You have registered as a mental health professional. Perhaps you have also joined a professional association. You’re ready to ply your trade. You want to go into private practice but may not know the best way of getting started. This report discusses five steps to help you get started with your very own private practice in mental health.
Step 1: Start With Your Why:
It’s often useful to start by reflecting on the reasons why you want to go into your own private practice, and why you specifically want to work in mental health. Your answers may reflect a desire for control over how you work, the sorts of clients you choose to work with and the types of problems your clients are likely to face. Your answers may also reflect a desire for flexibility to care for a young family, pick up school-aged children or take care of aging parents.
From there, you might like to consider, where you would like to establish the practice. In so doing, you might like to consider the location of your professional rooms in relation to customer sources, proximity to referring practitioners in addition to proximity to public transport. You might also like to consider the location of premises in relation to ease of parking to both your clients and yourself.
Step 2: Locate and Furnish Your Premises:
The second step is to find your own professional assumptions. You may choose to use a home, office or retail store. You may opt to operate exclusively out of one location or you can choose to operate from several places. In either instance, you may have exclusive use of the premises or you might be sharing the rooms with other coworkers.
When you have exclusive use of the skilled rooms, you can furnish them in order to reflect your personal taste and planned professional image.
As part of the third step, you’ll have to research and obtain any applicable licenses and registrations you may need to operate a mental health private practice in your state or country. These licenses and registrations may be in addition to your certification as a mental health professional.
Secondly, you will want to obtain your own professional indemnity insurance. Your professional indemnity insurance should provide adequate cover, given the nature of the work you intend to provide. It should also include adequate public liability cover.
Finally, you will want to obtain a provider number for each place you intend to operate from. In Australia, for example, you might register for Medicare, Work Cover, Transport Accident Commission and National Disability Insurance Scheme.
At this stage, you are ready to hang up a professional sign. When you have exclusive use of the professional rooms, the appearance of the sign will be at your discretion. You may place your sign over the external face of the professional rooms. It is also possible to place a sign over your consulting room door. If you share premises with other colleagues, your sign might be of the exact same format as those of your colleagues. Your signal may also be interspersed with those of your peers in alphabetical order.
Step 5: Prepare Your Promotional Materials:
At the final step, you are prepared to promote to both prospective customers and potential referrers. It will therefore be helpful to you to prepare your own practice logo, business cards and letterhead, as well as brochures, information sheets and handouts. Down the track, you may also wish to develop your own website.
Concerning style, layout and design, you would be well-advised to keep each promotional document consistent with your intended professional image. Each promotional document will also need to be consistent with remaining promotional materials.
Concerning content, you would be well-advised to provide information about how you work with customers, what clients can expect from the services, your background and experience, hours of operation and fees.
By following the above five steps, you are well positioned to operating your very own private practice in mental health. From this point onward, it’s a matter of dividing your time between visiting clients, doing any behind-the-scenes paperwork and marketing your professional services.