In this episode, Gordon talks with Geoff Simons from The Private Practice Hub, an online platform that provides private practice resources in the United Kingdom. Geoff discusses how many therapists get into therapy first before figuring out how to run a business. The business side of their practice seems to be an afterthought. Then, the two discuss UK licensing and some differences between practicing in the United States and overseas. Later, Geoff tells us about his website and the new chatbot technology he is working on for therapist’s websites and explains some issues with online therapy.
Meet Geoff Simons
Geoff is the founder of the Private Practice Hub and has worked as a consultant, with a thriving psychotherapy practice for over five years. One of his interests is in helping private practitioners to run and grow their businesses more effectively so he developed the Private Practice Hub, a free resource for Private Practitioners which supports and helps the therapist run a successful private practice. When he finds time to relax, he enjoys a good game of tennis and watching the greatest football team ever – c’mon you Spurs!
Running a Business
Starting a private practice means you are running a business. It starts with writing a marketing plan or a business plan. So many therapists do not do this. Geoff provides a “what if” calculator to evaluate all the costs involved that many people starting a business do not consider.
At the end of it, if you charge ten dollars, it will tell you how much you will earn. If you charge one hundred dollars, the calculator will show you how much you will receive. The question Geoff gets the most is how much should a therapist charge for a session? Therapists go into therapy first, then learn how to run a business. Geoff’s wife was in finance first then went into therapy. By using Geoff’s resources, you can take some of the financial questions off of your plate.
In the USA, each state has different licensing laws, while the UK does not have these issues because the law is the law. Geoff has been asked if he can license his platform out to other countries; he is considering this for the future. Once you have your “accreditation” that says you’re a clinical psychologist, or another type of clinical discipline, and pay your money, you can now practice as a therapist.
Also, you will need to get insurance. Geoff has three different insurance companies that will give special offers to his members. It is interesting how coverage can range with price depending on which company it is. There will be differences when Brexit, happens if it ever happens. Issues will come up with insurance companies after the split.
Private Practice Hub
The Private Practice Hub has been around for four years and has built up a considerable amount of information. The five pillars of private practice are finance, marketing, administration, human resources, and professional issues. Literally if one goes into marketing, you will see everything one needs to know under the marketing tab, it is all there for someone to read. You can keep clicking through all the hyperlinks.
The free resources include lots of downloads, sometimes people have difficulty finding everything with all the resources we provide. Geoff has built a chatbot; artificial intelligence will be on the new website. The bot is still being trained but will know all the resources and where they are. Geoff is building a bot to sit on any therapist’s website; there are a lot of ethical issues to work out before it ready to go.
Gordon and Geoff talk about the differences in laws for online therapy. In the UK, is where the therapist is required to be licensed, not the location of the client, as it is here in the States. Until there is a legal case proving it one way or the other, that is how the rules are applied.
One of the drawbacks with online therapy is the problem of at a person on the screen but cannot see their eyes because they are not looking at the camera. And sometimes it is difficult to understand body language while video conferencing. Also, you are reliant on the bandwidth, whereas when video conference just started, they used something called ISDM. Wireless internet is not as straight forward.
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Geoff Simon’s Resources
Meet Gordon Brewer, MEd, LMFT
Gordon is the person behind The Practice of Therapy Podcast & Blog.He is also President and Founder of Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC. He is a therapist, consultant, business mentor, trainer and writer. PLEASE Subscribe to The Practice of Therapy Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play. Follow us on Twitter @therapistlearn and Pinterest “Like” us on Facebook.