While there is plenty of information about the benefits of setting up and running your own therapy practice, there is often considerably less on the risks in therapy practice that you can encounter. Of course, knowing about any potential threats to the success of your practice before you start is essential. The reason being that it allows you to do everything in your power to safeguard against them. Luckily, you can read about the most common issues therapy practices run into in the post below. You can even find some ways you can minimize their potential to cause problems too. Read on to find out what they are.
The first significant risk that those running a therapy practice need to negotiate is financial. After all, you will need to invest a substantial amount of money on your own qualifications and licenses to begin. Then there are overhead costs such as the lease on your premises, furniture for your office and utilities.
Of course, it is never advisable to cut corners when it comes to education or license, as doing so can put both you and your patients at risk. Although, those wishing to ensure they make the most economically sound decisions here will check to see precisely what is needed to practice in their region. Something that can change from place to place, and so help to prevent therapists from paying out for permissions they don’t need or often get to use.
Additionally, in the beginning stages of setting up your practice, you may wish to work from home to keep costs down. Although it is always worth considering this very carefully for several reasons.
The first being that not everyone will want to have patients know precisely where they live. Additionally, it can be a lot harder to shut off from work at the end of the day when your office is located in your own home. Something that can harm your own mental health and wellbeing and so also your ability to be a competent therapist over the long term.
Risk To Reputation
Part of being a therapist is working with patients that have been through challenging experiences. Such clients are often vulnerable and can sometimes be confused as well. Unfortunately, this does mean that there is a risk of accusations that could harm your reputation as a therapist. In fact, such risk can broadly split into two main groups, the first being harassment or more serious accusations of abuse.
There are many things you can do to minimize the risk of being accused of such things. The first being to ensure that you keep to the strict ethical guidelines set down by the professional organizations that you belong to. One of which will be to maintain a professional attitude and relationship with the patient at all times.
Sadly, feelings of transference are common, and this can lead to a confusion of boundaries, at least on the patient part. Although being aware of the signs of this can help you to head it off at the pass. Sometimes even referring patients that are struggling with this issue to another practice member of recommended therapist can be the best way to deal with such a situation.
Additionally, many therapists now make audio and video recordings of their sessions with their patient’s permission, of course. Something that can not only help clear up any confusion encountered but also be useful for the patient to access in terms of theory. After all, sessions are often highly emotionally charged, and it can be hard to remember all the insights and lessons afterward without these added prompts.
Another issue that therapists may come across that poses a risk to their reputation is accusations of malpractice. That is when they are accused of misdiagnosing or treated a patient wrongly. This being an issue that can affect anyone working in the medical field, not just counselors and therapists.
However, for practices that include medically qualified psychotherapists, there is another option to consider. It is to invest in medical indemnity insurance which can help to offer additional protection. Then if a patient is unhappy with the treatment they receive and makes a claim, the practitioner will be covered for both legal costs and the costs of any awarded compensation. If they are found to have caused harm by committing an error, omission or negligent act.
Emotional & Psychological
Talking of stress, the final risks in therapy practice and running a practice are the emotional and psychological strain it can place on the therapists themselves. Of course, it can be easy to overlook these, especially when you are working with patients that have significant difficulties and need a great deal of time, attention, and support. However, you need to realize to be the best therapist, you need to care for your own well being, as well as that of your clients.
In fact, there are several ways to do this, one being to make sure you attend regular supervision sessions with another, more senior therapists. In fact, you can treat these as therapy for therapists, and use them to discuss your cases. You can even utilize them to help alleviate any emotional burden that your patients may have offloaded onto you too.
Another way of mitigating the emotional and psychological risks in therapy practice is to do everything in your power to achieve a healthy work-life balance. What this means is limited the number of sessions you have in a day, and making sure there is enough of a break to recenter yourself in between.
It can also be beneficial to have a hobby outside of work that is utterly unrelated to your practice. The reason being that this can be used to shut off from work, and so help to strengthen your emotional state. Something that can, in turn, help to reduce the risks in therapy practice of burnout or emotional overwhelm that many therapists experience.