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Practice Alternatives
Home visits and web marketing ward off practice blues

There are more than 400,000 licensed psychotherapists in the U.S. And as the share of the health insurance dollar apportioned to behavioral health continues to shrink, it’s getting harder to earn a living following traditional practice models.

Lynne Kenney is a pediatric specialist practicing in the greater Phoenix area. And while the work she’s doing is particular to her background and training, her general practice arrangement is worth the attention of any clinician looking for new, more profitable ways to work:

l She maintains a base in a stable, four-clinician group practice that affords her a steady flow of traditional referrals.

l At the same time, she’s developed an unusual, all-cash specialty that sets her apart from colleagues: home visits.

l That niche helps her tap into a relatively affluent clientele--a good hedge against the bad economy, as well as the predations of managed care.

Kenney’s doing about five home visits per week, focusing on "high functioning families who need a skills-based intervention." Her training was in medical settings, and she started out doing analytical psychotherapy in schools, and at a large pediatric practice. "After working there, I decided that to solve problems more quickly, it would be better to go directly to the source: the patients’ homes."

Her prior experience in sports psychology also contributed. "I learned that when you do in-vivo work (like on the field in sports), you see how they really function. Instead of sitting back and being reflective, you’re in the setting with them and they change more quickly."

She’s rewritten her consent forms and other literature to describe herself as a "licensed psychologist who helps families create their extraordinary life." As a skills-based interventionist Kenney helps clients with everyday functioning. This includes things like working on discipline, diet, sleep routines, organization skills, figuring out how to get siblings to stop fighting, helping to get the mother less stressed out, respect, and other skills needed to live in a peaceful home.

It’s a cash-based model and Kenney charges $225 per visit. She often sells customers a four-visit package for $950, which includes two phone consults, as well as written support communication. She tells us all the families who’ve gone for the four-visit package have achieved productive change: "There’s a shift in the family as they adopt the new strategies." (Her standard rate for an in-office 50-minute session is $150.)

Kenney’s also offering parenting tele-classes. Clients seeng her in-person can join for free, and others pay $129 for a four-class package. (She does them once a week.) Participants are drawn from across the country, she says.

Not surprisingly, Kenney has devoted some energy to achieving broad exposure on the web. She can be found:

 1) on her site, www.lynnekenney.com;

 2) through her blog, www.networkedblogs.com/blog/the_family_coach_method;

 3) in an online radio broadcast, here: www.blogtalkradio.com/the-family-coach;

 4) through social networking sites: Twitter (www.twittermoms.com/profile/LynneKenney) and LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/lynnekenney);

 5) through articles she’s contributed to another site: www.myworkbutterfly.com.

This kind of online activity is an excellent way to spread your name in the "Internet cloud," which eventually increases the traffic to your own website. (And it’s a lot cheaper--albeit more gradual--then paying Google AdWords to drive web surfers your way.)

The group practice Kenney recently joined (she jumped over from a large

medically-based practice), consists of four clinicians: herself, plus another psychologist and two neuropsychologists. "One nice thing about being in a group is that you have a team model, and can refer within the practice for augmented services."

You can contact Lynne Kenney in Scottsdale, AZ, at (602)481-6000, www.lynnekenney.com. Note: Kenney’s published a book, The Family Coach Method: Raising Good, Kind, Ethical Kids in a Complicated World, which is available on her own site as well as through Amazon.com.

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