Building your Private Practice:
1. REALIZE YOUR STRENGTHS:
A huge part of beginning to establish your identity in the mental health community involves taking the time to articulate to yourself and others your passions. I suggest spending an afternoon asking yourself questions like:
- What types of clients am I most excited to work with in the present and the future?
- What types of clients have I been most effective in working with in the past?
- What training have I done to prepare me to work with certain types of clients?
Get excited about the types of clients you work with. Attend conferences and workshops related to these populations or topics. Talk about the types of issues your ideal clients might face when you are out with your friends, with community members, or networking with other professionals. Naturally if you are working with your strengths/passions two things will happen:
- The types of clients you enjoy seeing will begin to come into your private practice.
- You will be more prepared and more effective in your work.
" When we network from a space of genuine connection we begin to form dynamic and lasting referral relationships."
2. BUILD GENUINE PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS
One of the best pieces of advice someone once gave me was, "referrals flow through professional friendships." Building genuine and heartfelt relationships with other professionals is an excellent way to spread the word about the passions in your work. Take a genuine interest in the lives and work of the professionals around you. Invite folks to coffee, learn about what types of clients they enjoy seeing, and send clients their way when you feel like they might be a better fit.
3. REACH OUT TO YOUR PERSONAL NETWORK
Each of us has a HUGE network. Whether you realize it our not your network includes your family, friends, doctor, lawyer, barista, gardener, rabbi, priest, yoga teacher, etc. The people in your network are some of your best and probably untapped referral sources. These are folks that already know and trust you! When you speak about your work to these folks don't "sell" them or hand them a stack of business cards. Instead just talk to them about what you do and explain to them why you are so passionate about your work. Naturally they will begin to think of you when someone they know needs therapy.
4. Practice Gratitude
When someone does send you a referral make sure to practice gratitude not only in your actions but also in your thoughts. Take a moment to reflect on how amazing it is that someone basically said to you, "I trust you with this important person/client in my life who is struggling." Then make sure to THANK THEM! On of the biggest mistakes I see seasoned therapists make is forgetting to thank the people who helped them build their practice. Make sure to send a thank you card (if you have a release of course) for every client that walks in your door.
5. Don't take every client that walks in the door.
The best form of marketing is solid clinical work with our clients. Although it can be tempting to take every referral that comes our way, it is important that we only take clients that we know we can work with successfully. When we work within our scope of practice we provide the best clinical care. The decision not to take on a client gives you the opportunity to refer out to someone who you know and trust and helps you to build referral relationships.