The Behavior Therapist as Consultant
In Chapter 2, the assumptions governing setting up a behavioral private practice were listed and discussed. One of those assumptions is that the behavior therapist should, for the most part, take on the role of “general practitioner.” By doing so, the clinician can work with a diversity of clinical problems, provide a variety of services that affect a greater number of people, establish a wider referral base, and avoid “boredom” and “burnout” (i.e., ratio strain) from seeing individual clients hour after hour each day. Thus, not only does the behavior therapist see individuals and groups of clients, he or she can also serve as a consultant to public and private agencies, hospitals, and schools. The behavior therapist can therefore expand his or her practice and promote this role of general practitioner. A side financial benefit is that, as a consultant, individuals associated with the contracted agencies have an opportunity to work directly with the clinician. Frequently, private referrals result from this exposure over and above one’s role as a consultant. Also, such consultant contracts provide a regular source of income that is a hedge against the sometimes seasonal changes or “roller coaster effect” (Browning, 1982) of referrals.
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