For many psychologists, starting a Private Practice is a daunting and lonely place to be. Don't despair, support networks abound, all you have to do is tap into them. Here is a 4 point plan to get you started:
- Affiliate Apart from your HPCSA registration you need to affiliate yourself with a professional Psychology body in South Africa (e.g., PsySSA, SIOPSA etc). You may even want to join international bodies (e.g., the American Psychological Association (APA) or Centre for Creative Leadership (CCL) etc). There are many to choose from, and your areas of interest will dictate which will be the most beneficial to you.
- Read applicable practise documents Documents like the National Health Reference Price List (NHRPL) will guide you when setting your pricing structure for the year. Click here to check it out. A very useful document is the report produced by Health Management and Networking Services (HealthMan) appointed by PsySSA to conduct practice cost surveys that will determine appropriate benchmark tariffs for recommended inclusion in the Reference Price List 2010. This report can be found here. It has a wealth of useful information, and will, for example, remind you about hidden costs that you need to account for, to ensure a viable and sustainable business. For example, rent and utilities, bad debts, finance and insurance, practise management and administration. Another important reference is the ICD-10 codes which you need to include on your invoices if your clients want to claim from their medical aids. You can find an online directory of the codes here.
- Join a CPD Group There are many opportunities to earn your 30 CPD points each year. It may be through courses run by various institutions, universities, companies ( JvR CPD Programmes) or by joining a reading group. No reading groups in your area? Then take the initiative and set one up! It is a great way to meet colleagues in your area and develop a robust referral network. Speak to Robert Mondi at the HPCSA to find out how to register a group for CPD points.
- Find a Mentor I know it is said that one learns from your mistakes, but why make mistakes if you can avoid them! Seek out an experienced practitioner whom you respect and who is willing to supervise or mentor you. Be willing to pay for their time, but try to negotiate a slightly reduced rate that will suit your budget.
Whether you are new to the field of psychology or have years of experience, we can all learn from each other. If you have additional comments or experiences you would like to share, please post and we will incorporate it into the document.
The January edition of our newsletter will contain some usefull articles around starting up your own practice and the basics of working in our industry. If there is something that's always been bothering you, or something you just can't seem to figure out, post about it! You might find something in this month's newsletter - so if you are not on our mailing list, just enter your name and email in the top right hand corner of this website. If it's not for you, you can always unsubscribe :)