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|Harnessing the Winds of Change - Page 9|
When there's demand for a specific method, a practitioner can charge a full fee. One therapist in the Washington, D.C., area says that 50 percent of her referrals come from the website of Imago Relationship International (Harville Hendrix's method of couples counseling). She considers these "educated consumers" some of her best clients, because they come ready for therapy. "They want a therapist using the Imago method because they've read Harville's book or seen him on Oprah, and the fact that I don't accept managed care isn't a factor. They want the method I offer," she says. She charges $150 for a 60-minute couples therapy session, and gives a 10-percent discount for prepayment of 12 sessions. She's tried to add other couples methods to her mix, but few have had the same draw, so she primarily sticks with the Imago process.
Career Components. To diversify their practices, therapists are adding additional roles to their services. The most profitable diversification separates roles on tracks: imagine each role as a train, on its own track, able to chart its own direction. For example, clinical services are on one track, with their own budget, marketing plan, and client base; consulting services are on another, with a separate website, network, and budget. The services that therapists add often revolve around what's needed in a corporate setting: executive coaching, management consulting, and team building and other business training seem to be popular and profitable roles for therapists who retool their clinical skills for the corporate culture. Building a market in a corporate setting means networking with the trusted advisers who make referrals to executives and CEOs, and with other professionals within organizations with links to the corporate world, such as the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). Some therapists are diversifying into nonbusiness settings, such as courtrooms, where they work as expert witnesses and mediators. Diversifying into alternative services intrigues some therapists, who've become part-time acupuncturists, meditation instructors, personal trainers, or life and spiritual coaches.
One therapist in California taught systems family therapy at a local community college in addition to seeing families in her private practice. When a member of her class asked her about the in-fighting within her family's business, she made suggestions based on her Bowenian training, and soon found herself hired to help sort out the dynamics interfering with the founder and his family. Now she specializes in family business consulting. Her services include structuring family governance, developing succession plans, and one-on-one "shadow coaching," during which she spends a day in the life of a founder of a family business, to get a better sense of what's happening on the ground. She charges $2,500 per day, a standard management-consulting fee, and says one-third of her practice time is spent with these clients. Her income from consulting, when added to her more traditional psychotherapy services, has allowed her to gross more than $100,000 per year.