• Lock the door.  Patients should always need an appointment to get into the main waiting area.  Then, they should also need to be "buzzed" in the main office. These common areas should be in view of a monitoring system. 
  • Screening potential clients.  Conduct an initial assessment to determine every patient's potential for violence.  This may require some training on the providers part.
  • Develop an evacuation drill and escape route.  If you have office staff work with them to determine how they can get to safety and placing a call for help.
  • Install a "panic" room. Have a secure place where staff can retreat to call for help.
  • Give patients a locker for their belongings.  Thus, if a patient is carrying some kind of weapon it could be locked up during a session.
  • Always give yourself and out.
  • Be able to call for help.
  • Remove potential weapons from your office.  Don't have anything that can be used as a weapon within a client's reach.  Install chairs that are too heavy to lift.
  • Avoid working alone at night. 
  • Learn some form of self-defense.
  • Make an excuse to leave the room if a client gets violent.

Vist the American Psychological Association for more information on how to stay safe in a practice.