If you’re just starting out or you don’t have very many clients, the answer might seem obvious: more. If you ask a room full of therapists how many sessions per week they consider full time, you’ll hear everything from 15 to 35. It is important to answer this question carefully so that you are building a practice that will work for you. In addition to working directly with clients, you need to have enough time to get consultation, get training when you need it, take care of yourself and your family, and do all of the things that help you stay present and available for your clients. Don’t set your schedule based on what other people say they are doing, but rather on what you know your capacity is.
I’ll give you an example of why knowing your ideal number of sessions is so useful and important. I worked with a therapist recently who found herself in a bind. She had almost as many clients as she wanted based on her need for time for good self-care and training and consultation, but she needed to make more money. Many of her clients paid on a sliding scale, and she didn’t want to raise their fees.
I helped her calculate how many more hours of therapy she could comfortably provide and how much more income she needed. Here’s the strategy we implemented: She created a new VIP service based on the work she loves doing the most, priced higher than what she charged for other services. She knew exactly the kind of client she was planning to work with. Within a couple of weeks, she had filled those appointments. If she hadn’t taken that step back to look at the big picture, she would have taken the next few clients at the same fee and with the same services she’d offered before.
By stepping back and looking at her capacity, she was able to recognize that at this time she needed to offer something different.
The closer you are to having a full practice, the more crucial it is for you to calculate your ideal number of sessions. Rather than basing your answer on what others say, consider these questions when you’re setting your hours and your fees:
- How many therapy hours can I provide in a day and still feel energized and present with my clients?
- How much time do I need for my practice building and business activities every week?
- How much time do I need for self-care?
Now consider basing your fees and number of sessions on honoring those answers.
To get help taking a bird’s eye view of your practice and creating the right strategy, request a free consultation.