A group counseling practice employs a number of clinicians that share the same building and location, although they often specialize in different areas of the counseling field. This can be considerably more effective than a counseling practice owned and run by a sole proprietor. For many practitioners and private clinicians, the establishment of a group counseling practice is preferred over taking matters solely into their own hands. One of the main benefits is being able to share the stress of this particular type of work with others, together with all the benefits of being part of a team. The number of group practices has grown from 16,500 in 1990, to more than 37,000 in the year 2003.
The Life Tree Counseling group practice was established in 1992, initially as part of a small team comprising four employees. “Eventually, we expanded to become a large group practice comprising six clinicians in total. We are now an established practice and our clients are completely satisfied with the care and comfort provided” said Kathleen Mills, owner of Life Tree Counseling.
A question which is often asked by clinicians is “How does a group practice benefit the client differently from an individual private practice?” Since a group practice involves a number of clinicians, there are more options with regards to consultation, diagnosis, accurate clinical decisions and other protocols which directly affect a client’s well being. There is also a reduced risk of malpractice because those decisions are taken in a group.
As a clinician, there are a number of benefits in a group environment versus an individual private practice. Aside from being able to work in the company of other professionals, a practitioner is able to find much needed support in what may be difficult decisions to make. Another important aspect of working with a group is the issue of setting appropriate boundaries with clients. Mills further commented, “Client-patient relationship can be problematic; you get attached to your client without having people being accountable around you professionally.” Lastly, there are also legal benefits to being part of a group practice; a team can provide that much needed help and support in case of clients’ complaints.
Mills goes on to say, “Our practice was founded so that a variety of specialists are available in order to cater for a number of different clients needs. This helps cultivate referrals so, similarly to large group counseling practices, a number of people can be treated, regardless of condition, within the same group. This is essential since it ensures a sense familiarity on the side of clients, and also inspires confidence and trust. Clients find comfort in frequenting our practice, since all the care they require is within one group. Often, clients find it difficult to be referred to other specialists, since they may not be aware of specific history or conditions. There is also the matter of confidentiality and familiarity, which our group practice amply provides.”
A group practice which is intent on growing and focusing its clinicians’ specializations, can be considerably more beneficial to clients than a sole proprietorship. Our aim is to continue to grow as a group of counseling practitioners, in order to provide a greater variety of specializations for our clients.
For more information or to schedule an appointment call us at (972) 234-6634