To Slide or Not to Slide

As mental health professionals, our business model is unique (code word for strange) because our clients know that some therapists are willing to offer a sliding scale. Most healthcare practitioners do not offer to adjust their rates, can you imagine asking your physician if she is willing to slide?

When I started my private practice as an intern, I offered my perspective clients a lower rate while I was building my practice. Now that I’m licensed, I prefer to offer reduced rates to my existing clients. If an existing client is experiencing a financial crisis like unemployment or a medical issue, we discuss it and come up with a lower fee. We explore their feelings about the fee adjustment, and we agree on a future time to revisit the rate; this discussion often reveals valuable clinical material. Several of my clients are freelancers who go through long periods of time between jobs, and they appreciate my willingness to reduce their fees during those times.

If a prospective client calls me requesting a low fee, I refer them to my associate or to a training site. I prefer not to “slide” for new clients with the exception of a referral from a friend or someone who is interested in both individual and group therapy. I choose to volunteer in other ways like offering pro bono Brainspotting sessions to people in my community who have experienced trauma and cannot afford therapy.

Here are some of the questions you might ask yourself prior to deciding whether to adjust your fee:

What are your financial goals for this year? How much do you want to earn? Do you have any student loan or other debt to pay off?

Is this client presenting with symptoms you are comfortable working with, or will this client require extra attention between sessions?

How many low fee clients do you have in your practice?

Do you feel worthy of asking for your full fee?

When was the last time you raised your fees?

If you are interested in learning how to make better financial decisions for your business, join me in June for my 10-week live online class- “The Prosperous Professional.”  This class is appropriate for pre-licensed and licensed therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, clinical dietitians, and other healing professionals. To learn more, go to https://mariagray.net/prosperous-professional