3 Mistakes to Avoid as a Therapist in Private Practice

Creating a niche in private practice. How to fill your practice with cash pay clients

If you are getting started on your practice- Congratulations!

As you begin, be sure to avoid these THREE important mistakes to get your practice on track. These are some of the keys to your success.

Error number one:

Don’t promote yourself as a GENERALIST who can address the issues that every potential client presents. While it might be tempting to try to appeal to every person needing therapy support, this dilutes your impact and in fact, may result in the opposite effect -reducing the clients who come knocking on your door. INSTEAD, niche down. You want to be perceived as the go to therapist for the clients you can best serve.  Target your practice to the individuals whose stressors and pain points are ones you are confident addressing. As you develop your marketing materials and website, describe yourself with particular experience or approaches. Are your skills best matched with adolescents, adults, individuals facing emotional upheaval, or those dealing with unexpected life events? Think about it. If you were seeking care yourself for an orthopedic injury from running, would you rather go to a specialist in sports related injuries or one who had a general practice with no particular area of expertise. Of course you would seek out the doctor with sports related expertise. They would better understand what has happened and how to support you. This is the same idea. You will be more effective in filling your practice, as well as building your reputation, when you narrow your services to a particular niche.

Need Help? Get my essential resource for therapists seeking clarity on their niche. “Find and Define your Private Practice Niche Workbook”

Error number two:

Hesitating to connect with other therapists. INSTEAD, look to build a community with 3 or 4 other therapists you can refer to and who can refer to you. One of the best referral sources will be these other therapists. I suggest 3-4 individuals so you can focus your energy on cultivating these relationships because your professional friendships will be a key to building clientele.  Having 3-4 close ties will allow you to effectively connect without spreading yourself too thin. As you grow these connections, you will be seen as a valuable resource to receive referrals even as you refer to others. Take one of these therapists to lunch or coffee once a week! Share articles in your own area of expertise. These steps will have you seen as a professional interested in personal growth as well as the growth of others. If you take a collaborative instead of a competitive stance it will boost all of you.

Hot tip: Send a personalized thank you cards to your referral source!

Error number three:

Focusing on yourself in your marketing. INSTEAD, think about your services as a therapist as doing as a service to the community. What can you provide? How can you assist others? If your materials talk about YOUR resume or the conferences YOU attended, clients will not be able to see themselves reflected in your materials. Your ideal client wants to see themselves in your materials and descriptions. You might talk about how you bring balance and perspective so couples can find new tools to connect with each other if your focus is on couples counseling. If you serve adolescents you can speak to how your therapy practices establish trust with teens and collaborate with them as they negotiate and share family conflicts. This will be more effective than merely saying, I graduated from XYZ University. 

I hope these tips are helpful. Take a few minutes to reflect and think about your practice. You can make shifts in your approach and the way you present to the community by avoiding these three mistakes. If you have headed down paths needing adjustment, look at your marketing materials, revise them, and think about the changed actions you personally can take. You’ll be glad you did!

Good Luck!

Similar Posts