|Mindfulness Wendy Behary Future of Psychotherapy Clinical Excellence Gender Issues Mary Jo Barrett Trauma Diets Anxiety The Future of Psychotherapy Etienne Wenger Brain Science Symposium 2012 Couples Therapy Great Attachment Debate Clinical Mastery Mind/Body Community of Excellence Attachment Theory Men in Therapy Attachment CE Comments Alan Sroufe Narcissistic Clients Couples David Schnarch Ethics Challenging Cases William Doherty Linda Bacon|
A model for the therapy practice of the future
By Casey Truffo
I just received this e-mail from Ann, a psychotherapist in Washington State: "Casey, for the first time in my 15-year practice, I'm starting to get really scared. At first, a few clients decided to Ôtake a break' and stopped coming. Then a few more moved from weekly sessions to every other week. I've just balanced my books and realized that I'm making only half of what I did this time last year. What can I do to get my caseload back to where it was before?"
Last week, I had a call from Charlotte, a psychologist in northern California. She, too, said her caseload was down almost 50 percent: "I'm still getting calls asking if I'm taking clients," she told me, "but these calls are few and far between. When I do get new clients, they come once or twice and then realize they can't afford it. I'm starting to negotiate and lower my fees. I need to make at least enough to pay my rent. What can I do to get more clients who can afford therapy?"
The note of desperation in these e-mails is hard to miss. Ann and Charlotte aren't alone. I speak with private practitioners all over the world, and the mood out there is somber. The resounding chorus from private practitioners everywhere is the same: "This economy is killing me! I need more clients. How do I find them and get them in the door?"
Over the years, business coaches (including me) have produced an avalanche of books, articles, courses, and workshops on how to build a bigger private practice and recession-proof it. The goal of their advice is always the same: teaching therapists—traditionally allergic to doing anything that smacks of "selling" themselves—the marketing skills that'll draw more private-pay clients to their waiting rooms. The question to which therapists tirelessly address themselves and their efforts is and always has been: "What can we do to fill more private-session hours?"