Robert (Bob) Taibbi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and author from Charlottesville, Virginia, with 42 years of experience, primarily in community mental health. In this interview, Bob tells how he successfully transitioned from community mental health to private practice work.
He provides advice on how to set up a private practice, including the importance of finding a niche as a therapist and having a clear web presence that emphasizes your strengths and style of work, so clients know what to expect. He shows how having multiple sources of income helped facilitate his transition to private practice work, while also strengthening his career. Bob also shares his checklist for a successful first session, which is crucial to helping and keeping clients.
[2:58] Bob tells how his personal experiences drew him into a career in therapy and community mental health work.
[8:57] Bob tells that, although he left the academic world to work in the community, he nurtured his academic interest in theories and therapies through writing.
[12:20] Bob outlines how he made the shift to private practice work, after 30 years of working in public mental health agencies. He talks about some of the differences between working for the state or an agency in contrast to private practice work.
[13:29] Rather than starting from scratch, Bob joined an established group practice with a good reputation. They provided him with support that made the shift easier.
[13:58] Bob tells how having diversified income made the move to private practice less stressful, as it can take a year to build a solid caseload. He started doing workshops on clinical supervision and family therapy for extra income, while also drawing royalties from his books. He acknowledges he still took a financial hit during the transition.
[15:53] Bob talks about how he built his caseload. He discusses the importance of finding your niche as a therapist, and the importance of advertising this niche to local family doctors, through introductions, and to clients, through a web presence.
[16:52] Bob talks about marketing yourself as a therapist. He discusses the importance of the first session with a client, as it will determine whether or not the client will continue therapy. Bob emphasizes the importance of highlighting your skills, strengths, style of work, and specialties to clients through your website and during the first session.
[18:24] Bob talks about the importance of the internet in marketing yourself as a therapist, as 70% of people find therapists using the internet. He believes it is very important that your online presence presents a clear picture of you as a therapist, as clients are more specific in what they are looking for.
[20:42] Bob talks about the importance of recognizing the expectations clients are bringing to the first session, and being sensitive to these expectations in your approach.
[22:50] Bob shares his advice for having a successful first session with clients.
[25:50] Bob talks about the books he has published, which cover topics such as the first session, family therapy, couple therapy, and clinical supervision.
[27:27] Bob gives an overview of his typical work week and discusses the different facets of his career, including his private practice, clinical work, writing, and workshops. He also talks about how his writing has strengthened his work as a clinician.
[31:42] Bob shares advice for therapists starting a private practice. He emphasizes the importance of having a realistic plan for your practice, including a concrete business plan. Having a good online presence, with a clear presentation of yourself as a therapist, is key. He again emphasizes the importance of finding your niche as a therapist in the community and using this niche to market yourself to family doctors and clients.
BIO – Robert Taibbi, Charlottesville, Virginia
Bob has 42 years clinical experience primarily in community mental health serving as clinician, supervisor and clinical director. He is the author of 9 books including Doing Family Therapy, Doing Couple Therapy, Boot Camp Therapy, and his latest The Art of the First Session.
He has also written over 300 magazine and journal articles and writes an online article for Psychology Today entitled Fixing Families. Bob provides training nationally and internationally in the areas of family therapy, couple therapy, brief therapy, and clinical supervision. He can be reached at bobtaibbi.com.
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