Agency, Group, or
Private Practice?

Agency, Group, or Private Practice?

Tue, Sep 1, 2020 | HLCTN Editorial Team

Agency, Group, or Private Practice?

Here’s a guide to help you find
the best therapy fit for you.

Here’s a guide to help you find the best therapy fit for you.

There are many ways to practice as a therapist or related mental help professional.

Many of the therapist within Honey Lake Clinics Therapist Network will swear by one way or another, there are pros and cons of each option.

Three of the most common ways to practice are at an agency, under the umbrella of a group therapy practice, or as a solo private practice.

Here’s a look at the benefits of each, as well as some challenges to consider.

Agency Employee

Agency, Group, or Private Practice?

For our purposes, we’ll define agency as a government, non-profit or private organization focused on client mental health care. Examples might include full-time work at state hospitals, medical facilities, psychiatric wards, or outpatient programs owned by large organizations. There’s obviously a big range here, but there are some broad similarities.

Here’s a look at some of the perks of agency work.

  • You have a stable salary. Those who are self-employed will often say this is the biggest difference in working for someone else. You have a set monthly income, and you can base your decisions about bills and savings based on this.
  • Taxes and business aspects are taken care of. A big part of working for yourself or as a 10-99 employee (which is how group practices are often set up) is that the logistical end is taken care of. You don’t have to worry about accounting or setting aside taxes.
  • Health insurance and other perks are included. Finding healthcare and saving for retirement for yourself can be challenging.

These are some pretty big benefits of working for someone else.

However, there is a tradeoff.

Answering to a boss, having less say over your workload, and sometimes making significantly less per hour are all things to take into consideration.

If You’re Interested in Client Referrals & Want More Information on How to Grow Your Practice, Join Our Therapists Network

Group Practice Member

Agency, Group, or Private Practice?

A group practice can be a helpful balance between being self-employed and having the support of a group.

Older group practices are established in the community and may offer some of the perks of an agency, while you still maintain much of your independence.

If You’re Interested in Client Referrals & Want More Information on How to Grow Your Practice, Join Our Therapists Network

Here are some advantages of this option.

  • You will have support in bringing in clients. While you may still need to market and participate in client outreach, you will also be part of an established group in the community. This can help with referrals.
  • You have a built-in peer network. Solo practice can get lonely at times, and you have to make a more concerted effort to consult and interact with peers. This is often built into a group practice.
  • You still have some flexibility in schedules and clients. While certain group practices may have rules or requirements about who you see, many are fairly flexible. You can typically set your own hours and target your chosen population of clients.

The downside of group practice is that you typically give up a significant chunk of your income to the group.

This may be offset by the alternative expenses you would have for office space as well as records software, scheduling, and marketing.

Often these also come with the group perks.

If You’re Interested in Client Referrals & Want More Information on How to Grow Your Practice, Join Our Therapists Network

Solo Private
Practice Owner

Solo Private Practice Owner

Agency, Group, or Private Practice?

Many therapists dream of being independent.

Starting as a solo practitioner is challenging but comes with many rewards.

For those who are entrepreneurial and want to be their own boss, this is a good option. Here are some of the benefits to consider.

  • You get to call the shots. You decide your schedule, who you see, and where you do so. You can tailor your specialty and focus however you like, without needing to answer to a boss or group.
  • You keep all of the income. While you will have a set of expenses, you will also keep 100% of what you earn after taxes. This can add up to quite a difference over time. You can also set your own rates and decide if you want to work with insurance or not. You have more control of your prices over time.
  • You have the most room to grow. While there are challenges of getting started, particularly in the first year, the sky’s the limit in private practice. You can expand into your own group practice that you run, or stay solo. You can add consulting or other services to your practice. You are only limited by your motivation and creativity.

The most difficult aspect of a private practice is that you are not only providing therapy, but running a business.  And it’s hard to stay motivated sometimes in private practice.

You are also responsible for finding your own clients, through marketing, networking, or advertising.

This is a good option for those who are entrepreneurial, and who enjoy a variety of duties.

These are three of the most common ways to practice as a therapist.

While there are a few other hybrid options, many of the same benefits or challenges still apply. Consider your own strengths, challenges, and work patterns to decide which is the best fit for you.