Try searching for “therapists in Washington” and you’ll get hundreds of hits. What makes a client call you up rather than the psychologist next door? Clients may get in touch with you thanks to a referral, because you take their insurance, based on your bio online, or because you excel at marketing your private practice.
Even so, once clients find you, they may be interviewing several different therapists to see who is a good fit. But it’s not only personality alone that will keep a client coming back. Here are some ways therapy clinicians can differentiate themselves.
Expand your practice with specialized modalities.
You don’t have to limit your treatment modality to traditional talk therapy or CBT alone. Access your patients’ issues on a deeper subconscious level using hypnotherapy. Or bring out your creative side through art therapy or music therapy.
Offer top-notch quality of service.
Committing to therapy can be a significant time and money investment for clients. Offer top-notch service by returning calls quickly, maintaining a tidy office, starting appointments on time, and practicing with honesty and integrity. If your client’s issues are beyond your scope, recommend another professional who is better suited to help.
Gone are the days where clients carry around leather bound calendars and paper checks. A technology service like Square or PayPal accepts credit card payments through your phone and sends patients automatic appointment reminders. Even the DSM-5 is available in a handy app.
Emphasize behavioral therapy vs. talk therapy.
Clients may be turned off if they think counseling means years of talking on a couch. Behavioral therapy is more likely to obtain faster results than talk therapy, which patients love. Tell your clients if you use hypnotherapy that addresses current problems in a depth approach.
Get involved with a community.
Staying active with other professionals keeps you up to date on trends, offers support, and expands your referral network. Memberships in the APA, the Heart-Centered Therapies Association, and the American Counseling Association include access to directories so you can network with other professionals in your area and attend annual conferences.
Have a website.
Searching online is one of the #1 ways clients will find you. Make sure you have up-to-date listings on PsychologyToday and GoodTherapy. And you don’t need any tech know-how to make a simple website through Squarespace or Weebly.
Become an expert.
Many therapists focus on treating common issues like anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. While these are incredibly important, consider having a niche. Becoming an expert at treating specific problems like PTSD, pre/postnatal depression, or phobias will expand your market for new clients.
Share your knowledge.
Sharing professional knowledge is a great way to gain exposure with new clients. Consider writing and submitting articles on topics you’re knowledgeable about to PsychCentral, which claims over 600,000 page views per month. You can also publish your own article through Medium, maintain a professional Facebook page, or start your own YouTube channel.
Decorate with flair.
Once clients get in your door, your office décor doesn’t have to mean a dated brown couch and painting of faded flowers. Love taking landscape photos or practicing bonsai? Decorate with items that are tranquil and truly you.
Offer flexible pricing.
If you don’t take a client’s insurance and she balks at your full rate, there are other pricing models you can work out together. For example, you can negotiate a fixed rate for a certain number of sessions. Or offer a sliding scale or 10% discount.
Offer flexible hours.
Not all clients can make it to sessions from 9-5. Choose one or two evenings per week to offer evening counseling slots, say from 5-8. Or offer Saturday sessions and take your weekend from Sunday-Monday.
Many Wellness Institute graduates say that differentiating themselves from other therapists was a key benefit of the program. Counselor Joanna Gangemi, M.A., PNP, says that “hypnotherapy has been critical to growing my number of clients.” Learn more about how you too can get more clients in the door and grow your practice.