How to Survive & Thrive as a Therapist

home  »  therapist as person »  How To Survive & Thrive

How to Survive & Thrive as a Therapist:
Information, Ideas, & Resources for Psychologists

by Ken Pope, Ph.D., ABPP, & Melba J. T. Vasquez, Ph.D., ABPP

Publisher: American Psychological Association, 2005
ISBN 1-59147-231-8; 496 pages

Below are endorsements, the table of contents including 15 appendices, about the authors, and ordering information. NOTE: The appendices provide key professional standards, guidelines , & resources in one source.

"Psychologists and other mental health professionals may spend years pulling together the resources and guidance to run a successful and highly professional practice. Now two of the leading authorities, Ken Pope and Melba Vasquez, have assembled a wealth of invaluable advice and resources for this complex endeavor in one place. Anyone contemplating professional practice full or part time will want this book on their shelf."
--David H. Barlow, PhD, Director of Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Boston University, Boston, MA"

"Pope and Vasquez have written the authoritative and ultimate guide to starting, nurturing, and improving a psychotherapy practice. Every practicing psychologist should have a copy of this extraordinarily useful book within easy reach."
--Rosalind S. Dorlen, PsyD, ABPP, former president, New Jersey Psychological Association; former president, Society of Psychologists in Private Practice; APA Committee for the Advancement of Psychological Practice

"This comprehensive practical guidebook is a must for all new and seasoned clinicians. From attorneys to ethics, from billing to possible errors in logic--it is all here. A remarkable compendium. Kudos to Pope and Vasquez!"
--Donald Meichenbaum, PhD, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

"Halleluiah! A real world book that understands that private mental health practice is a business for those who went to graduate school to avoid being businesspeople. Provides all of the questions that a prospective private practitioner needs to address and the methods for finding the answers. I strongly recommend it for those about to start and for those who have been practicing in this tightening market."
--Eric Harris, Ed. D., J.D., Risk Management Consultant, APAIT (for identification only)

"Ken Pope and Melba Vasquez have produced an incredibly useful, practical book that will be equally of use to new practitioners and to those of us long in the field. I'm going to be recommending this book to all of my PsyD students."
--Laura S. Brown, PhD, ABPP, former President of APA Divisions 35 (Society for the Psychology of Women) and 44 (Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Issues)

"This book is an essential resource for new and seasoned practitioners alike, containing both practical advice and an excellent compilation of hard-to-access resources and guidelines.
--Ronald F. Levant, Ed.D., ABPP, President, 2005, American Psychological Association; Dean and Professor, Nova Southeastern University

"This is an outstanding 'professional practice guide' that is destined to find a large audience of aspiring and current therapists who hunger for the real-life 'nuts and bolts' about how to conduct a successful practice."
--Derald Wing Sue, PhD, Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York

"A compact gem of a book.... A wise guide for how to think about the kind of resources you will need along with a comprehensive library of essential APA practice guidelines."
--Ronald E. Fox, PhD, former president, American Psychological Association;The Consulting Group of HRC, Chapel Hill, NC

"Practical, accessible and comprehensive! A must have that is useful for students and professionals."
--Beverly Greene, PhD, ABPP; Professor of Psychology, St. John's University

"Simply excellent--the authors have blended years of experience to concisely provide a wealth of information on every topic needed to thrive in psychological practice today. A 'must have' for students and veterans alike-Bravo!!"
--P. Paul Heppner, PhD,, President, APA Division 17: Society for Counseling Psychology; Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, University of Missouri-Columbia

"Drs. Pope and Vasquez provide the new (and not so new) independent practitioner with vital practical and business information that their graduate schools should have provided but probably didn't."
--Dorothy W. Cantor, PsyD, former president, American Psychological Association; private practice, Westfield, NJ

"Pope and Vasquez raise important questions and provide solid, practical advice about how to be successful in practice. This book could save you a lot of wasted time, money, and grief."
--Tommy T. Stigall, PhD, private practice, Baton Rouge, LA

"Pope and Vasquez have done it again! This well-constructed, comprehensive, and practical resource provides the perfect 'how to' guide in a clear, engaging, and readable format; packing in everything the young (and many older) practitioners will need without bogging down or becoming overwhelming, and containing all the essential, realistic, hands-on, no nonsense details they never taught you in graduate school."
--Gerald P. Koocher, PhD, ABPP, School for Health Studies, Simmons College, Boston, MA

"A 'must read' resource for those in independent practice. This book teaches the business of a psychology practice--balancing financial success and a meaningful life."
--Jean Lau Chin, EdD, ABPP; Systemwide Dean, California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University

"Drs. Pope and Vasquez have created a valuable and easy to read guidebook that provides the practical, nuts and bolts information and resources needed for success in practice. This book is required reading for all practitioners and practitioners-in-training."
--Jeffrey E. Barnett, PsyD, President, APA Division 42: Psychologists in Independent Practice

"This book should be mandatory reading for any psychologist interested in independent practice. The contents contain invaluable information and resources in an easy-to-read format. I wish this book had been available to me when I first started my practice!"
--Lisa Grossman, JD, PhD, independent practice, Chicago, IL

"From ethics to logistics, Pope and Vasquez cover the practice landscape with skill and depth. This is an invaluable resource for seasoned practitioners and early career psychologists alike."
--Douglas C. Haldeman, PhD, President, Association of Practicing Psychologists, Seattle, WA

"Reads like a novel, informs like an encyclopedia.... This book is a virtual template for developing and maintaining a successful practice...enlightening for all experiential levels--graduate student to retiree."
--Josephine D. Johnson, PhD, former president, Michigan Psychological Association; private practice, Farmington Hills, MI

"Starting a practice? Retooling an established practice? This book's for you! invaluable resource with all the nuts and bolts you need to build the practice that is right for you."
--Katherine C. Nordal, PhD, Chair, APA Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice 2005

"This fascinating book provides a range and depth of proactive information, from the pragmatic (including appendixes relevant to psychologists across North America) to the philosophical. It offers strategies that are broadly applicable and asks questions that invite attention to each practitioner's unique circumstance."
--Kate F. Hays, PhD, CPsych, founder of The Performing Edge, a Toronto-based consulting practice devoted to sport and performance psychology

"This is a CrackerJack of a book for professionals with a prize in every Chapter and Appendix. ...the authors have put together a very useful book. I wish I had something like this when I started in practice."
--Jack G. Wiggins, Ph.D, former president of APA; Missouri Institute of Mental Health

I highly recommend this easy-to-read book which offers a wealth of information and resources for both the beginning and seasoned practitioner. It will provide you with the tools and strategies that you need for a truly successful practice."
--Lisa Porche-Burke, PhD President of Phillips Graduate Institute, Encino, California

"What graduate school did not teach you, Pope and Vasquez have. They bridge the gap between graduate school education and professional psychology. This book is an essential read for all student/early career psychologists in need of truly understanding the intricacies of graduating and practicing in a field where one must learn how to create opportunities and begin to meet the needs of a more diverse client population.... an invaluable resource!"
--Miguel E. Gallardo, PsyD,; Board of Directors, APA Division 42 (Division of Independent Practice; President, California Latino Psychological Association; Counseling Center, University of Irvine, CA

"How did I survive 46 years as a therapist without this book? It is chock full of essential information and advice that will help me thrive for the next 46 years."
--Thomas Greening, Ph.D., ABPP, Independent Practice; editor, Journal of Humanistic Psychology

"Ken Pope and Melba Vasquez bring a wonderful combination of personal and professional perspectives to this extraordinarily helpful hands-on resource. It should be a must-read for all beginning practitioners and a continuing resource for those more seasoned."
--Jean Carter, Past President, Psychologists in Independent Practice (APA Division 42)

"An invaluable, reassuring guide in today's world of constant change, this unique blend of thoughtful wisdom, practical steps, and diverse resources is a welcome addition for all practitioners, from those just beginning to those who have decades of experience."
--Pat DeLeon, former President, American Psychological Association

"How to Survive and Thrive as a Therapist is a treasure trove of practical tips to insure success for the early career professional and for the seasoned therapist who wants to branch out and grow. The authors offer straight talk on all the key aspects of a rewarding practice: from money to ethical development to self-care to marketing and beyond. Ken Pope and Melba Vasquez offer wisdom and hard won experience of a kind practitioners will find no where else."
--Carol D. Goodheart, Ed.D.; Treasurer, American Psychological Association; Private Practice, Princeton, New Jersey

Table of Contents:

About This Book
1. Who Are You and What Is Important to You?
2. Income, Expenses, & a Business Plan
3. Creating Strategies for Self-Care
4. Finding an Office
5. Finding An Attorney
6. Finding Professional Liability Coverage
7. Thinking Through Your Policies & Procedures
8. Preparing a Professional Will
9. Finding Clients and Referral Sources
10. Using Computers and the Internet
11. Responding To a Licensing, Malpractice, or Ethics Complaint
12. Avoiding Assessment Pitfalls
13. Avoiding Common Fallacies in Psychology
14. Avoiding Ethical Rationalizations
Some Final Thoughts
About the Authors
A. Contact Information for State & Provincial Psychology Licensing Boards
B. APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists & Code of Conduct
C. CPA: Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists
D. APA Record Keeping Guidelines
E. APA Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Divorce Proceedings
F. APA Guidelines for Psychological Evaluations in Child Protection Matters
G. APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Older Adults
H. APA Guidelines for the Evaluation of Dementia & Age-Related Cognitive Decline
I. APA Guidelines for Providers of Psychological Services to Ethnic, Linguistic, and Culturally Diverse Populations
J. APA Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists
K. APA Guidelines for Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Clients
L. APA: Rights & Responsibilities of Test-Takers: Guidelines & Expectations
M. APA Statement on Services by Telephone, Teleconferences, & the Internet
N. American Board of Forensic Psychology: Specialty Guidelines
O. APA Committee on Legal Issues: "Strategies for private practitioners coping with subpoenas or compelled testimony for client records or test data" (Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Vol. 27, p. 245-251, June 1996

About the authors:

Kenneth S. Pope, Ph.D., ABPP

Melba Vasquez, Ph.D., ABPP, is a psychologist in full time independent practice in Austin, Texas, and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association (2007-2009).

She is a Fellow of APA Divisions 1, 17, 35, 42, 45, and 49, and holds the Diplomate from the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).

She is a past president of Texas Psychological Association and of APA Divisions 35 (Society of Psychology of Women) and 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology).

Dr. Vasquez has been involved in the planning and implementation of several key conferences, include the 1997 Supply and Demand Conference, and 2002 Competencies Conference. She is a co-founder, with Rosie Bingham, Lisa Porche-Burke and Derald Wing Sue, of the National Multicultural Conference and Summit which is now an ongoing biannual conference. Other leadership activities include service as Council of Representatives from Division 42, Psychologists in Independent Practice (2004-2006), and previously from Divisions 17 (1994-1997), and 45 (1989-1992). She has served as Chair of the Ethnic Minority Caucus and of the Women's Caucus of Council.

She has served on the APA Ethics Committee, and on the APA Ethics Committee Task Forces for Revisions of the Ethical Principles of Psychologist and Code of Conduct, for both the 1992 and the 2002 versions. She also served as the first Chair of the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest, Chair of the Board of Professional Affairs, member of Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice, and member of the Policy and Planning Board.

She has published 2 books and over 60 journal articles and chapters in the areas of ethics, ethnic minority psychology, psychology of women, supervision and training, and counseling and psychotherapy. Her interest in diverse groups, including women and people of color, has been a particular focus of her writings. She has taught graduate courses, and has provided workshops and presentations in those areas as well. From 1978 to 1991 she served as a university counseling center psychologist, first at Colorado State University, and then at University of Texas at Austin. She also served as internship training director at both institutions. She is interested in the integration of science and practice and for the promotion of psychological knowledge that contributes to human welfare.

Dr. Vasquez has received professional recognition, including:
• Distinguished Professional Contributions to Independent or Institutional Practice in the Private Sector, American Psychological Association, August, 2007
• Woman of the Year, American Psychological Association’s Division 17, Society of Counseling Psychology Section for the Advancement of Women, August, 2006
• Honorary Doctorate, Phillips Graduate Institute, May, 2005
• James M. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award, American Psychological Association, 2004.
• Psychologist of the Year, Texas Psychological Association, November, 2003.
• Foremother Award in Appreciation for Contributions to the Section for the Advancement of Women, and Counseling Psychology of Women, Society of Counseling Psychology Division 17, American Psychological Association, 2003.
• Eminent Women: 25th Annual Symposium on Historical and Personal Perspectives, American Psychological Association, 2003.
• Senior Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest, American Psychological Association, 2002.
• Janet E. Helms Award for Mentoring and Scholarship, Winter Roundtable on Cross-Cultural Psychology and Education, Columbia University, 2002.
• Vision to Action Award, Austin Women's Psychotherapy Project, Kaleidoscope of Women's Lives conference, 2002.
• John Black Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Practice of Counseling Psychology, Division 17, Counseling Psychology, American Psychological Association, 2000.
• The Distinguished Leader for Women in Psychology Award, Committee of Women in Psychology, American Psychological Association, 2000.
• Award for Extraordinary Contributions in the Professional Practice of Counseling Psychology, Academy of Counseling Psychology of the American Board of Professional Psychology, 2000.
• Outstanding Contribution to Public Service Award, Texas Psychological Association, 1999.
• Distinguished Career Contributions to Service Award, Division 45 of the American Psychological Association, Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues, 1999.

The 2002 Award for Distinguished Senior Career Contributions to the Public Interest cited the following: "For her scholarship, teaching, service delivery, and professional leadership activities, which reflect commitment to issues of empowerment, justice, and equality for all members of society, Melba J. T. Vasquez has been involved in promoting the increase of ethnic minority and gender representation in all aspects of psychology. She has demonstrated her commitment to ensuring that psychology attends to the needs of the diverse population reflected in American society. Through her work in the areas of ethnic minority psychology, psychology of women, professional ethics, and teaching and training, her activism, passion, and commitment are particularly evident" (American Psychologist, vol. 57, pages 878-888, 2002 Award Winners).

Publication Information:

ISBN: 1-59147-231-8

Publisher: American Psychological Association

Please follow this link to the AMAZON page for this book.

Please follow this link to order online from the American Psychological Association book department.

To order by phone: call 1-800-374-2721 (in DC 202-336-5510). TDD/TTY 202-336-6123. Fax 202-336-5502. Please identify yourself as an Internet user.

Orders from the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, or the Middle East should be sent to American Psychological Association, 3 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8LU, England. Call +44 (0) 207-240-0856 (please identify yourself as an Internet user). Free Phone 0-800-526-830 (U.K. only Fax +44 (0) 207-379-0609).

E-mail for more information:


[Back to Top]