A therapist said to me recently, “I’m not getting enough phone calls. I think I need to offer a wider range of services.”
I understand this urge. I just know it doesn’t work.
I’m NOT against offering new services, but you must have a focused strategy that the new service fits into. Just adding more won’t help you build your practice.
I’ll give you an example. When I first worked with Sandy*, she had a general therapy practice, and her goal was to double her income. She had about 10 client sessions per week. She worked with individual adults, couples and children and she was running a group focused on substance issues. She was considering adding two more groups with different topics
She had been working to let all of her colleagues know about the wide range of services she could provide. She made sure to tell everyone about her work with couples, individual adults and children as well as her substance abuse group. She’d tell them about her experience with depression and eating disorders.
When she wasn’t getting enough calls, her impulse was to add more services.
It makes sense that she would feel this impulse. We watch well-known companies add services and products and flourish. Amazon used to just sell books. Now we can watch “Transparent” and buy products in dozens of categories. Apple used to just sell computers, and now they’re as well known for phones and music systems.
But you’re not Amazon or Apple.
You’re one person with a limited amount of time and resources. You’ve got to decide what you want to be known for.
Back to Sandy. She had no shortage of skills or ideas. She could have built a practice focused on any one of her areas of expertise. I helped her identify just one area of focus based on where her passion felt strongest: supporting parents. Then we weeded through all of her ideas and plans, implementing only the ones that fit with that focus.
Maybe you worry that you’ll get bored when you’re limited to just one focus. That doesn’t have to happen. Sandy continued to provide therapy in a number of different ways, including to couples, individuals adults and children. As she grew her reputation as a great therapist for parenting issues, she continued to get referrals for non-parents as well.
And YES, choosing this focus and implementing a strategy moving in that one direction did result in doubling her income.
*Not her real name.
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