Archives for the month of: October, 2014

Find your niche
This is my number one recommendation. What population do you love to work with? What are your specialties in? The more specific you are, the more you are going to attract those types of clients with those specific issues. Worried about being too narrow? Let go of that limiting belief and follow your passion. Here are some suggestions: anxiety treatment for teenagers going to college in the fall or newly married couples dealing with infidelity issues. You will get calls for all type of clients but you want to cater to a specific clientele and having a niche will help you determine how to do that.

Find a location
Location. Location. Location. It’s important to do this after you discover your niche. If you want to be a play therapist, you are going to need to find an office close to schools with space, toys and hours of availability to see children at nights and on the weekends. You want to think about your population and where they live and then set your office in that area. Interested in working with couples, chances are you might want to look at the suburbs. Interested in working with college students, you will want to be close to a college that does not offer on campus counseling services.

Get liability insurance
Once you have your location, you can order liability insurance. There are no ifs, ands or butts about liability insurance. You need it to protect yourself. One company that offers great coverage is CPH and Associates.

Purchase your occupational license
This is required to do business in a local city in my county. Check to see the requirements are for your city, county and state in regards to doing business.

Join Psychology Today
This is one of the best avenues for receiving referrals. They dominate the google search. The cost is well worth it at $29.95 a month. You can put up a profile, with a biography, picture, specialties, fees and other relevant practice information. You will start getting calls and emails from there shortly after putting up your profile.

Print out business cards
These are a must, even in this day and age of technology. Business cards are still the standard for networking events and getting your name out there. Order cards with your picture on it. Make sure you put your specialty on there. Vistaprint offers great pricing on business cards.

Get active on social media
If you are only going to do one, pick Facebook. You can create a business page and it can to use just for your practice. I also suggest that you have Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram. I recommend that you update each site once a day.

Consult with an accountant
There are going to be questions you have about the business practices. An accountant will give you sound advice on how to handle taxes and basic accounting practices, such as how to track your income and expenses. Meeting with an accountant is a way for you to cover yourself from an audit or being unprepared for the amount of taxes you will have to pay.

Develop paperwork
Once you get calls coming in, you want to be sure your paperwork is in place. All paperwork needs to be HIPAA complaint. You will need intake paperwork and progress notes. If you are going to do an Electronic Health Record, some of the paperwork will be made available to you. There may be additional forms you want to include, such as checklists or credit card information.

Establish 3-5 referral sources

You are going to need multiple referral sources. They can be schools, other therapists, psychiatrists, doctors, lawyers, acupuncturists, massage therapists, halfway houses, rehab centers, mental health centers, etc. You will want to make contact and develop a relationship with 3-5 resources, initially; people that you know will send referrals your way to start your clientele.

Interested in starting a private practice? Call me today at 954-258-8845 for a free 15 minute consultation on how working with me on developing your private practice can set you on right track for being a successful private practice owner.

IMG_0437.JPG

Photo credit: Pinterest

Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.

When a new client comes to see me, there’s a good chance I am going to recommend most, if not all, of these “things” to do in order to help facilitate their healing. If you are interested in getting a jump start on treatment or furthering your progress in therapy, then this list is for you.

Exercise
I dedicated a whole blog post on this in the past. It’s a must do for people suffering from anxiety and depression. Exercise is a natural anti-depressant. Getting in touch with your body is an important aspect of holistic treatment. What kind of exercise do you enjoy doing?

Meditate
10 minutes a day, once a day is a perfect prescription for meditation. There are apps you can download or videos you can watch on YouTube. Simply search “10 minute guided meditation” and some great videos come up. Sit in a quiet place in your house, with both feet on the floor or sitting on the floor, close your eyes and follow the words and music. What type of meditation practice are you going to put into place?

Connect with your inner child
This is another topic I previously dedicated a blog post to. Inner child work helps deal with past traumas. Making that connection and going back to heal is a sure fire way to accelerate treatment. Do you have something you loved doing as a child? Why not do it today and see what type of connection you have with your inner child.

Read a self-help book
Reading is one of my favorite hobbies and if my clients are willing to read, I am willing to make a recommendation. Here is a list of some of my favorites:

Healing the Shame That Binds You
by John Bradshaw

The Feeling Good Handbook
by David Burns

The Dance of Anger
by Harriet Lerner

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyways
by Susan Jeffers

Take a personal development course
My favorite personal development course is
The Living Course. It’s a 30 hour intensive weekend workshop where you will identify patterns in your life and learn ways to become empowered to change them. It’s both group process and experiential in format. It’s has been a life changing experience for myself and some of my clients.

Make a list of your unhealthy thinking patterns
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the treatment of choice for depression and anxiety, therefore clients are asked to keep a list of their thoughts so we can apply CBT techniques to change them. Changing thoughts leads to behavioral changes, which can result in an improvement in mood and functioning.

Make a commitment to therapy
If you need it, going to therapy on a regular basis and making a commitment to yourself and your therapist is paramount. Therapy is proven to help people better manage their emotions and make changes in their lives. When people don’t commit to therapy, it can show a lack of commitment to themselves, which might be the very thing driving their problems. What is your commitment to yourself and your therapist?

Take care of yourself
Speaking of lack of commitment to the self, one of my main recommendations is to engage in self-care. Most of what I have listed thus far is included in this; however there is a change in thought process that needs to occur where a person begins to ask themselves “how can I take care of myself today?”. Good self-care is another way to improve overall well-being. What is your favorite way to take care of yourself? Getting a massage? Reading a good book? Connecting with old friends for a night out?

Take responsibility for your life
You ended up where you are at in your life as a result of a series of choices you made. The choices may not have been easy and they may have not seemed like choices; but every day and every step, you make choices in your life. You decide who to marry. You decide what job to have. You decide what to do with your free time. And those discussions have shaped your life to where you are at today. And guess what? You can learn to make better decisions in order to have more desirable outcomes in your life when you get the understanding that you are in control of your life.

Reward yourself
Congratulate yourself for taking the step to come to therapy. Congratulate yourself for buying that self-help book. Pat yourself on the back when you complete your therapy homework. Pat yourself on the back when you make a major breakthrough in therapy and need the box of tissues.

Interested in putting these into practice with therapy? Call me today at 954-258-8845 for a free 15 minute consultation or visit my website for more information about my services.

IMG_3839.JPG

Photo credit: Pinterest

Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.

IMG_3769.JPG
Having a defiant toddler can feel like you are losing all of your power, especially if you are engaging in power struggle and find yourself giving in or walking away as the “victor” but not feeling good about the interaction. Every parent wants to feel in control with their children but sometimes they make it difficult to be the empowered parent you always wanted to be. Here are five tips for you to disengage in power struggle with your toddler.

Negotiate to achieve Win/Win
During conflict, one side is attempting to get their way or assert their desire over the other person. What if you decided to come from a win/win stance and look for ways you and your child could benefit? If you are fighting over bedtimes, you want him to get sleep and he wants to watch one more episode of tv, what is the win/win? If he watches one more episode, will you be able to complete one more work assignment? When you work towards win/win, both keep leave the conflict with a sense that they mattered and they were able to negotiate what they wanted. Can you think of a situation where you could have negotiated win/win and had an amicable outcome?

Do something completely unexpected
Is your child throwing a temper tantrum about something? Why not turn on the music and dance! Do something unexpected and see what type of response you get. It will probably confuse them in the beginning and then show them that you are not willing to go into power struggle. They will be forced to do something drastic themselves in order to meet you on your new level. They might even start dancing with you.

IMG_3770.JPG

Try using one word
Your child doesn’t want to go to sleep again despite your many reminders? Try saying one word: bed. Repeat it strong and assertively but do not engage in dialogue with them. Do not allow for power struggle to occur with words. Use one word to signal the desired behavior and once they realized, again, that you aren’t going to go into power and control with them, then they will be given the choice to follow through with the request.

Give options and choices
If your child is generally defiant, then give them options. Would you like to wear the pink or purple shirt? Would you like to go to the park or the pool on Saturday? Giving them choices on a regular basis will help them to feel like they are a decision-maker in their life and thus allowing them to let go for the need for control.

IMG_3772-1.JPG

Teach them to be powerful
If we teach children to be powerful, they will not need to try to control situations in their life to be powerful. They will naturally feel like they have influence on the things that happen in life. They will develop into strong leaders that know how to influence people without defiant behavior. Have your child look in the mirror every day and repeat powerful affirmations as a reminder of their worth.

IMG_3773-0.JPG

Again, being the parent of a child, especially a defiant one can be taxing. Remember to look for ways to get out of power struggle with your child, which is probably going to be a new concept for both of you. You and your child will have the opportunity to do something different during periods of high stress. How much easier would your life be if you and your child lived together in cooperation versus powerful struggle?

IMG_3768.JPG

Photo credit: Pinterest

Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.