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The Business of Private Practice
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Getting Referrals Through the Holidays
By Deb Legge, PhD, CRC, LMHC

You might think that the holidays would be a slow time for your private practice. People are busy … kids are home from school … money is tight. Those things are true; however, there is another side to that coin.

Holiday time can be a huge source of stress, loneliness, grief, anxiety, and so much more. Just because people may have excuses for not coming into treatment doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t do them good to be there!

There’s little doubt that your referral sources (psychiatrists and other physicians, schools, churches, etc.) will see an increased need for support over the holidays for their clients, patients, students, and families. If you would like to be the person your referral sources turn to, try these strategies to keep those referrals coming through the holidays.

Private practice can be an exciting and rewarding option for counselors. Visit for more helpful information on starting and growing a private practice—and to submit questions and ideas for future Advocate articles.
  • Do a special “holiday edition” of your newsletter or blog. Point out some of the problems people experience over the holidays and how you can help. Share this with your clients and your referral sources (for their waiting rooms) so that others can benefit from what you have to say.
  • Offer to do an interview on holiday stress with your local television and radio stations, and/or newspapers. Share your expertise with others in need.
  • Take a look at your schedule and make accommodations that might help you get through the holidays with fewer missed appointments, cancellations, or open spots in your book.
    • You may want to add in some later appointments for parents who are watching their kids all day.
    • You may want to add in some daytime appointments for the kids who are home.
    • You might want to avoid making appointments on days that have a higher probability for cancellations or no shows (right before or after a holiday).

Don’t forget that you have a lot to offer all year, and that you can be especially helpful to those who are drowning in holiday madness. You just need to let them know you are there to help!

Visit AMHCA's Private Practice Library

 Getting the information and support you need on “The Business of Private Practice” can help you to build a successful and sustainable business. Visit the AMHCA Member Library for additional articles by Deborah Legge, PhD, CRC, LMHC, on the business of private practice.

  • “Billing for Your Services" (October)
  • “Getting Started, Going Solo” (September)
  • “Policies and Procedures for Private Practice”(August)
  • “Marketing Your Private Practice” (July)
  • “Private Practice Website Tips” (June)
  • “Finding a Home for Your Private Practice”(May)
  • “Setting Your Fees” (April)
  • “Getting on Insurance Panels” (March)
  • “Finding Your Niche” (February)
  • “Is Private Practice Really for You?” (January)