Most therapists I know are intimidated by the idea of approaching the business world and plying their wares. And yet, look around your community. The place where conflict manifests outside the home is in the workplace. Often, when a client starts to have problems at home that affect work and their financial bottom line is when they decide to go into therapy. Internal employee assistance programs (EAPs) are on the decrease but the external EAPs are doing a booming business. Here’s the rub: The hourly rate paid by an EAP is usually less than your carefully considered fee. Here are 3 ways to develop a Fortune 500 practice.
How do you tap into a lucrative market and not slide your scale forever?
Join an EAP Panel to Gain Access and Build Credibility
The easiest way to identify and connect with the external employee assistance programs is to contact the largest companies in your community and see who they use. If possible, get a contact name for provider relations and be ready to LinkIn and follow up with a phone call. Solve a problem for them: Develop a work-related group nearby or even in the facility of their largest client near your office.
The 5 largest EAP providers are:
Magellan Health Services
OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions
Cigna Behavioral Health
Harris Rothenberg International
Cultivate Human Resource Professionals
My favorite group of business professionals are those folks who do work similar to what we do, except they do it while they are making sure their companies comply with the rules and regulations of doing business. Human Resource managers were often your friends in undergrad who were people persons but decided being a psychology major wouldn’t get them a job. They have an affinity for working through issues just like you do and they are a gateway to the entire employee population. Join your local Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) chapter and offer to do a short talk at one of their breakfast meetings. You will find kindred spirits and an opportunity to get an idea of what sparks a referral. At the very least, you can be a resource for all things psychological for your new friends.
Pursue an Executive Coaching Practice
For the past 20 years, the business world has caught on to the idea of having a safe place to talk, collaborate, and move forward. It’s called coaching! If I sound a little chagrined, I am. While we were relying on the touchstones of psychotherapeutic technique, the coaching business was taking off. In the last few years, however, the psychological community has decided to get in the game and offer training and certification apart from the mostly business dominated certification programs. Take a look at the Board Certified Coaching certificate offered by the Center for Credentialing and Education. (http://www.cce-global.org/bcc). Use your training as a therapist as your marketing tool. As I say to my coaching clients, ”I have a bias for coaches that have a counseling background because we’re trained in human behavior. which is the basis of all your business behavior.” That is usually all it takes to have an edge over the business coach who, while trained in business, gets a certification in coaching that is often heavily weighted in counseling techniques. In fact, I often partner with business coach colleagues that refer to me after they have reached an impasse with a coaching client. I (and you!) can offer a different direction and perspective that gets underneath the presenting business problem.
So there you have it. Three new ways to build your Fortune 500 Practice. I guarantee after your first EAP application and your second SHRM meeting, you will see the benefit of this not-so-secret world. At the very least, do some research on coaching fees at the business dominated International Coaching Federation (www.coachfederation.org), a well respected training program. This alone, might convince you to spend some marketing time in the business world. And remember your new friends at SHRM? They are often the same folks who hire executive coaches for their staff — at an enviable hourly rate.