You have enrolled as a mental health professional. Perhaps you have also joined a professional institution. You’re ready to ply your trade. You need to go into private practice but might not understand the best way of getting started. This article 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 very own private practice, and why you especially want to work in mental health. Your answers may reflect a desire for control over the way you work, the kinds of clients you choose to work with and the kinds of problems your clients will likely face. Your answers might 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 may like to consider, where you would like to set up the practice. In so doing, you might like to consider the location of your professional rooms in regard to client 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 for both your customers and yourself.
Step 2: Find and Furnish Your Premises:
The next step is to find your own professional premises. You might decide to use a house, office or retail store. You may opt to operate exclusively from one location or you may choose to operate from several locations. In either instance, you may have exclusive use of the premises or you may be sharing the rooms with other colleagues.
When you have exclusive use of the skilled rooms, you can provide them in order to reflect your personal taste and intended professional image.
As part of the third step, you will need to investigate and obtain any relevant licenses and registrations you may want to run a mental health private practice in your state or country. These licenses and registrations may be in addition to your certificate as a mental health professional.
Secondly, you will want to acquire your own professional indemnity insurance. Your professional indemnity insurance should provide adequate cover, given the nature of the work you would like to provide. It should also have adequate public liability cover.
Ultimately, you’ll want to find a provider number for each location you would like to operate from. In Australia, for example, you might register for Medicare, Work Cover, Transport Accident Commission and National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Step 4: Hang Up Your Professional Signal:
At this stage, you’re ready to hang up a professional sign. When you have exclusive use of the professional rooms, the look of the sign will be at your discretion. You can set your sign over the outside face of the skilled rooms. You can also place a sign over your consulting room door. If you share premises with other colleagues, your sign might be of the same format as those of your coworkers.
At the final step, you are prepared to promote yourself to both prospective customers and potential referrers. It will therefore be useful 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.
In terms of style, layout and design, you would be well-advised to maintain each promotional record consistent with your intended professional image. Each promotional record 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 clients, what customers can expect from the services, your background and expertise, hours of operation and fees.
By following the aforementioned steps, you’re well positioned to working 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.