How to prepare for changes in the economy with Ken Clark | GP 119

Image of Ken Clark captured. On this therapist podcast, Ken Clark talks about how to prepare for changes in the economy.

Are you concerned about your private practice in the current economy? How can you buffer your business to survive changes in the economy? What are the emerging trends in private practice?

In this podcast episode, Alison Pidgeon speaks with Ken Clark about how to prepare for changes in the economy, and trends in private practice.

Podcast Sponsor: Heard

An image of the Practice of the Practice podcast sponsor, Heard, is captured. Heard offers affordable bookkeeping services, personalized financial reporting, and tax assistance.

As a therapist, you’re probably too preoccupied with your caseload to want to think about bookkeeping or tax filing. Heard can help you out with that. Heard is a bookkeeping and tax platform built specifically for therapists in private practice that helps you track and improve your practice’s financial health. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned clinician or are in the first year of your practice, Heard will help you to identify areas for growth and streamline best financial practices for your business.

When you sign up with Heard, you’ll work directly with financial specialists to track your income and expenses, file taxes online, and grow your business. You’ll also receive financial insights such as profit and loss statements and personalized monthly reports. You can say goodbye to poring over spreadsheets and guessing your tax deductions or quarterly payments; focus on your clients, and Heard will take care of the rest.

Plans begin at $149 per month and can easily be tailored to fit your business’ financial needs. Sign up now at

Meet Ken Clark

A photo of Ken Clark is captured. He is the Founder and CEO of Chenal Family Therapy PLC, a collaborative private practice with 20+ offices across Arkansas and Texas. Ken is featured on Grow a Group practice, a therapist podcast.

Ken Clark is the Founder and CEO of Chenal Family Therapy PLC, a collaborative private practice with 20+ offices across Arkansas and Texas. CFT’s 150+ person staff (which includes both master’s level therapists and psychiatrists) serves approximately 2,000 clients per week.

​As a clinician, Ken has logged nearly 20,000 hours in the therapy chair. As an entrepreneur, he’s built a company that Inc Magazine named as one of the Fastest Growing Companies in the United States three years in a row.

Visit Ken’s website. Connect on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

In This Podcast

  • Ken’s advice to practice owners about the economy
  • How to plan accordingly in a risky economy
  • Build flexibility into your practice
  • Be careful of bubbles

Ken’s advice to practice owners about the economy

If you are a private practice owner and feel nervous about the current state of the economy, go back and research the economic cycles and the cyclical nature of recessions and so forth.

The reality is that the economy runs in cycles. Every five to 10 years we go from … the bottom to growth, expansion, and the peak. It’s part of the deal. (Ken Clark)

Understand that if you can survive it, you will survive it, you just have to plan accordingly.

How to plan accordingly in a risky economy

  • Be careful about not overextending yourself financially. Avoid leasing offices when you do not need them, and cut back on unnecessary expenses.
  • Do not mistake a larger need for mental health as an opportunity to be an entrepreneur. Of course, look for possibilities, but be realistic as well.
  • Keep your eyes on the horizon, and do the next right thing.

Make sure you don’t overextend or overcommit. It’s better to need to find the ability to expand than try to figure out how to contract once you’re in leases and things like that. (Ken Clark)

Build flexibility into your practice

Things are changing but nothing is lost.

You can boost your chances of success and stability by building flexibility into your practice.

Although I get fearful at times, I get energized [because] … there are going to have to be companies that figure this out. It may take some hard conversations, it may take retooling our model at some point but I think there are opportunities there for thera-preneurs that are creative, feisty, and don’t want to give up. (Ken Clark)

If you can be flexible and are willing to pivot, you will be able to figure this out.

Be careful of bubbles

Some mental health “bubble” companies are cropping up that claim to pay their therapists a lot more than most private practices can afford to pay their own.

This is concerning for private practice owners, however, this trend is not sustainable, and after some time those bubbles will pop because they were not designed to last long.

I don’t think it’s going to last for therapists at those places. I feel like what’s going on there is this play to build something big that’s sellable, not necessarily profitable … [some conglomerate] will snap up that network of providers and then figure out how to lower costs. (Ken Clark)

Ken considers these places to last two to three years before they make their exit. They may be concerning now, but they are not a long-term threat to sustainable private practice.

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Alison Pidgeon, Group Practice Owner

An image of Alison Pidgeon is displayed. She is a successful group practice owner and offers private practice consultation for private practice owners to assist in how to grow a group practice. She is the host of Grow A Group Practice Podcast and one of the founders of Group Practice Boss.Alison Pidgeon, LPC is the owner of Move Forward Counseling, a group practice in Lancaster, PA and she runs a virtual assistant company, Move Forward Virtual Assistants.

Alison has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016.  She has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, through mastermind groups and individual consulting.

Transformation From A Private Practice To Group Practice

In addition, she is a private practice consultant for Practice of the Practice. Allison’s private practice ‘grew up.’ What started out as a solo private practice in early 2015 quickly grew into a group practice and has been expanding ever since.

Visit Alison’s website, listen to her podcast, or consult with Alison. Email Alison at

Thanks For Listening!

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