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2 Ways to How to Determine When Your Private Practice Caseload is Full

July 30, 2021

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I'm Aisha — private practice strategist for mental health therapists looking to ethically blend their clinical skills with entreprenuership without burnout. 

Meet Aisha

When you hear therapists say…

I’m full.

I have a waitlist.

I’m booked out for 6 months.

Does that lead you to think, “I wish I was full”

Well, before you start comparing your saga to someone else’s highlight reel, let’s take a step back and get curious.

How many clients do you need to see, in order to consider yourself full?

It Depends

Yes, I know. If the following question showed up on Jeopardy “A helping professionals most popular and frustrating response to almost every question.” What is- It Depends”

You’d be right.

And that’s the most honest answer I can give you. But you also know enough about me by now to know that I’m all also about giving full and honest answers to your questions, so what does determining your caseload depend on?

In my opinion, your caseload volume is dependent on your goals + your capacity.

Your Goals

The soundtrack of my life will include many tunes, one of which will include “Your Business Plan, Your Roadmap” It’s an original hit, I wrote back in 2017 and I reference in almost EVERY. SINGLE. BLOG. POST.

Why? Because it’s that important.

A business plan is one of the foundational pillars of any business. It details many things, but above all it references short and long-term goals. So when it comes to determining how many clients you’ll see in a day, week, month, quarter, year, this detail should be at least referenced in your business plan, as well as validated by your financial advisor and accountant, AND reinforced and revisited in your ongoing recaps and wrap-ups.

Your Capacity

You know how I feel about comparing yourself to others and so it should go without saying that your capacity to serve others SHOULD NOT be measured against what other people are doing in their practice. I know that back in the day, you were constantly compared to your co-workers through productivity metrics and performance appraisals, but those days are gone or will be very soon.

Think back to the busiest times of your career thus far. Do you know how many clients you were seeing before you hit exhaustion level 1000? Did you ever have a patient quota or data report that summarized how much time you spent with clients? What about your timesheet from your fee-for-service (FFS) days? Either way, trot down memory lane and think about how many clients you’ve seen in the past. Then go through the past scenarios like the Three Little Bears, and ask yourself what is too much, too little or just right. Regardless of the answer, start with that information and determine if you want more, less, or the same of that in your new private practice.

Goals + Capacity = Case Load

Once you’ve revisited your goals and gained clarity on your capacity, merge the two together and voila! You have your ideal case load. Now, there’s a few more things to keep in mind. Remember that we are in the people business, and people are complex beings, meaning just because you have your ideal caseload today, doesn’t mean that you will have it tomorrow. People’s lives are constantly changing, so even if your caseload is where you want it to be today, doesn’t mean you should stop marketing your practice too.

If you haven’t reached your ideal case load yet, your caseload goals need to match your marketing efforts. And don’t expect your marketing efforts to work overnight. Marketing is often referred to as a long game. I like to think of marketing like the act of planting seeds. It’s not realistic to expect a full-grown plant to emerge from the earth, after planting, one seed yesterday. Well, the same applies when it comes to marketing a business, and your private practice is a business. Even with the most innovative marketing strategies and techniques, everything takes time to grow.

Summary

As you’re creating your private practice, many questions are going to arise. How should I decorate my office? Which EHR should I choose? Should I have two separate phones, one personal and one business? There will inevitably be a lot of shoulds flying around and when you get to the place in your contemplation when you’re considering how many clients you want to have on your caseload, keep in mind your individual business goals AND your unique capacity to serve others. If you neglect to consider how you fit into the creation of your private practice, then that begs the question of who are you doing this for?

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After reading this, if you feel like you have a bit more clarity on what the size of caseload could look like and now you’re curious to know HOW to fill your caseload, click HERE to join the waitlist for my new online program Caseload Confidence: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide for New Therapists to Confidently Build Their Client Caseload & Optimize their Therapy Client Onboarding Process.

In this 4-week online program, I teach new and aspiring therapists the ins and outs of HOW to fill their caseload, what to do BEFORE meeting with potential clients and what to SAY during your free therapy consultations, so that you’re maximizing all the hard work you put into marketing your practice by transforming potential clients into actual clients on your caseload.

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