Therapist Spotlight: Being Patient & The Future of Therapy with Bodie Coates

This Therapist Spotlight is a part of our interview series with experienced Mental Health Practitioners, where therapists share their experiences in Private Practice Therapy.
What was one of the biggest problems you struggled with and ultimately solved in the beginning of your private practice? What solution did you find to your (perhaps persisting) problem?
Not understanding the business process has been a major struggle that I am just now overcoming. Little things, like the difference between a sole proprietorship, LLC, and S-Corp would have been extremely helpful to know in the beginning. Finding good people to work with is important as well. Not just in partnering with other therapists (one of my partners left our office and forced us to have to move) but also in finding resources such as CPAs, attorneys, and marketing people. If you’re a reader, read up on starting your practice. If you’re not, and more a of trial and error person like I am, seek advice from successful people and learn along the way. Aside from some missteps, learning along the way rarely seems to lead to catastrophic events.
What advice would you give to a budding mental health practitioner just getting licensed?
Know and be prepared for the fact that this will take time. After nearly 2 years, I was barely able to support myself. 3 years seems to be the magic time where you start to be self-sustaining and its not until you’re having 20+ clients per week that you’ll feel “safe.” Find help from the experts, network and market yourself, and just keep at it.
What advice would you have given yourself early in your career?
I think if I could go back and tell myself to do one thing more, it would be networking. Getting my name out there, talking to doctors, nurses, therapists, teachers, and everyone else to let them know what I’m offering. Also, to know what I want to work with and if you “fit the bill” for that. I started my career by trying to be a therapist for therapists… at 28 years old and still an intern, I wasn’t getting many calls (that’s really a niche for the long time psychologists). I just didn’t fit that clientele, but in the future it will be a population I’d like to return to.
Do you see any persisting or upcoming problems in the private practice industry. If so, how do you handle them?
Insurance will continue to be the demise of many therapists. Not only do we need to stay up on current insurance benefits and laws, we also need to be prepared for a time where services may become limited or removed. Find someone who is on insurance panels and get started early.
Please let us know about you: where are you located, any specialties, credentials, and educational background. How should someone get in touch with you?
I dropped out of high school at 16 so I could start college. My first class was a psychology 101 class and I knew I’d pursue it as a career. I spent several years in school and started working as a drug and alcohol counselor in about 2010 and became a marriage and family therapist intern in 2012. Since then I have worked in a non-profit drug and alcohol residential facility, a corporate teen mental health residential hospital, and now run my own private practice while doing contract work. I have also opened a new business called Zephyr Wellness with two partners that will serve insurance based clients. I am located in Reno, Nevada and specialize in anxiety disorders and fears/phobias. I am currently a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and National Certified Counselor, and plan on being licensed (no longer an intern) as a Marriage and Family Therapist in about 3 weeks. I am looking into returning to study for a doctoral degree, hopefully within the next 2 years. I can BEST be contacted through my Psychology Today profile at the information listed there.
What makes you and your practice, your approach, unique? How are you different?
I have always been a philosophical existentialist and greatly enjoy the works of Frankl and May. Incorporating my philosophical view of the human condition with my therapeutic approach has helped me develop a unique style of existential therapy wherein I address the client’s deeper issues through their own experience. I stick with the belief that I don’t know everything, and I realize that being a therapist does not mean I need to, instead I simply need to observe and respond to what I see, sense, and experience with my clients. I think this existential philosophy of “I don’t know” helps clients be open to therapy and ultimately empowers them to better manage their “selfs” and thus, their lives.

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