8 steps to help with starting up your own Private Therapy Practice
Here at Surrey Therapy Practice, we support therapists to start up their own private practice and many therapists have successfully grown their business from scratch with us.
We offer high quality therapy rooms to rent, therapist supervision and networking, advertising on our practice website, as well as referrals for counsellors, psychologists and CBT therapists.
Here are some of our top suggestions for things to consider before getting starting out...
1. Creating an online presence
Over 88% of UK households are online, so chances are most clients will find you online. Creating a unique and professional presence online can really help you stand out from competitors and get your business off its feet. Yes, people still use the ‘old-fashion’ way of finding a therapist through business cards or word of mouth, but you cannot ignore the huge platform online representation offers.
Ensure you have a professional high standard website, promote your service on a social media page, write a blog and translate your online audience into your client list. Focus on specific client needs, know what type of people want the therapy you’re offering and then post relevant information online to reach the clients you want to speak to.
2. Find a working space
Ensuring you have a comfortable and safe space to see clients is essential. Whether you decide to work from home, online, or to rent rooms in an established practice/clinic, think about an environment that will match you and your client’s needs. Finding a private practice to join and rent a room from or sharing a space with other local practitioners can be greatly beneficial and provide you with the support, networking and clinical supervision you may need.
If you are looking to build up your client list, then joining a practice of like-minded professionals also can help with gaining new referrals.
Surrey Therapy Practice offers rooms to rent for therapists alongside a range of other therapies. Click here to find out more about joining our practice.
3. Networking and Supervision
Meeting new people in the same field of work is a great way to grow your practice.
As you have decided to take the plunge of setting up your own business, you will likely want to create sources of support around you, so you don’t feel too isolated.
Find out where local therapists are working near you, join LinkedIn (where you can contact other professionals nearby), and even meet with other practitioners for coffee, seeing if they want to make connections too. Having a small group of like-minded and experienced professionals around you to share resources, challenges and local knowledge can allow you to feel part of a community and less isolated in your journey.
You can also contact local GPs, psychiatrists and different types of therapists in the area to see if they’re interested in building cross-referral links.
Find a good supervisor experienced in the private sector who can support you with your clinical work as well as mentor you in the process of developing your private practice.
Our lead psychologists at Surrey Therapy Practice offer supervision and business advice to other Psychologists and CBT therapists working locally. Click here to find out about networking with us.
4. Register with the Private Health Insurance companies as a therapy provider
There are several major Health Insurance companies which some professions, such as Psychologists and CBT Therapists, can register with to grow their practice and get referral, e.g., BUPA, AVIVA, AXA PPP, Vitality, WPA. You can contact these companies directly to become registered and they will add you to their list of providers that clients can then access via their insurance policy.
Set your fees at a sustainable level from the outset – it can be hard to change your rates with insurance companies at a later point. You can also set up a profile on the Private Practice Register via Health code and you can also invoice all the health insurance companies here.
5. Indemnity Insurance, Registrations and DBS Checks
Check you are registered with the right professional body to match the services you are offering to give clients peace of mind, e.g., BABCP, BPS, HCPC, BACP, etc.
You can sometimes advertise your practice through your professional body and they may have special interest groups for private practitioners which can also offer support and guidance.
Ensure you also have a robust Professional Indemnity Insurance policy in place to practice safely and your professional body can advise on recommended providers.
Consider getting an up-to-date DBS check to show clients that you consider safety an important factor in your practice. You can join the BPS and arrange a check through them for a fee.
6. Policies and Data Protection
As you are working privately you must write your own policies to cover issues such as data protection, appointment cancellations and therapy contracts.
It is important that you to register with the ICO to declare that you collect and store sensitive information. It also important to have a written therapy contract or agreement to show your clients. This is to set clear expectations at the outset of appointments, ensuring they understand issues around the therapy process, appointment fees and cancellations, and confidentiality. Also consider creating a social media policy if you are going to be using those platforms to market your business online.
7. Business planning and fees
This may not always come naturally as therapists, but you need to do some rough business planning and costings at the outset, considering what fees you will charge based on room rent, professional fees, your time, etc. Create a business plan and think about where you would like to be two or five years from now.
Research the range of fees therapists currently charge in your local area and factor in your experience in terms of what your offer clients. Will you offer a range of fees or fix your fees the same for everyone? Look at your incoming and outcomings and try to balance them. You can always increase the price of sessions with the more experience you gain.
You should value your work and the quality of your service you provide, (even if you are just starting out) so try to set pricing to what you feel makes you and the client happy. Planning and setting out finances right from the start will help you in the long run.
8. Make time for admin and CPD
Don’t forget to factor in time for the admin side of running your practice. Keep a good track of your accounts from the outset and keep on top of payments from clients. Also, create time for your ongoing private practice Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
This is important in keeping your experience and skills up to date for your clients and helping you feel connected to other therapists in your field. Developing and learning can be done through many different activities such as attending seminars or online events, reading current articles, specialist-interest groups, peer support groups and reviewing and writing your own articles.
The (HCPC) Health Care and Professionals Council offers the support with professional development for members by offering a system for recording CPD. Remember some professions’ CPD may be audited!
We invite you to join with like-minded clinicians and experts at our private clinic, Surrey Therapy Practice. Our high-quality therapy rooms are available to rent, and we have a supportive environment for new and experienced therapists.
If you would like to see our rooms or learn more about becoming an associate, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our website here and connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Special Group for Independent Practitioners | BPS
Independent Practitioners SIG (babcp.com)
Registration self-assessment | ICO
Register to maintain and manage your practising capabilities (theppr.org.uk)