So, you’re thinking about starting or marketing a private therapy practice. Whether you’re a recent graduate or you’ve been in the field for years, marketing your private mental health counseling practice can be a daunting yet exciting experience. Today I’ll talk about marketing for therapists and how to set up a mental health practice.
Developing your private practice comes with its fair share of pros and cons, and proper research will surely help you to make the best decisions. Rather than explain the in-depth research process, in this article, we will focus on how to successfully establish and market a mental health private practice as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Mental health should be everyone’s concern and not just of the ones who have been disabled by it. Mental health disorders gnaw at the existence of people, and before you know it, by the time some of them reach their old age, they might choose to settle in retirement village Adelaide and wither away.
I graduated in 2016 with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship, I landed a job at a comprehensive medical practice. While this isn’t technically considered private practice, the caseload was low, which meant I had to quickly figure out how I was going to increase my workload (or else I was going to have to find somewhere else to work). Web research is crucial, but I realized it takes a lot more creativity to become successful.
Marketing for Therapists: How I Built my Caseload
Devise a Plan
There is so much that goes into practice. Consider the capital of renting an office, advertising, and the time it will take to build a caseload. Make sure you are financially ready to be independent. It’s essential to create a name for your business. Something catchy or meaningful will pique the interest of future clients. Also, do you have a specific niche? Can you offer a treatment or specialty that others in your community don’t (e.g., telehealth services, biofeedback, etc.)?
Do Your Research
Talk to other clinicians in your community and find out what works and what doesn’t work. There is no sense in reinventing the wheel. Ask around and find out what are the best places in your city/town to set-up shop. Find out if you can sublease an office for an hourly or daily rate while you are developing your caseload. If you are going to be cash-only, learn what the typical prices are in your community.
Put Yourself Out There
This one can be tough. I know in my graduate school, we didn’t learn how to network or market our private practice. I’m an extrovert, but this was way out of my comfort zone! However, in my experience, this was one of the best ways to get referrals.
Where to Go
School counselors, social workers, and administrators will sometimes refer families to therapists. It’s great marketing for therapists and to get your foot in the door. Don’t expect to be able to talk to any of these people by simply walking through their doors, though. I’m a former high school counselor, and I can attest that my schedule was crazy! My recommendation would be to send a good e-mail explaining who you are and offer a presentation, along with an old fashioned snail-mail letter (with card & brochures).
Primary Care Offices
Pediatricians, primary care docs, PAs, and nurses give referrals almost daily. They can be a vast resource! Since they are also busy, it’s unlikely you will be able to see them if you just walk-in. Yet, I learned the benefit of walking into an office and introducing yourself to the office manager. They may give you essential information about when you can schedule an in-person meeting. A handy tip to keep in mind is that most of these offices like free lunches, so if you can offer to bring them lunch, they will be more likely to hear your pitch.
This is a great place to find clients! Call the community manager and see if you can stop by with brochures, cards, and offer a short presentation.
Network With as Many People as You Can
Reach out to other private practice clinicians and ask if you can take them out for coffee. If they have a full caseload, they may be willing to put you on their referral list.
Attend Conferences & Networking Events
APA offers local conferences (e.g., the Midwestern Psychological Association conference) where you can network. If your focus is on children, go to a pediatric medical conference in your local community and find out if you can advertise.
Once you have referral sources, maintain that list. Send thank-you notes and visit their practice at least twice a year. Lastly, when you get yourself out there, remember this: People love food & trinkets. If you can provide lunches or coffee/donuts, do it! Bring pens or stress balls with your name on them. And, always have business cards and brochures available!
Use the World Wide Web!
I can’t tell you enough how important the internet is when it comes to marketing a mental health practice or networking. You can use social media for marketing yourself (for example, posting to friends/family on Instagram or Facebook), or you can advertise through apps or websites.
However, I highly recommend Incentives as a way of marketing for therapists.
It’s a simple free program that helps both patients and therapists find each other. It has been an excellent success for my practice and helped me gain clients with little to no effort. If you are interested in learning how to market yourself as a therapist, you must check out Incentives.
Write a blog. Pick topics that you are passionate about and demonstrate your expertise. Write about problems that are common to your community or population of interest. Choose a blog site that is frequented by patients.
Join e-mail list-serves. Sometimes, your local APA or MFT chapter will have a list-serve, and people will send out e-mails to find mental health clinicians for specific clients.
Get On Insurance Panels
Marketing for therapists can be a challenging process, but there are resources out there to help you out, one example is the American Counseling Association website. Many medical providers advise patients to call their insurance companies and find someone from the list of approved mental health practitioners.
Marketing for therapists is not a linear process. However, many people can enjoy success in this field. Just remember that it takes patience and persistence! Take care of yourself during this process and talk to friends/colleagues regularly for encouragement and advice.