How Many Clients Does a Full Time Therapist See In A Week?

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Seeing the wrong number of clients each week can hurt your practice.

Of course, seeing too few clients brings problems with pay and fulfillment. But seeing too many clients each week has its own challenges. Burnout. Resentment. Leaving the profession.

There has to be a way to balance your caseload and enjoy your practice long-term.

If you’re in the early years of your practice (or just want some help), the four experts in this article will help you know how many clients to aim for each week.

What is “full time” in mental health?

Full-time in mental health practice can vary widely based on several factors.

These include the type of your practice, client demographics, and administrative responsibilities.

For example, if you work in a community mental health setting, you’ll likely have different caseloads compared to those in private practice.

Grace Huntley, a New York LMHC, notes, “I’ve seen the number of clients range from 10-30. One factor to consider is the setting (Community Mental Health, group practice, private practice).”

“Depending on where a practitioner works, it will dictate how much say they have over their schedule, whether or not they have a quota, and if they have additional tasks and responsibilities,” she added.

Additionally, whether a therapist is in-network with insurance or out-of-pocket can significantly affect their workload.

Insurance-based practices might have higher caseloads to meet financial needs, whereas private pay practices might afford more flexibility.

Understanding these variables is crucial for defining what “full-time” means in your specific context.

The takeaway? “Full-time” is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Assess your specific work setting, client needs, and financial goals to determine what full-time looks like for you. This understanding will help you manage your workload effectively and avoid burnout.

And don’t worry, we get into more specifics of what that might look like for you below.

What’s the ideal caseload for a psychotherapist?

The ideal caseload for a psychotherapist can vary depending on several factors, including the therapist’s capacity, client needs, and work setting.

Balancing these elements is crucial for maintaining both effective client care and the therapist’s personal well-being.

Huntley continues, “For full-time psychotherapists who are out of pocket and run their own practice, I think the ideal is often between 15-20 clients a week. Some may also add in groups, supervision, or therapy intensives. You also need to factor in cancellations.”

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC and founder at PsychPoint, echoes this sentiment, noting, “My practice consists of 18-22 clients per week. I have found this number is ideal for me because it helps me preserve my energy, remain present for my clients, and not fall behind on case responsibilities outside of sessions.”

An ideal caseload is not just about the number of clients you see.  It’s also about the quality of the sessions and your ability to manage administrative tasks.

Balancing your caseload means considering your capacity, the intensity of your client’s needs, and the time required for non-clinical duties. For example, crisis intervention and support will be more draining than social anxiety therapy.

By aiming for a caseload that aligns with these factors, you can maintain a sustainable practice that supports both your clients’ progress and your professional longevity.

How many clients should you see each day/week?

Determining the right number of clients to see each day and week is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and providing high-quality care.

On average, therapists see between 15-30 clients per week, with daily numbers ranging from 3-8 clients.

“Typically seeing 6 to 8 clients a day is most comfortable. Some therapists may also put aside days of the week to dedicate to documentation, paperwork, and coordinating care for their clients,” Guarino explains.

Angela Boring, a therapist in Dallas, adds, “Ideally, you would want to see around 5-6 clients per day. This would offer enough time between clients to a) perform administrative tasks, b) take a snack or bathroom break, c) decompress and orient yourself for the next client.”

Finding the right balance depends on your personal capacity and the nature of your client’s needs.

If you are working with high-risk or high-needs populations, you might find that a lower number of clients per day is more manageable.

Conversely, if your clients require less intensive care, you might be able to see more clients without feeling overwhelmed.

The key is to monitor your own stress levels and adjust your schedule as needed to ensure you can provide the best care possible while maintaining your own well-being. Remember to leave time for therapist marketing, unless you’ve hired a therapist marketing agency to handle everything for you.

Your caseload should fit you and your needs as much as your client’s needs. Because you’re most effective as a therapist when your needs are taken care of.

how many clients does a full time therapist see in a week


But how many clients is too many?

Taking on too many clients can lead to serious issues, both for you and your clients. It’s important to recognize the signs of an excessive caseload and understand the potential consequences.

Huntley emphasizes, “Too many clients a week is any number where it’s negatively affecting the practitioners’ quality of life or quality of care for clients. Whenever a therapist starts to notice signs of burnout or compassion fatigue, it’s a good signal that they need to decrease their number of clients.”

Guarino also warns about the risks, stating, “Seeing more than 28-30 clients per week can become problematic. Therapists do a great deal of paperwork, documentation, research, and clerical work when not in session, so time must be budgeted for non-session responsibilities when practicing.”

So at the very least, place a hard limit at 30 clients per week. That would be emotionally draining for anyone, and self-care as a mental health professional is incredibly important.

Boring adds, “More than 32 is too many because the therapist has only so much bandwidth. They are seeing clients for 55-60 minutes, handling insurance requests, records requests, consultations, billing issues, and documentation.”

The bottom line is clear for Boring: “If they have more than 32 clients per week, then most likely they are working over 40 hours per week.”

So, what can you do if you feel you have too many clients?

Monitor your workload carefully.

If you find yourself struggling to keep up with administrative tasks, feeling constantly exhausted, or noticing a decline in the quality of your sessions, it might be time to reduce your caseload.

Balancing the number of clients you see each week is crucial for maintaining both your health and the effectiveness of your practice.

Too many clients can lead to therapist burnout

Seeing too many clients in a week can have significant negative consequences on both your professional performance and personal well-being.

Sonia Diaz-Ebadi, an anxiety therapist in Las Vegas, explains the consequences of overfilling your caseload for too many weeks or months in a row.

“Burnout, reduced quality of care, and personal stress are common outcomes when a therapist’s caseload becomes unmanageable,” she said.

Diaz-Ebadi stresses the importance of maintaining energy for both work and personal life. “At the end of the day, you should still have energy for family, hobbies, and anything else that’s important to you.”

She further highlights the need for balance, stating, “A therapist has to know themselves well and be acutely aware of their capacity for what feels like too many.”

Understanding your own limits and being mindful of how your workload affects your personal and professional life is crucial.

The implications are clear: overloading your schedule not only impacts your health but also compromises the quality of care you provide.

To prevent these issues, it’s essential to set realistic limits on the number of clients you see and to regularly assess your workload to ensure it remains manageable. Prioritizing self-care and recognizing the signs of burnout can help maintain a sustainable and effective practice.

The importance of vacation and breaks

Regular breaks and vacations are crucial for maintaining your well-being and preventing burnout.

Taking time off helps you recharge, maintain your energy levels, and provide high-quality care to your clients.

“Whatever they can comfortably manage and balance time for themselves and meeting financial responsibilities” is key to determining how many days per week a therapist should work, according to Diaz-Ebadi.

Incorporating regular breaks and vacations into your schedule isn’t just beneficial for your personal health; it also enhances your professional effectiveness.

Aim to take at least one week off each quarter to ensure you have sufficient time to unwind and recuperate.

This regular downtime can help you maintain a sustainable practice and continue providing the best possible care to your clients. Balancing work with adequate rest is essential for long-term success in the mental health profession.

Caseload Tips for Best Results

So, you already knew that taking care of yourself was important. And now you should have some better guidance on how many clients to see each week.

Let me summarize the insights for you here so you can have a clear takeaway:

  • 6-8 clients per day is the max you should see
  • Above 28-30 each week invites burnout and resentment
  • Ideally, you can see 15-20 clients each week and earn a great living
  • Most therapists see between 10-30 clients each week
  • You decide what your ideal caseload looks like
  • But also, watch out for burnout and symptoms of overwork

Account for administrative duties, cancellations, and your energy levels when setting your schedule.

Burnout, reduced quality of care, and personal stress can result from seeing too many clients. Regularly assess your workload and be mindful of burnout symptoms. Symptoms include fatigue, irritability, and decreased session quality. Set realistic limits and carve out time for self-care to maintain a healthy practice.

Regular breaks and vacations are essential. Aim for at least one week off each quarter to recharge and stay effective in your sessions.

In summary, balancing your caseload is key to a fulfilling and sustainable practice. Understand your limits, set realistic goals, and prioritize self-care. And if you need help, start with some coaching from Greg Goodman.


About the Author:

Brandon Grill is a marketer specializing in SEO for mental health practices. Based in Las Vegas, he has traveled to 11 countries and counting. Other hobbies include reading, meditating, calisthenics, and hugging his nephews AJ and Elias. Learn more about Brandon at

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Ask me anything about this article … or, reach out to see how I can help you get a steady, predictable stream of therapy clients you love with less effort and stress.

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About the Author:

Greg Goodman

As a therapist business coach, web designer, copywriter, and marketing expert, Greg has been helping mental health professionals get a steady stream of clients they love since 2006.

In his career, Greg has helped everyone from associates to established solo partners, group practices, and beyond. He even had a 6-year stint as the head of a large mental health clinic in San Francisco where he kept 43 caseloads full.

In addition to his work helping therapists, Greg is a passionate photographic storyteller, traveler, husband, father, and human being dedicated to personal growth and making the world a better place.

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