Do you want your counseling expertise to stand out amongst the 192,497 therapists currently employed in America? An effective way would be to start a private mental health practice.

Statista suggests that between 2002 and 2021, around 41.7 million American adults underwent therapy and counseling. Moreover, during the pandemic, the world witnessed a 28% rise in depressive symptoms and a 25% rise in anxiety disorders.

That’s why people looked for a safe and affordable environment, which escalated the popularity of private counseling or therapy practices.

Therefore, now would be the best time to build your private practice. This blog will discuss the crucial pillars of your counseling or therapy business.

Benefits of Starting a Private Counseling Practice


According to Steven Zauderer, the CEO of CrossRiverTherapy, most psychologists work with educational institutions, while therapists work at private companies. Consequently, individuals prefer private counseling services to help them deal with their mental health issues.

However, as a therapist, you might be skeptical about starting a business like that and being a solo practitioner. But look at the life story of Kelly O’Sullivan McKenna for some inspiration.

Kelly is a virtual therapist who made almost USD 350,000 in revenue. She started her business in 2021 and only worked 30 hours a week. Moreover, she had experience with retention and telehealth, which helped her onboard over 20 clients.

Yes, you can succeed with proper discipline and a zeal to help others. Some mental health professionals consider owning a private practice rewarding. Take a look at the benefits:

  • Provide assistance based on your own terms
  • Research new techniques and try new therapeutic methods
  • Create a flexible business structure that works around your lifestyle
  • Work on your own time and practice confidentiality at the highest level

Additionally, you can earn more money than being in an organizational setting. Studies have shown that private practitioners make considerably more from therapy sessions than someone associated with a company.

Ways to Start a Private Mental Health Practice


You would want your private practice to be profitable and sustainable. At the same time, it must have a proper license and be accessible to everyone.

According to the American Psychological Association, you will need supervision hours worth 1500 to 6000 and a proper degree to get licensed. Moreover, you should pass the EPPP or Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.

After acquiring your private license, you can follow these steps to start your counseling practice.

1. Sketch Out and Formulate the Business Plan


The first thing you need to do is generate a proper business plan. Yes, starting a private counseling practice is like opening a new organization. For example, there will be endless paperwork and various expenses.

That is why you need a solid boundary that will clarify the purpose of your therapy business.

First, analyze your ideal clients and their issues, then determine your hourly rate and a personal budget. You can seek out a loan or fund the practice with your savings. Ideally, a business plan will ensure flexibility and insight into legal processes.

In this plan, chalk out financial aspects, expectations, goals, marketing plans, and funding options. Furthermore, you can decide if you want more help or network with other counselors. Ensure that you set clear policies per your state’s legal requirements.

2. Invest in a Practice Management Software (PMS)


Once you create a proper business plan, it is time for you to invest in a therapy practice management solution. This software will help automate a lot of functions like scheduling and billing. With it, you can streamline business processes which will help you grow.

Once you automate these tasks, it will free up a lot of your hours. That means you can focus on providing quality care to patients and work towards the betterment of your business.

Whichever provider you choose, the tool will come as an all-in-one software for private practices. It has a client portal and performs administrative tasks on your behalf.

According to Owl Practice, a PMS provider, every therapist owning a private business deserves a solution that makes life easy.

Therapists will need a PMS when they cannot locate files or get poor client reviews. With this software, they can manage all the responsibilities and get a high turnover. For example, if clients want to schedule appointments, they can log into the portal and choose a slot as per availability.

3. The Debate of Choosing the Online or Offline Module

In 2021, American Psychiatric Association found out that six out of ten people will require counseling services through telehealth. After the pandemic, online therapy has been widespread, while offline services have taken a backseat.

An online counseling business will save a lot of your money. You need not invest in an office space or worry about logistics. Furthermore, it is convenient for the therapist and the client. People can express themselves openly in an online setting, especially ones who have social anxiety.

You get flexibility and maintain a healthy boundary while bridging distances. For example, in an online counseling business, you can have clients from every state, but for offline companies, clients will be local.

Even then, challenges like developing a personal bond and various connectivity issues exist. However, the online module is convenient and accessible for all. In an offline counseling service, there is no flexibility, comfort, or adequate time management.

The Bottom Line

To make a difference in the world, you must do something unique. For example, therapists can start a counseling business built on personal principles and methods.

They can make more money and work on a flexible schedule. However, to achieve that, you should formulate a proper business plan. Chalk out every aspect of your business, how it will look in the future, and the goals.

Once done, invest in therapy practice management software as it will help streamline various processes, and you will not need an administrative staff.

Choose an online module for proper flexibility and comfort. According to The Business Research Company, online therapy is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25.4% by 2023. This is your chance to take advantage of the market and build your counseling business.