16 Things You Must Have in Your Paperwork (hint: three you wouldn’t expect)

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counseling PAPERWORK tips

counseling PAPERWORK tips

When I first launched my private practice in 2006 under an established private practice I didn’t understand just how important it is to steam-line the intake process. I knew that I hated the paperwork at the government offices where I worked, but I wasn’t sure what else would cover me. When I launched Mental Wellness Counseling in 2009, I wanted to reinvent the process and make it easy for the client, and for me. Here are some tips that have significantly helped me to increase efficiency, thus saving me time and headache. Further, I have had numerous clients comment on the ease of the intake and paperwork. Here are some tips that might help you to re-evaluate your own paperwork or some tips for creating paperwork for your counseling private practice.

  1. Clients have thought about, pondered, and debated coming to you for a while, the whole process should be easy! Help them get in quickly.
  2. Create intake forms, release of information forms, progress notes, and a receipt for payment.
  3. Make sure your intake form has basic information like name, address, phone, email, emergency contact, and people that the individual lives with.
  4. Include a short health history to rule out medical conditions.
  5. Have information about your no show/no call and cancel within 24 hours policy.
  6. Discuss counseling as a partnership where everyone has work to do.
  7. Make sure limits of confidentiality are covered.
  8. Check your state’s requirements.
  9. Cover media in some way, how do you cover email, texting, and social media.
  10. Create PDF of your paperwork. During the intake phone call, ask for the client’s email and tell them you’ll be sending them the intake paperwork to make the intake easier. Email them the PDF.
  11. In progress notes, have enough room for a paragraph of written information.
  12. Use scales when possible that will make completing progress notes go by quickly.
  13. Put a copyright at the bottom of your paperwork to increase professionalism.
  14. Don’t put the forms on your website, then people need to contact you. The more you emotionally connect with clients, the more likely they will work with you.
  15. Include your logo and tagline on every page, that way if you send it to a doctor or another referral source, your name will be clear and branding will be better.
  16. Make sure it can be completed within 15 minutes by most people.

Don’t want to put in the time to create or improve your paperwork? Worry not!

counseling private practice consulting

Why take hours fighting with your computer when you could be making money seeing clients or marketing yourself? Don’t spend time on the things you hate! Life is too short. I’m not sure what you need, but this is what I use in my practice.

  • Paperwork Flow for maximum efficiency
  • Referral Form for calls and emails seeking my counseling services
  • Intake Form with privacy, background, and medical history
  • Progress Note with symptom index, status changes, notes, GAF and clinician rating
  • Payment Log for tracking client payment and other clinicians in your practice
  • 1099 Contract for 1099 counselor contractors

Get all of these for $195!

Click here to get the Paperwork Packet. 

Legal Stuff: This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is provided with the understanding that the author and publisher are not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the service of a competent professional person should be sought.

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Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is a licensed counselor and owner of Mental Wellness Counseling in Traverse City, MI. He helps kids and families to make decisions and plans that will help them enhance their therapeutic outcomes. Will you comment below or email Joe? If you want to take your private practice to the next level, check out the paid e-newsletter subscription.

To link to Joe’s Google+ follow the link.

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