The Business of Therapy

The Business of Therapy

The Not-So-Private Practice: A Collaborative Model For the 21st Century

By Victor Goldman

September/October 2009

Therapists struggling to maintain successful practices in today's economy must face the great occupational hazard of our profession: isolation. The circumstances of our daily work lives—the privacy of private practice—can cut us off from the sources of information and support we need to market ourselves effectively and network within our communities. For several years, I've been working with a group of therapists to create a new model of practice-development rooted in a fuller engagement within a professional community.

My foray into developing a new practice-building model grew out of my own economic necessity. My partner and I were proud owners of a professional office building that was losing its therapist tenants as the decline in the economy was making their practices shrink. Partly to keep these offices rented, we began a practice-building and networking program for "our" therapists, so they could generate enough business to stay put.

We started by offering once-a-month seminars and gradually began supplementing our mentoring, online coaching, and homework assignments with additional services and programs, such as website-building advice, listservs, marketing groups for different clinical specialties, public relations expertise, and so forth, provided by members of our network. Word of mouth increased, and therapists who weren't renting space from us were soon asking to join our network. So did other allied professionals (massage therapists,…

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