2023 Guide on Managing a Psychology Private Practice & How to Start a Private Practice

2023 Guide for Growing, Managing, or Starting a Private Practice in Psychology


If you have been wondering how to grow your private practice in psychology or how to start a new private psychologist 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.

To help you figure it all out before diving head first into opening your own psychologist practice, we have prepared this comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about becoming a private clinical psychologist and setting up your very own mental health private practice.

On top of that, we are also going to give you an overview of private practice psychologist salary, psychologist session cost, psychotherapy tools that private practice psychologist can use, and much more.

Let’s get started on getting you set up as a private psychologist!

psychologist cost per session

Starting a Private Practice in Psychology

Many fresh out-of-school psychology program graduates dream of starting a private practice. That’s before they realize there’s more to starting a private practice in psychology than what initially meets the eye.

While getting a degree in psychology is a great achievement on its own, the truth is that school doesn’t really teach you how to run your psychology private practice.

Figuring out how to start a private practice may sound fairly easy, but if you’re not familiar with the business side of operating a private clinical psychology business, you may be in for a surprise – and not a pleasant one.

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Would you like to share feedback on how to start a psychologist private practice? Are there any clinical psychology private practice 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.

Table of Contents: How to Start Private Practice Psychology

Keep on scrolling down this page to read each section or click any link below to go directly to that section.

  1. How to Become a Private Psychologist?
  2. Starting a Private Practice | Psychology Private Practice Requirements
    1. Business Plan for Psychologist Practice
    2. Private Practice Psychologist Insurance Providers
    3. Psychology Private Practice Website
    4. Private Clinical Psychology Forms
  3. Most Common Type of Private Practice in Psychology
  4. Private Practice Therapist Salary & Psychologist Cost Per Session
    1. Private Practice Psychology Salary
    2. How Much Does Psychologist Cost? | Psychologist Session Cost
  5. Conclusion | Starting a Private Practice in Psychology
  6. FAQ | 2023 Clinical Psychology Private Practice Guide

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Would you like to share feedback on best practices to use when starting private practice psychologist business? Is there a guide on starting a private practice clinical psychologist office that has provided great value to you that we can include in this guide for other private clinical psychology professionals to leverage? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.

How to Become a Private Practice Psychologist | Intro to Psychologist Practice

In order to become a private clinical psychologist, you will have to fulfill some requirements.

While requirements may vary depending on where in the USA you live, you won’t be able to start private practice psychology business without being qualified.

So, what qualifications will you need to practice in clinical psychology?

In most U.S. states, you will need to work towards obtaining a Ph.D. in psychology before you will be legally allowed to work as a private practice clinical psychologist.

Here are all the steps you’ll need to take for becoming a licensed private psychologist/practising psychologist:

  • Get a Ph.D. in Psychology
  • Complete supervised internship – 1,500-6,000 supervised hours
  • Pass the EPPP Exam (Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology)
  • Pass the Jurisprudence Exam in your state
  • Obtain a License

Only after all the above-mentioned steps have been completed, you can become practising psychologist and be legally allowed to open a private practice psychotherapy business.

Next, we’ll take a look at all the requirements practising psychologist needs to meet to open a psychotherapy private practice.

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Requirements for Opening Psychologist Private Practice | How to Start Psychologist Practice

Once you have obtained your degree, completed a supervised internship, passed all the required exams, and obtained a license, you can consider yourself as ready for starting a psychology practice.

While you may be exhilarated to get on opening a psychology practice as soon as possible, there are some important steps that every future psychologist private business owner needs to consider.

In the sections below, we’ll go over all requirements for opening a psychotherapy private practice or your own private psychology clinic.

  1. Business Plan for Private Psychotherapy Practice | Starting Your Own Psychology Practice

Regardless of whether you will need to get a loan before starting private practice psychologist business or you’ll be paying for it out of your private funds, before opening a psychology practice, you’ll need a detailed private practice psychology business plan.

Psychologist practice business plan will help the private clinical psychologist to:

  • Choose the business structure that best works for your type of private psychologist business (LLC, PLLC, S Corp., etc.)
  • Research, analyze, and identify what type of private practice in psychology is underrepresented in the area you’ll be practicing in
  • Determine and hone in on what mental health private practice services you’ll be offering to ensure your psychologist private practice stands out from other private psychology clinics in your location or area
  • Plan on getting your private psychologist office (rent, buy, co-rent, etc.)
  • Estimate the approximate private practice psychologist salary and psychologist session cost
  • Estimate your short and long-term private psychology clinic financial goals (expenses, income, hiring an accountant or bookkeeper vs. opting for software, etc.)
  • Set marketing goals for your private mental health private practice
  • Stay liable and determined to make it as a psychotherapist in private practice

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Do you have any questions about being a clinical psychologist in private practice? Do you have feedback on starting a psychology practice or opening a psychology practice? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.

  1. Leverage Psychotherapy Private Practice Insurance Providers | How to Start a Private Practice

One of the important decisions that you will have to make before opening your own psychology practice is leveraging mental health private practice insurance providers.

If you’re planning to start a private practice psychology cash-only business you won’t have to worry about insurance. However, if your goal is to work with insurance companies, you will need:

  • National Provider Identification number also referred to as NPI that can be obtained for free
  • Get registered with Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH). CAQH is a non-profit organization that is used by insurance companies in the credentialing process. This is to ensure that your psychologist practice has all the expertise and credential needed to provide the care.

You may be wondering what are the main benefits of having your private psychotherapy business or private psychology clinics join an insurance panel.

For example, if you’re running a private clinical psychology business that accepts cash only, you can start getting paid almost instantly. However, if you’re a private psychologist working with a third-party insurance company, you will have to wait weeks or even months to get paid.

Furthermore, you can expect a lot of paperwork which brand new private psychology businesses may not be too thrilled about.

One of the main positives to getting on one or more of the insurance panels is that they act as a great referral and advertising source which can be very useful when first starting as a clinical psychologist in private practice.

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  1. Establishing Your Psychology Private Practice Website | Psychotherapy Website Templates

Now that you’re familiar with the main requirements of starting a psychology practice, it’s time to look into growing it for the years to come.

A private practice psychologist that decides to get on the insurance panels will get some free advertising. Nonetheless, any private practice psychotherapy business or clinical psychology private practice needs to establish itself online and market itself to potential clients.

You may want to research what type of psychotherapy website templates are used by other psychologists private practice businesses in your area. To do so, just visit one of the search engines and type in search terms such as: “private practice therapist near me” or “private practice psychologist near me”.

This will list all popular private psychology clinics and psychology private practice businesses in your area whose psychotherapy website templates you’ll be able to leverage for your own business.

private practice psychologist near me

Website Template Example – Private Practice in Psychology

You may notice that most psychotherapy website templates try to convey peacefulness, tranquility, and elegance which may be the path you’ll want to consider as well.

Many psychologists private businesses opt to make their psychotherapy website templates from scratch. However, if you’re just opening a psychology practice that may end up being too expensive.

For that reason, some mental health private practice businesses decide to go with premade psychotherapy website templates that are much less expensive.

Furthermore, you could also use your website to bring value to your potential clients’ lives. For example, you can share different content, online apps, and psychotherapy tools that could make you stand out among your competitors.

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Do you have additional feedback on how much a psychologist charges per hour? Do you have any tips about psychologist fees per hour or how much does a psychologist cost in general? Click here to contact the Social Work Portal Team.

  1. Managing Psychology Private Practice Paperwork & Forms | Working Privately as a Clinical Psychologist

With a private psychotherapy business or private psychology clinic come a lot of forms and paperwork that your clients will be filling out.

Forms and paperwork will vary from one psychology practice to another, but here are some of the essential forms any psychologist that’s starting a private practice will need:

  • Client Rights
  • Medical History
  • Informed Consent Form
  • Referral Forms
  • Treatment Plan
  • Adult Mental Health Intake Forms
  • Child Mental Health Intake Forms
  • Developmental Questionnaire
  • Client Release of Information & Survey Forms
  • Release of Information & HIPAA Forms
  • Substance Use Intake Forms
  • Document of Service
  • Payment Forms & Receipts
  • Termination Letter
  • And many more!

These are just some of the most essential forms and paperwork that any psychotherapy private practice or private practice psychologist will need to have in check before starting a private practice in psychology. Depending on your specific private practice in psychology, you may need additional forms.

Now that we went through the basics of how to start a private practice in psychology, we’ll take a look at the most common type of mental health private practice approach.

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Most Common Type of Psychologist Private Practice | What is Evidence Based Psychological Practice?

There are different types of psychologists private businesses and the main distinction is their psychologist practice specialization. The most common and popular type today is evidence based psychological practice or EBT.

So, what is evidence based psychological practice?

According to the APA definition, EBT is “the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture, and preferences” and its purpose is “to promote effective psychological practice and enhance public health by applying empirically supported principles of psychological assessment, case formulation, therapeutic relationship, and intervention.”

The opposite of evidence based psychological practice would be eminence based psychological practice which relies solely on a medical professional’s opinion rather than a critical appraisal of scientific evidence.

Evidence based psychological practice is a core competence for 21st century psychology regardless of whether they’re a private psychologist or not.

starting your own psychology practice

Evidence Based Psychological Practice Process

Evidence based psychological practice theories used in clinical psychology are:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBD)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
  • Occupational Therapy – OT Private Practice
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy
  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Cognitive Therapy
  • And many more…

Whether you’re looking to open your OT private practice or focus on any other evidence based psychological practice will primarily be dependent on your specialization.

On top of that, if you’re just starting your own psychology practice, you should take into consideration what’s lacking in your area, location, and state.

For example, if you’re starting evidence base psychological practice as a private psychologist for children you may want to consider the demographics of the area. If the area where you’re starting your own psychology practice is mainly populated with old people, your psychologists private practice for children may not be the ideal option.

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Clinical Psychologist Private Practice Salary | How Much Does a Psychologist Cost?

Earlier in our guide on starting a private practice, we touched on the importance of incorporating expectations of your private psychology salary and psychologist cost per session into the psychologist practice business plan.

In the sections below, we’ll take a deep dive into just that.

Private Practice Psychologist Salary | Psychologist Rate per Hour

The average private practice psychologist salary is $96,186 per year. That makes an average psychologist rate per hour $47.91.

Read below for additional details.

Many psychology careers come with a higher-than-average private practice psychology salary. To best present you with what you can expect in terms of your private practice psychology salary, we’ll take a look at the highest-paying psychologist practice careers in general.

So, what are the highest-paying psychologists private professionals?

  1. Industrial-Organizational Private Psychologist

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an Industrial-Organizational private practice psychologist salary averages around $122,660 per year.

These sought-after professionals that earn a Ph.D. can work as consultants and get a private practice psychology salary that averages around $110,000.

  1. OT Private Practice Psychologist

OT psychologist private practice professionals earn a private practice psychologist salary that averages around $106,166 per year.

While this is average in the US, many occupational therapy psychologists private practices make both less and more.

working privately as a clinical psychologist

OT Private Practice – Starting Your Own Practice Psychology

  1. Psychotherapist in Private Practice

Psychotherapists in private practice earn a national average of $87,377 per year. However, it’s important to note that private psychotherapy salary will dramatically vary from state to state.

As an example, private practice psychologist salary for psychotherapist in private practice in Alabama averages around $40,000 per year. At the same time psychotherapy private practice practitioner in New York can expect an average private practice psychology salary of around $94,000 per year.

  1. Private Clinical Psychologist/ Private Practice in Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology private practice salary comes at an average of $81,330 per year. However, clinical psychology private practice professionals are also the ones with the largest areas of employment within psychology.

That also gives private clinical psychology professionals the opportunity to work in private psychology clinics and diverse mental health private practice offices.

While these are some of the top private practice psychologist salary averages in the USA, that doesn’t mean that other specializations in psychologist practice can’t bring you as much or even higher salaries.

  1. Counseling Psychologist Private Practitioner

Counseling psychologist has a lot of similarities with private practice clinical psychologist. Both types of professionals work with different psychotherapy tools and techniques, but counselling psychologists private practice deals with less severe mental illnesses.

Counseling psychologist in the USA can expect an average salary of approximately $73,000 per year which is slightly lower than what we’ve seen with the private clinical psychologist profession.

Average private practice psychology salary across all specializations:

As with every occupation, many factors go into determining the salary, and practising psychologist are no different.

According to Indeed, as of January of this year, the average private practice psychologist salary across the specializations is $96,186 per year. That makes an average psychologist rate per hour $47.91.

While the average psychologist session cost is higher than $47.91, it’s important to note that opening your own psychology practice comes with a lot of expenses.

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Do you have any questions about the psychologist rate per hour or clinical psychologist private practice salary described above? Click here to contact the Social Work Portal Team.

How Much Does a Psychologist Charge Per Hour? | Private Practice Psychologist Hourly Rate

Without health insurance, average psychologist price per session hour ranges between $75 and $200+.

As you may have already noticed with a private psychologist salary, a private practice psychologist hourly rate will also vary. How much does a psychologist charge per hour? What’s psychologist rate per hour range? Let’s find out more!

Psychologist price per hour will vary on your location, type of therapy, specialization, education, and any additional skills and certifications.

In most parts of the USA, psychologist charge per hour will be between $100 and $200, however, there are exceptions on both ends of the stick.

How to determine what your psychologist cost per session should be? | How much psychologist charge per hour?

If you’re just starting private practice psychology business, you may want to research how much do psychologist charge per session in your area. 

The easiest way to do this is to open a search engine and type “private practice therapist near me” and “private practice psychologist near me.” This search will give you a list of private practice psychotherapy businesses in your area.

Look for the ones with websites and not just contact numbers. Most reputable clinical psychology private practice offices will have their psychologist price per hour listed on their websites.

If that’s unsuccessful and you’re still wondering how much psychologist charge per hour in your area, you may want to consult with other psychologists private practice professionals in your area that you’ve connected with in the past.

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Do you have feedback on how much do psychologist charge per session or what’s psychologist charge per hour? Do you have insight into how do determine psychologist fees per hour that you would like to share? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.

Conclusion | How to Start Private Practice Psychology Business

Now that you’ve learned all the essentials of opening a psychology practice, how much does a psychologist charge per hour, and the different types of private psychologist business, you need to determine if this is the right career for you.

While we did our best to present you with the most valuable information on starting a psychology practice, no one can do the next step but you.

We recommend that you take it all in and evaluate if starting your own psychology practice is a realistic possibility for you now. Or if it’s something that’s going to have to wait a few years.

Regardless of your decision, always keep in mind that the end goal and the biggest reward is the positive change in the lives of the clients you work with.

If after reading our 2023 guide on how to start private practice psychology business you still have questions about working privately as a clinical psychologist or psychotherapy tools you could be using, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Social Work Portal Team.

Until we next meet, we wish you success in starting your own practice psychology business.

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FAQ | Starting a Private Practice

What are the main steps to take to become a practising psychologist?

Get a Ph.D. in Psychology, complete a supervised internship (1,500-6,000 supervised hours), pass the EPPP Exam, pass the jurisprudence exam in your state, and obtain a state license.

What’s the average psychology session cost?

Average psychology session cost or psychologist price per hour ranges from $75 to $200+.

What’s an average clinical psychologist private practice salary?

Average clinical psychologist private practice salary is approximately $81,330 per year. However, this will vary based on education, expertise, certifications, and location.

What are the highest-paying psychologist practice professionals?

Highest paying practising psychologist professionals are:
•Industrial-Organizational Private Psychologist
•OT Private Practice Psychologist
•Psychotherapist in Private Practice
•Private Clinical Psychologist
•Counseling Psychologist Private Practitioner

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