2023 Therapist Practice Guide | How to Start a Private Therapy Practice
Top 2023 Guide on Starting a Private Therapy Practice
Starting a private therapy practice and embarking into a whole new sphere of therapy and counselling can be both exciting and frightening. For many therapists and counselors, becoming a private practice therapist is a lifelong dream.
However, building and establishing a private therapy practice is about so much more than just being a great therapist. It’s also about being a great entrepreneur who has a great understanding of all financial, ethical, legal, administrative, and technical aspects of operating as a private practice therapist.
How to Start a Private Therapy Practice
If you have been wondering how to become a private practice therapist or how to start a therapy private practice, you’re at the right place. This Social Work Portal article will guide you through everything you should know before you hit the ground running.
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Table of Contents: How to Start a Therapy Private Practice
Keep on scrolling down this page to read each section or click any link below to go directly to that section.
- How to Become a Private Practice Therapist?
- How to Start a Private Therapy Practice? | Tips for Starting Your Own Therapy Practice
- Most Common Types of Therapist Practice & Therapist Prices
- Private Practice Therapist Salary
- Conclusion | How to Become a Private Practice Therapist
- FAQ | 2023 Guide on Starting a Therapy Practice
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Would you like to share feedback on how to start a private therapy practice? Are there any private practice therapist websites that have provided great value to you that we can include in this guide for other therapists and counselors to leverage? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.
How to Become a Private Practice Therapist
Before we get into all the details of starting your own therapy practice, we’ll take a look into how to become a private practice therapist in the first place. There are certain requirements that need to be fulfilled to become a licensed private practice therapist or counselor in all 50 states.
So, how to become a private practice therapist that can open a private therapy practice that allows you to provide value?
To open a private therapy practice it is important that you have degree from a counselling program that’s credentialed by an applicable accreditation body. If you’re based in the USA that will be the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) or the American Psychological Association (APA).
If you’re interested in becoming a licensed private practice therapist, all states require that you pass one of the examinations on counseling such as:
- National Counselor Examination (NCE)
- National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE)
- Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Examination (CRCE)
- Examination of Clinical Counselor Practice (ECCP)
Prior to applying for any of the above therapist practice licenses, applicants will also have to obtain between 2,000 and 3,000 hours of supervised experience.
Furthermore, due to private therapy practice licenses being issued at the state level rather than the national level, the requirements for obtaining a license varies from state to state.
Becoming a Private Practice Therapist & Starting a Therapy Practice
What is an unlicensed therapist private practice?
Unlicensed therapist private practice is operated by an unlicensed therapist. That can mean a number of things but the main difference is the individual has some training in providing mental health services but for whatever reason, they haven’t obtained their state-issued license.
Additionally, unlicensed therapist private practice is limited in services they can provide. A general recommendation in the mental health field is to not start an unlicensed private practice.
What Makes a Good Therapist?
There’s more to therapist practice and starting a private therapy practice than obtaining a license – you also need to be a good therapist. There are characteristics that add into what makes a good therapist, but any reputable and ethical private practice clinical therapist should be:
- An excellent listener
- Honest, skilled, and a strong communicator
- Open and trustworthy
- Clear when setting the goals and agenda with clients
- Non-judgmental and accepting
- Using flexible and adaptable approach in both individual and therapist group practice
- Using a variety of therapist tools and techniques
- Creating a safe space for healing
While these are just a few main characteristics of what makes a good therapist, they’re essential for any therapist and counselor that’s looking into starting a therapy practice.
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How to Start a Private Therapy Practice? | Tips for Starting Your Own Therapy Practice
If you’ve been dreaming of starting your own therapy practice but are not sure of how to start and how to grow your therapy practice, we’re here to help you understand everything this process entails.
While you may want to start setting up a private practice therapist business as soon as possible, we’ve covered some of the most important things you need to take into consideration before doing so.
- Therapist Practice Space
If you’re planning to meet clients in person, the first thing you’ll need for starting a therapy practice is a place to practice.
However, that’s not the only option. If you’re only starting out as a private practice clinical therapist, you may also want to utilize a more modern approach – at least until you figure out how to grow your therapy practice.
These days therapists and counselors are also practicing:
- Over the phone
- By subletting an office space only when they need it
- By using different online therapy tools
- Business License for Staring a Private Therapy Practice
When starting a therapy practice one of the requirements may be that you need to get a business license. This will vary based on your location and some cities may not even require this, but it is essential to check when figuring out how to start a therapy private practice.
You will also need to get “EIN” and “NPI” numbers for your business.
EIN is an “Employee Identification Number” that the IRS will use in association with your private therapy practice business. You will also need your EIN to open your business bank account.
While starting your own therapy practice comes with a lot of costs, you can get EIN for free by applying online.
NPI or “National Provider Identifier” is required for all healthcare providers as part of HIPAA requirements. NPI is a unique identifier used to electronically submit health care information.
You can apply to get the NPI free of charge through the NPPES system.
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- Therapist Practice Income and Expenses
As you’re learning how to grow your therapy practice, you’ll quickly realize that keeping track of your income and expenses is essential.
In the beginning stages of starting a therapy practice you may consider doing it yourself by utilizing Excel or Google Spreadsheets.
However, over time when your private therapy practice grows, you may want to hire a bookkeeper or accountant to keep track of your income, expenses, taxes, and everything else that comes with being a private practice therapist.
- How to Start a Private Therapy Practice Website – Therapy Sites Templates
Business cards are a thing of the past and any respectable therapist or counselor that’s starting their own practice should be looking into making their therapy website template.
To get an idea for your therapy website template, it’s a good idea to check and leverage what other private practice therapist websites in your area are doing.
Private Practice Therapists Websites – Therapy Website Template Example
The point is not to steal other businesses’ therapy website template design, but to see what’s working and how you can make your own private practice therapy website template better than your competition’s.
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Do you have any questions about private practice therapist websites or private therapist cost? Do you have feedback on how to grow your therapy practice? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.
- The Cost of Starting Your Own Therapy Practice
With everything said, how much does starting a private therapy practice cost approximately?
- Private practice space for therapists prices
The average cost of renting a private practice therapist office space is around $2,500/month. However, if you already have a space of your own or you’re planning to provide your services virtually and over the phone, the cost can be as little as $0/per month.
- Opening your private practice therapist business – Getting a business license
The average cost of a business license in the USA is under $100, but the price will vary based on your location.
- Getting your EIN and NPI number
Obtaining your EIN and NPI number is super easy and quick. On top of that, both are also free. Cost: $0
- Bookkeeping and accounting
If you’re just starting a private therapy practice, you can utilize MS Excel or Google Spreadsheets to keep track of your income and expenses. If that’s the case, the cost will be $0.
However, if you’re not comfortable doing that and you decide to hire a bookkeeper and/or accountant will cost you anywhere between $75 and $500 per month depending on the location and services provided.
- Therapy website template and hosting
Therapy website template cost can go anywhere between $100 – $1,500. However, this is a one-time cost so you may want to consider investing into a good therapy website template.
The cost of website hosting goes between $15-$50 per month depending on the hosting provider.
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Types of Therapist Practice and Therapy Session Cost
Now that we went over what goes into starting a private therapy practice, we’ll briefly go over some of the most popular types of therapist practice.
Additionally, we’ll give you an average therapy session cost and therapist prices for each of these types of therapist practice. It’s important to note that therapist prices will vary based on the type and duration of therapy sessions.
Private CBT Therapist – Average Therapy Session Cost
A private CBT therapist is a therapist that specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy practice. This is a common form of talking type psychotherapy that strives to reduce symptoms of various mental health conditions.
Private CBT therapist will most commonly be working with clients with the following conditions:
- Anxiety and Panic Disorders
CBT Therapist Toolbox
Every CBT therapist will also use one or more therapist tools to enhance the therapy.
Some of the essential cognitive behavioral therapy tools are:
- Relaxed breathing
- Identifying & challenging faulty thinking
- Muscle calming and relaxation
- Cognitive reconstruction
- Exposure & response prevention
- Interoceptive exposure
- DBT Therapist templates and worksheets
- Mindfulness, meditation, and mood apps for therapists to use with clients & different online therapy tools when appropriate
- Interactive therapy tools such as journaling
Depending on the client’s unique needs therapist may decide to use additional cognitive behavioral therapy tools.
Average duration of private CBT therapist session
Private CBT therapist will most commonly schedule a 45-50 min long session once per week.
What is the private CBT therapist’s average therapy session cost?
The average CBT therapy cost per session ranges from $100-200 (depending on the state).
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Private DBT Therapist – Average Therapy Session Cost
A private DBT therapist or counselor is one that specializes in Dialectal Behavior Therapy. It’s a type of talking, evidence-based psychotherapy that is designed to help people change ineffective patterns of behavior.
If you’re looking to start a career as a private DBT therapist, you will be helping clients to develop a more balanced way of thinking and behaviors.
Private DBT therapist most commonly treats the clients with the following conditions:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Eating Disorders
DBT Therapist Toolbox
DBT therapist toolbox will consist of individual one-on-one therapy while also utilizing therapist group practice.
Some of the essential DBT therapist tools and techniques are:
- Interactive therapy tools such as diary cards
- Chain analysis
- Social environment Interactions
- DBT Therapist Templates and Worksheets
- Mindfulness, meditation, and mood apps for therapists to use with clients
- Online therapy tools where appropriate
Average duration of private DBT therapist session
Private DBT therapist will most commonly schedule a 45-60 min long session once per week.
What is the private DBT therapist’s average therapy session cost?
The average DBT therapy cost per session ranges from $100-200 (depending on the state).
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Do you have any questions about therapy cost per session or DBT private therapist cost described above? Click here to contact the Social Work Portal Team.
Occupational Therapy Private Practice – Average Therapy Session Cost
Occupational therapy private practice is a type of mental health care that helps people of all ages with physical, sensory, or cognitive problems.
Occupational therapy private practice supports clients in developing strategies that help with issues that interfere with their daily life and everyday activities in society.
If you’re considering starting your own occupational therapy practice, you’ll be helping people with:
- Birth Injuries and/or Defects
- Learning Problems
- Sensory Processing Disorders
- Mental Health and/or Behavioral Problems
- Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
- Different Types of Orthopedic Injuries
There are some occupational therapy private practice practitioners that specialize in working with kids. Pediatric occupational therapy private practice typically focuses on therapy that helps children gain independence while helping with the improvement of motor and sensory motor skills.
Occupational Therapist Toolbox
Occupational therapist tools will most commonly consist of:
- Different games, activities, and other interactive therapy tools
- Adapted equipment such as a walking stick, walking frame, or wheelchair
- Adapted utensils and tools
- Mindfulness, meditation, and mood apps for therapists to use with clients
- Online therapy tools where appropriate
- Therapist templates and worksheets
Average duration of occupational therapist session
Duration will vary based on each individual’s needs. Private practice speech therapy sessions are most commonly 30 minutes long, while the typical occupational therapy session is 60 minutes long.
What is the average therapist price in occupational therapy private practice?
The average therapist prices in occupational therapy vary based on the individual’s needs and type of therapy.
Average private practice speech therapy rates per session range: $100-$300 per hour
Average occupational therapy private practice fees: $140-$200 per hour
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Are you looking for occupational therapy practice near me or have experience with occupational therapy private practice? Do you have any questions about pediatric occupational therapy private practice in general? Click here to contact the Social Work Portal Team.
Private Practice Therapist Salary | What’s an Average Therapist Hourly Rate?
US-based private practice therapist salary averages at $91,966/ per year.
As you’re exploring therapist prices and therapy session cost, you must have also been wondering what’s an average private practice therapist salary. According to ZipRecruiter, as of January of this year, US-based private practice therapist salary averages at $91,966/ per year. See the section below for answers to: What type of therapist on average earns the highest therapist hourly rate?
How much does a therapist charge per hour on average? The above annual salary brings the average therapist hourly rate to $44.21. It’s important to note that private practice therapist salary and therapist rates will depend on location, specialization, and expertise.
We found that some private practice therapist jobs come with higher therapist hourly rate and therefore result in overall higher private practice therapist salary.
Private Therapist Cost & Therapist Rates in the USA
What type of therapist on average earns the highest therapist hourly rate?
Occupational therapy private practice and pediatric occupational therapy private practice tend to have the highest therapy rates thus also having the highest private practice therapist salary on average.
As mentioned, another factor that plays into therapist hourly rate and therapist rates in general is location. On average, therapists and counselors based in New York and California tend to charge the highest therapist hourly rate.
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Conclusion | How to Become a Private Practice Therapist
Now that you have all the information to start a private therapy practice of your own, the next thing to determine is whether you’re ready to dive into starting a private therapy practice.
While any new business comes with a lot of risks, making a meaningful and life-changing difference in clients’ life is a reward that may just be worth it.
What makes a good therapist, and ultimately a great therapist practice is a lifelong education and dedication to helping the ones that need it the most. If that’s what you set out to do and you’re coming from a selfless and humble place, the fulfillment you’ll get will make it easier to handle all the things that come with running a private practice.
Best of luck in your journey to becoming a private practice therapist.
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Do you have feedback on how to start a therapy private practice or starting your own occupational therapy practice? If you are a therapist, do you have a list of therapist tools that you would like to share? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.
FAQ | 2023 Guide on Starting a Therapy Practice
What makes a good therapist or counselor?
There are many characteristics that add into what makes a good therapist, but any reputable and ethical therapist or counselor should be:
•Honest, skilled, and strong communicator
•Open and trustworthy
•Clear when setting the goals and agenda with clients
•Non-judgmental and accepting
•Using flexible and adaptable approach in both individual and therapist group practice
How much does a therapist charge per hour?
Depending on the type of therapy, therapist prices average anywhere between $100-$300 per hour.
What are therapist tools?
Therapist tools are different therapeutic approaches, techniques, interventions, and resources that therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals use in therapy.
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