Psychology Private Practice : A New Model For Marketing
By: William Morgan

Let’s face it, private practice has changed from what it was 10 to 15 years ago. Managed care has made therapeutic services more accessible to the masses, but also lowered standards of service and diminished the perceived value of therapy. Providers receive less compensation, have more administrative work, and feel less in control of the service they provide.

I have two purposes in writing these paragraphs. First, I want to share that transitioning to a full fee-for-service practice is quite possible. Second, I want to help you create and realize your vision for a satisfying and successful career.

The thing is, you can make a living helping others. But you have to let go of the idea that the traditional way is the only way. Psychotherapists can leverage their talents, expertise and abilities in many ways. There are many possible formats for delivering psychological help.

So, how do you, as a therapist, format what you have to offer? To begin, try looking at your services as a solution to a specific problem rather than as treatment for an illness.

In the traditional model, clients must be ill. In order for people to access their health insurance, they must be diagnosed as having a mental illness. This is the medical model.

This creates a barrier for many people to choose to utilize psychological services. They do not want to see themselves as mentally ill and in need of treatment. But, as we shall see, even healthy, high-functioning individuals can benefit from psychological services.

Thus, we tremendously expand our potential market when we reduce the stigma of utilizing our services and focus less on pathology.

Instead, we may adopt a problem-solving/skill-building model, in which clients no longer need to be ill to use our services and receive benefit.

Psychology is not just for the sick.

For example, Martin Seligman’s book “Authentic Happiness” (2002) and Daniel Goleman’s books “Emotional Intelligence” (1995) and “Working with Emotional Intelligence” (1998) provide us with frameworks we can use in a problem-solving/skill-building model. See also Reivich and Shatté’s (2002) “The Resilience Factor.” Rather than focus on illness and therapy, we can talk about increasing personal and career effectiveness, personal growth, increasing life satisfaction and resiliency.

Can you see how this broadens the reach and impact of our services? We can provide solutions to life’s problems and challenges, without the stigma of a diagnosis — keeping in mind that there is certainly a place for traditional services and therapy for mental illness for those that need it.

In this non-traditional approach, we seek to use our services to:

1. Answer a specific problem or challenge
2. Target a service toward a specific group of people
3. Utilize a tangible format.

So, whether you intend to use traditional therapy as 25 percent or 75 percent of your practice pie, it’s a smart move to identify what non-traditional services you could add to the mix of streams of income for yourself.

About The Author

William D. Morgan is a psychologist, author, and private practice business coach. He coaches human service professionals and others who want to build thriving practices. For more helpful information and tips, visit This is an excerpt from his NEW BOOK – Today's Private Practice: Strategies for Building a Thriving Managed-Care Free Psychotherapy Practice,

This article was posted on October 16, 2006
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