Group Therapy Practice Pros and Cons
Are you considering starting a group therapy practice?
Does the idea of multiple therapists in one place — under your roof and wings, so to speak — appeal?
Then it’s important to weigh this step sensibly. To determine if this path is well-suited to your goals and aspirations. After all, it’s not for everyone. Running a group therapy practice brings much work, responsibility, and stress that being a sole therapist doesn’t. But for those who are a match, the benefits can be profoundly life-altering.
So, let’s examine the pros and cons and how to get started!
Group Therapy Practice Pros
The pros are likely front of mind. The possibility of improved client outcomes. The networking and support. The promise of increased profits. Starting a group therapy practice can offer these benefits and more.
Let’s take a look…
1. Improved Client Results
Working in a group therapy practice allows you to collaborate with other therapists more easily. This can provide new perspectives and ideas for treatment. When you feel stuck, it’s helpful to pick the brains of your fellow professionals for different views and treatment ideas. Therapists in your practice can also reach out to you.
Group therapy practice also allows you to hold regular meetings. Clients with challenging needs can be discussed. This provides an excellent opportunity for mental health professionals to pool their expertise and offer a unique, team-oriented approach to client care. One that is more comprehensive than you could achieve alone. And yes, this can be a unique selling point that attracts new clients.
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Being a multi-therapist practice allows you to form supportive and positive working surroundings. A pleasant environment allows improved performance and care and can be perceived by clients. It’s a win-win.
Every therapist has their areas of interest. A focus that can benefit clients. Variety within a practice means you can offer clients a more comprehensive range of services. Plus, when the need arises, you can refer clients in-house. This way, clients remain under your roof and in your following while a subject expert delivers their care.
Specialization is terrific for your clients and your reputation and enables greater profits.
3. Networking and Support
When therapists work together in a private practice setting, they can share ideas, techniques, and best practices. This can lead to professional growth, increased knowledge and skills, and improved client treatment outcomes.
A group therapy practice also provides the opportunity for peer supervision and consultation. This can benefit new and experienced therapists by allowing them to receive feedback and support from trusted colleagues. This can help the therapists under your wings improve their skills, increase their confidence, develop a sense of belonging, and practice loyalty.
In addition, while mental health professionals are often spoken about in terms of their services, we know the truth. Our customers tell us that therapy can be hard for therapists, too. There’s a reason why burnout is so common in helping professions.
Practicing in a group setting allows you to connect with your colleagues regularly. Even if it’s just catching up for a brief chat in the tea room, the support and camaraderie of working with other therapists — other experts who know what it’s like to be in the trenches — can be therapeutic, fulfilling, and positive.
4. Flexibility and Positive Work-Life Balance
Most sole therapists have only themselves and the income they generate to manage their lives and lifestyles. This is a great deal of pressure.
- Get sick? Clients cannot be seen, and the pay stops.
- Need a holiday? Can you secure a competent substitute that your clients will see (and who will draw you an income), or not?
- Want to regularly take your kids to school, catch that midmorning Yoga class, or complete some face-to-face study? Can you fit it in?
These pressures can mount and lead to long hours and poor self-care. Clients and earning an income become the priority as flexibility and work-life balance slip. It’s a slippery slope!
Yet, when done right, owning a group therapy practice allows you to change this narrative. You can refer to others within your team when needed and earn an income regardless… while enjoying life.
Yes, the opposite can also be true. (More about this in a moment) So, a considered, well-designed plan is needed. And yes, you must stick to it!
5. Creating Your Unique Practice
When you own the practice, you are in charge. You can implement ways of being and doing that may not be possible in solo practice or when working in someone else’s practice. You can birth what you imagine.
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6. Increased Profit Potential
As we’ve hinted above, and you’ve no doubt spent time pondering, starting a group therapy practice — and running it well — can massively increase your profit potential.
The specific arrangement you choose is up to you. Still, therapy practice owners may:
- Take a percentage of the income earned by the therapists who work in your practice
- Require a fixed fee for the use of the office space, administrative support, and resources provided by the practice
- Let out space. Therapists work as independent contractors and pay a monthly or yearly fee for using the office space and resources
This can propel profits and provide you with greater income stability and surety, and growth.
But as with all things, there is a flip side. Starting a group therapy practice comes with its cons as well.
Group Therapy Practice Cons
It’s easy to wear rose-colored glasses, but starting a group practice can and will bring challenges. People management, administration, marketing and promotion, liability and compliance, financial wizardry, and, yes, the risk of burnout.
1. People Management
The world is filled with different personalities, desires, and beliefs. This in and of itself is wonderful. However, as the owner of a therapy practice, you must manage people with these differences: the therapists, the team that supports them, and of course, the multitude of clients.
Supervision, scheduling, and dealing with conflicts that may arise become your responsibility. The buck stops with you.
2. Increased Administrative Responsibilities
Running a group therapy practice requires managing schedules, billing, and other administrative tasks for multiple therapists. This can be time-consuming and may require additional staff or resources.
3. Marketing and Promotion
Not all practice owners are great at marketing. Some stick their heads in the sand and pray, muttering hopeful (incorrect) phrases like “If I built it, they will come.”
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But if you want a flourishing group practice, you must own your marketing and promotion. Grabbing this bull by the horns and creating consistent marketing and promotion that attracts new clients and retains existing ones. This can be a challenge and is time-consuming.
Tip: At BrighterVision, we help therapists — including group practice owners — to achieve marketing goals that move the needle and ethically add bulk to the bank account. Reach out if you’re ready to supercharge your practice growth and profits.
4. Liability and Compliance
As the practice owner, it will fall upon your shoulders to ensure your practice complies with all relevant laws and regulations, which can be a complex, laborious, and stressful task.
5. Financial Management
You can — and should — have financial systems, a bookkeeper, and an accountant. But the practice’s finances are still your responsibility. You need to ensure they are well managed.
6. Risk of Burnout
One of the reasons you might be interested in owning a practice is increased flexibility and freedom. But there’s no surprise here. The added responsibilities and strain of owning a group therapy practice can be exhausting and overwhelming. Burnout is possible.
You must put systems, steps, and support in place to get everything done sustainably, manageably, and healthily. It would be best if you had a plan to manage your stress and responsibilities effectively. This may include hiring additional staff, delegating responsibilities, and setting boundaries to ensure a healthy work-life balance.
Group Therapy Practice Owner Salary
So, why would you take on the stress and responsibility?
As we’ve discussed, there are many reasons to start a group therapy practice. One, naturally, is income.
But projecting income is not as simple as it might seem. The answer to “how much” you could earn for a group therapy practice owner salary is like the answer to how long is a piece of string. It depends! On many factors, from your overheads to the number of therapists in your practice, how you share income, and how full your therapist’s books are — and your own, if you continue to practice. Your marketing efforts are critical here too.
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The better question is, “Will I earn enough extra income to justify the expense, stress, and commitment to running my group practice?”
You can look at your income as a sole practitioner to gain a reference point and might also consider the norms. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median 2022 pay for a psychologist was $81,040 per year. The overall job growth outlook is average, so this figure isn’t likely to soar rapidly.
Complete the estimates. The costs and potential outcomes outlined in your business plan will provide some guidance.
Once you’ve considered the pros and the cons carefully and decided that the life of a group therapy practice owner is for you, what do you do next?
How to Start a Group Therapy Practice: 9 Steps to Take You From Idea to Reality
How to start a group therapy practice with success in mind?
Plan! Beginning a new venture — especially once that’s this important — is best done with a calculated game plan. Consider these steps when starting a group therapy practice:
- Develop a business plan. This should include your target market — aka your ideal clients, services offered, pricing, and marketing strategies.
- Research the laws and regulations in your state for starting a group therapy practice, including licensure and insurance requirements. Then meet them.
- Research, decide upon, and establish a location for your practice.
- Develop a referral network. Reach out to other therapists, doctors, and healthcare professionals to build a network of referrals.
- Recruit therapists. Train them in your systems and expectations.
- Market your practice! The cyber world continues to empower therapists to create massive impact and reach. Combine traditional and digital marketing techniques to attract new clients, reconnect with prior clients, and stay present in your current client’s minds. Promote your practice’s expertise, services, and unique brand and message.
- Create a website and develop a social media presence. This will attract new clients and build a professional, reputable, and magnetic branded image for your practice.
- Regularly evaluate and improve your practice and marketing to ensure it meets your client’s needs and achieves your goals.
- Continuously ask yourself (and ask colleagues who own practices) what else you need to do to succeed. Then implement.
Starting a group therapy practice can be complex, requiring planning, hard work, dedication, and determination. It can also be enriching and life-affirming.So, carefully consider the pros and the cons. Seek input and guidance from professionals in the field. Do your research so you know what’s involved and what to expect. If you decide that becoming a group therapy practice owner is for you, prepare, plan, and implement.
And remember, we’re here to help you nail your marketing and website. We look forward to working with you to create something special and lasting!
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