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How to overcome doubt and market your counseling private practice

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

At 2pm today I screamed at my computer.


I was trying to send 52 emails through my old university email. As I went to push send, something strange happened. I found myself pushing against sending the emails. A booming internal voice said "NO DON'T DO IT!"


I pushed send anyway, but I had to scream as I did it. The internal resistance was too strong.

Young girl screaming

Let's talk about our inner doubter.

 

Hello friends :) If you want to join me and other readers in exploring the world of counseling sign up for my newsletter.

 

The biggest barrier to growing your counseling private practice.

I run a small consulting firm where we show therapists how to launch their solo counseling practice. So far our typical coachee goes from 0-10k a month in 6 months. Our main strategy for helping them get clients is local SEO.

It's a great strategy because, if you can hold clients, you never market again [2].


But I've been wondering, "is there a faster way to get full?"


In my research on a faster way to full I keep seeing the same answer pop up again and again: ask your network for clients.


It's a pretty simple idea. The only way people can know about your counseling private practice is if you tell them about your practice. So you should tell them. The easy way is to go to your email account, pull the emails of everyone who's emailed you, and send them an email saying, "Hey I started a counseling private practice. Since we know each other, I assume you trust me. Do you know anyone who can use my service?"


It sounds simple in practice. So I decided to try it out.


And today (9/6/2023) I just sent out my first batch of emails. And that's why I was screaming at my computer.


As I sent the email I found all these negative thoughts popping into my head:


What if they find out it was a mass email?

What if they think I'm just trying to use them?

What if they think I'm a sell out?

What if this email makes them hate me?

None of it was rational.


I know I'm testing a new method of getting clients. I know the only way to get clients is to tell people about your counseling private practice.


Besides, when I made my email list I removed any names of people I didn't really know. I'm literally just emailing old friends and colleagues.


But none of that rational stuff mattered. In that moment before I sent the email, what mattered was the voice in my head screaming at me saying "don't do it! People will hate you."

GIF of shaq saying "no, no, don't do it!!!"

I think oftentimes this voice is our biggest barrier to growth.


We know we have the wits to work for ourselves, the audacity to claim our something bigger, and the potential to add something beautiful to the world and yet something inside of us panics.


It's like we have this internalized doubter telling us that seizing our dreams is a bad idea.


There are two ways to deal with our internal doubter.


One is to sit with it, offer it compassion, and try to meet the need it represents.


Another way is to remember you're a fighter. You've gotten this far on your strength and your wits. Lean into your strengths and push through.


Personally I chose to fight.

GIF of the Rock saying screaming victoriously.

Whichever way you choose is perfectly okay. It's your choice. But, if you want a solo counseling practice, you do have to choose.


To not choose will cost you. You'll keep getting no showed at your community mental health job. You'll keep paying 40% to your group practice and getting no clients. You'll keep getting kids and couples when you want to work with college girls.


So pick your path. And I'll see you on the other side.


Best,


Jordan (the counselor)

-Fin-

Notes

[1] There's a bit of math that goes into this. Basically you'd need to keep clients for at least 13 sessions. You can download our Time to Full Calculator here and run your numbers for yourself (It's free).

 

If you liked this post, consider this next. I think you'll like it ;) It's about how picking a niche can help in your marketing.

 

Jordan Harris, Ph.D., LMFT-S, LPC-S, received his Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Louisiana Monroe. He is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of Arkansas, USA. In his clinical work, he enjoys working with couples. He also runs a blog on deliberate practice for therapists and counselors at Jordanthecounselor.com.

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