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Running a practice

Annual refresh checklist for therapists

An illustration of a note pad with a non-descript to-do list on it.

Here are 7 of the most important housekeeping tasks to keep on your to-do list as a therapist in private practice.

Your clinical skills are only part of the equation when it comes to providing the best possible care to your clients. Working as a therapist in private practice also involves several administrative and business functions which require your time and attention, too.

You may have advised your clients on the importance of routines in their personal lives, and your work as a therapist is no different. Every six months to a year, take time to examine what’s working and what’s not in your business, so you can make changes that’ll help your practice thrive.

Need help deciding what to prioritize? Below, 7 of the most important housekeeping tasks to keep on your to-do list as a therapist.

1. Update your policies.

Your policies as a therapist set the tone for your clients’ expectations. But you and your practice are constantly evolving, so the policies you developed when you started your practice might need an update.

For example, you may consider changing your cancellation policy to include a fee if you’ve noticed an uptick in no shows lately. (Or maybe you want to be more flexible in the face of current events.) Anytime you change a policy, be sure to notify your client base. On top of emailing your existing clients about any changes, you should also update your intake paperwork and your website with the latest information. 

2. Tweak your bios and profiles

Your therapist bio should serve as an accurate reflection of you and your business so you can attract new clients (and cultivate valuable professional relationships). If you haven’t updated your website or therapy directory bio lately, take time to ensure it includes the most recent and relevant information. If you’ve earned any new certifications or developed new clinical interests, add them! Likewise, be sure logistical components like your insurance panels and rate information are accurate.

As you update your bio, go through other pages of your website — and your social media — to be sure all your content is up-to-date and consistent across all your profiles.

How to write a great bio for your therapy practice

As a therapist, your superpower is helping other people. So it may feel a little weird to turn the tables and talk about yourself and your accomplishments as you’re building your website, creating social media profiles, and signing up for therapist directories.

How to write a great bio for your therapy practice

3. Renew or change software

Your electronic health record (EHR) is likely an indispensable part of your practice, so it’s smart to regularly consider whether it’s making your job easier and equipping you to be the best therapist you can be for your clients. Be sure you’re happy with your EHR and any other software you use to do your job, such as your teletherapy platform.

For any monthly or annual subscriptions (especially ones that charge a fee), keep track of expiration dates so you can make an informed decision about renewals or changes — and, of course, make sure any price increases are reflected in your business budget.

4. Review your income and rates, if you accept self-pay clients

Lots of factors impact your per-session rate as a therapist, such as your geographic location and your educational background. Every year or so, take a look at your fee and be sure it’s commensurate with your experience and expenses. You may also want to consider other changes in your income structure, such as allowing a certain number of sliding-scale clients or joining new insurance panels.

5. Renew your licenses and certifications

Every state is different, so be sure you’re aware of how often you need to renew your license (typically, the state will remind you prior to the expiration so you can take necessary steps to maintain your license). Your business permit, malpractice insurance and any other additional certifications may require renewal too — these are all good things to check on at least an annual basis.

6. Stay on top of CEU credits

To maintain your therapy license and keep up your practice, you’ll also likely need to achieve a certain number of continued education credits — which will also benefit your practice by keeping you current on the latest research, compliance guidance, and clinical best practices.

Each state and therapy degree has different requirements, and these requirements can change. Some states or licenses may even require that your CEU credits cover specific topics, such as ethics. Once every six months or so, be sure you’re up to speed on your CEU credits so you don’t fall behind.

7. Examine your caseload

Your capacity as a therapist can change over time. If you’ve recently gotten some administrative support, for example, you may be able to take on more clients (less time spent filing insurance claims means more time practicing). If you’ve been feeling strained, or like you can’t offer the best possible support to your existing client base, then you may need to stop accepting new clients. Either way, it’s a good idea to check in with yourself every six months or so to make sure your caseload is working for you

Headway is a free service that makes it easier and more profitable for therapists and psychiatrists to accept insurance.