First Of All, What Is Open Path?
Open Path Psychotherapy Collective is a non-profit nationwide network of mental health professionals dedicated to providing in-office mental health care – at a steeply reduced rate – to individuals, couples, children, and families in need.
The True Purpose Of Open Path
Open Path is about offering low cost therapy to clients in need, who could not otherwise afford therapy services. Open Path is about giving back to your community. Open Path is about accessible mental health care. Open Path is much more than a therapist directory.
The Misconception Of Open Path
As a member of many therapist groups on social media, I often run across posts asking about Open Path, as some therapists have never heard of the collective and they are curious about learning more.
However, some of the posts and responses take a different tone almost as if they are upset with Open Path for not filling their practice with clients. This is NOT the mission of Open Path (see the True Purpose above).
I was a little shocked to see some therapists threaten to “quit” Open Path because they were not getting clients after a few months of being part of the collective. The collective is FREE for therapists to join – so there’s no risk, but a lot to gain. By “quitting” Open Path, you are taking away the ability of someone in need of your services to get connected with you and benefit from your specific expertise.
It’s one thing if you are not at a place in your practice where you are able to offer lower fee spots. I get it and that’s completely fine. I actually encourage therapists who are new to private practice and just getting their business off the ground to consider focusing on becoming financially stable before offering low fee spots. It’s okay to not be a member of the Open Path Collective. As I share in a previous blog post about sliding scale, you don’t have to give back through your business.
On the other hand, many therapists have gotten a great start to their new practice by offering several Open Path spots in the very beginning. They have reported that having clients on their schedule, even if it is for a low fee spot, has given them a boost of confidence. They also feel great about helping clients who can benefit from their services.
Open Path receives more than 50,000 unique visitors a month. Additionally, they just connected their 25,000th client to affordable care. They are connecting 14,000 new clients a year, and this number grows every month.
I am proud to be a member of Open Path and you can see how I’ve integrated it into my practice in the following section.
How I Use Open Path In My Practice
I use Open Path in place of a sliding scale in my private practice. Sliding scales can become cumbersome and complicated if you let them. Asking for client’s income, trying to decide what clients get what rate, and keeping up with it all can be difficult to manage and keep up with.
By having Open Path take the place of my sliding scale, I can easily manage my low fee spots. After signing up and creating a profile with Open Path, I can toggle a button in my profile “ON” or “OFF” to indicate whether I am accepting new clients. I typically have 1-2 Open Path clients at any given time. Once an Open Path client has graduated, I immediately go into my profile and toggle my availability on – then turn it off when a new client starts with me.
Since all my sliding scale spots are only available through Open Path, I also refer potential clients to Open Path in order to take advantage of a sliding scale spot. For example, say that I have an Open Path spot available and have my availability turned on in my Open Path profile, and I have a client reach out through other means and say that they need a lower fee spot. I then refer them to sign up with Open Path and request me as their therapist. Once they become a client, I turn off my availability.
I love simplicity in my practice, and by having Open Path advertise my low fee spots for me it’s that much easier for clients looking for a low fee spot to find me.
How Do I Become Part Of The Collective?
You can find out more information and sign up here. It’s completely FREE for therapists to join. If you decide to become a member, you will need to commit to having at least one spot in your practice for an Open Path client. Therapists can set their Open Path rate between $30-$60 a session for individuals, and up to $80 for couples or families.
Why Are Clients Charged A Membership Fee?
Clients are charged a lifetime membership fee of $59. All organizations and businesses (even national non-profit organizations like Open Path) need funds coming in to even exist. This one-time fee helps to sustain a small support staff, maintain the website, pursue funding and grants, and recruit therapists to join the collective.
I’m Asking You To Step Up
If every therapist joined Open Path and offered only one low fee spot, imagine the number of clients that could be helped. Clients that couldn’t afford therapy otherwise. That’s my call to action to every therapist who reads this post. Join Open Path (remember, it’s FREE) and offer one spot on your calendar to a client in need.
I Want You To Be Successful In Private Practice!
Happy Climbing, Cindy