Starting your psychology practice is both exciting and challenging. If you’re thinking of going out on your own, and you have the professional skills and experience needed, first make sure you have the current qualifications required to practice legally in Australia. You also need to make sure you can meet any ethical, registration and insurance requirements required by any regulating bodies.
Running a psychology practice means you are also running a business. The first step to starting your business is to get an Australian Business Number (ABN). As a sole practitioner, you will need to understand your taxation and financial responsibilities, including paying yourself a salary. You will also need to be able to manage administration requirements, budgeting, and business plans. You will need to decide on a fee structure and a billing policy and know your accounting requirements. As a psychologist, you might also need to consider how you will deal with Medicare and third party providers and whether you can utilize electronic payment systems. Taking the time to inform yourself about these requirements will assist in creating a successful psychology practice.
Setting up your practice
Once you have a good understanding of the business requirements, you need to consider how you will attract clients to your practice. Will you prefer using a referral system, advertising or word of mouth? Marketing your business effectively will ensure you can build a steady client base. Then you will need to decide the location of your psychology practice. Will you prefer working out of home or in a leased office space? Would it be beneficial choosing a location near other allied health providers? Consider what will work best for the management of the practice and will make your clients feel comfortable and confident in the services you provide.
When you have decided on the location for your psychology practice, consider what equipment you will need to run the office effectively. Make sure you have confidential consulting rooms, office furniture, stationery and a way for clients to contact you.
As a psychologist, you have strict confidentiality requirements, and you will need to know how you are going to deal with those when running your practice. You need to consider how you will comply with the Code of Ethics as a practitioner when dealing with clients, file retention and record keeping including managing electronic files confidentially and securely. You will also need to make sure your policies and procedures comply with the Australian Privacy Principles (APP) as a health service provider.
As you can see, there are lots of things to think about before starting your own psychology practice. Before deciding on how you will run your practice, we encourage you to seek legal advice from a specialist business lawyer. At LegalVision, we will be more than happy to assess your individual circumstances and help you work out the best way to manage your business successfully.