Pros And Cons Of Group Practice (part 1)

A common private practice question is whether a therapist should join a group practice or venture out on their own as a solo practitioner. The answer is different for everyone depending on your strengths, goals, personality, financial needs, and many other factors.

There are also other options in between solo and group practice, like sharing an office space with other practitioners while maintaining your own practice. "There are numerous ways of forming a group practice including cost/office sharing, partnership, and employment as associates under a licensed provider," according to Kansas Psychologist Wes Crenshaw PhD, ABPP of Family Psychological Services, LLC.

To help make your decision easier, here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of joining a private practice group.

Benefits Of Joining A Group Practice

1) Established business systems

If you're considering joining an established practice, a huge benefit is that they already have office systems in place to support the practice. Michigan therapist Jacquelyn J. Tobey, MA, LLP of  Sollars and Associates says, “I have benefited from joining a group because many of the business practices such as marketing and billing are already established.”

2) Shared expenses and responsibilities

Sharing the costs of operating a business can be appealing. Therapists often underestimate the financial requirements when starting a private practice. Sharing operating costs, office space, equipment, marketing, and administrative expenses are just some of the benefits that North Carolina counselor Erika Myers, LPC enjoys about group practice.

Tobey has learned what it takes to run a business by first joining a group practice. She likens a group practice to renting a furnished room in a house that is already built, whereas private solo practice is more like  designing and building the house on your own. I think that is an excellent analogy.

3) Consultation and camaraderie

Meyers enjoys having colleagues to consult with on difficult cases as well as the camaraderie inherent in interacting regularly with colleagues. "The work we do can be isolating, so having fellow professionals around can help you have more social contacts beyond the professional consultation," Meyers says.

Melissa J Templeton, MA, LPC, LMFT compares working in a group setting to a good relationship. “Like a good marriage, it is the ‘fit’ of the various personalities that determines whether the cohabitation is going to work and work well,” shares Templeton.

4) Referral sources

Illinois counselor Melanie Dillon, LCPC, at Center For Wellness, Inc values the internal referrals generated within her multidisciplinary practice.

My business partners are both chiropractors. One provides acupuncture/Chinese medicine and the other chiropractic care/sports medicine. We have also employed a massage therapist. This way we have created a system that supports internal referrals. The other benefit is that all expenses are now shared, and that my income is no longer dependent on how many clients I see, but on the group as a whole.

Now that you have a feel for the benefits of joining a private practice group, check back later this week for part 2 - the drawbacks of group practice.

(c) Can Stock Photo From your experience, what are the benefits of joining a private practice group?

A Day In The Life: Meet Online Counselor Terrie Browning, LPC

What does it take to build and maintain a private mental health practice? Terrie Browning, LPC, DCC, CFC was among the first to respond to my request for therapists to track their activities for a day to shed light on what it takes to be in private practice. Friday, the day she uses  for last minute crisis appointments, online counseling appointments, website meetings, phone consults, and runs errands, was the day she chose to track her activities. Terrie provides in person, and online counseling, in addition to providing court testimony as part of her private practice, Alternative Therapies. Terrie is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Forensic Consultant, Distance Credentialed Counselor, and holds a Masters Degree in Science of Psychology, with specialization in Counseling Psychology.

To learn more about Terrie's practice visit her website TerrieBrowning.com.

A Day In The Life

Novemember 18, 2011 Friday


Woke with my partner. Made coffee and tea and had a conversation about home, bills, tonight’s activities.


Started some laundry and checked emails for both my private practice and my website. Noted a return email from a potential new therapist for my live consultation website confirming our 11am phone consult. Email my accountant regarding chat system payouts and reporting options for experts.


Call from client, appointment for marriage counseling. Discuss options and insurance.


Answered emails to LinkedIn professionals offering a wide range of services, mostly media opportunities for the website (radio, press releases, etc.). Received an email from the editor at MyMetroYou magazine where I write a monthly column, My Healthy Mind. Deadline for January series was early this month, due Monday. Yikes, I haven’t even started it yet! January starts the first of a three part series on “What Makes Love Work”. I make a mental note to complete outline this afternoon.


Change beds and clean up house before leaving my phone consult.


Phone call from client whose husband had brain surgery. Anger issues and needed some assistance with conflict resolution.


Phone consult with expert from CA. A fellow therapist asking about ethical issues with online counseling. I share information I received during my Distance Credentialed Counselor certification I received last year from ReadyMinds in Chicago.


Consult with a close relative about difficult situation of living in a new place and trying to find employment and the stress it is taking on her relationship, feeling of loneliness, frustration and diminished self-worth.


Skype with my social networking company representing my website.


Online counseling with return client.


Work out at gym.


Meet attorney with whom I work with on alcohol evaluations. Get a call from client with need to come in for crisis appt. Agree to meet in 1/2hr.


Meet with client in the office.


Paperwork in office. Billing, faxing to alcohol testing lab for results, rehab for dates for clients alcohol evaluation. Phoned the parent of client admitted to emergency psychiatric ward with suicide attempt. Doing well. Whew, on my mind for last 24 hours. Talk about after care and outpatient services.


Return calls for appointments for following week. Phone consult with parent; minor child is going to court against his father for psychiatric evaluation and ending parenting time.


Return home to shower.


Talk with daughter who wants to transfer universities (her junior year).


Dinner with best friends for birthday celebration.


Return home and talk with partner, watch TV, go to bed.

Thank you Terrie, for letting us peek into a day in your life as a private practice therapist!