Does it Take a Certain Type of Therapist to Start a Cash-Based Therapy Practice?

Therapy Growth Mindset

There are a variety of assets are needed to build a successful practice. But are some assests more important than others? Do we need to possess high IQ or a charismatic personality? Do we need to have our MBA to become more profitable and build our dream practice? When it comes to competing in the new healthcare economy, sometimes we therapists are our greatest enemies. We often have self-doubts about our value when scrutinized by insurance companies. We can fall into the trap of catagorizing ourselves as “para” professionals in comparison to physicians.

The challenges to our professional worth is relentless. Rejected claims classified as medically unecessary, extensive documentation requirements to justify our work and insurance middle men taking a percentage of our fees are examples of the challenges most therapists face.  I can understand why we get hung up on our value.  Many of these factors that determine our value are part of the reimbursement game and outside our control. They are the entrance fee to play the game. However, your most important asset when considering a cash-therapy practice is under your control.

It’s your mindset. 

Growth Mindset

In her book Mindset, Carol Dweck, PhD describes a few characteristics of a growth mindset:

  • A belief that your basic qualities can be cultivated and grown through your efforts.
  • Your IQ, personality and character are not fixed. They all have a starting point and can be improved.
  • You can grow and change through application and experience. 
  • You can learn new ways of overcoming obstacles.
  • Mindsets change the meaning of failure.
  • Mindsets change the meaning of effort.

Your mindset is different from your intelligence or professinal training. Therapists undergo a vigorous selection process to be accepted into professional school. Only the strong survive.  Therapists suffer through many demanding training experiences to earn the right to treat patients. Our license requires us to attend courses to regularly update our knowledge and skill. Most therapists have  honed their craft through many years of experience. Despite the abundance of professional qualifications many therapists are insecure in their abilities to “sell themselves” in the marketplace.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Until recently therapists didn’t really have to concern themselves with a crowded healthcare marketplace. There were plenty of jobs to choose from, patients to care for and the salaries were competitive. Therapists in private practice opened their doors, developed a good working relationship with a few referral sources and they were up and going. Therapists that went into private practice were more independent and wanted to work for themselves. They were seen to be business minded and were concerned about being paid fairly for their sweat and tears.

However, times have changed. Now every therapist is feeling the effects of health care reform. No matter the setting therapists are feeling demands for increased productivity  and increased regulations. The movement towards a cash-based therapy practice is starting to gain some traction as an alternative to the third party payer system. 

But as therapists assess the cash therapy practice they must face their doubts.

  • Will I fail?
  • Do I have what it takes to go into private practice?
  • Am I good enough?
  • Am I smart enough?

I do believe that certain mindset is essential to starting up a cash-based practice.  I do not believe that one must be a certain type of therapist. I do believe that you must have a mindset that allows one to grow and overcome challenges. The right mindset frees you to take risks, make mistakes while you learn the needs of  prospective clients. If you have a fixed mindset then you’ll see youPhysicians have operated in an autonomous fashion and I see no reason that therapists couldn’t adopt a similar mindset towards their profession. Even if a therapist chooses to work within an organization there should be a self-perception about who they are and what they do for a living. 

You Have What It Takes

So in one sense all therapists have the ability and training to operate with a growth mindset.  A growth mindset is not limited to entrepreneurs that venture into a cash-based practice. We all must compete to deliver quality outcomes, with high client satisfaction at an affordable cost.   A therapist might not own their own business but they should own their own practice with a growth mindset.