Licensed Professional Counselor

Top 10 Websites for Building Your Private Practice

Top 10 Websites
Top 10 Websites

Like any worthwhile endeavor, building a successful private practice takes a lot of work, time, and know-how. So why not consult the experts? Here's a list of 10 of the best websites (listed in no particular order) to help you do just that:

1) Zur Institute

Drawing from his 20+ years of experience, Dr. Ofer Zur gives insight on virtually all aspects of the field of psychotherapy and the mental health profession, including practice building and continuing education. He offers practical resources on such topics as using a newsletter for marketing and how to deal with collections agencies. Many of Dr. Zur's publications and packages have a set price, but he does give some free articles and videos.

2) Private Practice From the Inside Out

Tamara G. Suttle, M.Ed., LPC has run a private clinical practice since 1991 and wants to share her secrets to success. She includes tips on blogging, how to build your website, and marketing your practice. Her site is very interactive, as you can submit your own questions and also have the potential to contribute a guest post.

3) Practice of the Practice

Joe Sanock, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC, is committed to making counselors awesome by sharing the business and social media info that he's acquired in his years of private practice. He covers a wide variety of topics, such as how to use Wordpress and Bluehost to build your own site, finding your niche as a therapist, and how to use Google Keyword Planner to rank higher in search engines. Joe also runs a very successful podcast where he discusses even more tricks of the trade. He even discloses his monthly income report and shows exactly how he has managed to increase his earnings through his side professional activities.

4) Zynny Me

Miranda Palmer, LMFT and Kelly Higdon, LMFT are no-nonsense experts in all things private practice! Become part of their Business Bootcamp, where a community of clinicians offer their experience and support to help each other (re)examine beliefs concerning money and private ownership, create a business vision, and build a sturdy foundation to grow into a thriving psychotherapy practice!

5) Get Down to Business Consulting

Cathy Hanville, LCSW knows that being a great psychotherapist is not enough, and she offers consulting to help you take your business to the next level. By reviewing your social media campaign, helping you streamline your billing procedures to make them more efficient, and helping you get started with blogging, Cathy can guide you on how to market and manage your practice to expand your outreach and create a robust practice.

6) The Counselor Entrepreneur

When Camille McDaniel, LPC, CPCS first started out in private practice, she worked long hours without a clear vision of her own. Once she educated herself on marketing, business skills, and how to develop multiple income streams, she was able to have more creative control of her practice and find more fulfillment in her work. Her goal with "The Counselor Entrepreneur" is to help other counselors tap into their own creativity and use it to help others.

7) Be a Wealthy Therapist

Building upon the principles she gives in her book, Casey Truffo spills the beans on all things related to becoming financially well-off as a therapist. She tells how to attract full-fee clients, how to change a negative or inaccurate mindset that hurts your practice, and how to increase your income when you're already capped out with clients.

8) Perfected Practice

Samara Stone, LCSW and founder of The Stone Foundation built her own practice from the ground up. Wanting to help others replicate the success that she herself has had, Samara shares valuable information and tips about the importance of networking with other professionals in the field, how to work hard in building your practice without burning out, and best practices for selecting administrative staff.

9) Heart of Business

Founder Mark Silva understands the dilemma of wanting to make a difference in people's lives but also realistically needing to earn a living. Though not specific to the mental health profession, Heart of Business seeks to help entrepreneurs run their businesses in such a way that they can serve their clients while still meeting their own needs. You can receive small-group coaching for personalized attention and support, or you can subscribe to a free newsletter to get tips and strategies delivered to your inbox.

10) Private Practice Toolbox

This list would be incomplete without the very website you are reading right now! I love the opportunity to share with my tribe the lessons that I have learned since founding my own practice in 2002, but I think the real strength of Private Practice Toolbox is that it's all about you! We crowd-source through social media to generate inquiries, ideas, and input about all things related to private practice. We also highlight and celebrate those who've found success, who then share their secrets with the rest of us.

What blogs/ sites have helped YOU

learn and grow your practice?

(Click herefor a list of top 10 book resources!)

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Adventures In Private Practice: Psychotherapist and Art Therapist Amy Tatsumi, LPC

Tell me a little about your practice... I am a board certified art therapist, licensed professional counselor and psychotherapist in Washington, DC. I see clients across the lifespan and specialize in working with Women Who Do Too Much.  I also see therapists in training and provide post graduate and post license supervision.  Through the creative process and talking, clients learn to connect their hearts and minds to live more wholeheartedly.

Amy TatsumiWhy did you decide to open a private practice? 

I had a small private practice for a number of years while also working a full time job in public mental health.  After having my daughter and living in Japan for some time last year, I new that I needed a better work life balance.  In the summer of 2012, I decided to take the leap and step into the arena.  My mantra continues to be that things are happening in the right time and right way for my business.

Clients that therapists find to be the most “difficult” are sometimes the ones who can teach them the most. What have you learned from your toughest clients?

Some of the most challenging clients that I worked with were very angry and rightly so.  Underneath the anger was deep shame and fear.  This story  from Pema Chodron is one of the most special gifts those clients taught me: How To Defeat Fear: Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”

What's your biggest pet peeve about private practice?

As with any new business, I would say mine is the growing pains.  I work in a heavily saturated mental health provider community.  I believe that there are enough clients for every provider.  Focusing on  building relationships in the community has been helpful to counterbalance the growing pains.

How did you discover or develop your practice “niche”?

I know that many women are caught in many double binds and in the never enough culture.  Whether you a 20 something, single woman, a divorced working mother, a stay at home mother, a widow, or another woman in transition, I know that many women use people pleasing, perfectionism, numbing, and performing as a means of connecting, navigating relationships and settings, and as a guidepost for self worth.  In my practice, women learn to use their own heart~body~mind wisdom to meet and respond to destructive covert messages and to life's patterns and challenges, as well as value themselves and their thoughts, feelings and opinions.

In 2012, I started Dr. Brene Brown's Connections Certification process and provide a variety of related offerings.  The offering are especially supportive for adults and teenagers who feel stuck, unworthy, and never good enough and those who struggle with perfectionism.

What resource (book, website, person) helped you the most when setting up your private practice?

Relationships with individuals and communities have really been the foundation for this start up phase of my private practice.  In Washington, DC, Jennifer Kogan started a network "DC Therapists Moms" for parents and people who would like to have children who are in the mental health profession.  It is truly a supportive and thoughtful community with over 400 members.  On Facebook, Julie Hanks's group, "Private Practice Toolbox" has be helpful for national and international brainstorming and information sharing.  Lynn Grodzki's book, 12 Months to Your Ideal Private Practice: A Workbook is a book that I cannot recommend enough.  It has practical and creative strategies to strengthen your practice from all perspectives.  Derek Halpern's blog : Social Triggers is direct and effective too.

What has surprised you most about being in private practice?

In the public mental health community, I had strong relationships, but my area of expertise for almost 10 years was in trauma and attachment.  In private practice, I have had start the relationship building process again, especially with securing referral sources. I have been filled with gratitude for my initial referral and cross referral sources.

Has your private practice helped you grow professionally?

Being a small business owner has reconnected me with parts of myself that I never knew.  At each point of developing my practice, I am having to acquire new skills from social media marketing to the business side of the practice to going through Dr. Brene Brown's Connections Certification process.

Has it helped you grow personally, too?

Finding the work life balance has been really been wonderful.  I am more present in my relationships and have more time for myself.  It takes work, but it is well worth it.

Being a therapist can be emotionally exhausting. What do you do to care for your own emotional and psychological health?

Finding time to just be is really restorative for me. Being an art therapist, I do try to make art regularly.  The creative process is centering for me.  Yoga Nidra is a form of meditation that I use.  I also love to be in nature, cook, practice yoga, and enjoy time with my family and friends.

How do you cope with the inevitable stressors involved with being your own boss? 

I remember that failure is a necessary part of the creative and learning processes.  I see the failures as bumps in the road and try not to get stuck there.  People rarely get it right on the first try.  To find the best solution, one must keep trying with new approaches and strategies.

What personal strengths have helped you succeed in private practice? 

I believe in this work from a very core place.  I have witnessed so many lives changed, perspectives shift and relationships repaired and healed.  Staying grounded in the why I do this work keeps me in focused.

For more information on Amy's practice visit Join my Toolbox 2013 Therapist Blog Challenge and strengthen your online presence!

Adventures In Private Practice: Family Counselor Barbara Flor, LPC

Just six months ago Pennsylvania licensed professional counselor Barbara Flor opened her private practice. What inspired Barbara to take the leap into being her own boss? What challenges and joys has she experienced in the process? Read on.

Tell me a little about your practice…

I am a sole practitioner with an office in my home, in Mechanicsville, Pennsylvania.  I live on several acres surrounded by tranquil farms and tree-lined properties, so it’s a very peaceful, private setting.  I provide individual, family and group counseling for children, teens and adults with an emphasis on improving interpersonal relationships and family dynamics.  My years of experience as a school counselor, educator and victim’s rights advocate, gives me strong insight into issues affecting women, children and families as a whole.

Why did you decide to open a private practice?

I started my practice about 6 months ago, after years of dreaming, planning and procrastinating.  When my children were in college and I was an official “empty-nester”, I realized it was now or never.  I have been in the field of counseling and education for over 20 years, mostly working for schools and colleges, but I also volunteered my time at a victim’s assistance agency and became trained as a sexual assault counselor.  I have a passion for issues that impact women and children.   Owning a private practice allows me to concentrate on that passion.

Clients that therapists find to be the most “difficult” are sometimes the ones who can teach them the most. What have you learned from your toughest clients?

I have learned patience, empathy, flexibility and honesty. There is usually a reason people are the way they are.  Who am I to say that if I lived their life, in their environment, with the experiences they have endured, that I would be any different.  They are doing the best they can with the hand they’ve been dealt.  I need to do the best I can to help them with that and sometimes that means being honest and saying, “I’m feeling stuck, frustrated, can we move past this?”  With children, this can be even more difficult.  It’s imperative to meet the child on his or her developmental level and attempt to move forward from there in a manner that works for that child.  That may involve books, games, play, art, or talk therapy.

What’s your biggest pet peeve about private practice?

My biggest pet peeve in private practice is dealing with insurance.  I hope to someday become a private pay practice, but have found it is difficult to get started in my area without taking insurance.  I am competing with many other therapists who accept insurance.  I am on a few panels and am working consistently to get approved by more.  It is time consuming to do this and to do all the paperwork required to get paid.

How did you discover or develop your practice “niche”?

My passion is working with women and children.  While I do have several clients that fit in this “niche”, I also work with couples and families. I have to say I do enjoy the variety as well.  Many issues that affect women and children also affect couples and families, so the skills I have acquired over the years are helpful with all the populations I serve.  For many clients it comes down to relationships - relationships between parent and child, husband and wife, siblings, and other loved ones and significant others. We all have the basic need to feel loved, respected and to have a sense of safety, security and belonging.

What resource (book, website, person) helped you the most when setting up your private practice?

The Internet has been the overall, best source of help in my endeavor.  Between LinkedIn groups and Facebook groups for private practitioners, as well as numerous online resources and continuing education opportunities, I have massive amounts of information at my fingertips.  Specifically, Julie Hanks’ Facebook group, “Private Practice Toolbox” was the first resource I sought out and it helped me immensely.  I felt very comfortable and welcome in this group.  The members are kind and knowledgeable and are always there with helpful advice.  From there, I learned about other groups on LinkedIn, as well as books, websites and other people who have helped me along the way.  Joseph Sanok, a member of the “Private Practice Toolbox” Facebook group, helped me with the resources I needed to create my own website.  And many other members encouraged me to start a blog.  I could not have done all that I have in the last six months without these helpful, knowledgeable profession also.  It also hasn’t hurt to have a husband who is a financial guru.

What has surprised you most about being in private practice?

I am most surprised that I find being in private practice so fulfilling.  I truly love spending time in, and working on, my practice.  It is my “baby” and as they say, “If you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life”.

Has your private practice helped you grow professionally?

I have learned so much about myself as a professional and the things I am capable of doing.  It has given me the self-confidence to continue moving forward, even on the rough days.

Has it helped you grow personally, too?

Personally, it is a great feeling to know you are a professional who can earn a living doing something you love.

Being a therapist can be emotionally exhausting. What do you do to care for your own emotional and psychological health?  

Walk. Laugh. Love. I love to walk.  I try my best to walk at least 30 minutes a day, preferably outside if weather permits.  I love to laugh.  It is true that laughter is often the best medicine.  I make sure to try and laugh everyday, whether by watching enjoyable television shows, funny movies, or connecting with family and friends, I can feel the stress leaving my body when I laugh.  I recommend this to my clients as well.

How do you cope with the inevitable stressors involved with being your own boss?

I have had some very difficult jobs in my life.  When I am having a particularly difficult day, I think of those former challenges.   So far, nothing in private practice has been as stressful as some of those experiences!

What personal strengths have helped you succeed in private practice?

I have a strong business background consisting of an undergraduate degree in business, combined with experience working in business and with business start-ups.  This has been very helpful.  A private practice is a business.  Graduate school in the mental health field does not prepare you for the business side of private practice.  If you don’t have those skills, it is imperative that you get them, or find someone who can help you.

In addition, I have a very strong work ethic.  I am disciplined, responsible, and organized.  I have always lived by the motto, “Work first, play second.”  This has served me well.

 For more information about Barbara's private practice visit


Adventures In Private Practice: Play Therapist Pam Dyson, LPC, RPT

"I provide practical solutions to child behavior problems," says Pam Dyson, LPC, RPT of St. Louis. What parent couldn't use some practical solutions?

As a child development expert, parenting coach, licensed professional counselor and registered play therapist, Dyson is clear about her mission to help children and families through play therapy and parent coaching. Learn more about Dyson's private practice journey, how she manages the ebb and flow of income impacted by the school year sessions, and how play plays a role in her own self-care.

Why did you decide to open a private practice?

I entered graduate school in mid-life with the goal of opening a private practice. Having been an early childhood educator for many years I knew there was a need in my geographic area for a therapist specializing in working with children 3-10 years of age.

I knew how to reach my target audience and I knew there was a market for additional specialized services such as consulting and coaching.  I also wanted the freedom to set my own hours. I knew that only by having my own practice would I be able to achieve all of those goals.

Clients that therapists find to be the most "difficult" are sometimes the ones who can teach them the most. What have you learned from your toughest clients?

Young children with challenging behavior problems try the patience of parents and caregivers and can be challenging for therapists. The younger the child, the less they have the ability to express their feelings and their needs.  Play therapy gives a child the freedom to express their feelings through toys and play materials.

By being with a child and observing their play I gain an understanding of what the child needs. Once a child is heard and understood we can begin implementing strategies to meet the child’s needs and overcome challenging behaviors.  Understanding the child from the child’s perspective is the key to the process.

What's your biggest pet peeve about private practice?

The unpredictability of steady income. There are cycles when I’m busy and when I’m not.  Mine is related to the school year. When school is not in session during the summer and holiday breaks children are not being brought to therapy. My busiest times of year are in the fall after school starts and after the winter break. I supplement my income with consulting services to schools and other professionals, parent coaching and play therapy training to mental health professionals.

How did you discover or develop your practice "niche"?

I was an early childhood educator before I became a therapist. When I enrolled in graduate school I knew I wanted to work with children using play therapy. I took course work related to counseling children, completed an internship at an agency specializing in child therapy and attended seminars and workshop specific to play therapy. Once I was licensed and opened my practice I already had a solid skill base as a play therapist. Having been a teacher I also had the skills necessary to work collaboratively with parents. It was a natural fit.

What resource (book, website, person) helped you the most when setting up your private practice?

I stumbled across an article by Lynn Grodski in Psychotherapy Networker Magazine that inspired me to pursue private practice. I felt she addressed my questions realistically so I read more of her writings and subscribed to her email newsletter.

What has surprised you most about being in private practice?

How much I enjoy every aspect from seeing clients to paying the bills. I anticipated not enjoying the routine, mundane tasks but I take pride in overseeing every detail.

Has your private practice helped you grow professionally? How so?

I’ve gained a lot of experience as a play therapist and two years ago I put those skills into training other therapists in the modality of play therapy by founding the St. Louis Center for Play Therapy Training.  As an approved provider of continuing education for the Association of Play Therapy I offer training opportunities for mental health professionals who are pursing credentialing as a registered play therapist.  As word of the quality of my trainings has spread I’m receiving requests to bring play therapy training to locations across the country.

Has it helped you grow personally, too? How so?

I’ve gained a lot of self-confidence not only in my ability to provide quality therapeutic services but in my ability to manage the business side of my practice. Presenting at conferences and seminars has helped me develop public speaking skills.

Being a therapist can be emotionally exhausting. What do you do to care for your own emotional and psychological health?

When I lock client files in the file cabinet at the end of the day I symbolically lock away my emotional connection to them as well. It ensures I don’t take my work home with me. I make it a priority to do things that are fun and playful such as listening to music, going to concerts and making handcrafted items. It would be challenging to be an effective play therapist if I didn’t make time to play.

How do you cope with the inevitable stressors involved with being your own boss?

I handle all of the day to day details of my practice myself. I’m a very organized person and I rely on to-do lists. While it’s time consuming it’s not overwhelming.  I network with other private practice therapists for support and encouragement regarding the challenges of private practice.

What personal strengths have helped you succeed in private practice?

Growing up on a farm in Kansas helped me develop a strong work ethic.  I’m not afraid to push up my sleeves and tackle whatever needs to be done in order to be successful.  My social skills are strong so networking and marketing come easy to me.  I also have a lot of self awareness and recognize that growing and maintaining a private practice is a process that takes a lot of patience and perseverance and that I sometimes need to reach out to my peers for support and encouragement.

To learn more about Pam Dyson's private practice visit

If you'd like to be featured in "Adventures In Private Practice Column" please submit a practice summary, and answers to the above questions here.


Online Therapy...Naked? Heading To 2012 SXSW Fully Clothed

SXSW Interactive 2012

South By Southwest Festival is legendary in the music, film, and technology worlds. I've always wanted to go, but this year I'm actually going to make the trek to Austin, TX to present on an interactive health panel! PsychCentral's CEO and founder Dr. John Grohol, a pioneer in online counseling, invited me to participate on a panel called "Online Therapy...Naked?"

Yes, you read that right...n a k e d. An unlicensed NY woman (with a BS in Psychology) and founder of "Naked Therapy" who claims to be providing "therapy" online to "patients" while getting naked (and aroused) will be on the panel. Also, weighing in on the discussion will be LICENSED professional counselor Audrey Jung, LPC who provides legitimate online counseling services.

Our discussion kicks off the SXSW interactive health track on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. Here's the panel description from the official SXSW site:

Professionals have been offering psychotherapy online since 1995. While the earlier services focused on offering therapy through email, this has changed in recent years. With the popularity of video conferencing, it was inevitable that someone would invent a form of therapy called "naked therapy."

This intriguing panel will discuss how Internet and mobile technologies enable therapeutic interactions between professionals and individuals. Experts will discuss e-therapy, how it's changed over the years, and how technology is disrupting traditional professional relationships -- enabling therapeutic modalities not possible a decade ago... Even the possibility of "naked therapy." It should make for an interesting, heated discussion between practitioners of traditional forms of online therapy and the founder of  "naked therapy."

So, why was I invited to be on this panel? 

While I do use online therapy as an adjunct to face-to-face clients (always fully clothed) I primarily use the web for mental health education and promotion through Ask The Therapist Q & A's, blogging on, , and through social media channels Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and others. In addition to giving a social media and mental health perspective, I'll also be commenting as a working, credentialed clinician for 17 years on the idea of a "new kind" of therapy "Naked Therapy." Frankly, it doesn't sound new at all. It sounds like a lot like one of the world's oldest professions.

Follow My SXSW Tweets

I'll be tweeting SXSW updates throughout the weekend through Twitter @Julie_Hanks. Also follow Twitter hashtags #SXSWH (for tech & health topics) & #NakedTX for interesting info on this specific panel. Feel free to tweet me your thoughts on online therapy issues, "naked therapy", or mental health & social media topics.

If you're a going to SXSW Interactive check out the great health track presentations here.

Curious to know what you licensed therapists think of someone using the word "therapist" in their business when they have no training or supervision in talk therapy?