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How We Built Our Dream Practice: Innovative Ideas for Building Yours Paperback – July 22, 2014
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"In today's world I often encounter mental health clinicians who feel very stressed as they struggle to develop and maintain their practices. Joy and purpose seem absent from their work. Dave Verhaagen and Frank Gaskill are to be commended for sharing the ways in which they established a thriving group practice that is in concert with their values, provides meaning and fun to all of their professional activities, enriches the lives of their patients, and gives back to their communities. Their approach is beautifully captured in this very well-written, informative, enjoyable book. I think the principles and strategies they describe are relevant to all clinicians whether they are in a group practice or not. This book will serve as an important resource to be read and read again." Dr. Robert Brooks Faculty, Harvard Medical School Co-author: The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life Co-author: Raising Resilient Children
"Verhaagen and Gaskill have written a charming and easy-to-read book, based on their own first-hand experience, on how to create a dream practice and make it a reality. If you are expecting a book on billing, record keeping, scheduling software, and lease agreements, then this isn't the book for you. However, if you might be interested in considering how one actually builds their dream clinical practice, then this little gem will inspire you! I found the authors' vision, passion, bold and creative ideas, and audacious style contagious. It's a must-read book that challenges traditional thinking about designing a clinical practice and creating a professional future infused with your heart and soul and core values." Steven I. Pfeiffer, PhD, ABPP, Professor at Florida State University and Licensed Psychologist
"Frank and Dave end their fabulous book with: Take risks. be bold, dream big--how I wish I would have had their book when I embarked on my teaching and writing career 45 years ago. A must read for anyone whether at the beginning of their career, middle, in the midst of a change or beginning a new life venture beyond retirement. You'll laugh, smile, grimace, and be wowed by their down to earth uplifting advice." Barbara Coloroso author, The Bully, The Bullied, and The Not-So-Innocent Bystander
About the Author
Dave Verhaagen is a founding partner and the former CEO of Southeast Psych. He earned his PhD from the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill and is nationally board-certified (American Board of Professional Psychology) in clinical child and adolescent psychology. He is a fellow of both the American Board of Clinical Psychology and the American Board of Child and Adolescent Psychology. Before starting Southeast Psych, he served as the clinical director of three mental health agencies. He is the author or coauthor of six other books, including Therapy With Young Men and Parenting the Millennial Generation. He and his wife, Ellen, have four teenage and young adult children, Daniel, Christy, Maddie, and Abbey.
Frank Gaskill cofounded Southeast Psych and currently serves as Director of Mentoring and Marketing. He earned his PhD from the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill and previously served as a senior research psychologist for the Devereux Foundation’s Institute of Clinical Training and Research. He is the coauthor of Max Gamer, a graphic novel about a boy with Asperger’s who uses his special abilities to become a superhero. He and his wife, Liz, have two children, Olivia and Maddox.
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I think that if you're totally clueless (like us) and just starting out, this book is worth the read. I think my idea of a unique, fun, professional workplace is much different than the author's but that is OK, and the authors state throughout that you shouldn't necessarily model what they're doing but think about the image you want to project to clients (and other therapists if you're starting a group practice) and do what you can to be unique.
You will need much more, so much more, than this book to get your practice up and running. Talk to a small biz accountant, consult with a lawyer to get the business created and office forms created/reviewed. Open some business banking accounts (one for all revenue to be deposited, one for your pay, one for reserved profits, one for taxes). Find a suitable place of business and sign a lease. Build a website. Order business cards. Consider a practice management software to manage scheduling, insurance claim submission, treatment notes, appointment reminders, etc. Respect your clients' privacy and ensure that whatever electronic record storage you're doing is HIPAA compliant. These are the "nuts and bolts" that this book makes no mention of. There are even more wildcards and questions for those that want to start their own group practice. But that is OK in my opinion, because the authors never claimed this was that book. But just know that there is no book out there that I've found which will teach you all of the stuff you need to do. You're going to have to really work hard and do your own research, trial and error, and rely on the help of some good professionals for guidance and assistance. Good luck to everyone starting out on their own!
They advocate for applying “abundance” thinking to your practice rather than scarcity thinking. They note “abundance thinking isn’t synonymous with the belief that we will always make a ton of money or have huge profit margins. Instead, it is the notion that there is more out there than we have tapped into or figured out how to access.” The authors are dead-on with the idea that there is enormous need out there, and scarcity thinking only hurts our field and doesn’t help us serve the public. It also does not encourage us to innovate and create our dream practice.
The authors encourage us to challenge the stereotypes of private practice as well as help us consider our core values. They encourage us to not get stuck in the same old way of thinking that has dominated the profession. It is certainly worth the read. I full recommend the book.
Todd Finnerty, Psy.D.