Why I love private practice!
Let me tell you the reasons….
1. Freedom. It offers freedom to both me and my clients. I am able to schedule sessions at mutually convenient times that best suit me and my clients. In my practice, I am open on Sundays. Having this flexibility allows my clients more accessibility sessions due to busy schedules during the week. For clients with children and who are employed outside the home, they like to get home from work, eat dinner, help with homework, bath time, etc. I don’t want their session to feel like “one more chore I have to do before I finally get to bed”. For children, if they cannot get a 3pm-7pm session, they are too tired to discuss feelings and emotions at 8pm. Sundays allow my busy clients to set aside an hour for therapy without the hustle and bustle of the weekdays. My clients appreciate Sunday appointments and I am happy to offer them.
2. I do not work for an agency, although I used to. I have nothing against agency care. There are many not profit agencies that do wonderful work in the community treating people, however, many mental health agencies offer substance use treatment in addition to the mental health component. There is nothing wrong with this either, however, there are times when some clients show up and are in the waiting room under the influence. While under the influence, some clients can be loud and verbally aggressive. At times, ambulances are called if the person is severely impaired. As adults, we are emotionally equipped to handle an emotional scene. To children, it can be scary.
3. In private practice, I can “screen” my clients just as I hope they have “screened” me to be their therapist. I want to give you a quality service. Most therapists have strengths and weaknesses. Most therapists have specialties. If I feel I cannot give you the treatment you deserve based on diagnosis or personality, I will let you know and refer to someone who I think you would best suit your needs. At an agency, clients get assigned to therapists based on numbers and availability. Private practice offers flexibility and the opportunity to find a good fit.
4. I am my own boss, therefore, I have my own rules. I have experience and I want to individualize treatment. If I want to reward a child by buying them a balloon for a job well done in school all week, I can. If I want to send you a card of encouragement in between sessions, I can. (Agencies often have rules resulting in cookie cutter treatment).
5. Privacy! In my private practice, I answer my own calls, I return my own calls, I do my own medical billing, and I shred my own documentation. I am able to ensure that your private information does not leave me to get transcribed, and does not go through many hands. It is estimated that on average, 10-12 people at any given agency has access to your records.
6. With private practice, I chose to work in a building that offers many other services such as speech therapy, photography sessions, and accounting services. As much as I would love to end the stigma that accompanies therapy, it is still here. Many people want to maintain their privacy and feel awkward walking into a “mental health center”.
7. I am a pay for service therapist and only choose to work with very limited insurance companies in the best interest of my clients. Insurance companies require a diagnosis for a therapist to be allowed to continue to treat a client. Some diagnosis may stick with you. Some insurance companies request progress notes and some may actually limit the number of sessions you can receive per year regardless of what your therapist suggests. Some insurance companies require a client to get “prior authorization” for treatment which sometimes prevents a person from seeking services, or even delays the beginning of treatment. When you pay privately for sessions, I do not have to document a diagnosis. I understand that paying privately for sessions can be costly, but another luxury in private practice, is that I can negotiate fees.
8. At agencies, you are often required to keep stats and keep your number of clients high. Even at not for profit agencies, more clients=more money. This often results in burned out therapists.
9. Because I am able to set me own schedule, I am able to set my own days off which gives me the flexibility to take care of myself, spend time with my family, and spend time getting rejuvenated. A better me is a better therapist.
10. I love working with adults. I love working with kids. With private practice, I get to do both!
11. Keurig coffee machine in my office. Enough said.