SDS Seminars Online

Certificate in Private Practice with Dr Andrew Reeves

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How to set up a private practice and to make it a success

This unique Certificate programme aims to provide clear and concise guidance on setting your own private practice for both experienced and newly qualified mental health practitioners. It consists of a series of 6 brief and intensive monthly sessions.

This unique Certificate programme is the first of its kind, offered to you by SDS Seminars in collaboration with Professor Andrew Reeves. It aims to provide clear and concise guidance on setting your own private practice for both experienced and newly qualified mental health practitioners.

It consists of a series of 6 brief and intensive monthly sessions. This series of sessions will be delivered by SDS Seminars with lead facilitation by Andrew Reeves, a major figure in the British Counselling & Psychotherapy scene. A professor, author/editor of 7 books, editor of Counselling journals and past Chair of the BACP, Andrew also has over 25 years of experience in running a counselling private practice.

The series of sessions will run across six two-hour workshops. Each of the sessions will finish with a preparation checklist that will help you to check your own private practice against.

By the end of the six sessions participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the key principles of setting up a private (or independent) practice.
  2. Define what is meant by private practice and how, as a discrete practice context, it sits differently from but alongside other therapy and mental health contexts.
  3. Implement key policy guidance to address the key ethical and legal expectations of private practice.
  4. Develop their own strategy for marketing and communications with potential, current and ex-clients, where appropriate.
  5. Integrate the key principles of ethical practice across all aspects of their work, including reviewing, evaluation and monitoring of practice.

All the course participants will gain FREE access to the regular follow-up meetings that will take place every 6 months in order to support your private work, answer your questions, explore new practice areas and address the challenges of working privately.

Details of the 6 sessions:

Session One | First Steps into Private Practice

This session will provide participants of an overview of what we mean by private practice and how it is different from, but has similarities with, other contexts for counselling and psychotherapy. It is critical when taking these first steps into becoming a private practitioner that a number of key questions are reflected on, e.g., face-to-face or online, or blended. These will be explicitly considered in this session, and will include:

  1. What are my motivations for establishing my own private practice?
  2. What skills, knowledge and abilities do I already possess to make this successful?
  3. What are my key developmental areas to support this endeavour?
  4. What is the scope of my practice, in terms of: client group, presentations, any specialisms?

In addition, the session will also provide participants to create their own professional strategy for the 1st and 2nd years of operation (or the next two years, if already established), as well as a personal development plan, to prioritise acquiring the additional skills needed.

By the end of this session participants will be able to:

  1. Describe their own existing strengths and areas for development in terms of skills, knowledge and abilities to support running a private practice.
  2. Create their own personal development plan to acquire the additional skills and knowledge needed.
  3. Describe a first, draft strategy for years 1 and 2 of the practice, including any key milestones for review and development.

Session Two | Structuring Best Practice in Action

This session will consider the fundamental building blocks of a successful practice to ensure what is delivered is equitable, fair, responsive to inclusivity and diversity and is grounded in ethical decision-making. The session will help participants think about the key aspects of working privately that need to be in place, including key policy or position statements, ICO registration, meeting legal requirements, e.g., around contracting and tax and self-employment requirements. Additionally, it will provide a space to share good practice and ideas around apps and other resources that can support best practice in action.

By the end of this session participants will be able to:

  1. Describe how they will integrate ethics into their day-to-day decision making to ensure their practice is equitable, fair and inclusive of diverse people and communities.
  2. Understand key policies and position documents that need to be in place, such as safeguarding, risk, contracting and referral process, to support client and practitioner autonomy and safety.
  3. Consider the legal and financial requirements of private practice, including those of Data Protection, income generation, HMRC tax responsibilities and record keeping.

Session Three | Getting the Word Out

The danger of any private practice is that it becomes a best-kept secret. The key to success is successful marketing, which demands participants understand the aims and scope of their work, including any focus or specialisms. Creating a website and using social media requires different skills in communication to different audiences. This session will focus on marketing, communications, finding the right ‘voice’ for the practice (including branding) and the successful use of additional mechanisms to promote work, e.g., blogs, vlogs and publishing.

By the end of this session participants will be able to:

  1. Describe how they intend to, or currently position their practice in terms of aims and scope, and the ‘voice’ and positioning they use in communications to ensure a coherent message.
  2. Describe the range of different platforms for building websites, using social media and client-facing materials to ensure the ‘front door’ of the practice says what it needs to say.
  3. Think about ways in which they may look ‘beyond’ just traditional web and social media mechanisms, considering how different ways of disseminating ideas and practice can further promote their work.

Session Four | Normative, Formative, Restorative and Reflexive

Any counselling or psychotherapy practitioner – whether in employment or in private practice – needs to attend to key professional aspects of their work. In private practice there are aspects to this consideration to ensure client and counsellor wellbeing, consistency of practice and a strategy for continuing professional development. This session will specifically look at four key areas: normative (is my practice delivering therapy safely, ethically and professionally); formative (what additional skills do I need to further support and develop my work); restorative (how do I attend to self-care in what can be a lonely practice setting); and reflexive (how to I draw on my own self-understanding to best support my work).

By the end of this session participants will be able to:

  1. Be able to understand how the normative, formative and restorative considerations are attended to in day-to-day practice.
  2. Develop a strategy for reflexivity to underpin business and therapy decision-making.
  3. Write a continuing professional development plan to support particular aspects of work and to ensure best use of existing knowledge and financial resources.

Session Five | How Do I know it Works?

Supervision is a key aspect of any therapeutic work (as well as being a mandatory requirement of professional bodies). However, as valuable and integral as this is, there are additional ways for practitioners to evaluate their work to ensure it continues to meet client need. This session will consider the opportunities and challenges of using routine outcome measures to inform practice (and professional development), as well as discussing other qualitative measures to capture client experience. Additionally, there will be discussion of capturing wider evaluation across all aspects of the practice, e.g., accessibility of web, social media and other communications.

By the end of this session participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the importance of ongoing routine evaluation of therapy itself, and broader aspects of the practice.
  2. Consider the relative strengths and limitations of existing quantitative and qualitative tools to undertake evaluation and consider their relevance for their own practice setting.
  3. Describe how the coherence, voice and message of the practice will remain consistent, while also being developed over time, drawing on feedback and evaluation data.

Session Six | Networking and a New Community

Private practice offers autonomy and an opportunity to create a counselling or psychotherapy practice that is consistent with your own values, ethics and practice preferences. However, it can also be a lonely context to work in, with fewer opportunities for regular contact with other practitioners, particularly at times of difficulty or challenge, e.g., safeguarding decisions that need more immediate attention. This session will look at the community of private practice, how we can access it and ways in which we might create our own community to support our work. Additionally, there will be an opportunity to talk about how this group of training participants can continue to meet as such a new community of practice.

NB! All the course participants will gain free access to the regular follow-up meetings that will take place every 6 months in order to support your private work, answer your questions, explore new practice areas and address the challenges of working privately.

By the end of this session participants will be able to:

  1. Consider their own needs in relation to working with others what they might routinely need from others in their work
  2. Describe an individual plan of action for connecting with others, including how this existing training group might be an early community of practice.

Who this course is for:

This course is counsellors, psychotherapists and other mental health practitioners who are BOTH just thinking of starting in private practice AND those who are already running it, but want to make sure that you run it in a safe and most effective manner.

Course tutor

Prof Andrew Reeves
Associate Professor in the Counselling Professions and Mental Health
An Associate Professor in the Counselling Professions and Mental Health at the University of Chester, as well as Director, Colleges and Universities for the Charlie Waller Trust.