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[00:00:00] Dr. Sharp: Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Testing Psychologist podcast, the podcast where we talk all about the business and practice of psychological and neuropsychological assessment. I’m your host, Dr. Jeremy Sharp, licensed psychologist, group practice owner, and private practice coach.

This podcast is brought to you by Blueprint. Measurement-based care is proven to improve patient outcomes, but it’s historically been time-consuming and costly to implement in private practices like ours. That’s why Blueprint has developed an end-to-end solution that administers, scores and charts hundreds of symptom rating scales to give you deeper insights into how your clients are progressing. Learn more and request your demo at bph.link/testingpsychologist.

Hey y’all, glad to have you here on The Testing Psychologist podcast. I’m back with another business episode today. The episode today is talking about something that I haven’t talked about in a long time, if at all. And that is the question of, why not hire a therapist in your practice? We talk a lot about hiring clinicians to help expand the testing services, but hiring a therapist can be really advantageous in your testing practice. I’m going to talk through a few reasons why.

Before I get to the episode, the real conversation, I want to invite any of you to check out The Testing Psychologist mastermind groups. They are enrolling in, let’s see, every stage of development. I’m going to have new cohorts starting over the next two months. Intermediate practice will be the first one actually.

The intermediate practice group is aimed at solo practitioners who don’t really have aspirations of growing to a group practice, but you’ve mastered marketing, you are getting plenty of referrals, now it’s a matter of dealing with being overwhelmed, getting better systems for yourself, maybe hiring some admin support and that type of thing. So if you’re interested in joining any of the mastermind groups, but particularly the intermediate practice group, you can schedule a pre-group call at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting. I almost forgot my own link for a second.

Okay. Let’s get to my thoughts on hiring a therapist in your practice.

Okay, y’all, I’m back here chatting about hiring a therapist in your practice. As per the tradition with business episodes as of late, this will be relatively quick. It is not meant to give you a ton to chew on. The idea is to get you thinking about the possibility of bringing on a therapist in your practice.

I think that many of us when we think about expanding if you’re at that point, you think about how do I expand my testing services, because, well, you’re a testing psychologist and you know that service line, you likely have a waitlist for testing services and it may seem like the low-hanging fruit. I’ll talk about low-hanging fruit a lot.

So what is easiest? What’s the easiest thing that you can seize or grab as you expand your business? And testing is a good way to do that. And it can be complicated. Training a psychometrist or a post-doc or an intern, finding a psychologist can be quite tough. So, you can consider the alternative of bringing on a therapist instead. And here’s why.

My first hire in my practice, after a psychometrist, was a therapist, and here is why. There are 3 or 4 reasons that I think are worth considering. One is that therapists are very complementary to our services without being competitive. So you can bring on a therapist without cannibalizing your testing services. They can happen at the same time. You can flow from one to the other. It’s easy. There’s no competition.

When I say that they’re complementary, I mean that the majority of the time, at least with our evaluations, we are recommending psychotherapy in some format for most of our eval referrals. So if you can pin down your target therapists’ area of expertise, or the area that you tend to refer to the most, this is a great place to start. So if you work with a lot of kids, maybe you would hire an ADHD coach or a therapist that specializes in parent training or a CBT for anxiety or whatever it may be. So you can refer to a therapist very easily directly from your evaluation.

Likewise, a therapist, if they’re bringing in their own clients, can refer to you for testing and you can share clients back and forth very easily. I will say, the disclaimer here, of course, is that you don’t want to build something where you’re only referring to services that you offer. That’s not ethical. That’s kind of slimy.

The way that we manage this is that we always give multiple referrals to the same service and let folks know that we would be happy to keep them in-house if they would like to stay here. And there are plenty of skilled professionals out in the community, and we can provide lists for that as well. So you want to get multiple referrals? It’s not like you can just refer straight to your own therapist. But once you work that out, I think it is quite advantageous to have a therapist that you can refer to and one that can refer to you without competing.

Another point that you want to consider is that it helps with client care to have someone in-house instead of having to refer out. We’ve really gotten to be well acquainted with this principle now that we have a co-location with a pediatric practice. Two years ago, I’ve talked about this, we expanded into a pediatric practice where we’re co-located with physicians and the utilization of mental health services just skyrocketed because the services are in-house, they’re right there.

The same principle applies if you are referring folks from testing to psychotherapy. I think clients for the most part, like to stay in-house. They have already established a relationship with you, with your billing team, with your admin team, and it’s familiar. And if you do a good job, then they have come to know, like, and trust you, and they would like to stay.

So again, it helps with client care. It certainly solves the problem of having to search around for openings, which is a huge problem right now for us, trying to find anyone with openings out in the community. So again, just a nice resource to have someone in house so that if clients want to stay in house, you could say, we have someone for that, happy to set you up. And the transfer is easy.  And then it likely increases utilization of follow-up services.

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All right, let’s get back to the podcast.

The third point that, third and fourth points actually that are very, very practical are related to finances and time. The first one is that if you do take insurance, well, I wouldn’t even argue if you don’t take insurance, payment for therapy is way easier, way less complicated than payment for testing quite frankly.

Payment for testing can get sticky and complex. We chase money a lot, especially if you take insurance. Therapy can be very straightforward. You pay at the time of session, period. If it’s a copay, you pay the copay. If it’s out of pocket, you just pay out of pocket. You just pay. It’s easy. There are always going to be times when you might have to chase money when insurance is involved, but when you have a therapist on staff, it makes it a lot less likely that you will have to do that.

The fourth point to consider is that there are fewer requirements or demands on your time when you bring on a therapist compared to a testing clinician. Here’s why. Presumably, especially if you are hiring a licensed therapist, that person can practice relatively independently with very little oversight on your side, one, because you may not do therapy and don’t feel comfortable supervising that, but, two, because it’s a different service line and you likely will not feel the same compulsion to check over their work, nor could you, logistically speaking.

It’s not like we bring on a psychologist or post-doc or a psychometrist and have to train that person, read over their reports, make sure they’re following our agency guidelines. The therapist can step in and be ready to see clients relatively quickly without oversight from you. Of course, you will have to teach them your systems. That’s just a given, but beyond that, there’s not a great demand on your time in terms of management supervision, things like that.

Those are just a few reasons that you might consider bringing on a therapist. A big part of it, like I said, for me in the beginning was just recognizing that I was referring so many people out from all of these evaluations that I was doing. At the height of my clinical time, I was doing, I think 16 to 20 comprehensive evals a month and referring at least 75% of those out for therapy. So it was pretty easy to fill a therapist right off the bat in a short period of time.

So, it’s something to think about. I do think it makes sense to look for therapists who are complimentary to your evaluation work. So, if you’re evaluating kids, I don’t know that I would bring on an adult therapist or vice versa.

I think if you have any leeway, it does go better in the direction of having a therapist who sees adults because adults typically, I don’t know about typically, adults often have kids and they can refer kids to your evaluation services, but it can be really hard to refer, you know, if you see kids for your evals, you can’t really refer kids to an adult therapist.

I won’t belabor that point any longer. I think you understand what I’m saying. The idea here is just to consider the possibility of bringing on a therapist as you expand your business and add another service line so that you can serve people in the best way possible.

Like I said at the beginning, if you would like some group coaching and accountability focus specifically on testing and a testing practice, The Testing Psychologist mastermind groups might be a good fit. Every group is facilitated by me and there are three different levels. There’s a beginner and intermediate and advanced. You can get more info at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting and schedule a pre-group call.

Okay. Y’all take care. I’ll be back with you on Monday with a clinical episode.

The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologists website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional, psychological, psychiatric, or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Please note that no doctor-patient relationship is formed here, and similarly, no supervisory or consultative relationship is formed between the host or guests of this podcast and listeners of this podcast. If you need the qualified advice of any mental health practitioner or medical provider, please seek one in your area. Similarly, if you need supervision on clinical matters, please find a supervisor with expertise that fits your needs.

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