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The Most Common Challenges Facing Therapists


Alma is dedicated to supporting clinicians at every step – and we’ve made this list to call attention to the most common challenges facing therapists. We’ll also offer firsthand accounts of some solutions that are currently helping therapists overcome their roadblocks.

These insights were produced as part of Alma’s Open Sessions campaign – where we spoke with therapists and got their perspective on the most significant barriers halting their progress. Stay tuned for related content coming soon.

Private Practice management

"I’ll be honest, I found the business components of starting a private practice to be incredibly challenging. I went to graduate school for nearly 10 years - and I learned a lot about what it means to be a clinician and how to deliver high quality clinical work. I learned almost nothing on how to run a business.”

Elisabeth Morray, Psychotherapy, Licensed Psychologist

Clinicians got into healthcare to help people improve their lives, not to run a business. Unfortunately, this often leads to headaches as therapists quickly transition into being business owners with no formal training. The most common areas clinicians need help in includes scheduling, billing, teletherapy, and marketing their practice – to name a few.

The good news is that therapists can benefit from modern solutions that can rid them of their nagging issues. One example is Alma’s suite of digital practice management tools that power virtual and in-person care for clinicians looking for help in running their practice.

Getting credentialed with major insurance payers

For therapists, joining a major insurance payer offers some significant advantages – but getting credentialed isn’t always easy:

1. Provide more accessible healthcare

Once credentialed with a major insurance payer, clinicians can provide more accessible health care to a larger range of clients. For reference, 30% of Americans can’t afford monthly counseling sessions without their insurance, and over half of Americans would have to spend 50% or more of their yearly disposable income to pay for sessions out of pocket.

2. Grow client base for private practice

Joining a major insurance network allows therapists to reach clients that otherwise wouldn’t be accessible. With cost playing such a major role in how many people choose care, getting credentialed can grow a clinician’s client base to better support their private practice.

3. Potential for greater financial reward

Low payback rates have historically deterred many mental health care providers from getting credentialed, but solutions like Alma make it easy and financially rewarding to accept insurance. Therapists get enhanced payback rates for teletherapy and in-person visits, plus guaranteed payment within 2 weeks.

4. Most common reasons for insurance panel denial

That said, insurance panel denials are common. Over half of medical practices reported a rise in credentialing-related denials.

Some of the most common reasons therapists get denied include:

  • Insurance networks aren’t accepting new mental health care providers at the moment
  • Delayed payer response time in evaluating new applicants
  • Not meeting specific requirements set by the insurance payer, out-of-state enrollment included
  • Application errors, mixed with a lack of communication from payers, can often lead to therapists being denied
  • An existing abundance of a specific type of clinician
  • Failing to research and meet extra conditions needed for out-of-state enrollments

These reasons shouldn’t stop therapists from seeking credentialing, as there are tools that can help them navigate these roadblocks.

“Alma has made the process of getting paneled with insurance companies very, very simple. You simply fill out a bit of paperwork, and then they do all the heavy lifting for you. Historically, being paneled is quite a nightmare. The process with Alma is super seamless and super quick.”

Matthew Ryan, Psychotherapy, LCSW

Read here to learn how Alma eases the process for clinicians looking to get credentialed with a major insurance payer. 

Skeptical clients

Early this year, a survey found that the average American visits three therapists before deciding to move forward with someone. As expected, this presents a strain for therapists as they make an effort to build a connection with new clients.

Clinicians can combat client skepticism by constantly working to hone their knowledge within their chosen niche or specialty. This builds trust by conveying expertise within an area that’s important to the client.

To help with continuous learning, Alma offers a members-only community that allows clinicians to enroll in courses to earn CE credits and attend various workshops led by experts in their field. 

Loneliness / Lack of community & peer support

“[Running] a private practice can potentially be isolating, however, with Alma’s community – this is not really a problem. You’re able to communicate with people, share messages, and really interact in their community. That’s been an awesome benefit.”

Matthew Ryan, Psychotherapy, LCSW

Like any other line of work, there’s times where therapists need to rely on peers to communicate issues that only another mental health professional can understand. An example of which is compassion fatigue, which clinicians may experience after extended periods of time supporting clients without taking time to care for themselves.

Also, peer feedback is invaluable for professional growth – and not having this option can hold clinicians back in the long run.

Therapists aren’t alone in their fight to provide accessible mental health care

Mental health care providers don’t have to tackle these areas by themselves. Technology offers solutions to the challenges of lacking community/peer support, managing a private practice, and insurance related issues.

If you’re a mental health care provider that’s struggling with any part of your practice, or just interested in trying something new – click the button below to learn more about Alma.

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Merhawi Kidane

About the Author

Merhawi Kidane is a content marketer who helps SaaS companies attract and convert online traffic with the help of the written word (blogs, case studies, emails, landing pages, web copy, social posts, sales enablement pieces, and more).

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