How to start your own mental health practice in 7 steps

The Mental Health Practice industry is huge with several opportunities for new professionals looking to come on board. According to data published by Statista, the revenue in this Market is projected to reach $36.73 Billion in 2023! Without question, this is a lucrative industry that you can step into and start getting your share of the cake.

In this article, we will review 7 steps that you can implement from now on to become a Mental Health Practitioner. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we will first review who Mental Health Experts are, and what they do, before delving into steps you can take to become one.

Who are mental health professionals?

They are professionals that specialize in diagnosing, treating and providing support for individuals with mental health issues or disorders. They provide therapeutic interventions to assist people to improve their mental wellbeing. 

Practitioners may include professionals from fields such as Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Professionals Counselors, Psychiatric Nurses, Occupational Therapists, etc.

Job description of mental health professionals

  1. Assessment and Diagnosis: A major function of professionals in this industry is to understand the condition and challenges of their clients. It has to be the most fundamental function they perform, because it is after a diagnosis has been completed, that any prescription can be made.

  2.  Individual Therapy: They also provide one on one therapy for clients, using special therapeutic interventions such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic Therapy (PT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, etc.

  3. Group Therapy: They also lead therapy sessions for groups of people with similar mental health challenges that come together to share their experiences, and learn from one another.

  4. Family therapy: Some professionals specialize in working with families to resolve common challenges such as communication issues, and conflicts, and generally improve the relationships within the family.

  5. Managing Crisis: They are also trained to provide intervention for patients having serious mental health crises, to stabilize them, and send them to for further treatment. Professionals in this field may work in crisis hotlines, community mental health centres, etc.

  6. Treatment Planning and Case Management: Practitioners may collaborate with clients, and even other health professionals (if the need arises), to provide clients with a treatment plan that caters for their needs.

  7. Psychoeducation: Besides providing treatment, and care for clients, practitioners also educate patients about mental health conditions and how to manage them.

  8. Research & Advocacy: Finally, another critical role practitioners play is to research better ways of managing mental health conditions. The advancements that have been recorded in mental health therapy can be attributed to the years of research done by professionals over the years.

7 steps to begin your mental health practice

So, what are those steps that can help you begin your mental health practice? We would start from the basics before we get into other major requirements on how to start a private practice in mental health.

1. Acquire relevant academical qualifications & licenses

If you’re thinking about how to start a therapy practice in mental health, this is where you should begin. The goal here is to ensure that all practitioners are licensed and equipped with all relevant knowledge and skills to help their clients. 

It is important to note here that the educational requirements to begin professional practice vary across different locations. For instance, in Germany, you would have to complete a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree and go through other requirements before you can be licensed as a Professional.

The requirements in the UK are similar, as you would need a degree in Psychology, or other health and social care discipline, and then a Postgraduate degree. In the US, you need a degree, and in some cases, a Master’s degree to practice.

The key here is to understand the academic requirements for starting a private therapy practice in your target market and complete them.

You would also need to pass the certification examination applicable to your target market to ensure that you have smooth sailing. You can find out what examination you need to take, by visiting the website of the regulating council in your location or target market.

2. Supervised clinical experience

We all know a Private practice therapist’s salary is attractive, however, you need to acquire clinical experience before you can start earning it. This is almost a holy grail across several countries. 

Before you can be licensed to practice as a Mental Health professional, you must have completed a specific number of hours of clinical experience, under the supervision of a licensed counselor. 

In the USA, the number of hours of clinical experience varies between 2000 to 3000 hours. In the UK, it is much lesser, as you would require about 400 to 450 hours of clinical experience. The key here is to identify what is obtainable in your location.

3. Get a business plan

Beyond academic qualifications, opening a private practice requires a winning business plan to be successful. Please note that your business plan does not have to be complicated for it to be effective. The simpler it is, the more effective it could be.

 Your business plan must provide quality answers to these questions:

  • What is your unique value proposition? What is the biggest advantage your business has over others that would convince clients to patronize your service ahead of others?

  • Market analysis: Have you analyzed your target market to identify which persons will most likely be attracted to your unique value proposition?

  •   What are your financial projections?

 A business plan that provides simple answers to these questions is most likely to be successful in the real market. A good business plan must detail your strategy to win in the market.

4. Secure financing and insurance

All businesses require a starting capital, no matter how little it is. The same applies to your proposed Mental Health Practice. You need some capital to begin, and your business plan should provide answers on just how much you require to begin. 

There are several options available to get funding for your business. Below are some options you may want to consider:

  • Personal Savings.

  • Loans from Family and friends.

  • Small bank loans.

  • Business grants.

  • Selling personal assets to raise capital, etc.

 The good news is, with Workee, you do not have to break the bank to begin your practice. Workee is a platform where freelancers and self-employed professionals like you can build their business websites with simple drag-and-drop tools. The best part is that your website is automated to run every administrative aspect of your business. 

From Booking sessions for your clients, and sending reminders, to receiving payments, client and work management, etc. Workee automates your business with 0% transaction fees. What’s more, you can get started on Workee now for free. Click here to check out our services and how much value we can bring to your business!

Finally, therapies in private practice can result in a lawsuit. For this reason, you would need some liability insurance coverage to protect yourself and your practice from potential claims. Some research would be helpful in this regard to identify which insurance provider and what type of coverage would be ideal for your practice. 

5. Choose a physical location

The physical location of your office as a Mental Health professional could influence the number of clients you get. Here are a few things to consider before choosing a physical location:

  • Car parking space.

  • Convenience for clients and yourself.

  • High-traffic areas.

  • Privacy.

  • Cost of the office, etc. 

With Workee, you can host free video call consultations for your clients that would prefer to have their sessions in the comfort of their house or office. Visit our website to learn more about this service.

6. Efficient administrative system

You need to set up an efficient administrative system that manages and archives your records effectively, books your appointments, manages your invoices and billings, and ensures compliance with regulations in the industry. Workee helps you manage the administrative aspect of your business such as managing your bookings, invoicing and payments, tax remittance, etc.

7. Marketing is key

This is probably the most important aspect of your business. Gone are the days of the belief that a good product sells itself. If you have an amazing service that people are not aware of, your business would die for lack of patronage. 

Imagine having your calendar fully booked and paid for, for the next month. This can be achieved with the right marketing strategy.

There are several types of marketing that private practice professionals can take advantage of to advance their business. Below are a few of them:

  1. Social media marketing: Several data out there prove that people spend a lot of time daily on social media. With the right strategy and messaging, you can reach your target audience and convert them into clients. Hubspot has an effective resource to guide you in your social media marketing plan.

  2. Email marketing: You can collate the email addresses of health institutions, and healthcare professionals in your area and peach to them. If properly done, you can convince them to start referring clients to you. Click here to learn how to create an email that wins the heart of clients.

  3. Leveraging referral programs: You could also design a system where you have satisfied clients who refer your services to friends and family and get a small stipend for their efforts. We have put together an amazing resource to help you build an army of loyal customers that refers your services to friends and family.


Starting your own Mental Health Practice could be very lucrative if done correctly. Please take the time to apply the steps discussed here, and you would be glad you did.

Cheers to your Success!

 Starting a private practice in counselling checklist.

  • Education and Licensing.

  • Business Structure and Legal Considerations.

  • Finances and Insurance.

  • Office Setup and Equipment.

  • Administrative Systems and Documentation.

  • Marketing and Networking.

  • Continuing Education and Professional Development.

  • Client Policies and Informed Consent.

  • Self-Care and Support

Ihor, CEO at Workee

Excited to start with Workee? Schedule a demo with our Manager!


Keep updated about latest industry insights and subscribe to our newsletter

Follow Us

  • facebook
  • instagram
  • linkedin
  • tiktok
  • twitter
  • youtube

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to the use of cookies.

Find out more here.