How may I help YOU?

I hope that you know me well enough to know that one of the KEY FOUNDATIONS of success (in my humble opinion) is to provide value and service to your clients and customers. Once again, I hold myself to task by putting that key foundation to work for you. However… it requires a “call to action” on your part.  I need you to tell me (by replying to this post or by sending me an email): How can I best help you? What do you want to know? What questions do you have? What coaching products would be most helpful to your success? How can I make the Influential Therapist website even more helpful for you? Would you be interested in being part of a MasterMind group of folks with similar interests and goals in Private Practice? Now is your chance to get your needs met – take a few seconds to share your thoughts and I’ll invest all the time it takes to help you achieve FREEDOM in private practice!

28 Comments

  1. Daphne /Reply

    I have a question that I would love your input on. Have you tried programs that allow you to develop treatment plans and complete progress notes electronically? I am considering this but have not seen much on the net in terms of reviews from other therapist. Perhaps you know of a site or two that offers quality programs such as this?

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      Daphne — I have found very few programs out there that provide both practice management tools (scheduling, billing, etc) as well as treatment planning tools. Most recently, however, I was made aware of TherapyCharts (www.therapycharts.com) . The initial assessment template they offer seems very thorough, and once you add in your clients it seems everything works with drop down menus. You might want to check out their site as they have a free trial membership. Good luck to you!

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      Loretta – writing is a GREAT way to get out your name and achieve EXPERT status in the eyes of your clients and customers. There are so many places to blog and write but a couple of my favorites include Ezine.com (I’ve gotten many referrals from articles I’ve written there), and the ACA Blog. I think it is really important to have a website when you have a private practice. You can write a great blog of your own and make it available to your clients, customers, and the whole world! You can find blogs on websites in your “niche” and offer to write for them too. The opportunities are endless!

  2. Bobby Vann /Reply

    Hi Deb,

    I am a high school counselor, that would like to trasition into private practice. I would like to specialize in social anxiety disoder and other related anxiety/stress disorders. Do you have any advice for me to assist with achieving this goal.

    Thanks,
    Bobby

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      Hi Bobby. Sounds like you’ve already identified your “niche” — that is an important first step. Do what you can to be the “king” of that niche. Write about it, talk about it, offer supervision in that area — do anything you can do to make people in your market think of you when they think about anxiety disorders and social anxiety! You can position yourself for success one step at a time. Check out this webinar on Tuesday: http://influentialtherapist.com/training/?p=1 . It gives you the step by step formula I use with the people I coach. I hope it is helpful to you. Let me know what you think…

  3. Maureen Shea /Reply

    A couple of questions:
    1. What is your opinion of static vs. dynamic websites — which type is better for private practitioners. Where are there some “good value for the money” websites that will allow you to set up your own or individuals that will do this for you. I have a “static” website but it’s a hassle in terms of time and energy to have to get changes to my website made by a 3rd person.
    2. We all know about the importance of marketing/promoting/advertising by doing workshops. I live in southeastern Conn. where individuals in the area moan and groan about the lack of exposure to information, yet workshops and presentation are not well attended. Is there a secret in the promotion to getting good attendance at these events?

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      Maureen — I agree that static websites are more of a hassle to “change up” (especially if you are not your own webmaster). Dynamic websites allow you to add and change content, keep a blog, and give you more opportunities to bring people to your website and become a community (like we are doing in this post). My belief is that, as in therapy, the relationship is of primary importance, so a dynamic website is THE WAY to go, in my book.

      In answer to your second question… it’s very important to:
      1. find out what folks want, and give it to them
      2. market your workshop to anyone who can send people to it
      3. provide value in your workshops, then ask for testimonials to use in future workshop flyers
      4. schedule a date and time that will likely work (I’ve found Friday afternoons and Saturdays mornings best

      Good luck!

  4. Jennifer Steffenhagen /Reply

    Hey Deb,
    I have a few questions for you: How do I get referrals and keep them coming? When do I know I am secure and stable enough to make the leap of faith? I am still working full-time and I have a whole lot of bills… meaning if I don’t have stable income, I can’t pay my bills, eek! It is tough to build referral relationships because I am still working full-time, but I can’t afford to not work at this time.

    Also, how do you answer this question and still get the client in the door: Do you take insurance? (when the answer is NO).

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      Jennifer: these are all really good questions. I can provide an overview for each here. First, the best ways to get referrals is to develop good relationships with potential referral sources. You do this by providing value to them. If you keep doing that, the referrals will keep coming in (it’s worked for me for 18 years!).

      The “leap” is always a “leap”. There isn’t a sure thing. It will depend on your confidence in you and your tolerance for risk. For the most part, you have to tip the scale to know that you can no long afford NOT to leap. I believe it is important to burn some bridges behind us so we have no choice but to succeed. You will have to determine your beliefs about what it takes to succeed.

      Finally, you don’t have to apologize for not taking someone’s insurance. Not every medical provider takes your insurance. When you have a private pay practice you must remember that people are coming to you because of YOU. You have to develop that. You have got to give them a reason to choose you over issues of money, location, logistics, schedule, etc. This can be done (again, I’ve done it forever). No apologies. Confidence. If they want to see YOU, they will pay out of pocket.

  5. Vanessa Dennis /Reply

    Deb,
    The first thing I would like to say is THANK YOU! I have been perusing your website for about 6 months now, while I do the “groundwork” of making the leap. I am supervising in a community mental health agency and it has become AWFUL!! The paperwork has become unmanageable and the pay is an insult. Despite this, I have still waffled. Whether with the insurance panels or just flat out terror at being a small business owner. Each time though, it seems one of your wonderful emails comes to my inbox and says just what I need to hear to keep me from getting stymied. I have recommended your site to several friends who are hoping to make the leap as well, and I am sure it will be as helpful for them as it has been for me. Thanks again for offering this invaluable resource!

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      Vanessa~ Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m thrilled to hear that you find Influential Therapist an inspiration to follow your dreams. Another resource you might find helpful is our free webinar: 7 Steps to FREEDOM in Private Practice. Check it out and let us know what you think. By the way, when you do that that leap… we’ll be here to catch you!

  6. Jan Canniff /Reply

    Hi Deb,
    Thank you for all your timely information. One thing I am concerned
    about is that insurances are now paying almost full price. I am getting
    almost full payments from Premera and Regence insurance. I don’t
    trust it. It scares me. I went from getting about $35-39 dollars adjusted
    off to now only having a $1.95 adjustment. Is it the new healthcare law?
    How long is this going to last? I was about to quit taking insurance
    payments and now it’s a pretty good deal. What do you think?

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Jan: I can’t pretend to explain why insurance companies do what they do. I say, make hay while the sun shines! It’s a lot easier to get off of an insurance panel then to get on one. Enjoy your “bonus” — I’m SURE you earn every penny of it.

  7. Maya /Reply

    Deb-
    I am currently looking for support services to help design a logo, brochures-marketing materials to distribute. Do you know may be an online source or a software I can use to design it myself?
    Thank you

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Maya – Hi Maya. Yes, we can help you with those through our Helping Hands program. You can contact Jim Legge (my business partner and husband) at jl2664@gmail.com. Or, you can send your inquiry to us at DrLegge@InfluentialTherapist.com and I’ll forward it to Jim. Jim does practice management for mental health clinicians all over the country. He can help with things like: marketing, HIPAA paperwork, credentialing for insurance, websites, and lots more. I think you’ll find him to be a good resource.

  8. Maya /Reply

    Deb, I started reading the posts above and found out that my problem is not only mine when I am seeing several people posted similar concerns related to transferring to private practice while working for the agency. I have been at the agency for 2 years and now ready to leap into private practice. The issue of mine is that I am working full time and need that income to continue. My company is inflexible to switch me to part-time, so for now, I feel stuck. My mind and thoughts are out there, thinking how good this would be to start at least part-time but my reality is holding me at where I am at. I am hearing others are expressing similar concerns and looking for an answer. I even started looking for group practice opportunities, at least, for the beginning, to create that client base and then go on with my own. What do you think of that? I guess, I am exploring every alternative that would allow me transfer. Thank you.
    Maya

  9. Satoko /Reply

    Hi. I am starting my own practice in Hawaii and have a question. I got good templates for consent forms for counseling from books but all of them referring services as therapy instead of counseling. I am a licensed mental health counselor and I am not sure it would be ok to use the word therapy on these forms. I got my degree in Florida but moved here and then became licensed. There is no mental health counselor’s association in Hawaii so if you know any resources, please let me know. Thank you.

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Satoko – Congratulations on starting your private practice — in Hawaii!! How amazing is that!?!? In any case, you can check with the Hawaii licensing board for counselors and check to see if there are any problems with using the word “therapy” on things associated with your services. I’m doubting there is, but they would know. With regard to HIPAA you can make inquiries directly to CMS: http://www.cms.gov

  10. Skip Speer /Reply

    I am an LCSW starting a private practice in California. Do you know where I can get templates for forms that will comply with the state of CA? I.e. informed consent, HIPAA, etc? I went to the CMS website you recommended but did could not find the HIPAA form there. Also, do you have a video or publication that talks about the very basics of setting up a private practice? I.e. legal forms, what to include in my web site, etc. Thank you so much–Skip

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Skip – I sent you an email as well, but here is my reply to your post Skip. Here is a link I found that might help you some, with regard to HIPAA paperwork for California: http://www.dmh.ca.gov/Privacy/PrivacyPracticesFormsComplaints.asp The “Basics” that you are looking found are all covered in my 7 Steps to FREEDOM in Private Practice program. We can take that one step further and turn the 7 Steps program into the full Basic Training Boot Camp (that allows us to work together for 30 days, and you’ll have full email access to me and we’ll have 1:1 coaching sessions as well. Just let me know when you are ready!

  11. Rosemary Eads /Reply

    Hi. I am an LMHC in Massachusetts seeing clients and billing third party insurances. I have recently had a couple of new clients who have said that they do not want me to bill their insurance but would rather self-pay. Am I able to do this even though I am credentialed with their insurance? If so, should I have them sign a fee agreement? Can I set my own fee or am I only to charge the same as the insurance would reimburse?

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Rosemary – If someone wants to private pay by all means take their money :) You can charge them anything you like. Insurance has no say or interest in what you do privately. I’ve never used fee agreements. I hope that helps Rosemary!

  12. Latinia Shell /Reply

    Hi Deb! I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with you at both the ACA and AMCHA Conference this past year. My question for you is- Can you direct me to where I can obtain a Business Association Template for me to utilize for my Accountant. I would like to give my accountant access to my google doc records of my client billing info. I have a third party insurance company that does my billing who has created the google doc. In order for my accountant to be able to have access to the google doc, they informed me that I needed to have a Business Association contract. They have written one that is between them and me; however they have informed me that I need one that is between me and my accountant. Any information that you could provide as to how I can quickly ascertain and develop a Business Association contract would be greatly appreciate.
    Thanks,
    Latinia Shell

  13. Brandi /Reply

    Hi Debbie,

    Quick question. Do you know of anyone whose been successful in getting on an insurance provider list as a CRC? I’m interested in private practice but I’m not a LPC…

    1. legge /Reply

      @Brandi – As a CRC in NYS, I spent years trying to accomplish that goal. No-go in NYS, however. Until CRCs are licensed I’m afraid we are not included on any insurance panel that I’m aware of. You might find an online or on-ground certificate program that helps you take advantage of your education and credentials as a CRC and get whatever else you might need to become licensed in your state. Then you can start applying to be included on insurance panels. Good luck!

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