Hi, I am Licia Ginne, Psy.D., MFT a licensed marriage and family therapist, also known as the Therapy Marketing Coach.
For the past 27 years I have run a successful private practice in Santa Monica, California. I closed up my practice and moved to Santa Cruz, California. To be accurate, my practice wasn’t always successful. In the 1980’s I started to learn all I could about private practice. I put in hours networking, learning from other therapists, taking marketing classes for therapists (not many were around in the early 1980’s), and read marketing books and learned from my accountants.
My practice was working and I wanted to teach what I had learned about practice development. I met up with Howard Ronder, MFTI who was working in marketing and graphic design. We collaborated and came up with a marketing program directed at therapists. Even our marketing workshop had a rocky start and was put on hold. Howard decided to return to his creative world of design and marketing. I went on to offer workshops, presentations at CAMFT Chapters, conferences and to consult with those seeking a private practice or clinic all across the country.
The road to private practice has not always been a direct or clear path. In the mid 80’s there was a fear or belief that if you didn’t get on the insurance bus you might be pushed out of the market place. At that time I thought why not, I went to work for someone who’s counseling center was on most of the panels and as an employee of her’s she could have me added to the panels. I also joined an IPA (independent practice association).
At that time the reimbursement rate was $60.00 an hour for a Master’s level for most contracts. When Managed Health Network (MHN) lowered their rate from $60 to $50, I started to wonder if it was worth it. I had been on the panels for about 10 years and not once was there a cost of living raise or any raise at all. I called all the panels I was on and requested a raise based on length of service and was denied by all of them. I spent a long time considering the pros and cons and speaking with colleagues and friends about the risk of leaving the panels. The reimbursement rate was slightly more than half of my full fee and any client that came to me and had that insurance I would have to accept the contracted rate, even if they wanted to pay my full fee. Fifteen years ago I made the hard decision and removed myself from all the panels. I first spent a year to prepare all my clients and began the process of sending out letters of resignation. It was the best decision I made and I lost only one client in the process.
1995 I started doing marketing workshops. By nature I am a shy person and wanted to find alternative ways of developing a practice where I didn’t have to meet so many new people. Through the years I experimented with various approaches to marketing, business development and assessed my strengths and weaknesses. I found marketing changed with the times. In the beginning we offered free talks at the library, now its the web, social media, networking and still sometimes it’s giving talks at the library and joining communities.
I realized that marketing was as much a part of my business as seeing clients but that I had to take control of my business and set goals. To start I needed to think of myself as a small business owner. I started to streamline my practice, invest in practice management software and rethink my networking. Its been a long road of learning, at times frustrating and other times amazing. What I learned is you can’t do it alone, it takes a lot of support and help. I have colleagues that might go with me to a networking meeting. I have people who can proofread materials for me. I am always asking for support and assistance and realize it has become a collaborative effort.