Episode 49: Remote Leadership & Online Group Practices [featuring Lisa Lovelace]
After the pandemic began, it became pretty clear that telehealth therapy would become a new norm, but navigating the best ways to implement and use it can be challenging at first, especially when you run a group practice (or would like to in the future).
In this episode, I talk with Lisa Lovelace, Clinical Psychologist and Owner of Synergy eTherapy, about building and managing successful, fully remote group practices.
We talk about
- how Lisa got into the virtual therapy world and how she organically became an expert on online group private practices
- what makes a good group practice owner and how to know if it's right for you
- the important differences between solo and group practice owners
- how to be a great leader for your team when everything is remote
- AND MORE
More about Lisa:
Dr. Lisa Lovelace is the founder of Synergy eTherapy and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New York, and is registered as a telehealth provider in Florida. She is also a part of PSYPACT, which allows psychologists to see clients who live in any state that has joined PsyPact (currently 26+ states)!
Dr. Lisa has over 20 years of post-graduate level clinical experience working with children, adolescents, and adults who suffer from a wide range of mental health concerns including anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties, substance abuse, and other emotional or behavioral disorders.
Before moving back to her hometown of Minneapolis, Dr. Lisa worked in New York City as a clinical director for a grant-funded substance abuse treatment program for teens at St. Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital Center, Child and Family Institute. During this time, Dr. Lisa was also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she enjoyed teaching and supervising psychology and psychiatry trainees. She received several honors throughout her career including Psi Chi Honors in Psychology, Teacher of the Year – St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, and Supervisor of the Year – St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital.
Dr. Lisa believes that everyone she works with is doing the best they can at that time. Learning how to find balance and become your best self is a lifelong process, and sometimes we could all use a professional, unbiased perspective to help move forward in a healthier way.
She currently lives in Minneapolis with her family and they enjoy fishing, cooking, spending time with extended family, traveling, and dancing to 90’s hip hop music!
Lisa's Website: synergyetherapy.com
For more information on how you can work with Lisa to build your online group practice, check out: synergyetherapy.com/online-group-practice
A Thanks to Our Sponsor!
I would also like to thank Diversion Center for sponsoring this episode.
If you are looking to tap into a cool niche that can take your private practice to 6 figures or more, check out my guy Derek Collins at courtmandatedtraining.com. He helps licensed therapists expand their practice by working with court-mandated clients. So if you are burned out, and tired of writing notes and dealing with insurance companies, I highly recommend that you check out what Derek has to offer.
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This niche could be the breakthrough that you have been looking for.
Go to courtmandatedtraining.com and watch the free webinar to get started.
PATRICK CASALE: Hey everyone. If you are looking to tap into a cool new niche that you can take your private practice to six figures or more, check out my guide, Derek Collins at courtmandatedtraining.com.
He helps licensed therapists expand their practices by working with court-mandated clients. So, if you are burnt out, tired of writing notes, dealing with insurance companies, I highly recommend that you check out what Derek has to offer.
He can show you how to get paid cash every day through court-mandated evaluations and classes like anger management, domestic violence, substance use, shoplifting, theft prevention, and more. This niche can be a breakthrough that you have been looking for. Go to courtmandatedtraining.com and watch the free webinar to get started. Remember that is courtmandatedtraining.com
Hey, everyone, this is Patrick with the All Things Private Practice Podcast. You're listening to another episode. Today, I am joined by Dr. Lisa Lovelace, who runs the Facebook group, How to Build an Online Therapy Group Practice. She is a psychologist up in very, very warm Minnesota where it's six degrees today. And we're kind of going to talk about, like, the messiness that goes on behind the scenes, because I think a lot of people think that for those of us who have reputations things are really, really easy and life is really glamorous. Like, right now I'm sitting in my friend's kitchen in St. Pete so I could get away from my barking Shi Tzu. So, this is the process, y'all. And, Lisa, I'm really happy to have you here.
LISA LOVELACE: Well, thanks for having me. I'm glad to meet you finally in Zoom personhood. We've been able to chit-chat and share resources all behind the scenes. And this is like an honor to be on your show. So, thank you for having me.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, you're welcome. Zoom chit chats are the social ways these days, like, with everything changing. So, without COVID, you know, I know how destructing and devastating it's been, but like, so many relationships have been formed that you never would have met… We never would be sitting here had it not been for that, I don't think so.
Tell us a little bit about this passion of yours, like, building online group therapy practices, because I have a group practice. It's pretty much 100% telehealth and it's messy, like you and I were just talking about. Like, not it's always an easy process by any means.
LISA LOVELACE: Not at all. And if you can believe there was a time before COVID where somebody was doing an online group practice, solely remote practice, like three short years ago this was super novel. People thought it was a little weird, a little crazy. Even online therapy for solo practitioners, it was like, "What are you doing? Why would you do that? Nobody's going to pay you. Nobody wants to see you online."
And, you know, it was working for me. I was doing it since 2016, 2017, and as a group, and you know, it's been an incredible ride ever since. And it was right before the pandemic, actually, people were likely, "Do a consult, I really want to learn what you're doing, how did you do this?" Because clearly brick and mortar was a thing, but not 100% remote. Like, it wasn't even a hybrid, like, people weren't doing that as much.
And I started, you know, doing consultations, I created this Facebook group, and, like, COVID hit in March, and then, it just was nuts. And I was like, "Oh, my gosh, here we go." And then, everybody, like, group practices were consulting with me, like, "How did you get this? And how did you do that?"
And solo people were, like, going online, and then, they were wanting to expand, and add somebody, because they were so busy. So, I'd say, you know, it was a project before and now everybody's like doing it. And it's been so fun, and exciting to meet you, and meet so many other people, and help them grow. I mean, it's so needed. Like we were talking about, like, some people ask like, "Why would you want to teach other people how to do what you're doing? Because what if they do it better than you?"
And I'm like, "I hope so." Like, it's like your kids, you know? Like, "I hope they're better than me." You know what I mean? Like, because they become like your trainees in a way that you're consulting. And you're like, I want them to succeed because you know what? There's way too many clients out there that need the care. So, that's kind of like my philosophy on the whole thing.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, I love that perspective. And that's definitely how I move through the world as well, because even in my coaching, you know, practice building thing, and now that I have a group practice, people are coming to me for that. And it's like, I want them to be successful because their reputation and success is my success, and then, we can share in it and we're in a mental health pandemic.
And I mean, people are struggling, and there are so many clients out there that need support. And, you know, I think there's even some, like, almost bitterness or envy that comes up from some group practice owners that I know where it's like, "Why are all these therapists starting group practices right now? That means they're going to take clients for me, that means they're going to take potential therapist hires from me."
And I'm like, "Yeah, maybe." But at the same time, like, that's such a weird, insecure mindset to have, and I don't think it ultimately, like, stops you from hiring or from getting clients. It's just kind of a bizarre mindset to me and I've never had it. Do you see that a lot in perspectives? Yeah.
LISA LOVELACE: Yeah, I think, you know, as telehealth expands we're seeing a lot of venture capitalists giving money up the wazoo to all these big companies from one's we probably don't really like it much and so-
PATRICK CASALE: [CROSSTALK 00:05:23] name on here, right? Like, Voldemort and Harry Potter.
LISA LOVELACE: Exactly, don't even say it. And then, to other ones that are like, I think they're just filling a gap into an already messed up system. And, you know, we're trying to change the system, but we're also trying to have our own practices. And I do hear and see that group practices feel like they're struggling trying to find versus like, before the pandemic, I have like10, 20 people by month. So, it's different, but I do think it's going to kind of come back around. And I think it's going to just continue to expand and grow. And there's ways for like, group practice owners to have partnerships with other kinds of businesses and companies, to help your own clinicians grow and get more clients or see insurance clients without having to do the insurance up.
And one of the biggest things is people say, well, there's all these other businesses out here, why would they want to join a group practice? Like, "What do you provide that…" You know, I'm like, "Really?" Like, "Oh, my gosh." There's plenty of clinicians that are super happy to go out on their own, do all the things, do all the heavy lifting, but then, they're also just kind of on their own.
And there's so much to be said for a group culture, online, in person, whatever. And that you can get so much more out of the community and who you are as a group practice owner, or who you hire to create that culture. People want to work with you, they want to learn from you. And so, as I'm teaching my own clinicians that I consult with who are building is they have to understand, like, who they are as a person, and, like, who you are, Patrick is so different than who I am and is so different from my friend Brittany and her big practice, and, like, everybody's so different, that you're going to find people that want to swim in your lane, in the water, and the color that that is, and you have to explain why that kind of person, clinician is going to be good for your practice, and they're going to find you, and they're going to seek you out.
So, I hear it, I sense it, I get it. But like, there's still room for everybody. And people have to choose kind of what they want. And also, how we as group practice owners show up and give so much value. It's way more than a billing company. Not that they don't give value. I love my billing companies. But I'm saying it's a completely different mindset and coach, like, how many people can say, like, yeah, my group practice owner teaches people how to do this, and she's a coach to me, and she supports me, and like, it's like a blend of therapy, and family, and friendship, and colleague, and mentors. It's beautiful.
PATRICK CASALE: That's so well said. It's so perfectly well said, and I agree with every single thing. Like, I think I have a lot of people that come to me now and they're like, "Okay, I'm so busy that I don't want to refer out, I want to refer in." And I always ask them like, "Do you want to be a boss? Do you want to have a group culture? Or do you just want to make more money because you don't want to send these referrals elsewhere?" And if the answer is not, "I want to be a boss, I want to be a leader." I don't think you should do this, because you're going to get really overwhelmed and resentful because it is not as simple as just, like, setting up a simple practice account for everyone and just letting it run.
Like, I know, behind the scenes, I am helping with the culture, because I want to cultivate something that feels like camaraderie and chemistry, and we're all online, so that has become challenging. But we try to meet once a month for dinners, we try to, like, have team meetings and team building at really cool places. Like, we go axe throwing and ziplining, and like, all the stuff-
LISA LOVELACE: Oh, that's [CROSSTALK 00:08:54].
PATRICK CASALE: …it just is important to me, because I think so many therapists out there feel so undervalued or underappreciated at their agency jobs or potentially, like, shitty group practices. And then, they're like, "I just want to feel valued. I just want to feel seen."
And I think a lot of therapists also come to group practices because they don't want to do the other stuff. They just want to see the clients and show up. And I question that at first, I was like, "Why would someone worked for me if they could go work for themselves, right?
LISA LOVELACE: Right, right.
PATRICK CASALE: And my clinical director is one of my best friends and she sucks at the business side of things. And I will say that to her face, she knows it. Like, she and I both started private practices at the same time in 2017, 18, I can't even remember, and she folded up shop in like six months because she couldn't handle the admin side, the market, the networking, like…
LISA LOVELACE: Yeah, it's so much.
PATRICK CASALE: I think people overlook that, right? Like, what we provide as group practice owners, especially, like you said, if we're trying to cultivate a culture that feels like teamwork, people who are really doing good work, they feel appreciated, they feel seen. I incorporate my private practice coaching into my group practice because if some of them want to leave and start their own thing, which is inevitable, I want them to be successful. I don't want to have the mindset, "I don't want any of these people to leave, and go into the community, and that's going to hurt my business." It's like, no, that mentality is actually what hurts your business.
LISA LOVELACE: I agree 100%. And I love that you have said that you take your coaching into your practice with each one of your clinician's and that is 100% what I do as well. It's like, some days I have to remind myself, I'm like, I'll come up with this idea, I'll be like, "Oh, shit, like, I just told all these clinicians to go do something. I'm not doing it in my practice." Like, I'm not going to lie. I came up with something really brilliant, I'm not even doing it. I'm like, "What is wrong with me?"
And then, I feel get bad, and then, I feel guilty, and then, I'm like, the next day I'm on like, you know, Facebook or whatever. We have a Facebook group that's private, you know, like, my emails, and I'm, like, fully, totally starting to do it. And I'm like, "Push." Like, you know, wow, how did I totally miss it, because you do get a little tunnel vision of like, this is my group practice and we're all like this.
My online consulting stuff that I do, and it's separate, but it is so, like, infused, because, like, you're sometimes… just like therapy is like, sometimes, you know, you'll think of something, you tell somebody and you're like, "I don't do that." That sounds amazing. Like, I don't do what I just told you to do.
PATRICK CASALE: I think our culture as professions in the profession of therapy is like, we don't always practice what we preach, like, 90% of the time, right? Like, I can tell my client all day, like, exhibit self-compassion, and like, do these things that really help and then I go home, and I'm like, "No, I can't fucking do that for me. Like, that's not possible." So, you're definitely right about that.
And like, I try really hard to bring all of my therapists into my coaching world, so all of them take my courses for free because I think that's a benefit for them. You know, they want to learn how to write better copy or content, they want to learn marketing and networking strategy, they want to work through their imposter syndrome, I feel like that's my job as a leader in my practice to be able to provide what I'm providing elsewhere because I think that makes them better clinicians in the long run, and also, prevents burnout.
If you're really striving to understand, like, group practice ownership, private practice ownership, like, entrepreneurialship, we are in this for a reason, right? Like, we don't want to work the 40-hour work weeks, we don't want to grind it out. We want to have autonomy, and freedom, and flexibility. Like, I'm working from St. Pete today and I live in Nashville. I do this all the time. And I don't think you can do that if you're just like punching a clock, and checking in, and feeling micromanaged all the time.
LISA LOVELACE: Totally, totally. I'm heading out tomorrow. We're going to do like an impromptu Disney trip. And I'm like, "Okay, everybody." Like, my support team are like, "See you." You know, I still have so much to do, and I'll probably work at night, my little one's sleeping. But like, we can just take off for a week. And I'm just like, "I didn't see any clients because I don't have to." You know, seeing clients is kind of like, you know, for me, it helps kind of, like, extra things I need to pay for. But it's not like, you know, that's my 100% living, which is so different than "growing up in the field" with the agency work, and like the 40 hours, and the 200 million clients a week of which I loved, but it was too much.
And so then, you know, you break away sometimes from the agency work, you go out solo, which is where I started, online, and then, moved into the group. And it's like this evolution of self-care. And, again, like you said, if you don't like the business, or know the business stuff, like, you don't have to know it, you can learn it, but you have to somehow like it enough, where you don't, like, completely crumble, like you said, and I love the novelty and the freedom where it's not an appointment to make my marketing videos for my staff or like, to have consultations with my staff. Like, I can be anywhere.
And so, there's just this flexibility that comes moving away from agency, moving away from even solo, and becoming a group practice owner. I don't have the brick and mortar, so I don't take away [INDISCERNIBLE 00:14:17] deal, water leaks, and somebody slipping on the ice. Like, I don't have to deal with all that stuff. I would-
PATRICK CASALE: Or rent.
LISA LOVELACE: Or rent, give me a break. So, it's like this works just as great, and in my opinion, I think for many reasons even more in some ways, some ways probably not. But like I love that I have that freedom to say I can take a week off, and then, another month I can take another week off because I'm still having that income coming in through the practice. And I am by no way, shape or form making millions of dollars. That's not my practice. I give in a ridiculously high split of 80%. My accountants totally, "Oh, I think we've got to…" God bless them, "I don't know what we're doing here, but like, you could be making a lot more." And I'm like, "Yeah, I know what you know." Like, I like what I'm doing. And I like that they're happy and like…
So, it's like this, even with a ridiculously high split, I can still feel comfortable. It's not huge, but it's comfortable to feel like I'm at where I want to be. And I know it'll grow, and change, and morph over time. But like, I can go to Disney, and like, still kind of work and still not [CROSSTALK 00:15:30].
PATRICK CASALE: And still make some money, you know?
LISA LOVELACE: And still make money.
PATRICK CASALE: And you know, this is really cool to connect with you, because I practice the exact same way. And I wish we sometimes found more group practice owners that were less concerned about, I don't want to say exploiting their therapist, because that's not the right word, but less concerned about the money aspect, because all I wanted to ever do once I got into private practice, right? Was leave my mental health job. I never saw anything else being possible. Once I got really good at it, I get bored very easily, you know? And then, I'm like, "Okay, what else can I do? Oh, I want to do private practice coaching. But I don't have enough energy, because I'm seeing 25 clients a week. Okay, how can I step back from this?" And I hired my first therapist last January, I was like, but-
LISA LOVELACE: [INDISCERNIBLE 00:16:11].
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, yeah. And he was a friend of mine, and he kept asking, he's like, "Can I come work for you?" I'm like, "Why? Like, go work for yourself, I will help you build your fucking practice for free." And-
LISA LOVELACE: That's how I started with me too, a colleague at university said, "Can you teach me what to do?" And I'm just like, "Hey come on board."
PATRICK CASALE: And it's just people you trust, you know? And like, maybe one day that will bite me in the ass, because it's like six of my friends work for me. But, you know, I want to pay them well, I want them to feel like they like their jobs. I want them to feel like they are not taken for granted, that they're appreciated. Like, my splits are really, really high too. And my biller will always ask me, she's like, "You're giving this person another bump in pay, like, you're not going to make this much money." Yeah, this allows me to step back, not see therapy clients anymore, do my coaching, do my podcast, do my retreats. Like, I could never have done that without stepping away and transitioning clients out.
And over the last year, because my group practice is only a little over a year old, I transitioned 35 clients off my caseload. And those conversations were really fucking hard because it brings up abandonment stuff on both sides. But they landed in the right spots, a lot of them landed with my clinicians that I have now. And I feel okay about that, you know? And, again, like you said, it's not about making all the money, it is just about being able to step back and focus on other things that you really love to do.
LISA LOVELACE: You know, we were talking briefly before we started about people in my Facebook group are wanting to see behind… like, what do I do every day? They are like, "If I'm going to do this…" Like, they don't have a conceptual idea of like, what does this literally look like in your day-to-day lives? How do you manage it all? Because it is a lot of work. And I said I could work 24/7 and never get it done if I wanted to, even with support.
Now, not all the people doing group, you know, are like that. They have different groups or they have, you know, I probably did let go of certain things. I still don't probably enough, but like, I ended up making a video, and I recorded bits of myself every day doing personal things, political thing, you know, kind of showing, like, me in my office and what I'm doing, and where I'm going, what I'm eating, and what apps I'm using.
And then, my editor, Andrea Potashnick, she's so adorable, she cut it into this like, kind of like a TikToky kind of thing for 16 minutes. And she was like editing it, and adding stuff, and like, zooms in on my face, and then, like, stupid, stupid crap of like, here, I'm eating chilies, and like, it's just so funny, because it almost turned into a food blog and I had to be very careful. It wasn't going to be a junk food blog.
But it's like, I want people to see a little glimpse, clearly, it's not every day and everything, but it's like, here's kind of blips and blurbs of what I do, and what it looks like, and the reality of our life or at least my life to help you see, like, it's not glamorous. Like, it's a lot of work, it's not glamorous, but I choose it. Like, I get to choose when I do what and there's nothing better than that, you know? And so, I'm excited to push this out to my VIP newsletter list of people. They're curious and they want to see it. Have you ever like shown the behind the scenes like that or done anything like that?
PATRICK CASALE: I haven't but now you've got me thinking, because I'm just thinking about all the things that I did today and Monday is always crazy, like, I get up and I already anticipated like, all right, I'm going to look at our, like, team chats, I'm going to look at all the missed calls, I'm going to look at all the emails. We have admin support, like you said sometimes it's-
LISA LOVELACE: Totally.
PATRICK CASALE: [CROSSTALK 00:19:40] to relinquish, but it is just so busy. We've exploded and like, we have a psychiatric provider on staff, and he can see 100 people a week. And it is so challenging to keep up with all of the calls for him, all the appointments-
LISA LOVELACE: Oh, my God.
PATRICK CASALE: … all the [INDISCERNIBLE 00:19:54] denials from insurance, and I'm like, okay, some days I wish I didn't have a group practice, but that is balanced out by tech, and I'm like, I love my staff, I love that we've created this culture. But ultimately, you're wearing so many different hats throughout the day that get overlooked. I think a lot of people's perception of group practice is really not accurate, where they think, "You're just having these therapists make you money and that's all it is." And I'm like, "There is so, so, so much more than that." Like, you are mentoring, you are supervising, you are doing admin work, you are dealing sometimes with clients' issues and in there is just so much involved.
LISA LOVELACE: Credit card issues.
PATRICK CASALE: Yes, I-
LISA LOVELACE: Website issues. Oh, the link doesn't work, yeah.
PATRICK CASALE: Exactly. Oh, telehealth went down today, or like, "What do I do in this situation?" And I'm like, you know, and we do treatment team, and we have a pretty good foundation. And that doesn't mean it's easy, that doesn't mean that you aren't having sleepless, restless night or having sleepless… that doesn't mean you're sleeping well, because all the time you're concerned about your staff's well-being too. And you're like, like you said, it feels like you're almost a parent in a way, because you really do care about the outcomes, not just for the clients, but for your staff as well.
LISA LOVELACE: One of the things that I love the most about having a group practice, and you can even have a great culture, as we all know now, that online has been a thing, but I knew this before, and I'll always continue, is like the relationships that I have with the therapists, like, I see W-2, it doesn't matter you who you are as, like a potential or current group practice owner, they want to connect with you, you know? And like, I've become friends with people that I wasn't friends with to start because I spend a lot of time interviewing if I don't know you, because I'm not going to send my kid to you, or my mom to you for your clinical expertise, or your personality, or how, like, just you're warm, and I like talking to you, and like I feel good just listening during the interview, and like, you know, there's so many aspects to that.
And then over time, we build so much trust in, like, I learn about what's happening, if somebody died, or somebody was born, or if somebody is going through a hard time. Like, they're trusting me with that information. And I'm like, "What do you need me to do? How can I help you? How can I support you?" Because it is a family, you know? It becomes a family. It doesn't matter how far apart you are, or what your legal status is, what's your business entity, it's about you, you know? And like, how you attach to people and how you, like, draw out the best in people. And if you don't like that, you can certainly hire somebody to do it. But it'll be still your baby passed out through them, so you have to like them, whoever you have kind of leading the pack. So, there's ways to step out, I think even more as we go along.
But I think it's always about, like, who was the parent at the time? And how was that getting seen, and felt, and heard, like you said, you're, you know, coaching through and becoming such good friends, or you were good friends, to start, like, it really becomes, like, such a family. And I love that part.
PATRICK CASALE: I love it too. I think it's so unique in our industry to feel like you can create this type of support because private practice is really isolating if you're on your own. And you're just head down seeing clients, end of the day your brain doesn't work anymore, and you're like, I can't even tell my spouse, or partner, or friends about what I did today or talked about. And, you know, in the group practice world it just feels like a unified team. And I do think you're right, like, it starts at the top with the culture that the owner sets, right?
And people have had bad group practice experiences, and then, moved into others where they're like, "Oh, this is really supportive." And my staff, very often, my new staff, they'll ask my staff who have been here longer, I guess a year is longer, "Is this too good to be true? Like, everything Patrick said seems too good to be true. Like, the encouraging vacation, you know, the encouraging of mental health stipends, and mental health days, and like, being able to work 15 to 20 hours a week, if that's what I need and that's what I want?"
Like, I want that to be the culture, I want people to feel supported. When I travel I think of them. Like, I buy little gifts for them, I think about, like, their hobbies. And I've got staff that live in Indiana who are licensed in North Carolina, everyone, staff that live in South Carolina that are licensed in North Carolina. Like, we have become like a family. We go to, like, holiday dinners and we had everyone drive in from wherever they live to go to, like, have this big, really awesome holiday experience.
And like, I just think that's so powerful for people because they don't experience that in corporate America. And I think we're seeing a mass exodus from community mental health because it's like-
LISA LOVELACE: I know.
PATRICK CASALE: …the pandemic shows that they don't fucking care about you. And if they're going to make you come work 50 hours a week, not protect you, pay you 10, no, 15 to $20 an hour, why wouldn't you leave? I mean, I just think we're going to start to see more and more of that. And even if you're a telehealth practice, a brick and mortar, or a hybrid, I just think that we're going to continue to see this shift in psychotherapy where it's like, "I'm not working in community mental health, I'm going straight from grad school into practice."
And I don't know how you feel about that. I hear a lot of people are like, "No, you have to go into community mental health in order to be a good clinician." And I'm like, "Yeah, that's complete bullshit." My clinical supervisor can give you so much better quality supervision than you're going to get from someone who's overworked, seeing 50 of you at a time, like…
LISA LOVELACE: Yeah, it's all about the supervisor. I mean, we have interns and associates in Synergy who are in school or just graduated and licensed and needing some hours. And, you know, they are… and I say, as Casey Brag, she's like the clinician who oversees most of that. And it's mostly our South Carolina interns and whatnot. And when we are putting out our information, this is not just an internship, get your hours. This is, learn how to do telehealth, learn how to open up your own private practice, whether it's within Synergy because we're kind of like a collective where everybody's got their own practice whatever. And then, or, you know, learn how to do, you know, obviously, the clinical work, and the notes, and all the things.
But it's such a bigger project than I ever even knew existed when I was graduating from doctorate program. Like, you just got matched, and you did whatever. And now people are like, reaching out to me. Like, I would never have even known to do that, I would never have even thought to reach out to like a private practitioner in my life. And now people are like, don't even go through their school. And they're just like, "I found your information, I see that you do this. Like, can I apply?" And it's just crazy, it's amazing.
So, I think because there's so many more of us, whereas before you only had your agencies that you could go to. It's not like that now and it's probably just going to continue to expand.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, who wouldn't want to come work for you instead of being in constant crisis and vicarious trauma all the time? And we get a lot of intern requests, I need to start thinking of that.
LISA LOVELACE: Are you doing that?
PATRICK CASALE: We haven't yet. And I just think that I feel like I haven't known what to do. Like, my process for a lot of things in my businesses and my life is like, figure it out as I go. And…
LISA LOVELACE: Yeah, me too.
PATRICK CASALE: …like I said, I started this group a year ago, we have 12 therapist and a psychiatrist. And I'm like, I'm just kind of figuring this out as we're building this. So, like, I do think interns are a possibility. We do take on associate licensed therapists to give them that experience.
I've reached out to my grad school so many times and said, like, "Hey, I would love to come talk about private practice and going into a group practice out of school." And I've been told nobody's interested in that, they don't want to work in private practice. And like, that is your insecurity and resentment that you have a doctorate and you're making less money than associate licensed therapists. Like, where's this narrative coming from?
LISA LOVELACE: Yeah. Oh, my gosh.
PATRICK CASALE: It's been a bit upsetting. And then, I'm like, "Well, that's not true, because so many of your students are taking my courses of how to start a private practice." So, like, we want freedom. Like, we want autonomy, we want this creative process. So, it's good to know that we can exist simultaneously.
And I hope that people that are listening, like, you've got to get past the insecurity and comparison traps of like, I can't exist with this other person who's doing the same thing. That prevented me for so long of starting my coaching business, because I live in Asheville, where Allison Puryear and Abundance Practice Building also exists. And I'm a good friend of hers. But I'm thinking why would somebody hire me if they could hire her? And I think that happens a lot with group practice ownership, why would I, you know, refer to A, B, and C, why would I help someone build their business because that's taking away from my business? I think it's actually doing the complete opposite.
LISA LOVELACE: I agree with you. And I agree that that is the mindset of, you know, like, we all can have similar, like, things that we do and offer. And like, we talked about, we're so different, all of us. And we have a very different business style, we have a different personality style.
And once I asked, it was somebody… I'm on like a group Voxer chat with some other therapists that have some Facebook groups that are pretty mammoth and mine is like little. I'm like, "I'm the little baby therapist group." You know? I don't care, I have a big personality, I'm 5'2. And anyways, so, it's funny, because I was like, we had this conversation, like, why would somebody want to work with us? And then, at the time I was just kind of leaning in on what they were saying about me, versus like, other people that, you know, have been doing this a long time.
And, you know, like, it's interesting to hear the answers, right? Like, one of them was just like, "Well, you just seem kind of like really accessible, or really real, or like when you show up." Like, I don't know what the fuck I'm doing half the time, I just enjoy it. And I'm like, "Here's me, you know, I don't think I've showered for three days, I don't wear makeup. Like, I'm not on to trying to like, you know what I mean? Like, my stuff is not super fancy. It's just like bare bones because this side hustle is something I love, but it's not like my Synergy is like where I'm kind of massaging my delicateness. And like, this is like, I want to help you, but it's not going to look super pretty."
And I think that that resonates with a certain subset of people where it doesn't seem as may be intimidating in some ways as maybe people who have it more together, they have some big programs, and they're doing great too. It's just like, how do I differentiate me from you and anyone listening, you want to do any of that group practice ownership, private practice, telehealth this, insurance that. Like, whatever side hustle you want to do or group practice, like, if you can figure out who you are, and how to make it yours, and feel good about that, whether it's two people or 200, like, you know, like, enjoy that, like, somebody's going to resonate with you, like, somebody's going to like you, and listening to you, and talking to you, because for whatever reason it feels better to them. There has to be choice. I mean, how many Hershey bars are out there? Not Hershey, but chocolate bars? Like, hey, go to the chocolate aisle, how many are there?
PATRICK CASALE: Sure. I mean, yeah, you can't live in that world of, you know, feeling insecure and competitive, and compare all the time, because, like, you know, and the people who look like they have it all put together are probably not all put together. It's just very good branding, and very good aesthetics in their own ways. We don't know what's happening behind the scenes. And I think that we attract and repel a lot of the time, not just in coaching, not just in Facebook groups, not just in group practice ownership. Like, people are either going to be drawn to your personality, or they're not going to be drawn to your personality. And that is okay.
When I asked people, "Why do you hire me to be your coach when other people exist?" They're like, "I just like that you're real. Like, I don't get the feeling that you're disingenuous, or you're not going to show up for me." And I'm like, "Oh, okay." So, it really is just about how you show up and move through the world.
And I think if everyone can just, you know, take that in and think about how you want to move through the world and align with your values things will get easier, and you will attract people who are drawn to what you offer. And I think this is really good advice from Lisa. So, I hope this is helpful for people who are considering group practice or in group practice, you know, really shifting mindset, and just realizing there is room for everybody. And I think that's really important in this new kind of era of coaching and psychotherapy.
So, Lisa, I did just want to ask you before we kind of go, like, where can people find you if they want to hire you if they want to see what you've got to offer? Like, where are people going to find Lisa Lovelace?
LISA LOVELACE: Yeah, tomorrow in Disney, like, World, but otherwise…
PATRICK CASALE: Don't approach Lisa in Disney World, please.
LISA LOVELACE: Exactly. I will have a Mickey ears mimosa in my hand. So, the best place for learning how to build an online group practice is that therapy Facebook group. So, if you just Google, How to Build an Online Therapy Group Practice, it'll show up, anybody can join, and just leave me information so I know you're not a, you know, virtual bot coming in.
And I have, you know, my website is synergyetherapy.com. My Account accountant still says, and lawyer still says, "It's kind of in the same lane so we don't have to separate it all quite yet." So, I'm like, "That's fine." You know, I don't yet have a whole different website. I have like a landing page on my main site under the resources and you can kind of see some more stuff there.
And in the Facebook group, you know, you can sign up, I have a free checklist for how to start your online group practice, all the things you might just need to think about.
I've got a couple other amazing therapists and group practice… not group practice owners, Facebook group owners. We did a multistate webinar for free, 60 minutes. I have that posted in there.
And then, coming out for my VIPs on my newsletter is a glimpse into my world, I guess. It's not super exciting, but my editor made it really fun. So, you can get on that, get in my newsletter. And if you want to email me, [email protected].
PATRICK CASALE: Thank you for sharing that. And I will put all of that in the show notes for you so that you can find all this wonderful information. And if you want to find more of All Things Private Practice, that is also a Facebook group. New podcast episodes coming out, download, like, subscribe, and we will see you next week. Thanks, Lisa for being here.
LISA LOVELACE: Thank you, so good to see you.
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