When you were in graduate school, did any of your courses focus on the ins and outs of running a business? If you answered, “yes”, you are in the lucky minority. Most graduate programs shy away from the corporate aspects of running a practice, despite the fact that many mental health practitioners eventually go on to run their own offices.
Part of the reason for this may be because many psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health providers consider it gauche to advertise themselves. We are healers, not salespeople, and the thought of sounding like a used car salesman has most of us avoiding certain key marketing techniques altogether.
Another reason that we, as providers, may not embrace marketing is because our ethics guidelines prohibit certain forms of the practice. For example, we are not allowed to approach individuals who look like they might need therapy, and inform them of our services, because that would potentially entail an abuse of power. According to the American Psychological Association’s Ethics Code, someone who is in emotional distress is considered vulnerable, and it would be unethical for a therapist to solicit services to that person when she is in such a compromised state.
Yet another reason that therapists sometimes shy away from advertising, is because it is often hard to quantify what we do. If we, for example, work with one of the more difficult diagnoses to treat, like Borderline Personality Disorder, we certainly couldn’t make the claim that “Patients will be cured in 6 weeks!” when, 1) There is no cure for a personality disorder, and 2) We can’t say for sure how long it will take for it to become manageable.
So, what we are saying is this. We get it. You don’t like to market yourself, and we believe you have good reasons for that! However, that’s not to say that tasteful marketing can’t go a long way in helping you grow your practice.
What are some examples of tasteful marketing?
Blog It Out
One great way to market your skills without feeling like a salesperson is to write a weekly blog. This way you can write about the kinds of issues that you treat, and your audience can get a feel for how you work. It’s also a wonderful way to give back to the community, since you are essentially giving out free information in your posts.
Make It Social
Another essential way to make yourself known is to utilize social media. Platforms like Facebook,Twitter and Instagram can allow you to professionally connect with potential clients in a nonthreatening environment. Plus, if you happen to work with younger clients, knowledge of these websites is a must!
Join A Collective
By joining a site like Therapy Hive, you can include yourself in an ensemble of highly skilled professionals, with the added benefit that marketing will be done on your behalf. Why sing your own praises, when someone else can do it for you? Therapy Hive markets for you, because it’s uncomfortable to do for yourself!