The Business of Therapy

The Business of Therapy

Recession-Proofing Mantras: How to Stay Calm When Your Practice Seems to Be Under Siege

By Lynn Grodzki

March/April 2010

For therapists trying to keep their heads above water, struggling to fill their schedules with clients and show a profit every month, it's hard to see the current economic crisis as being positive in any way. But crises, by their very nature, whether personal or global, challenge us to fit old practices to new realities. As noted economist Paul Romer says, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

Coping with this recession means contemplating changes in how we do business. In fact, many small businesses improve only during bad times, when it's no longer possible to put off making necessary changes. This recession offers therapists the opportunity to reassess their position in today's mental health marketplace.

Since changing old ways of working is never easy, I encourage the therapists whom I coach to use "business mantras" to free them to think "outside the box" and develop new business strategies. Here are three such mantras that therapists who consult with me say are especially helpful for challenging tired assumptions about their practices.

"Focus on Profit, not Growth."

Bernie, a licensed counselor in central Florida, phoned me from a small beach town that he termed the recession's "ground zero." "We've had massive losses in population and jobs; it looks like a ghost town around here," he said. Desperate to boost his practice, he said, "I have a million ideas, and don't know what to do first. I'm thinking about new…

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