What is the state of private practice psychology land? The pandemic has shown us how important both physical, social, and mental health is to our well-being. The consequent demand for mental health treatment has been phenomenal. For many psychologists and their practices, it has felt like our lives are a continual pivot–COVID plans, lockdowns, homeschooling, waitlists, sick staff, difficulties with recruiting, various mandates, telehealth &/or face-to-face, lack of referral options both within your community of practitioners and in tertiary services who are also overwhelmed. Psychology students, our future workforce, have had the proverbial sh%t show with many placement options unavailable or only on telehealth. What will the workforce do in 2022? Continue offering only telehealth, working from home, stop clinical practice and offer online courses instead or other “less stressful” services. The cost of running a practice and compliance expectations can make it more difficult for sole traders despite digital health. Many feel that are at a fork in the road. If that is you, then reach out to your colleagues, coaches, and supervisors. Don’t struggle on your own. Sustainable practice is the goal. If you continue to do what you have always done you are likely to get the same result as they say. Many group practice owners have confided in me that if someone offered to buy their practice they would sell it in the morning. That is frustration, burnout, and desperation talking. Things need to change so that private psychology practice can evolve and obtain the same support that other primary health services enjoy. It’s going to be an interesting year or two ahead!
In this VOCU (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) (AICD 2020) world we work and live in how do we bridge the gap between our business strategy and our operating model? Is this the time for incremental or developmental change or are we hedging our bets and hoping to continue to operate in the circumstances we know and transition to another known circumstance (e.g. from office-based services to telehealth and back again as required). Is it time instead to embrace transformational change? As psychologist practitioners and business owners, we need to be careful that our efforts to redesign the operating model are grounded in business strategy and that they support our business goals which should include clinical excellence if we are providing health/treatment services. What are the capabilities we need to take our practices forward in this exhausting environment that is also full of opportunities? Build a road map for your operating model that prioritises existing strengths and addresses strategic weaknesses. Share your thinking with a coach, supervisor, or trusted colleague. A growth mindset needs to be brought to our sector.