Updated: May 23, 2019
I talk to a lot of therapists and I have noticed there seem to be a few big myths floating around about how to create a thriving private practice. I wanted to take a little bit of time this week and go over some of the big myths I hear, how we can avoid them and what has worked for me!
Myth #1 We Need ALL the training
To be honest, I have found that the only people that care about certifications and extensive training are other therapists :) Clients don’t particularly care about them as much. But, we often fall into the thinking of, “Well, if I get XYZ training, I’ll have a successful practice.” It just doesn’t work like that.
I’m not saying to not do training- definitely invest in that if you want to! It can help you grow, gain clarity and increase your skillset as a therapist- just don’t think that doing it is going to significantly increase your client load.
The reason for this is because people aren’t looking for specific modalities, they’re looking for therapists with specific specialities.
So how can you get people through your door?
Pick a niche.
And don’t be afraid of it changing, evolving or expanding, because it will.
When I first started out, I specialized in relationships. That isn’t my focus now and I made sure to update my website, online listings and other marketing materials to reflect that. We all grow as practitioners- it’s ok to change!
Is 99 Too Many?
Going along with that, I often see quite the opposite of picking a niche- it’s when therapists list a TON of specialities. I understand that this widens the net, but it kind of muddles what makes you unique.
For instance, if you picked a nice Italian restaurant and their menu included burgers, curry and tacos- wouldn’t you question how authentic (not to mention the taste) it is going to be?
It’s about perception...
Take some time to think about what your specialities are going to be (up to 5) and include them on your website, Psychology Today listing and any other marketing materials that you use.
Speaking of marketing…
Myth #2- We Need to Be Doing ALL the Marketing
You may have already discovered this, but a lot of common marketing techniques don’t work for therapists.
We are lucky because we are in an industry that doesn’t need to “sell” the client. People already know what they want when they start looking for you - they want therapy! What they’re trying to find is someone to connect with, they’re trying to find the right therapist for them. We’re lucky that we don’t have that barrier to entry like other industries, but how can we stand out so that they can connect with us?
For me, I have used videos as a way to connect with potential clients. I did them a few years ago and they live on my website. It’s a way to 1. create awareness of me, 2. share my style and 3. show how I can help clients. I have done a lot of other marketing, but I have gotten the most feedback on my videos. If you’re comfortable doing it, try it!
Another idea would be to create a blog. If you don’t have the time to consistently write one, maybe write a handful of longer, meaningful and helpful articles that can live on your website as resources. Or, if you do have time, write often!
Utilize your Colleagues
Networking is a huge asset in our industry! Think about it- how often do you refer your clients to other therapists for specialities that you don’t work with? I don’t typically work with children, so I refer a lot of business out to my colleagues that do.
Reach out to other therapists in your area and connect!
Let people see who you are
Don’t try to “sell” them on therapy
It’s easier for people to find you if you have a specialty/niche
Get in front of your colleagues
If you have a colleague that could benefit from this, please feel free to pass it on!