As a new therapist it can sometimes be hard to believe that it is possible to find success in private practice, and that is certainly the message that is translated in graduate schools. I thought it would be helpful if, each week, we featured a different therapist who is proving that success is possible in private practice. The intention with this series is to provide inspiration, hope, and diversity so you can see that not only is this possible, but also that there is no one right way to do it! This week, I would like to introduce you to Dr. Jessica Frankel:
Jessica Frankel, PsyD
How long have you been in private practice (this can include pre-licensure)?
I have been in practice for 6 years. I was an intern for the first three and half years and have recently hit my two year license mark.
How many clients do you see per week?
I see about 27 clients per week, but it took me a long time to grow my practice to this size. People often ask how fast it took to grow, so here is my number break down of how many clients I had in my practice at a given time. The first year is the hardest one, and the most important thing is to be patient, and to go out and network!
Year 1: 4 clients
Year 2: 8 clients
Year 3: 16 clients
Year 4: 21 clients
Year 5: 29 clients
Year 6: 33 clients
What is your full fee?
My full fee is $200, but a better question is what is your average fee per session. I think that this is a better question to ask, because many clinicians have some sliding scale clients, and this lowers the average fee. It is important to know how much money you need to make per client to pay your bills and bring in the income that you want. If you know this information, you can set your fee accordingly and offer some affordable spots for those who need it. The formula for this is (amount of money you want to bring in per month + monthly expenses)/ number of hours you want to work per month. My average fee per session is $160 when taking into account those who I am flexible for.
Do you have a specialty?
My specialty is working with adolescent females, family therapy, and young adults with relationship issues or who are struggling to launch.
What is your favorite aspect of private practice?
I love that I am my own boss and get to make my own schedule. I also love that I get to handpick the clients that I work with, which ensures that I really love every hour that I am working. It took my some time to become more discerning about who I choose to work with, but I encourage my intern to start that process now so she can build a practice with the type of clientele that she likes to work with.
What is your least favorite?
My least favorite aspect is the potential for isolation. I combat this by participating in a bi-weekly peer consultation group. My group has been together for 4 years and it is a really important part of my practice. As I was finishing my training, I looked around for peers whose work I admired. I picked people from different training sites that I had been at, and created a wonderfully supportive group that helps me combat the feelings of isolation that can come with working on your own.
How much time per week do you put into marketing?
2 hours per week
What are your favorite marketing activities?
My favorite activities are networking through one on one lunches. I keep two lunch spots open each week and try to fill it by meeting colleagues for lunch. I have done this every week since I have started my practice and this has been the best task that has been helpful to filling my practice. The people that I meet with are old colleagues from training sites, other clinicians who work near me, or people who I have heard good things about. When I meet with them, I take time to learn about their practice and get to know them as people.
Have you tried any marketing activities that you felt were not helpful?
I really love training other clinicians and have given many training presentations. Although this is a rewarding experience for me, it has not lead to client referrals.
What are your, or do you have, next step goals for your practice?
I want to help my intern grow her practice and help connect other trainees with private practice supervisors.