This entry has nothing to do with the usual direction that this blog takes. It has to do with my support of a friend, Tamara Suttle, who has a blog that supports therapists in private practice with ideas of how to make it work. She has asked me to write a short entry to her “Blog Carnival” about my pricing policy. I have found a way to make it possible for clients to control the amount they spend monthly on therapy, and still pay me the price that makes me feel good.
Here is my little article:
I had people who came to me and wanted to do therapy but did not have enough income to pay my price. I am sure this is a familiar experience to many readers.
One woman is a good example. She is deeply spiritual. A spiritual therapist who did therapy with her recommended that she come to me. He wrote me an email about her. In the initial meeting I told her about the way I work. I told her what to expect. I heard from her how she felt about her life now, how she trusted me as a result of her former therapist’s recommendation, and how she now felt she could trust me as a result of our conversation. But she did not make enough money to pay my price.
It was her idea that she would take shorter sessions, and then space them to one session every two weeks. I agreed. I knew that the method that I use is very effective and even half an hour every two weeks would have an effect and she would change.
When in sessions, I made sure that we did not waste a minute. We just worked with the method and with what intuition brought into the game. It turned out she had a good skill that could bring her enough money, but she worked at a place that did not pay her enough. She considered opening her own practice, but something in her did not agree with that. She had another calling. After a few sessions she started to trust in what she felt more than before, and she started going to an ashram on weekends. She felt very good there and became more involved. The people of the ashram liked her too and this led quite easily to her decision to live there and devote her life to her spiritual pursuit.
I consider this to have been a successful therapy. We only had some twelve sessions, and they were spread thin along time. But she had accomplished what she came for. She became more clear and able to trust herself. The result was that she changed her life into what was natural for her.
This made me think about possibilities with money and time. Naturally, I do not want to make less than what feels right to me. Usually we decide on a price for our work per hour. If we stick with this, many people who come to us wanting to be helped, knowing our process and willing to do it, will end up not doing it, because they cannot pay our price. We can reduce the price, but then we do not feel good about our work, and we end up struggling for economical stability. But if we charge by the minute, we can let the client choose the length of the session and the frequency, and two things become possible: The client can pay our price, and we make enough money to feel good. I won’t agree to a session that is shorter than half an hour because I know it will be too short. So half an hour is my low limit for the length of a session. And I won’t agree to more than two weeks between sessions because I know that the momentum wanes out and it will be like starting again every session. So these are my limitations. But every arrangement that makes use of anything between these limits and a full session every week, is acceptable to me.
If you want to see how I present this to my potential clients through my website, you can use this link that will take you to the right page.
I hope this is helpful to you.
If you are interested in reading more creative ideas about private practice, here are links to more articles by other therapists.
The first link is to the Blog Carnival
PPIO Blog Carnival #1 – Creative Responses In Building A Private Practice – http://www.allthingsprivatepractice.com/ppio-blog-carnival-creative-responses-in-building-a-private-practice-2/
And here are four more bloggers’ ideas
Kat Mindenhall, LCSW – post is Why You Should Reinvent the Wheel – http://www.apeacefullifecounseling.com/creative-private-practice-marketing
Anne Barker, LIMHP, LCSW – post is 6 Creative Comebacks to Combat Your Inner Critic – http://barkertherapyarts.com/self-esteem/
Nina Danhorn, MS, NCC post is Self Care for Healing Professionals – http://www.laskacounseling.com/1/post/2011/10/self-care-for-healing-professionals.html
Kate Daigle, MA, LPC, NCC – post is Nourishing Growth and Giving Breath to My Hungry Private Practice – http://www.katedaiglecounseling.com/2012/10/25/nourishing-growth-and-giving-breath-to-my-hungry-private-practice/