Results of our 2015 Reader Survey: Part 1 Motivating Factors
There are MANY reasons to start a private practice. Individual motivations for starting a private therapy business may vary BUT there are some extremely common themes.
Out of the 191 speech, occupational and physical therapy providers who completed the survey, I compiled the following "Top 10 List"
In early 2015, I ran a survey of private speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy providers.
The survey had three very important questions:
1. What are the top 3 motivating reasons to treat private clients?
2. What are your top 3 fears about private practice?
3. What is one question you have about starting your own private therapy practice?
#1 Reason: Flexibility
Nearly every response that I received mentioned flexibility of some kind.
While most clinicians cited "flexible schedule" as their greatest motivator, many mentioned flexibility related to the type of treatment provided, flexibility with regard to session length and also flexibility in terms of types of clients on caseload.
Depending on family situations, many clinicians are interested in flexible work hours so that they can work from home and/or be at home more with their kids.
#2 Reason: Freedom to Treat Clients "The Way They Should Be Treated"
The second most popular theme related to client-centered care.
The vast majority of the respondents listed "providing excellent service" to "ideal clients" as reasons to treat privately. Clinicians cited wanting to provide functional, individual therapy "without the confines of insurance / red tape / school administrators" as motivators to start a private practice.
Clinicians also reported feeling "more effective" when they are able to treat clients using their own approaches.
#3 Reason: More Money
As suspected, many clients listed "income" and "salary increase" as motivators for treating private clients.
Because many clinicians consider themselves "helping people" and are intrinsically motivated by the success of others / healing, some are reluctant to admit that money is a large factor in their decision to pursue starting a private practice.
The allure of earning a higher salary and getting paid appropriately for your level of expertise should not be devalued. Most clinicians who participated in the survey were interested in making extra income "on the side" vs. going into private practice full-time.
Conclusions: Improving Everyones Lives
Not surprisingly, the clinicians surveyed were motivated by working in private practice for two main reasons:
- to improve their own quality of life (more flexibility, better scheduling, more money, doing what I love to do)
- to improve client care (providing therapy in a natural environment, focus on functional therapy, closer relationship with client/family members)
Clinicians are "helping people people" who also need to take care of themselves and their families. Starting a therapy private practice can be an excellent way to "pursue your passions" and "provide the best therapy" for your "favorite types of clients."
Interested in Treating Private Clients?
Treating private clients - either full-time or "on the side" can be extremely rewarding for clinicians... and the clients they treat.