Professional Relationships

Celebrating 10 Years Of Private Practice Success

tenth birthday cake

From solo practitioner to thriving clinic owner. Celebrating the milestones of 10 years of private practice.

Today marks the 10 years since of the founding of my private practice Wasatch Family Therapy, LLC. I started out as a solo practitioner with big dreams of creating an exceptional therapy clinic that not only provides excellent clinical services, but also provides therapists the opportunity to create their "dream practice" in a nurturing work environment that supports personal growth and strong family relationships.

As I take a step back and reflect on this ten year journey, many tender emotions surface. I am grateful for willing clients who have allowed me to walk with them during life crises and transitions. I am touched by the generosity of the professional relationships that I've cultivated during this period of time. I am amazed at the personal and professional growth that I've experienced. I've learned invaluable lessons about leadership, boundaries, and business. I've developed skills in marketing, supervising, web design, social media, mentoring, public relations, human resources, interior decorating, negotiating contracts, consulting...

This Wednesday we're putting on our party hats and hosting a celebration: a professional networking luncheon in our new office suite for all of our current and former staff, colleagues, referral sources, families, and friends. As a thank you to our colleagues and friends we'll be tweeting and posting photos and links to great websites and resources as a thank you to our attendees. Feel free to follow the fun here on our Twitter and Facebook page.

10 Year Milestones For Wasatch Family Therapy

  • 10,000 families served
  • 4000 + social media updates
  • 300 local and national media interviews
  • Grown from 1 to 14 therapists
  • 13 interns trained or supervised
  • 1 to 2 clinic locations
  • 9 babies born to our staff members
  • 5 office spaces outgrown
  • 0 to 2 office and support staff
  • Transitioned from managed care to a private pay practice

Whether you've been in private practice for years or months, I encourage you to take a step back this week and reflect on your journey. What milestones have you achieved so far? What are you grateful for? How have you grown personally and professionally through your private practice journey? And where do you want to go next?

Throughout the month of October I'll be posting more about lessons learned during my 10 years in private practice, mistakes and missteps, brave decisions, and more in the hopes that you can learn from my successes and failures and build your dream practice.

What are the most lessons have you learned in your days/weeks/years in private practice?

 

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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 JulieHanks.com, WasatchFamilyTherapy.com , 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?

What They Don't Teach You In Grad School

img7207If you're a graduate student in the mental health field planning on going into private practice, here are a few things that you won't learn during your program. Most of what I learned about psychotherapy and private practice came after I graduated. After 17 years of practice, here are a few things I wish I'd known earlier:

1) Clients don't care about your degree

I'm rarely asked what degree I hold or what school I attended. I've found that very few clients know the difference between an MSW, MFT, PhD, MFCC, PsyD or any other degree. What clients really want to know is that you're qualified to do therapy, and if you can help them.

2) You'll learn more from supervisors than coursework

Getting my MSW was a license to actually do what I wanted, but the most valuable learning came from my post-graduate school clinical supervisor. It's important to seek out an amazing supervisor and mentor to train you in how to actually do therapy and how to run a practice. Seek out a  private practice internship setting that closely resembles what you envision yourself doing in the future.

3) Keep all of your research papers and course syllabi

Even though you may want to purge yourself from anything related to graduate school, you may want to hang on to those papers. I just used a research paper from my MSW program as my writing sample for my PhD program. You can also re-purpose papers for future blog posts and articles to publish.

If you ever decide to go apply for a doctoral degree or an advanced training certificate down the road that requires transcript evaluation, you may be required to submit your course syllabi to provide details of the course content. Also, keep a copy of the official course description in the school catalog for the years you attended. When I applied for doctoral programs, some programs had difficulty determining what my classes were and required official course catalog descriptions.

4) Stay in touch with your supervisors and colleagues

I can't tell you how many times I've asked my former supervisor for letters of recommendation for various certifications and applications through the years. Keep connected with a select your professional relationships. They're not only good referral sources but to provide job references and professional recommendations.

5) Take business courses

A common sentiment among mental health private practitioners is "I wish I knew more about business." It is rare that mental health graduate programs offer business courses, so students interested in going into private practice need to seek out workshops and courses.

What did you learn after grad school? Do you have any advice for graduate students? Post your comment below.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Proctor Archives