Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT



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January-February 2022

Member Contributor — Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT

Getting Paid:
Private Practice Success Secrets

Therapists in private practice are always asking what they can do to have a full practice with clients they love working with. They want to know what the secrets are to making that happen without too much effort or expense. Now that we’re at the beginning of the year it’s a good time to reveal some of those secrets, those best practices, that lead to a full, profitable, and rewarding practice.

Here are a few to keep in mind . . .
1. Make it convenient for prospective clients to

  • Find you
  • Find out about who you work with and the type of services and help you provide
  • Contact you
  • Hear back from you
  • Get to your office or access your teletherapy portal
  • Pay for your services

We live in an age of convenience so if prospective clients hit too many bumps or barriers when they’re ready to contact you to make an appointment, they may abandon that effort and seek help from another therapist who’s easier to contact, set up an appointment with, pay or use their insurance, HSA, FSA or worker’s comp coverage.

2. Let people know you are accepting new clients—and that you welcome referrals.

  • Always let clients, friends, colleagues, referral sources, and other professionals know that you are accepting referrals
  • Why should you do this? So, they know they can specifically recommend you to their friends, families, patients, and business associates, based on their own experience with you—as a client or colleague.

If you don’t routinely let people know you are accepting new clients and referrals, those who want to refer people to you may mistakenly assume that, because you are so good at what you do, you are too busy to take on new clients. When this happens, it’s a great loss, not only of clients but of a referral source, too.

3. Set aside some time for networking and marketing in your community—online or in-person.

  • Doing this allows you get to know the people in your community
  • It also allows the people in your community to get to know you, too, as well as the type of practice you have, the professional services you provide and the type of clients and issues you work with, and, of course how to refer clients to you.

Being known in your community does take a little time and effort but it results in genuinely feeling a part of the people and place you belong to—and, over time, it does bring you referrals.

4. Only market in ways that feel authentic to you.

  • The best private practice marketing is about building trust through information, familiarity and experience with you as a professional, the clients you work best with, and the therapeutic services you provide.
  • Make the act of sharing information about the type of clients you work best with and the therapy services you provide energy producing instead of energy draining. Enjoy having people get to know you, your personality, and your work.

Once you realize that promoting your therapy services is about honest and sincere communication about the professional help, skills, and solutions you provide, it gets easier. I always say that getting the word out about your practice is a community service because it helps people know how to contact you when they have need of your services.

5. When times are tough the best way to keep your practice going is not to cut back on costs but to spend and invest in the right areas of your practice. Yes, this is a rather counter-intuitive approach, however, it does pay big dividends. While it can feel very scary or difficult to do, it’s one of the best ways to keep your practice full as well as make new connections.

  • Invest in areas that keep your practice visible, bring more clients or referral sources to you, make things easier for you, or free up your time for more client work, networking, or time off.
  • Areas to consider:

Website Creation or Update
Therapy Directories
Professional Headshots
Google Adwords
Upgrade your smartphone, tablet, computer, headphones, computer desk chair
Get Higher Internet speed
Upgrade your Teletherapy portal
Upgrade your Electronic Health Record (HER)
Hire a Virtual Assistant, Accountant/Bookkeeper, Insurance Biller, Social Media Poster
Pay for Business, Marketing or Financial Training
Have a Professional Video made for your Website
Logo Creation
Sponsor an event

What will you invest in instead of cutting back?

That’s enough secret spilling for today. Pick one or two of these and try them out. See what happens.

Our practices can always benefit from thoughtful attention and doing a little something new. Have some fun experimenting with these and check out what happens when you do. Private practice is always an adventure so enjoy yours!

Lynne Azpeitia, LMFT, is in private practice in Santa Monica where she works with Couples and Gifted, Talented, and Creative Adults across the lifespan. Lynne’s been doing business and clinical coaching with mental health professionals for more than 15 years, helping them develop even more successful careers and practices. To learn more about her in-person and online services, workshops or monthly no-cost Online Networking & Practice Development Lunch or

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