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Mental Health of Adolescents

William Lambert, MS, OTR/L

March 20, 2017

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How do you start a private practice in mental health OT?

Answer

I had a reputation in the community for the services that I provided. I was well known at the hospital and amongst therapists that were not OT's and also the psychiatrists. The child and adolescent psychiatrist that I worked with at the hospital also had outpatients. He was a steady referral source for me so that worked out very well. I will say that you will probably need to have the skills from previous work with adolescents before you go into their homes. You need some experience as you go into a home, like the home I mentioned where the family was screaming at each other all the time. If you have not seen that type of situation before, it could be very startling or off-putting. That was very helpful to go into people's houses, and it also gives you a picture of what family life is like. There is no way you can see that in other treatment settings. It was also cost-effective as I did not need an office as I was completing therapy at their homes.

One of the things that made it helpful and doable for me, and also for families, was that I did not accept insurance. Most of the time, insurance companies do not reimburse very well or they limit people's amount of time that they can spend in therapy. I did my visits on a cash fee for service basis. I also had some contracts from places like a foster care agency where we would have a fee for service that they sent me. Eventually I saw the need to have an office. That was very successful because there are also problems that arise from having other siblings at the household. I had one instance where a sibling of a client was starting to act out because he wanted a person like me to come to their house to see them instead of their sibling.


william lambert

William Lambert, MS, OTR/L

William L. Lambert, MS, OTR/L holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Psychology and a bachelor’s and advanced master’s degree in occupational therapy. He has over twenty years of experience working with children and adolescents in inpatient and community settings. Currently he holds the position of Faculty Specialist in the Department of Occupational Therapy at The University of Scranton where he teaches the psychosocial-based courses and conducts ongoing research on current preferred adolescent occupations. He developed the Scranton Adolescent Interest Checklist, © as a contemporary assessment tool for use with this population. He authored chapters on children and adolescents in Cara and MacRae’s 2019 textbook Psychosocial Occupational Therapy: An Evolving Process and on posttraumatic stress disorder in Weiss, Morgan and Kinnealey’s A Practitioners Guide to Clinical Occupational Therapy published in 2012. He was the lead author of the psychosocial chapters in the National Occupational Therapy Certification Exam Review & Study Guide published in 2019 and the National OTA Certification Exam Review & Study Guide, both edited by Rita P. Fleming-Castaldy. He is on the editorial board of the journal Occupational Therapy in Healthcare. Mr. Lambert is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association, and the World Federation of Occupational Therapists He has presented numerous times at state and national occupational therapy conferences.


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