TTE 29: Should You Start a Therapist Collective or a Group Practice With Amanda Patterson
Amanda Patterson started a group practice… Well, she THOUGHT she started a group practice. Instead, what she ended up forming was a Therapist Collective without even knowing it. Amanda shares her Therapist Experience of starting and growing a Therapist Collective and discusses the benefits and drawbacks of both Collectives and Group Practices so that you can understand which is best for your private practice.
Best Marketing Move for Business
- Letting everybody know at every step of the game that she exists… That she is out in the world, this is what she does, and she is looking for clients.
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
Previous Therapist Experience Episodes Mentioned
Thanks to Amanda for joining me this week. Until next time!
TranscriptClick here to read the Transcript
Amanda: I’m ready to go.
Perry: Alright Amanda, well we are so glad to have you here. Before we hop in the interview, let me share with our audience a little bit more about you. Amanda Patterson LMHC is an expert in treating adults and adolescents with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. She opened a solo practice in May of 2013 and opened her second private practice, Caring Therapists of Broward, in April 2015. Amanda helps her clients begin on the journey of symptom relief, self-discovery, and healing. Her approach is to help you clean up your past, get focused in the present, and move your goals forward for the future. Amanda is also an LMHC qualified supervisor for licensure. Amanda, I gave a little overview of you there but why don’t you take a minute, fill in the gaps from that introduction and tell our audience a little bit more about you personally and about your two private practices?
Amanda: Okay. Well, I’m very excited to be here so thank you for that wonderful introduction. I always usually tell this when I’m interviewing or doing some kind of presentation that I never really wanted to go into private practice. I graduated from a local college Nova Southeastern University so Broward is the next county up from Miami. So those of you listening I know across the nation, it gives you an idea of where I’m at. So I’m in the suburbs of Miami. And I went to school down here and I wanted to be a clinical director and that’s what I eventually became. I worked at an agency and somewhere along the way I have gotten a lot of training. Like we all do when we work at agencies, I got a lot of training, I met a lot of people, and I realized like, oh, I can go into private practice. I can do this. This is an option for me. So in 2013 I met with somebody. I rented office space from her and I started my private practice. And I was able to kind of capitalize on some of those things. I was already licensed so that was helpful. And I had already gone past– I have been licensed for three years so I was able to apply for some insurance panels without any issues. I was a qualified supervisor by that point and I had been able to offer supervision. And I was a certified addictions professional which is a very big down here. The next county up which is Palm Beach has a lot of treatment centers. Even where I’m at there’s a lot of treatment here for substance abuse, so I was able to use that in order to build up a private practice.
Perry: And so were you working in a group practice for those three years after you got your license? Tell us about that time.
Amanda: I’ve come to find out that what I had and what I initially started at is actually not a group practice. I didn’t know that. I started calling it a group. The new term that I’ve seen out there in some Facebook groups is called Therapist Collective or Counseling Collective. So basically where I was at was I rented space from somebody and I operated as a solo practitioner. I started an LLC, Amanda Patterson LMHC LLC. I got some benefits from being in that practice, I was able to use the office, she had paperwork, she had a biller that I could pay to use, which I ended up doing. So that was very convenient but it wasn’t a traditional group practice, I wasn’t paying a split, I wasn’t traditional in that sense, I was literally a sole practitioner renting office space from somebody who was already established in the community. So I got some referrals from that office but I also spent a lot of time building up my own referrals. And then again, somewhere along the way I realized I had met a lot of people, done a lot of things, and I was thinking about opening up my own group practice, which now I realize is a therapist collective. And I did that in 2015. I rented office space, I got a team of people together, I got a website through Brighter Vision. I already had one prior for Amanda Patterson LMHC, and I started branding what I call now a therapist collective. So I have a team of people that rent space for me. I’ll pass referrals along to them but it’s not a traditional group practice.
Perry: Why is it that you chose to do more of a therapist collective as opposed to a traditional group practice?
Amanda: You know, being a clinical director I had spent a lot of time managing people. I had spent a lot of time doing reports, I have spent a lot of time overseeing therapists and I didn’t want to do that in my private practice. For me, the more traditional routes of having a group practice and doing whether the ethical splits of what that looks like I would have had to keep track of everybody’s number, keep track of everybody’s appointments. I have an office manager who answers all the calls but I would have had to manage all of that much more and it would take away time from me being present for my clients. So for me the decision was easy because I don’t want anybody’s boss. I don’t want to be anybody’s manager. I want to be somebody’s supporter but I don’t want to have to look over anybody else’s paperwork and be worried about audits for anybody else other than myself.
Perry: And you know, my mother in law actually owns a group private practice in North Florida and I hear all the time about the struggles of that. You have to manage, like you said, everyone’s paperwork, all the calendar. You essentially move from being a therapist to being much more of a manager of an office. You can hire an office manager but you move to being a manager of business as well. And it’s just a different kind of business that you have to manage there. So I can definitely see the benefits of that. What do you think are the drawbacks to you choosing to go the route of a therapist collective as opposed to a standard group practice, if there are any?
Amanda: Sure, and I think it’s really– When people ask me these kinds of questions I think it’s a personal preference and really what your goals are long-term. From what I have seen, if you put a lot of effort into it, if all of the cards line up for you, you make some really good connections. From what I understand people can make a lot more money doing a group practice because you can bring on a lot of clinicians, you can always build, you can add additional offices, you can get more referrals, then you can get on more insurance panels because you maybe bring in a psychiatrist or maybe you bring in somebody that does EMDR and you’re able to get on the insurance panels those ways where for me we have referrals, we have people coming in. But we don’t take a lot of insurance, we take some insurance but we get a lot of calls about people who simply want to use their insurance. I have a great office manager, she knows how to enroll people and explain benefits, and explain reasons why you would want to use your insurance. Deductibles all of this stuff but there are just some people who want to use insurance. So if I would have gone down that road I probably would have been more aggressive in applying for insurance panels, really establishing that group practice. But I really wanted people to be able to come in and do what authentically worked for them. Some people don’t want to be on insurance panels. I call myself like a part-time insurance panel therapist. I have some clients on insurance panels, I take two insurances that one is a very popular one, local to where I’m at. I take Humana. And then I do most of everything else either cash paying or out of network, we do out of network billing too. So then the people under me also have that same flexibility whether they simply want to see five clients a week, cash-paying and keep a full-time job, or if they really want to be able to go in and start a full-time private practice.
Perry: So how does it work in a therapist collective then? I think this is definitely a great theme to touch on that we’ve never spoken about. And you have a lot of experience with this having chosen to go to therapist collective route as opposed to a group practice. I think our audience will get a ton of value out of this. So how does it work for you in terms of the office manager and the people in your therapist collective? So do you pay the office manager solely out of your expenses and the rent is just higher or do the people in the therapist collective pay the office manager as well? How does that work financially?
Amanda: So I included it in rent for the office manager. She fields all of the phone calls. We actually use Grasshopper as our phone system which is excellent, it works very well. And she answers all the phone calls that come in to the main number and the extension. If they wanted that people have the option. I have found that people really just want to call a main line, they don’t really want to press extension. And so most people call in to the main line, she answers the call, she returns the call. Anything that we get, emails from Psychology Today, those types of things. She manages all of that and that is included in their rent. Now if there was something above and beyond that they wanted or needed her to do she would be able to do that for them at her hourly rates.
Perry: And in terms of you personally, is the therapist collective that you established, is there a profit in your mind whole through the rent or is the financial benefit of it in that you have such a strong referral network that you guys have created amongst yourselves?
Amanda: It’s really the latter. I mean, there is some profit that goes along with it but I don’t want to speak too much about because I don’t know enough about it but my accountant had shared with me. Like, you can only take in a certain amount under my LLC at that’s not therapy really. So there are some things that I needed to be aware of. The way that I was explained that if, it covers my rent, that anything above that I would be taxed on that. So there’s special tax consideration, so if anybody is thinking about doing a therapists collective I would strongly recommend that they talk to their accountant because I wasn’t aware of that. I thought I could charge rents and I could collect it and it’s going to be just taxed the same old way, and that’s not true. So for me that was a learning process.
Perry: Isn’t it amazing, the amount of red tape and loopholes that you just have no idea when you’re getting started?
Amanda: Sure. I always recommend people– And my accountant has been extremely valuable to me and I always recommend for people to have a good accountant that has some knowledge, obviously, of LLCs and those kinds of things. There’s a lot of tax code out there and it can be really beneficial to be informed. And so for me I’m able to– I like that I have somebody who specialized in couples, I have somebody who is bilingual, I have somebody who specializes in fertility issues and adoptions and women issues. So I like that I have a strong referral source within my office, so if somebody calls chances are we will be able to take them and not just take them because we want to take clients. We’re actually matching them with people that are good fits for them. Again, the office manager has information about how much people charge in the office, what their availability looks like and what they specialize in and what they’re willing and not willing to work with.
Perry: Absolutely, and that’s such a great concept. You get many benefits of a group practice because you get that brand recognition that you’re building up. You have that strong referral network but you don’t have all the headaches that come along with it.
Amanda: That’s exactly what I was looking for. I didn’t really realize that’s what I was looking for when I initially started. I just really modeled it after where I was at initially because it worked so well for me. It took me one year to build up to leave my full-time job and it took me two years to build up to the point where I was like, okay, I can do this on my own. I can have my own therapist collective. I can start something locally.
Perry: So speaking of that journey Amanda, I’d love to go back to a point in your career as a therapist in private practice where you could have called it quits, where you were just as low as you could possibly be in your journey and you were just ready to throw in the towel. I know as an entrepreneur those struggles are things that we all face at one point or another. And more than defining characteristics of an entrepreneur is being able to persevere through that. So if you can share with us that moment and then more importantly share with us how you overcame that struggle and persevered through it?
Amanda: It’s funny because this question, I had more clarity about it in hindsight than I did at the time. So when I left my full time job, that was the time that I didn’t obviously give up. And I probably wasn’t even aware of how scared I was but I was very scared, and I look back at numbers, I have taken money from my savings and I had an outbreak on my back of acne and that never happened to me before.
Perry: All the stress.
Amanda: Yes, and like a good therapist who doesn’t listen to their own recommendations I just chopped it up to, oh, it’s the summer, I’m sweating. I didn’t really put all those pieces together. And obviously now I have and I saw that that was a time that was really stressful to me and I had left the cushiness of my full-time job and now I had to pay insurance, I had to pay my portion of the taxes and the employer’s portion of the taxes. I had to make sure– For that first year that I was in private practice I felt rich because I had my full-time salary and I had built up– In about six months I was getting a decent amount of income coming and I felt really good. I was able to do things for my practice and for myself that I had never been able to do in my life. So then when I lost that income for my full time job, it was definitely an adjustment period and I just really never gave up. I watched my numbers every month, I saw how it was growing, what months were good and what months were not so good, and what I would need to do in order to cushion that and get more referrals in, let’s say, over the summer or– Like, last summer I ran some groups at a treatment center. This summer I’m doing some coaching. So I’m doing things to supplement where in my first year I didn’t have numbers really to compare to the previous summer, through holiday times.
Perry: Just to clarify, you’ve recognized over the course of your first year and subsequently where there are natural seasonality dips in your business and you’ve put things in place to help supplement from those seasonality dips, to help supplement your income, correct?
Amanda: Yes. And not overwhelming by any means. Like, I remember I ran some groups last year, the treatments. I didn’t do it every week, I did it like at as needed basis. But it was kind of nice to get that check that was, I was doing therapy and I was working at a treatment center that I enjoyed working at. And it was really helpful in last July when it was slower than it had been other months.
Perry: Absolutely. And you know, that’s something that people don’t really consider too often. Just, there is a seasonality with mental health. You can go to Google Trends and see it. From, and I bet you’re going to agree with me here, you might not, I’m interested to see, the start of summer, July, you’re going to see a dip. Kids are back home, people don’t have as much time to care for themselves, they’re focused on other things, they’re focused on getting their kids in activities and keeping care of their house and all these big changes. Then in the fall you have Thanksgiving and Christmas, and things are really hectic there. So you don’t have time to start seeking mental health and going in and seeing your therapist. But then, boy, oh boy, after a week with the family or two weeks with the family, November, December, come January you’re like, man, I need to start taking care of myself. And you see an uptake in referrals and uptake in people coming to see you. Does that sort of strike true for you as well?
Amanda: Yes. That definitely does and what I did this year to kind of prepare for that is that I took on maybe a couple more clients in May and June that I probably normally would have. Or did a little more marketing than I normally would have to prepare for that. And luckily this June was a slower than let’s say, my good months, but I wasn’t entirely dead so to speak. So that was also helpful, I think that I’ve learned to manage that a little bit more. And then– I haven’t taken a lot of time off during the holidays and I think that this coming up year, that will be more of my plan, to take off more time so then I can condense my days and I won’t be able to feel slow.
Perry: And then you also get to just take time off for yourself because you have to, right? we close our office down from December 25th, through January 2nd every year because people aren’t needing much support, people aren’t looking for a new website, people have other priorities. So we might as well take advantage of that and give ourselves the time off as well.
Amanda: Yeah, that’s been at– Like, this summer I took vacation and I went somewhere and I started working four days a week instead of five days a week. And that had been transformational because what was happening is I was having three full days and two half days. And switching over to working for, let’s call it, more full-time days has really made a difference, because then that gives me one day during the week I work from home a lot of the times, I do a lot of things but I’m also able to stay in my pajamas if I want to stay in my pajamas, or go to yoga in the morning. So it’s actually been really nice so for me being in private practice, being in therapist collective I have seen it’s really about flexibility and shifting with what is happening in your life and in your practice, and in my life and in my practice.
Perry: Did you notice in that first year when things were not so good in a month and going to that second year, did you recognize that was seasonality right away or did you think that was something else?
Amanda: I have to thing about that for a minute because it’s funny– Now that I think about it I opened in the summer, I signed my contract May 30th, let’s call it, something like that. So I opened in June, July, and August. And I wasn’t even thinking like that. I didn’t even understand enough at that point because I had always worked at agencies that we had study referrals coming in. So there was some seasonality there but it was very different. So I wasn’t even thinking about that. So when I started the second year my numbers were so much higher than the previous year that, again, I wasn’t looking at that. It was a way of my– Really, and 2015 and 2016 when I had about two years of data and numbers that I could really get a full picture of what was going on.
Perry: And were you tracking all those numbers? I would imagine you worry the number– I guess, what were you tracking throughout that time?
Amanda: So when I first started I was doing everything on an Excel sheet.
Perry: As we all were, weren’t we?
Amanda: I know. And it’s funny I still have them so it’s kind of like nostalgic to go back and look at it. I was keeping, when people came, dates, names, initials, and how much they paid me, how much income I was bringing in. So that’s what I was doing and, again, I was meeting with an accountant and it wasn’t that I was doing my numbers wrong but accounting for when I saw people, and since I was taking insurance, I would account to certain income based on the month I saw them, not when the revenue was coming in. So if I saw somebody June 1st and the money came in July 1st I was putting it to June. So when I met with the accountant, she said, well, I think it’s a better idea to do it this way. And I started to do it that way. So that was also a fluctuation that happened. So I stopped using an Excel spreadsheet when I realized the importance of having a practice management system. I initially used CounSol, again, that was what was used where I was at. I really liked that system but there were some things that were missing that I really wanted. So now I use Simple Practice and I don’t track anything other than my expenses. Anything else than an Excel spreadsheet in terms of incomes and– Because they’re really great now because you can– I do all my rent through there from my renter. So I can really keep track of my therapy income and any rental income that comes in or any other kinds of things. So it’s actually really nice.
Perry: It certainly makes it simple and it’s well worth the cost.
Amanda: Absolutely. And I usually tell people, like people in my office. Like, when you have about 10 clients a week is when I made that shift, from using a practice management system, I used to text my clients, reminder, your session is tomorrow. And what’s great about practice management systems is they do all of that for you, whether it’s a call, a text message, or an email. So when it got to be about 10 clients a week or something around that, it made more sense to spend the money because the time I was taking to do my billing, to look at everything in an Excel sheet and to put everything down, and to text, and to do all of these things didn’t make sense anymore.
Perry: Right. Just automate it, right?
Amanda: Yes, yes, yes.
Perry: So you know Amanda, you’ve come such a long way from there over the last few years. It’s really remarkable. You’ve been with Brighter Vision now for about year and a half I believe and just seeing your private practice grow and now speaking with you about the growth of your private practice, it’s just so much fun to see that journey. But something we see that therapists often struggle with in the early days is with pricing themselves well. Would you mind sharing with our audience what your current session rate is to see clients and what your journey to that rate was like?
Amanda: Sure. My initial session is 150 dollars and then followup sessions are 125. I started charging 80 dollars a session and going down to 50 dollars, and I did that because somebody told me to do that. And I didn’t research that. I just said, okay, that sounds about right. Even though now in hindsight I’ve been licensed for three years, I had had a lot of trainings, I had had a lot of exposure to doing clinical work. And that wasn’t my worth. I felt like, oh, I’m new. The person I’m renting from told me this is a good price. And so this is what I’m going to charge.
Perry: What was it that helped you realize that you were charging too little and how you changed your rates?
Amanda: You know, I really started to listen to podcasts.
Perry: They are really helpful.
Amanda: Yeah, they’re absolutely helpful. I started to connect with other therapists. I started to see what other people were doing. I started to see what other people were charging. I started to really see– You know, I had gotten through the kinks. Now my paperwork is set, I know how to enroll clients. I don’t answer my calls anymore but when I do if my office manager is out and I can’t find a backup, if I do answer the calls I know how to enroll people into therapy. I know how to share what my cost is without bulking. So I learned for me the ins and outs. I was really comfortable with the whole process.
Perry: You became a business owner?
Amanda: Yeah, I became a business owner. It became systematic for me, this is what it is, and this is how you can pay me and here are my forms, this is what therapy is going to look like. And I got really comfortable with the whole process and for me, the more I got comfortable with the process, the more I got comfortable with charging what I find to be something livable for me, one, and two, pretty similar to what is being charged in this area. So I kind of balanced both of those things. I kind of look at what are people charging in the area, what do I need to live, and what am I comfortable with. Like I said, I do take some insurance, I absolutely take that into account when I look at my numbers and how many clients I’m going to see a week and what my fees are. And at some point I will probably raise my fees again, not necessarily because having anything to do with my clinical skills, but just more from a business perspective. And I get a lot of calls in, I can’t take everybody. So that’s always a determining factor sometimes.
Perry: Supply and demand. It’s a challenging thing especially in mental health because you want to be able to help people. You want to be able to provide your services but on the same hand, as Eddie Reece said in one of our episodes, you’re not a psychotherapist in private practice, you’re a business owner. And it’s a very challenging balance for a lot of people. And we understand that and we’re really hopeful that this podcast helps make that balance a little easier for people that are listening.
Amanda: Yeah, some ways that I feel really good about giving back with, I’m on Open Path Collective.
Perry: Open Path is great.
Amanda: Yeah. So I take some clients from there, have like a number that I take from there. And then I’ll see clients through there and I feel really good about that. I take an insurance that is really– I have great clients from that insurance panel. They’re committed, they’re excited to be here, I get referrals from the, whether it’s from their insurance panel or not. So for me it’s a mix and it’s a balance, and that’s what has worked very well. Some people want to just be cash-paying clients, or cash-paying practitioners and have cash-paying clients. And I have therapists in my practice that want to do that and are working towards that. And I think that’s okay too.
Perry: Absolutely. Everybody who’s in private practice is in it and working to build a private practice and wants to help people. We’re on the same hand, you have to make a living and you’re trying to run a business. It’s a very individual thing, how you decide to structure your practice and how you decide to take clients and bill clients. One thing we haven’t touched on yet though, and you’ve built thriving therapist collective and a thriving independent practice. But we haven’t really spoken about marketing at all. What do you feel was the single best marketing move that you’ve made for your practice and why do you feel like it’s worked so well for you?
Amanda: I think my number one marketing move has been letting everybody know at every step of the game that I exist. I am out here and this is what I do and I’m looking for clients.
Perry: That’s an important key there.
Amanda: It is. I’ve recently met with somebody in my collective and we were going over everything that she was doing. And it was great, it was spot on, it was exactly what she needed to do and what I realized, and what she realized is that though she was going out and giving presentations and doing meetups, and meeting with people, she wasn’t asking for referrals.
Perry: So you’ll go out and do a meetup, and do a presentation. And then at the end you’ll say what to ask for a referral?
Amanda: I might say, I’m open and available, my office is in Pembrook Pines and we see people between the ages of 15 and 45 that are struggling with depression, here are my business cards. It might not be as like, hey, hi, send me your referrals. But I’m definitely going to put it out there that I’m taking referrals and my blog posts at the very end have a little bio and it says, here’s my email address and here’s my phone number for appointments.
Perry: Call to actions. Any kind of marketing you do, you need to call to action. Whether it’s giving a presentation, whether it’s going and having coffee, whether it’s a blog post, whether it’s this podcast. We have a call to action at the end of this podcast here. You have to let people know, hey, this is what we’re doing. Go and learn more, contact me to learn more. So that’s a really great point and thank you so much for sharing that Amanda, that’s never been mentioned before about actually saying, hey, I’m here and I’m taking more referrals. Or wording it in however you choose to word it.
Amanda: Sure. And I think how you choose to word it is depending on your style. I’m an extrovert, I use a lot of social media, I always tell people I don’t think there’s anybody on my Facebook friends list that doesn’t know that I’m a therapist, right? And that’s just how I’ve decided to build and I’m okay with that. And I get a lot of referrals from Facebook, or I get a lot of questions from Facebook. People will say how I need a therapist and I’m not going to see them because they’re my Facebook friend. And I say, well I can’t see you but I can refer you to this really great therapist. Whether they are my collective or not. Just it depends. So that’s been really helpful, just to raise awareness that, hey, mental health services exist in Broward County in Florida, in the country, and here’s how you can find them. A lot of people aren’t even aware that Psychology Today exists, and that’s a great place to find therapists. A lot of people don’t even know to contact their insurance companies if they want to use their insurance. So just raising that awareness about where to find a therapist. And I’m okay with answering those calls from people or answering those emails or Facebook messages about, hey, I’m looking for a therapist. Because I want people to associate Amanda Patterson with therapists so that that way I will get referrals.
Perry: Absolutely. So Amanda, you went to school to become a therapist, not to get your MBA but it seems like business comes really naturally to you. You get it and every step along the way in our conversation here, from when you opened your practice, and your story of how you grew and matured your businesses into– Really, one business I guess. But growing a thriving private practice, a thriving therapist collective, recognizing a seasonality, doing things to pivot and add in additional revenue, growing referrals sources, you’ve done everything really well. But what we hear often is that school doesn’t prepare you to enter and open a private practice. What’s the one thing you wish that you would have learned in school about starting your own business?
Amanda: I think I wish they would have just talked about it. I don’t really remember them talking– Maybe some professors did. I was recently reminded by somebody I went to school with. They’re like, this professor talked about private practice. And it probably did it in passing but it wasn’t a part of our formal education. And I don’t remember there being any even workshops or CEUs available when were in school about that. So I wish they would have just talked about it. I wish it would have just been an option. I remember the message I got drilled in was, you have to work for agency, you’re not going to make a lot of money, and then eventually you’ll get licensed and become a director at an agency or something along those lines, and you make 60-70-80,000 in Florida which then they wanted us to be grateful for that. And it’s not that I wasn’t grateful when I was making that income range but I had bigger dreams for myself. I wanted more flexibility, I wanted my income to be dependent not on just what the salary range was of the job, like how hard I wanted to work or how efficient I wanted to work. So that’s why I decided to do private practice, but in grad school I wish they talked about it.
Perry: Yeah, really. And I’m hearing this, you’re just so clearly an entrepreneur at heart. You have it running through your blood here.
Amanda: I think it’s true. I was just thinking that. I think it’s a part of my personality structure that is not going to change so I’m grateful for that. I remember I was class president at high school, right? It’s just I don’t know why I was. I don’t know why I was interested in that then, just seemed like a good thing to do. And I loved it and we planned events and collected money, we basically ran a little business in high school. So even though I didn’t think I wanted to open a business, I didn’t want to go down that business path per se, I had considered it when I was in school my first year. But I really fell in love with psychology so I was able to use my skills that just come naturally to me in order to build up the practice.
Perry: Alright Amanda, now we’re going to move into the final part of our interview. And what I love about this part is we had this really great conversation, free-willing, taking us all over the place here and provided so much value. But what we get to do here now is really distill down your advice and your expertise into quick little sound bites that our audience can use to inspire and motivate them in growing their own private practice. Are you ready?
Amanda: I’m ready.
Perry: What or whom inspired you to become a mental health professional?
Amanda: You know, I had a really good friend of mine, her name is Jill Marcell and she had started the program a year before I did and she talked about it so highly that it was like a calling, the way she described it. And she became a mental health counselor and now she’s a guidance counselor and she’s a really good friend of mine and she continued to inspire me but I’ll always credit her for helping me see the benefit. Because I took a year off of school and she helped guide me back in.
Perry: What do you do to clear your head and get a fresh start in your day?
Amanda: For me, all my work is at night. I don’t do anything in the morning other than walk my dog for 10 minutes. But at night I do meditation, yoga, journaling. I love bubble baths. So any combination of that.
Perry: What are some tools that you’ve used to leverage the power of technology in your private practice so that technology is no longer a hurdle but instead an asset for you?
Amanda: Everything is automated. I don’t use Skype anymore, I actually use VC. I have Simple Practice, Brighter Vision, every social media for the most part that’s fairly popular. So everything is all automated online and so it makes it very easy.
Perry: What’s a quote that you hold near and dear, something that has helped formulate your perspective on life or has motivated and provided guidance for you?
Amanda: So I was in a sorority when I was in college and our motto is, “Esse quam videri!” Which is, “To be rather than to seem to be!” And that has been really impactful because it’s me being my authentic self and not– I have no problem sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly about things.
Perry: If you could recommend one book to our audience, what would that book be?
Amanda: So I would definitely recommend Casey Truffo Be a wealthy therapist.
Perry: Alright Amanda, last question. If you moved to a new city tomorrow, you didn’t know anybody there and all that you had with you was your computer and 100 bucks to start a new private practice, what is it that you would do on your very first day?
Amanda: Get a website. Haha.
Perry: Hahaha. That’s an important one.
Amanda: I’m not just trying to suck up to you but absolutely I would get a website because that’s where people are finding people nowadays.
Perry: That’s hanging your shingle. I mean, a website is going out and putting that OPEN sign up.
Perry: Any parting advice for our listeners Amanda?
Amanda: So my advice is, especially after reflecting at what we just talked about, is to do research too. I think I would have liked to listen to podcasts earlier. So if people are listening to podcasts, hurray. Reaching out to other people, maybe ask– For me, I could have went and ask five people, what do you charge? What are the going rates? These kinds of things. So I could have just done a little bit more research about things initially. And that’s the advice that I would give to somebody who asked me. Do your research, connect with other people, and really start putting yourself out there.
Perry: Fantastic Amanda, this was just so great. Where can our listeners find you to connect and learn more about you?
Amanda: There’s a couple of places. I actually had a private practice group on Facebook that you can join. It’s called My Private Practice Tribe and we are a group of people that we send referrals to each other, we share our blog posts, we share our Facebook, and we get information. It’s really great because everybody’s sharing and connecting. And I connected with a lot of great people in that group and then other Facebook groups. There’s a lot of really good ones out there. You can find me, my website for my collective Caringtherapistsofbroward.com or you can find my personal page which is Amandapattersonlmhc.com and you can email me or call me absolutely.
Perry: Awesome. Of course, you can learn more about Amanda and all the great resources that she’s mentioned on the show today at Brightervision.com/session29. Amanda, thank you so much for being so generous with your time, your expertise, and your knowledge. I know that everybody listening to this show will really, really appreciate all the great advice you provided and the therapist experience that you have shared. Thanks again. Thank you so much for tuning in today. If you have a question for us you can email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and, of course, as we spoke earlier. Here’s our call to action. If you’re interested in launching a website don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Brighter Vision is the worldwide leader in custom therapist website design. For just 59 dollars a month you’ll get a website that’s as unique as your practice, unlimited tech support, and complementary SEO so people can actually find you online. Head on over to Brightervision.com and drop us a line through one of our contact forms and we’ll get in touch with you within one business day. That’s it for today, thanks again for listening and we will see you next week.