FAQs About Private Practice

Answers to FAQs About Private Practice from Dr. Deb Legge

Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC has her private practice in Williamsville NY

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  1. Kate Knapp /Reply

    Hey Deb,
    I’m a LMHC in Rochester NY- looking to start my private practice. I have a space, and am really excited to get going. Any pointers on how to drum up some business?

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Kate – I’ve got LOTS of pointers. First, identify your target market. Once you do that put yourself in front of them (and in front of anyone who has access to them) every chance you get. Gear all of your marketing materials to them. Start helping them before they even ask for it. Build relationships and the referrals will come. When you are ready to create a marketing strategy for your practice we can put together a coaching program to meet your needs!

      1. Veronica /Reply

        Hi there! I am a NY LMHC. Formed a LLC 2 years ago. However, was recently informed by a managed Medicaid insurance company that the business entity must be registered with NYSED. Do I need to now form a PLLC/PC?Or can I simply continue working as a sole proprietor of the LLC without being penalized by the state for being a licensed professional and having possibly formed an incorrect business structure?

        1. legge /Reply

          Hi Veronica. Your best bet is to look at the NYS Office of the Professions website for information regarding business structure for LMHCs. As a rule, licensed professionals need entities that are approved by NYSOP. You don’t want to risk your license, so checking with NYS is your best bet.

  2. Sue Thomas /Reply

    Hello Deborah,
    Can you please give me the name of the private practice management program that charges $75 to get on an insurance panel? Thanks.

  3. Esther /Reply

    I am an LMHC in NY, looking to start a private practice. What technicalities do I need to take care of such as insurance (specific kinds) etc. to make sure I am covered legally?

    1. legge /Reply

      @Esther – You’ll need your malpractice insurance. You may need additional liability insurance depending on your space. It’s best to check with your insurance agent and your malpractice insurance company to determine what is needed based on your practice and your location.

  4. Carla /Reply

    Hello Deborah,
    I have been a school counselor for nearly 20 years. I am very interested in starting a career counseling/consulting private practice. I am just recently working on my supervision hours for my LCPC in Illinois. I am a recent LPC and NCC. I will be working on earning my career development facilitator training this summer. Do you assist individuals attempting to start (from the very beginning) a private practice in my field of interest?

    1. legge /Reply

      @Carla – Congratulations on this new path in your career. You are so wise to find out how to build a sound foundation for your business right from the start. Doing that can save you a lot of time and a whole lot of money in the long run. I LOVE to help folks who are just starting out, so I’d be happy to help you. You can find out more about my Basic Training Boot Camp here: http://influentialtherapist.com/landing/btbcreg/.

  5. Hannah B /Reply

    Hi Deborah,

    I am an LMSW in NY. I have been trying to find my way into my own private practice, but I have hit roadblocks due to the recent (2008) regs in NY regarding LMSW’s not being able to independently provide “clinical social work” practice.

    Originally, I was told by NYSED that I could have my own private practice as long as I am under LCSW supervision; however, recently, I was also informed by NYSED that not only would I have to be under the supervision of an LCSW, but I would also have to join-up with LCSW in their private practice, (as opposed to operating my own private practice). Any ideas on this?

    (Long story short, I have a disability that is preventing me from working in mental health clinics full-time, which has thereby prevented me from gaining hours towards my clinical license… Private practice is really the only way that I will ever be able to work “full time”; thus, why I’m “gunning” so hard for private practice.

    Also, tonight, I came across an LMHC “bridge program” through The University of Buffalo, and it appears (from what I’ve read) that I could complete this 12 credit program, sit for LMHC licensure, and..open my own private practice…? I know very little about LMHC regs and requirements.. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


    1. legge /Reply

      @Hannah – Check with UB to find out for sure, but you will likely also have to do a 600 hour internship in mental health counseling in addition to taking the classes. Also, be sure to tell them your degree in in social work. I believe your degree must be in Counseling to qualify for a bridge program. If that is the case, you might consider joining the practice of an LCSW and working for him/her and get supervision from them as you complete your clinical hours. Good luck to you Hannah.

  6. Valery /Reply

    I recently became an LMHC and I am looking to start my own private practice- I am located in Troy, NY (about 15mins from Albany,NY).
    I have been reading and I am overwhelmed! I get that I need malpractice insurance and practice management system, but do I also need to form a LLC? Or PLLC? What other licenses do i need to open the practice? Do I need an EIN? When they take those taxes do I still pay taxes myself (when I get paid by a client)?

    Thank you!

    1. legge /Reply

      Hi Valery. You’re asking some really good questions here. Remember your private practice is a small business. It’s important for you to identify an accountant and perhaps an attorney that can help you answer these questions specifically for your business. The only one I’ll chime in on is the EIN question — if you don’t get an EIN you’ll have to put your social security number on your billing and receipts. Most of us don’t want to do that, so getting an EIN is the solution. Your accountant can guide you on business structure and tax implications and requirements. Best of luck to you in your new business.

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