some business attorneys specialize in working with therapists in private practice.
- Trademark and copyright attorneys: If you grow in your practice and want to trademark or copyright any proprietary information, you could use an attorney to help you with these related matters.
Financial support for therapists
Creating a financial support team can save you from costly mistakes. Depending on your knowledge, experience and interests, you may consider doing your own bookkeeping. Taxes, however, can be very complicated when running a business. Utilizing an accountant or tax preparer will likely save you time and money.
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Bookkeeping support for therapists
A bookkeeper will review your banking and financial transactions and enter them into your bookkeeping software. They work to balance your books, reconcile your transactions, and organize the reports and information that your accountant would need for taxes. A bookkeeper can help you remain up to date on your books and remove the stress and time you would be spending on bookkeeping.
Accountant or tax support for therapists
Your tax preparer will take care of preparing and filing your taxes. Depending on the business structure of your practice, you will likely have business and personal taxes to file. The tax preparer is knowledgeable in tax laws and regulations which should ensure that you are filing your taxes correctly. They might even offer you guidance related to the finances of your business.
Assistant support for therapists
Many therapists feel reluctant to utilize an assistant. Some therapists worry about spending the money on recruiting and payroll, taking the time to train an assistant, or have the thoughts of “I can do it just as quickly and better myself.” Adding an assistant to your practice team can save you time and money. You will need to take time in the beginning to train and onboard an assistant. Once you finish the initial process, an assistant can save you time doing the tasks that interfere with seeing clients or spending time with your family after hours.
An assistant can be virtual or someone who comes into the office to work. Some therapists may choose to hire a full-time assistant, a part-time assistant, or assign certain tasks and projects to be completed as needed.
An assistant can help ensure smoother operations in your practice by:
- Answering phones
- Returning phone calls
- Entering client information into the practice management system or electronic health record
- Greeting clients upon arrival for their appointments
- Processing payments
- Submitting claims
- Writing correspondence as needed
- Ensuring clients have completed all necessary paperwork
- Paying bills
- Working on any special projects
- Answering emails
Technical support for therapists
It is very easy to become overwhelmed by technology. When your technology has problems, it can interfere with all kinds of things in your practice. It can even stop you from seeing clients when you have telehealth sessions.
Depending on your knowledge, comfort, and time, you may want to consider developing a relationship with an IT support professional who you can call for help when needed. The IT specialist would service you on an as-needed basis, answering questions you may have, and make any needed repairs or recommendations.
Some ways an IT support specialist can help you in your practice include:
- Setting up any new technology in your office
- Transferring data, etc., when you purchase new technology
- Offering training on various programs and apps
- Virus removal
- Repairing technology when needed
- Offering guidance on purchasing new equipment, software, etc.
- Assisting with cell phone or mobile-related issues
Additional support for therapists
As you grow your practice, there are many other supports to consider adding to your team. It can help to keep some type of a list or spreadsheet as you meet people in your community or learn about supports that have served others well.
Some areas to consider include:
- Graphic designer
- Billing agency
- Website developer
- Social media management
- Peer consultation
- Office cleaning
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How to find your private practice support team
Now that you have this list of people to consult, how in the world do you find them? How do you know who is the right person to add to your team? Getting a referral from someone you trust can be a great starting point.
Ask people you know who does their taxes? Who do they use as a business attorney? Do you have a great assistant who could work some hours for me as well?
If you attend any networking events or follow any online communities, you can ask in those locations. You can search out therapy-related social media groups and post a question to the group. Many therapy related podcasts hosts have affiliate links and recommendations for support for therapists as well. If you do your homework on a support, then adding this person to your team can save you time and money.
Along with hiring professional support for services, EHR and practice management software like TheraPlatform can save therapists time. It can free you up to see more clients, dedicate time to practice growth, and have more free time to spend with your friends and family. They also offer a 30-day free trial with no credit card required. Cancel anytime.