Old School Office Management

paper office

The Paper Office
The Tools to Make Your Small Psychotherapy Practice Work
Zuckerman and Guyett

This book is one of those oddly specific titles. It is basically a primer on the business side of setting up a psychotherapy office. They have sample intake forms, an outline of ethics/guidelines (most of it devoted to “don’t sleep with clients”), malpractice (again, this is usually because you shouldn’t sleep with clients), bill collecting (be sure to see the script for collecting unpaid fees), patient files, etc.

In 1991, this was probably decent information, although it looks amateurish. However, I can’t imagine a book like this in 2021 without discussion of issues of confidentiality, computers, HIPAA, insurance, and dozens of other issues that have changed over the last 30 years. (I will say that sleeping with your clients is still a bad idea.)

I also find this to be an odd choice for a small-to-medium public library, even when it was a new publication. It might have worked for larger library systems and academic libraries. In 2021, it doesn’t work anywhere.  I have a feeling someone made a donation, and someone else thought it would be good to add it to the collection. This should have been weeded by 2000 at the latest.


back cover


professional liabilities

collecting money

sample correspondence

intake form


  1. I wonder if that book was one that got a barcode but wasn’t entered into the catalog — or was withdrawn but never stamped as such, so it lingered on the shelves, hidden in plain sight. Since it wasn’t in the database it never turned up on a purge list. Hmmm, that could be an element in a library-set whodunit…..

  2. It is the book that can never be purged because of its mission of its message to:

  3. By 1991, the savvy doctor definitely had a computer, even if there was still a lot of paper involved and it wasn’t as advanced as our phones nowadays. But small offices were running Lotus 1-2-3 and such.

    Those letters would make me “hostile and even more resistant” as they stand! Is personally yelling at people with psychological issues ever helpful? Never mind snippy passive-aggressive escalating letters (“sincerely yours”?), just send out a couple form letters and then turn it over to the collection agency. If you’re going to be that (heh) anal-retentive about it, make them pay up front for non-emergencies.

    There weren’t bad Yelp reviews back then, but people sure talked to each other and the state licensing board. Who would take a dim view of holding onto records.

    At least the snotty letters mean the clients wouldn’t be interested in sleeping with them.

  4. The cover art appears to show some masonry pavers stacked on a desk. The professional sitting there is prepared for 10, 11, and maybe 4.

    1. Maybe when the snotty letters don’t work, the doc takes a more physical approach to collecting the bills.

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