practice marketing

Imagine Marketing Is Part Of Your Service To Clients

happy marketing

Imagine this: Your marketing and the therapy you provide are all part of one whole, rather than separate activities. 

You do your work as a therapist because you want to serve people. You see possibilities for your clients that they don’t see for themselves. You are committed to providing the best therapy you can because you want your clients to be happier, more at peace, and less miserable.  The ripple effects of the work you do are huge. When you help one person live more fully or you help one couple step out of a stuck conflict, the lives of their loved ones change too. When your practice is full, you help even more people, and the ripple effect spreads even wider.

When I say the word “marketing,” a lot of therapists get uncomfortable. Marketing brings up guilt and shame for a lot of people because they associate it with unethical marketing. Unethical marketing preys on people’s fears and vanity to convince them to spend money on things they don’t need and can’t afford. Unethical marketing hurts people. Marketing your therapy practice, on the other hand, is for the purpose of helping people. Everything you put out there, online and in person, should be honest and ethical and totally aligned with your purpose. Your marketing lets people know there is hope and that you’re available to help. That’s it! You don’t claim to help everyone, and you don’t overpromise or guarantee results.

Marketing is not some strange and separate set of activities you do. It is the beginning of your work with potential clients. It is part of your service.

If your practice isn’t as full as you’d like it to be, you are doing your potential clients a disservice. By hiding who you are and how you can help them, you are making it less likely that they will find you and get the help they need. Sure, they will find other therapists, but what about the people for whom YOU are the best therapist? Marketing your practice is another thing you can do in service of your clients. Is it time to build your practice in a big way? Apply for a free consultation so we can talk about how group or individual coaching with me can help. 

Should You Send Out An Online Newsletter?

You’ve got a long list of marketing activities you intend to get to. This article might just help you cross one off of your list.   

Should you send out an online newsletter?

Newsletters are a common tool in online marketing. For coaches and other service providers who work remotely and serve people everywhere, online newsletters are almost always a good idea. An online newsletter is not always a good strategy for a therapy practice, especially if the therapy you provide is all or mostly local and in person.

As in all marketing decisions, your bigger purpose and goals will tell you what to do.

The purpose of an online newsletter is to stay in touch with potential clients, give them something of value regularly, and to make it more likely that they will eventually hire you. When a client is looking for a therapist, there is usually an immediate need, and the potential client will decide right away whether to call you.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you decide whether to create an online newsletter:

1.     Do you plan to offer something besides therapy?

If you are planning to offer a workshop or class, having a growing list of people you can reach out to who are interested in your services makes sense. When you launch those services, you’ll have some potential participants.

2. Do you serve an easily definable niche?

If you are serving an easily definable group of people, sending out a newsletter might make sense. You can serve your list by giving them valuable content over time. If, on the other hand, you are serving a niche that is more general or hard to define, a blog without a newsletter might make sense.

3.    Do you have a lot to say to your potential clients?

Your newsletter should give valuable content to your people. You don’t want to ask people to opt in to a newsletter, and then only send out a newsletter when you are trying to sell something.

I’ll use my therapy practice as an example. My therapy practice, The Bay Area Relationship Center, is a center providing couples therapy and couples workshops. I offer a free audio and send out a newsletter for people who opt in. If we look at the 3 questions above, you’ll see why. We offer half-day workshops, so it makes sense for a potential client who is considering a couples workshop to be reminded of our services. Our niche is easily definable: Couples who want to communicate better. I post regularly to the blog, so I have more than enough content to share with my people.

If you’re serious about growing your therapy practice, and you think it might be time for individual or group coaching, apply for a free consultation now.



Are you ready to fill your therapy practice? Find out.

I can give you a ton of tools to fill your therapy practice. If you create a good strategy, and work it consistently, you will fill your therapy practice. BUT, none of that will happen if part of you is saying no to filling your practice. Are you all in? You can’t fill your practice when a part of you does not feel ready to bring in new therapy clients.

Mindset really does matter.

Why is it so important?

In this business, what you are offering is YOU. If there is a part of you that doesn’t feel ready to fill your practice, you will unconsciously get in your own way. You’ll sabotage your practice building efforts. You’ll take a little longer to call a potential client back. You’ll sound bland about your work in a networking lunch. You’ll forget to do the next step in your marketing plan.

Here are some questions to clue you in to whether you’re truly ready to take on that next influx of clients:

  1. Are you feeling overwhelmed in your schedule, so bringing in a new client would make you feel too busy?
  2. Are you feeling insecure about your skills, so bringing in a new client makes you feel anxious?
  3. Are you burned out and needing a break, and bringing in a new client would get in the way of that?
  4. Are you somehow unhappy with the clients your practice is attracting, and you’re worried your next client won’t be a good fit?

Here’s how you want your life to be so that you can happily welcome more clients into your practice:

  • You have enough time that a new client in your schedule would not be stressful.
  • You are getting all the consultation and ongoing training you need to feel confident in your clinical work.
  • You have days off and vacations coming up, and you’ll take those no matter how many clients fill your practice.
  • You know who you want to work with, so when clients call, you feel comfortable referring them out if they aren’t the right fit.

 Of course taking care of your life in this way doesn’t guarantee the clients will come. You also need a practice building strategy based on your strengths and preferences. If you need help with creating a practice building strategy and following through, apply for a free consultation right now. We’ll talk about both the strategy and the mindset work that will help you build the practice you really want. 

When You Feel Discouraged

When you’re building your practice you're going to hit moments when you feel discouraged. Maybe you feel overwhelmed by your marketing activities. Maybe you feel worried because a few clients leave. Maybe you feel deflated because you don’t get a big response for a workshop or a group you’re offering. Maybe you talk to a potential client and they choose not to work with you. Or maybe you just feel a lack of inspiration or optimism.

This is not the moment to give up. It is the moment to access your tenacity.

Take a step back and see the big picture of your practice building. Remember that building your practice is a long-term process. Always have a clear strategy that takes you at least 3 months forward, and have a vision of your practice that is at least one year away. When you’re feeling discouraged, lean on your strategy and your vision.

Many therapists I work with go through times of feeling discouraged. One therapist I work with went through a discouraging few months. Some long-term clients left, she had some health problems, and she started to believe she just wasn’t “cut out” for private practice. She had already been through a few other careers and had tried working as a therapist in agencies. Private practice was her dream because it gives her the freedom to do her best work.

I helped her get back in touch with the big why of building her private practice. I helped her access the vision of her practice a year away. She recommitted to her strategy and followed through with her daily and weekly commitments like weekly networking and a simple online plan. Within six months she had doubled her income from that low point. Her tenacity paid off.

Here are some questions to answer when you’re feeling discouraged and need to access your tenacity.

  • What is your practice building strategy for the next 3 months? (This should include networking and an online strategy)
  • What is your vision of your practice one year from now?
  • Who in your life knows you are building your practice and believes in you? (Hint: you can lean on those people when you need a reminder of why you’re doing this.)

You don’t need to do this alone. If you’re serious about creating and following through with a great practice building strategy, set up a free consultation now.

Don't Waste This Crucial Moment

You became a therapist because you wanted to help people. You wanted to relieve pain for your clients. As you became a great therapist, you got better at allowing your clients to struggle at times. You don’t always jump in with a quick fix.

There’s a particular kind of pain your potential clients feel as they are deciding to invest in therapy. When your client is getting ready to make that investment, she may struggle with making room for therapy in her life.  Therapy can be a big commitment of hard work, time and money. Until she’s ready to say yes to therapy, she might feel like she doesn’t have room in her budget or her schedule. She might need to be in significant pain before she feels she can make the investment.  

When you’re talking to potential clients before they have made that decision, do you allow them to experience that tension, or do you jump in and try to take the tension away with a quick fix?

Two common ways this tension comes up are around your schedule and your fee. Let’s say you only have a few openings in your schedule. When you name those times to a potential client, he says those times don’t work well. Maybe you feel tempted to jump in and offer another an evening appointment even though you don’t really want another evening appointment. Stick with your optimal times and let the client struggle for a moment. Let him consider making the changes he would need to make for one of those times to work.

Perhaps you have a new fee you’ve raised to recently, and you’re still getting used to saying it out loud. If you ask a potential client “is that okay for you?” you’ve just taken away an opportunity for her to say yes to making that investment in herself. Her decision might be “I can’t afford that fee right now.” Then you can be very generous with your offer of referrals. You may be connecting her with the therapist who is perfect for her.

If you’re willing to watch your potential client struggle for a moment, the client will know you are clear in your communication, that you’re taking care of yourself, and that you trust his or her ability to make the right decision. Before you start the conversation with a potential client, be ready to tolerate your own anxiety so that you can witness that struggle.  

If you need some help with your therapy practice, check out our free trainings. 

Is Your Intake Process Welcoming Or Is It Losing You Clients? (Part 2 of 2)

I remember looking for a therapist when I was 21. I felt anxious and hopeful before that first phone call with the woman I worked with for several years. If I hadn’t heard warmth in her voice, there’s no way I would have hired her. You’ve been a therapy client yourself, or maybe you’re in therapy now.  Remember what it felt like when you reached out to find that person. Use that memory to help you know how to welcome potential clients into your practice.

In this series we’re examining your intake process from your potential client’s point of view, and I've created a checklist to help you with that. Last week I talked about the key parts of your intake process that happen before your potential client talks to you. Make sure you read that first, because many potential clients are lost before the first conversation.

You’ve got to be in the right mindset before your first phone call. Your goal is NOT to convince this person to work with you. Your biggest purpose in that call is to help her feel comfortable and cared about. Start with finding out what she wants help with. Even if she jumps right into logistics or has a lot of questions for you, slow her down and ask her to share a little bit about what’s going on right now. Offer your authentic empathy. You will get a sense quickly of whether she is an ideal client for you or if she is meant to work with another therapist. Have your referrals ready, and be just as happy to refer her out as to work with her. When you discuss money, smile. If you are comfortable and happy about what you charge, she will hear it. If you’re squeamish, she’ll hear that too.  

If he schedules an appointment with you, be clear about how he will get to your office and what he needs to bring. If you ask him to fill out forms before the appointment, make sure the process is clear and simple.

Walk through her journey of walking in the door and sitting in the waiting room. If that process is uncomfortable or difficult in any way, change it. If she has to deal with a difficult door code, finding an address with an unclear sign, or sitting on a stained and lumpy chair, it clouds her experience.

When you finally meet him in the waiting room, greet him with a warm smile. In an attempt to be professional, some therapists and other healers come across as cold in this moment. Focus on helping him feel cared about in a potentially anxiety provoking moment.

Here’s a checklist. See how you’re doing and note what it will take to make the process better for your potential client.

  • My website has welcoming and clear language.
  • My website tells potential clients what to do next.
  • It is easy to make an appointment or request an appointment on the site.
  • My phone number and email are prominent on every page.
  • My outgoing voicemail message is welcoming and the next steps are clear.
  • My outgoing voicemail message includes other ways to contact me.
  • I call potential clients back quickly.
  • I respond to emails from potential clients quickly.
  • My first email mentions my concern for the client.
  • My first conversation is welcoming and clear.
  • I smile when I name my fee.
  • I have a system for letting the client know how to get to my office and what to bring.
  • My forms process is clear and easy.
  • It is easy to get in the door and find the waiting room.
  • My waiting room is comfortable and pleasant.
  • I greet my client with warmth and a smile.

From time to time, review your entire intake experience from the potential client’s point of view. Could you use some help making over your process for welcoming clients? Set up a free consultation now. 

Is Your Intake Process Welcoming Or Is It Losing You Clients? (Part 1 of 2)

You may be losing great potential clients without realizing it. You put a lot of thought into your services, and you work hard to ensure that you are giving excellent care. You may be paying too little attention to what comes first. If you put more thought into the process your potential client goes through before they get to the first session, you’ll get to work with more great clients.

Some large Businesses will spend a lot of money on mystery shoppers to evaluate their customer service. Managers can’t be objective about what the experience is like for their customers, so they bring in these spies to help them find out. The best way to identify the weak spots in customer service is to hear from a person experiencing the business as a customer.

What do you think a mystery shopper would tell you about your practice?

 I’m not suggesting you hire a mystery shopper, but I do suggest that you take a step back and examine what your potential clients experience before they meet you. You can do a friendly audit of your own intake process to find out where you might be losing potential clients.

Start by looking at the first places where a potential client finds you.

Perhaps a potential client finds your website. Make sure that your website is welcoming and clear. The potential client should easily know what to do next. Provide a way for the client to schedule online or at least fill out a form right there on the site. Some potential clients find that easier than writing an email or calling. You want to remove as many barriers as possible.  

Perhaps the potential client learns of you through another professional or friend, so the first contact is by phone. Make sure your outgoing message is clear and welcoming. Let potential clients know in that message what to expect next. Have a friend listen to your outgoing message and give you feedback on your tone and the clarity of your process.  Some people avoid phone tag at all costs, so let them know how to email you or schedule online in your outgoing message. Consider how long the person needs to wait to get a call back. If they hear from another therapist first, they will likely work with that therapist.

Some clients will reach out by email. Assume they are emailing other therapists as well, so write back quickly. Examine the tone of your return emails, and always show your concern for the potential client. Don’t just mention logistics, or the person may feel that you don’t care.

We’ve just covered the key parts of the intake process before the client talks to you. Next time I’ll talk about the steps from the first conversation until their first appointment. I’ll also give you a checklist so that you can examine your entire intake process.

Do you need help making changes to your intake process? Set up a free consultation now. 

Does Marketing Your Practice Feel Like Jr. High?

There’s a moment of clarity that happens when you understand how to market your practice. You realize that marketing is part of serving your people. You understand that you are meant to help people in a profound way and that marketing is a natural part of how you get to do that. When you get that clarity, you can write your web copy and call your colleagues and put together your next speaking engagement with much less discomfort and stress.

 Before you have that moment of clarity, marketing feels yucky. You feel like you’re trying to anticipate who everyone wants you to be so that you can seem to be that. That feeling reminds me of what Junior High was like for many of us. We ended up with some strange haircuts and fashion choices trying to figure out how to fit in. That picture shows me in 8th grade. Can’t you just feel my discomfort and awkwardness when you look at it? You wouldn’t settle for that feeling in any other area of your life anymore. Don’t settle for it with your marketing either. Stop putting anything out there that you don’t feel good about. Tell the truth in all of your marketing and be yourself.

I was working with a therapist recently who was writing the copy for her website. She was trying to describe what she does. She felt stilted and stressed out and couldn’t get the words out. Then I asked her to just tell me in her own words what her ideal client is going through and how she helps. I asked her not to worry about how she’ll write it. Then I started taking notes and everything she needed was right there. She shared her own personal story and the reason she does this work. She shared the way she helps people and why the work she offers is so needed. She described the feelings that her clients experience before they reach out for help.

Of course there was more work to do. We still did some editing and reworking of the copy so that it made sense to her potential clients, but the yucky feeling was gone. She no longer felt out of alignment with her values. She didn’t feel like she was trying to please everyone or fit in. She felt clear about what her marketing is FOR.

Here are some questions to help keep you out of that Jr. High feeling in your marketing:


  • When you think about all of your marketing activities and materials, does anything make you cringe? (Stop them!)


  • What is your big reason for wanting to do this work?


  • What is the pain or hope that brings your clients to reach out to you?


  • When you’re working with your ideal clients, what transforms for them?


Use those questions whenever you are feeling yucky about your marketing to get you back in touch with your mature and wonderful self.


If you need some help creating an authentic marketing plan, set up a consultation with me now.



Design The Bridge To Your Future Private Practice


One of the first questions I ask therapists and healers is: “What do you want your private practice to look like a year from now?” Perhaps you want to change your specialty, double your income, or start running groups.  You need to thoughtfully design a bridge between your current practice and that future practice.

This bridge will allow you to use the success you already have to support your changes. You’ll continue moving forward thoughtfully, neither getting stuck nor rushing things in a clumsy way.

Let’s say you have a general therapy practice now and you’d like to become known for a specialty. Having a specialty is an excellent way to stand out from others and grow a practice quickly. The bridge to your future practice could include adding a page to your site about the specialty and writing articles for your blog about that topic. You could begin talking to your colleagues about your specialty. You can pay special attention to what is working best with the clients who come to you for help with this specialty. Build your expertise with these people while you also enjoy your general practice.

When you are ready to transition your website and your marketing away from reflecting a general practice and towards your new specialty, you will have plenty of content and experience to do the transition well.

Here’s another example: perhaps you want to charge much higher fees within a year. The bridge may be to look at your practice and examine what would need to be different in order to charge more. Look at your practice and how you’re presenting yourself, from your sofa to your shoes to your intake process. Ask for feedback from a trusted and honest colleague. Begin to clean up anything that holds you back from charging more. You might choose to maintain the highly valued clients you have now at their current fee.

As new clients come in to your more polished practice, your average fee will begin to rise.

One more example is moving from a one-on-one therapy practice to a practice in which you facilitate groups. Part of your bridge might be to create a one-day workshop. You could create this workshop around the topics your group will cover, and begin getting the word out to your community. This gives potential group clients a chance to know your work, and it gives your colleagues a chance to think of you in a new way. You can also ethically and thoughtfully build your email lists for both potential group members and potential referral partners as you are spreading the word about your one-day workshop.

What is the biggest difference between the private practice you have now and the practice you’d like a year from now?

If you need some help designing your bridge, sign up for a free 30-minute consultation now.

How Many Clients Should You Have?

Lots of clients

If you’re just starting out or you don’t have very many clients, the answer might seem obvious: more. If you ask a room full of therapists how many sessions per week they consider full time, you’ll hear everything from 15 to 35. It is important to answer this question carefully so that you are building a practice that will work for you. In addition to working directly with clients, you need to have enough time to get consultation, get training when you need it, take care of yourself and your family, and do all of the things that help you stay present and available for your clients. Don’t set your schedule based on what other people say they are doing, but rather on what you know your capacity is.

I’ll give you an example of why knowing your ideal number of sessions is so useful and important. I worked with a therapist recently who found herself in a bind. She had almost as many clients as she wanted based on her need for time for good self-care and training and consultation, but she needed to make more money. Many of her clients paid on a sliding scale, and she didn’t want to raise their fees.

I helped her calculate how many more hours of therapy she could comfortably provide and how much more income she needed.  Here’s the strategy we implemented: She created a new VIP service based on the work she loves doing the most, priced higher than what she charged for other services. She knew exactly the kind of client she was planning to work with. Within a couple of weeks, she had filled those appointments. If she hadn’t taken that step back to look at the big picture, she would have taken the next few clients at the same fee and with the same services she’d offered before.

By stepping back and looking at her capacity, she was able to recognize that at this time she needed to offer something different.

The closer you are to having a full practice, the more crucial it is for you to calculate your ideal number of sessions. Rather than basing your answer on what others say, consider these questions when you’re setting your hours and your fees:


  • How many therapy hours can I provide in a day and still feel energized and present with my clients?


  • How much time do I need for my practice building and business activities every week?


  • How much time do I need for self-care?


Now consider basing your fees and number of sessions on honoring those answers.


To get help taking a bird’s eye view of your practice and creating the right strategy, request a free consultation.