How to Develop a Money Mindset

July 30, 2021
Dr. Asha Bauer

Want to develop a money mindset? 

Here are six common mindset traps therapists fall into around money, and how can you improve your thoughts around them.

"I'm a helper. I should be understanding and flexible."

Helping others doesn't mean you need to price your services so low that you can't make a decent income, or that you should slide your fees farther than you are comfortable.

Make a plan for how you want to give back with your practice. For example, you might decide on a number of sliding scale or pro bono slots you are comfortable taking after filling all your full fee slots, or choose a charitable cause to donate a small portion of your profits.

Reframe: Supporting myself first helps me support others.

"If I charge my late fee, I'll lose this client."

Review your late cancellation policy and make sure you feel comfortable with it. Then make sure to clearly review the policy with your clients in the intake session, or for established clients consider providing a routine "review of office policies" every 3-6 months.

Remember that many healthcare providers have cancellation policies, from dentists to acupuncturists. Holding to your established policy models healthy professional boundaries to your clients.   

Reframe: Clients benefit from clear and predictable policies as well as healthy boundaries.                    

"Therapy should be accessible to all, so I should keep my rates low."

There are many ways to make therapy accessible beyond keeping rates low (e.g. sliding scale slots). 

Remember that an hour long deep tissue massage costs around $150-200, getting hair professionally cut , colored, and styled can cost $100-$300. People are willing to pay for services that help make their lives better. And arguably therapy is one of the most valuable investments one can make!

Reframe: My services are immensely valuable. My rates demonstrate the value I place in them to my potential clients and referral sources.

"I'm a therapist, not a business owner."

Thinking about your practice as a business will help you set your rates, hold to your policies, plan ahead, and invest in services that support the growth of your practice.

Reframe: I am a therapist and small business owner.

"Business growth should be linear."

Keep track of your trends, such as months you tend to get more/fewer intakes.

Be prepared for some months to be busy and some months to be slow. Plan and save ahead accordingly.

Reframe: I understand business growth is not linear.

"I should invest in the business first."

If you find yourself investing almost everything you make back into the business and paying yourself only for essentials, try thinking of yourself as a separate employee.

Decide on what you want your own paycheck to be each month and pay yourself—you earned it!

Reframe: I am an employee of my business and deserve to be paid.

About the Author: Dr. Asha Bauer is a psychologist in private practice, and a health science specialist with the National Center for PTSD, where she studies telehealth and web-based delivery of evidence-based interventions for trauma-exposed veterans. She completed her doctorate degree in clinical psychology at Indiana State University and her post-doctoral training at the Long Beach VA Medical Center. Dr. Bauer serves as a clinical advisor to Heard, a mission-driven start-up aiming to help therapists thrive in private practice.

This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post.

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