Therapist Spotlight: Perseverance and the Pros & Cons of Private Practice Therapy with Dr. Randy Kamen
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?
The biggest problem I struggled with when building my private practice was getting enough patients. I found that giving talks in my area of expertise (stress, pain, and psychosomatic disorders) at local schools, temples, churches, health fairs invariably ended in a new patient––even though it might have taken a year to materialize. To this day something good and often unexpected comes from my talks, workshops, and presentations.
I also worried, in retrospect unnecessarily that when someone left my practice that my whole business was falling apart––which it wasn’t. Wish I had believed in myself more in the earlier phases of my private practice.
What advice would you give to a budding mental health practitioner just getting licensed?
Stay true to what you want to create and stay on that course––eventually it will happen. Stay connected with colleagues and collaborate when possible. This will help build your practice and confidence. Continue to get supervision until you feel like you can fly solo and then get it on an as needed basis. It also helps keep you honest to be in therapy too––so that you better understand yourself and issues of countertransference. Consider finding a specialty that sets you apart and feels meaningful to you.
What advice would you have given yourself early in your career?
I would have told myself that I have everything it takes to succeed and not to worry. Breathe and keep doing what you are doing and all will work out.
Do you see any persisting or upcoming problems in the private practice industry. If so, how do you handle them?
The biggest challenge in the private practice industry is around health insurance. If you decide to accept health insurance which most new practitioners in the mental health field choose to do, then you must deal with lots of paper work and get less compensation than you might feel is fair. If you choose not to take health insurance then it can be more challenging building your practice and you are reaching out to a population that is less diverse––that is of course, private pay patients. Once my private practice became substantial and finally more than I could handle I stopped accepting insurance and went to private pay. I now have an accountant that sends invoices to the insurance companies on behalf of my patients, but ultimately the patient is responsible and must pay me regardless of her or his benefits. I do not belong to any managed care insurers.
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 am located in Wayland, Massachusetts and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. My doctoral degree is in psychophysiology and my areas of expertise are stress, pain, and psychosomatic disorders. My masters degree is in behavioral research. I am formerly a professor at the Boston University School of Medicine and Dentistry where I developed and ran the Behavioral Science Department. Before that I ran the Biofeedback and Stress Management Program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
Randy Kamen, Ed.D., is an accomplished psychologist and educator, who has pioneered new territory in mind-body medicine at BU’s School of Medicine and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. She is the author of Behind the Therapy Door: Simple Strategies to Transform Your Life, which teaches women how to tap into their inner strength and self-compassion while developing their unique talents and abilities, whether they work as stay-an at-home moms or international company executives. Dr. Kamen presents at medical schools, hospitals, corporations, and health spas on topics including resilience, relationships, transitions, work-life balance, leadership, aging, and transformation. Dr.Randy Kamen has appeared on TV, radio and in major print publications. She writes regularly for her website, DrRandyKamen.com, as well as numerous other sites, including the HuffingtonPost.com, WebMD.com, About.com, VibrantNation.com, and SelfGrowth.com. For more information, visit DrRandyKamen.com.
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