6 steps to open a psychology consultation
Opening a psychology consultation is one of the professional paths preferred by many psychologists oriented towards intervention in mental health or education. Those who choose to offer their services independently often do so not to be subject to the limitations that would involve working in a highly hierarchical structure in which there is little control over decisions.
However, when going free we also have to know how to manage other pressures, especially related to the initial scarcity of resources, on the one hand, and the competitiveness of the market, on the other.
In the following lines we will see some basic ideas to know how to open a psychology consultation in the best possible way .
- Related article: "7 keys of Psychology applied to Marketing and Advertising"
How to open a psychology consultation, step by step
It must be clear that any project that has to do with starting a business will require time, effort and a minimum amount of money from us. However, the risks and costs of driving your own business are less if you have some basic ideas about what needs to be done, information that allows us to straighten out the situation to avoid the extra problems that may arise if we do not know very well which are the steps to follow.
Definitely, know how to open a psychology consultation does not mean open it and start earning money , but lose as little as possible along the way and do everything in our power to avoid generating unwanted situations with capital, laws or customers.
In addition, we must be clear that no matter how well we do it, whether the project thrives or not depends a lot on factors that we can not control directly, such as the economic and social swings to which any country is subject. Fortunately it is not usual for these to occur abruptly, so if we consolidate the psychology consultation at an appropriate time and do not make the deficit situation become chronic, be attentive to what happens in the present before making the first movements will eliminate a good part of those risks.
1. Define your project
When it comes to undertaking psychology, we must follow the same fundamental rules that any entrepreneurial project must support, and one of them is to have the idea first and make the first movements later. This must be so, among other things, because at a time of vulnerability as it is the first stage of the creation of a business, it is very likely that we can not afford to completely change the business model a few weeks or months later of having started, when it is still in deficit or very recently that the profitability line has been crossed .
So, the first thing to do is market research, no matter how modest. Studying the competition is essential, and you should bear in mind that if online therapy is among your services, it is not limited to the rest of the psychology consultations in your neighborhood.
With this information, raises the different types of services you can offer and the way in which you would market them , valuing the advantages and disadvantages of each one. In the case of psychological intervention, try to define as specifically as possible what type of services you will emphasize in each of these options to choose.
In this way, it is easier for you to get acquainted when choosing which niche of the market you want to occupy, being aware of whether there is a lot or little competition in that service, a lot or a little potential demand, etc. For example, if in your area there is a lot of aging population and there is already a center that specializes in child therapy and similar, intervention in childhood and adolescence surely will not be the most important path, so it would be better or focus work in another service, or change the location where you want to work.
- Maybe you're interested: "Types of psychological therapies"
2. Define your work philosophy and business plan
Once passed the previous stage, the next step when opening a psychology consultation is to go to the concrete and leave established in a more systematic and predefined way how you are going to work and in what ideas and values you are going to base . For example: are you going to support yourself in collaborations with other professionals, or will you support yourself almost exclusively in your work and your experience? Do you want to offer a very specialized service, or one in which you have an image of versatility? Will your communication style be very neutral and institutional, or will you focus on creating a very personal brand image that mixes to a certain extent with your way of being in spontaneous conversations?
The drawback of creating a business plan is that as each professionalization initiative is different, there is no rigid and predefined scheme to keep clear that with this information there will no longer be ambiguities or unforeseen situations in the future. However, you can rely on the idea that you must develop three fundamental aspects about your project:
It is what is usually known as the combination of vision and mission . In this section it should be specified what needs will be covered by the psychology consultation, and with what kind of strategies.
Here you can specify how many resources will be counted during the first stage of the project's development.
Your work philosophy
This section includes the most abstract ideas about the properties that the company will have. It is necessary to explain this in advance for have defined certain margins that, in case of being transferred, they indicate us that we are moving away much from the initial expositions that allowed us to shape the project and make it form a coherent unit.
3. Keep defining your target
The target is the "target" public in which you must impact with your strategies to make the initiative advance and prosper. It is very important to be very clear about your profile, since having one or another type of person in mind can lead to enormous variations in the success of your communication and work policies. The economic, social and psychological differences they give an account of why different people behave in a characteristic way.
For example, if the people you want to reach are defined by having relatively few resources and tend not to have gone through university training, it does not make sense to use a communicative style full of technicalities. If they are characterized as being elderly or middle-aged, it is probably not a good idea to bet on having a large presence in social networks with a very young user base, such as Instagram.
4. Set your prices
With the information that has already been specified up to now, you can already set your rates . It is important that you spend time at this step, because not paying much attention can lead to constantly changing rates, and that is nothing positive from the point of view of marketing; it generates an image of unpredictability and instability that feeds mistrust.
5. Concrete your communicative tone
Beyond choosing the communication channels through which you are going to publicize your psychology consultation, it is important to specify in a definitive way what will be the tone of your communication, both in the textual and in the visual. It is important that you have a graphic style manual, no matter how simple, in which they appear the usual shapes and colors that you are going to use both on your website and in your query, as well as other marketing elements such as business cards. Not keeping a certain consistency in this aspect gives an image of little professionalism.
6. Go through legal advice
At least in Spain, psychology is a sector that suffers a certain deregulation, so it is easy to find doubts and ambiguities. Therefore, it is worth going through legal advice. A small investment that will save us problems in the future.