Starting A Group Therapy Practice: Pros & Cons

People sitting on chairs in a huddle organizing a group practice.

Years of training might leave you confident dealing with a client’s problems, but many therapists are less secure when it comes to leading a business.

A group therapy practice might offer financial, personal, and administrative benefits, but the difficulties in establishing these practices can be off putting.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of a group therapy practice, and tips on getting started.

The Advantages of Starting A Group Therapy Practice

There are many advantages to creating your own group therapy practice.

  • You get to build your own team of trusted therapists. Private practice can be a lonely business, and group therapy allows you to work with a team of like-minded individuals.
  • A group therapy practice often offers financial benefits. You can potentially see more clients, and might even earn a set salary regardless of caseload. Because the administrative costs are shared, group practices can be a way to save money.
  • If you lack business skills, a group practice allows you to share responsibilities. There are many talents needed to run a successful business. As you’re trained in psychotherapy, and not marketing or accountancy, you’re unlikely to have all these skills. A group practice helps you to share the workload.
  • There’s room to diversify the practice, which can also improve your client list. Working in a group therapy practice can make it easier to establish your niche, alongside other therapists with clear specializations. This can also increase referrals.

The Disadvantages Of Starting A Group Therapy Practice

While there are many advantages to starting a group therapy practice, it won’t be all smooth sailing.

  • You might have more responsibilities in a group therapy practice, depending on your position in the practice. Administrative duties that you were comfortable with in a private setting can be stressful when you have to account for others.
  • There can be personality clashes, particularly if you’re bringing together a group of therapists used to private practice. Be clear about your goals when starting the practice, and draw boundaries between the personal and professional.
  • A group practice can sometimes offer less control, and you might find you lack freedom with your clients and your schedule. You might also have limited control of the practice outside your client list.

Steps To Starting A Group Therapy Practice

Have A Clear Reason Why

What’s your motivation for starting a group therapy practice? Understand this, so you can work towards achieving that goal, and better organize your practice.

There are many reasons why you might want to start a group therapy practice, from diversifying treatment to increasing your earning potential. Whatever your reason, be clear about the intention from the outset.

Consider The Financial Realities

A group therapy practice can seem like a financial home run. With more therapists on staff, you can see more clients, and make more money. However, a group therapy practice typically has higher expenses. With staff, office space, and administrative costs considered, you might find the group therapy practice makes limited profit.

Balance these costs with the effort and time needed to run a successful group therapy practice, to determine if this is the right choice for you.

Create A Business Plan

When you’re certain you want to pursue a group practice, then you can create your business plan. Try to conceptualize the business as a whole, and set clear goals for the future with achievable deadlines.

Don’t forget the upfront costs and decisions. Will you run a teletherapy business? How much office space do you need? If you do have an office, what work might be needed in the set-up?

Create A Financial Plan

If you’re moving from a private practice to a group practice, then you should already have an idea of a suitable hourly rate. However, the financial realities of a group practice will affect your baseline.

Consider how many clients you expect to take on through the practice, how many sessions will run through the year, and what the administrative costs of the practice will be.

You’ll also need to consider whether your group practice will accept insurance, or if you’d prefer cash-only (see also ‘Cash-Only Therapist Practice‘) .

Build A Legal Strategy

You’ll need to establish your group therapy practice as a legal entity, and ensure you have all the correct licenses and protections.

Consulting with a lawyer can help ensure you’re protected and prepared for the various legal issues that can arise when establishing a psychotherapy practice.

This is also a good time to create a client policy. This offers set guidelines to turn to when the practice is up and running.

Create A Brand, And Build A Marketing Plan

For your group therapy practice to work, you will need to consider branding and marketing. Even if you intend to accept insurance, a marketing plan is still necessary to draw clients.

You will also want clear branding so you can attract staff and other therapists to your practice.

Start The Hiring Process

If you’ve already consulted with other therapists prior to starting the practice, you might think the hiring process will be easy. However, it’s important to establish clear work boundaries before you start.

The hiring process really is one of the most important parts of creating your practice. It doesn’t matter how clear and concise your business plan is—if you get the hiring process wrong, you’ll have to start all over again.

Purchase EHR Software

EHR, or electronic health record, software allows therapists to easily store and share data online. If you were running a private practice, EHR might not have seemed necessary.

However, for the smooth running of a group practice, you want to ensure you’re all working on the same system.

Final Thoughts

A group therapy practice can be hard work to establish, but there are both financial and personal benefits to this method of working. And although the initial establishment of the practice can be tough, the benefits of group working are often clearly felt in the long term.

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