In today’s crowded marketplace, one of the best ways to help your practice stand out and attract clients is by identifying your therapy niche. A therapy niche is a targeted, specific group or type of person that you not only want to work with, but one that you know you can help.
If you haven’t found your niche yet or are struggling to define your ideal client, try working through the following steps:
Define the Problem:
Understanding Pain Points:
How Your Clients Define Themselves:
What is Their Dream?:
After you’ve worked through the questions above, you can then put it all together in a niche statement:
“I help [ Ideal Client’s Identity ] with [ Your Expertise ] so they can stop/start [ Primary Pain Point ] and live [ Their Dream ].”
We’ve also come up with these 10 common archetypes for our clients that may be helpful for you when coming up with a marketing strategy that speaks to your niche.
Validating, Compassionate, Trustworthy, Conversational
Reilly often feels overwhelmed by the pressure of school and struggles with anxiety and depression as a result. She’s begun to dabble in self-harming behaviors, recently resorting to self-injury. Her parents feel helpless but often enable Reilly, perpetuating a sense of responsibility that contributes to her emotional stress and uncertainty.
Feeling overwhelmed with school, Symptoms of anxiety, Symptoms of depression, Self-injury, Trouble with parents
Casual, validating, trustworthy, non judgemental
TikTok, Twitch, YouTube
Skylar feels little control over their life. From their experiences with prejudice and feeling marginalized to recently coming out as LGBT, they struggle with trusting authority figures. Skylar often experiments with risky behavior like indulging in sexual exploration with unfamiliar partners, using drugs, and some criminal activity. Skylar has no stable adult role model.
LGBTQ+ or other marginalized identity, experimenting with sex, substances, or other risk-taking behaviors (getting into fights/ property destruction, stealing, etc.)
Engaging, conversational, some evidence-based information to create trust
TikTok, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram
Blake is establishing their own life, during & after university, working their first full-time job in a position where the expectations are greater. They’re managing the glamour of new experiences and the harsh reality of them as well. Essential themes in Blake’s life are creating a work-life balance, finding time to engage in their hobbies, and battling Imposter Syndrome. At the core, they are figuring out who they are and what matters to them.
Young adult launching into life (could be a college student), moving away from home, getting established in career, establishing life balance between home, intimacy & work, dealing with imposter syndrome, etc.
Reassuring, Validating, Compassionate, Thought-provoking
Instagram, Facebook, TikTok
Monica struggles through her days, trying to offset the busy schedule of having small children with the depression that frequently clouds her mind. She feels unfulfilled, caught between her obligations and the trauma of her past. It is a constant battle for Monica to separate survival responses from her personality because she often doesn’t know who she is these days. Her relationship is on the rocks, and it’s a lingering worry, but she doesn’t have the energy to devote herself to solutions, though she knows she should.
Challenges of being a parent of young children, Dealing with symptoms of depression and finding it difficult to make it through the day without returning to bed, Feeling unfulfilled & disconnected from self, String of toxic or unhealthy relationships, Potentially recognizes trauma (although may prefer to call it something else) & learned survival responses and how that’s shaped her personality
Informative, Reassuring, Evidence-based, Validating
LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp
Lou is in a long-term relationship but struggles to commit to the idea of marriage as he feels married to his flourishing and successful career. Additionally, his struggles with infertility lead him to believe his partner may never be fully satisfied. This creates a precarious life-work balance. Additionally, Lou feels pressure to care for his aging parents, who are in poor health. As a result, he drinks too much, sleeps too little, and staves off anxiety with social media scrolling binges.
Infertility struggles, Struggling to find balance between work & life at home especially when work is one of the only places where they feel successful, Feeling isolated from others, Feeling the weight of the future while establishing habits & routines/likes & dislikes/cementing their personality, Overwhelmed by responsibility, Taking care of aging parents/ grandparents, Dealing with medical/ health conditions, Anxiety that keeps you up at night, Numbing through video games, sex, alcohol, etc.
Compassionate, Nonjudgemental, Informative, Validating
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp
Kate often feels like she’s living two lives. Despite being outwardly in a committed relationship, she and her partner began exploring alternative relationships last year. She’s experiencing a sexual and intimate revelation but feels fear at the shame or judgment she’d face if anyone found out. Even as she becomes more confident in the nonmonogamy they’ve respectfully chosen together, Kate struggles with the emotions of jealousy and inadequacy it’s brought up. In addition, she’s dealing with existential grief about the way life’s gone in general and is caught between wanting to feel authentic and the stability she craves from her community.
Relationship struggles, Difficulty connecting with self or others (spouse, children, establishing adult friendships), Dealing with Baggage from past relationships, Reconciling sexuality and stability (exploring non monogamy, kink, etc.) Dealing with infidelity, Feeling unsure and not confident in parenting skills, Overwhelmed with work/ navigating career change, Dealing with grief, Recognizing challenging family dynamics and Dealing with existential factors
Evidence-based, compassionate, validating, informative
Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn
Thomas is at the top of his career ladder and realizes he might have arrived alone. He worked hard to get here, providing a good life for his wife and kids. But Thomas is newly divorced now, his kids are starting their own lives in high school and college, and his parents have recently died. He feels a lot of grief and isn’t sure which direction it’s going- or where to go from here. Thomas is overwhelmed with transition, uncertain about money and his future.
Affected by life transitions such as moving or dealing with a new family structure (divorce/blended family/loss of a loved one/kids entering the teen years), Dealing with parallel processes as their children age & endure challenges (reminding them of past trauma), Overwhelmed by the need to control, Worried about finances, Reorganization of life in one way or another
Validating, Conversational, Compassionate, Casual
Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn
Natalie’s children have left home for their own lives, and she feels like they took a part of her with them. She’s not sure how to connect with herself without her identity as a mother and feels like she’s long lost her connection with her spouse. Natalie is beginning to recognize some concerning patterns of addiction behaviors in her adult son, who struggled with drugs in his teen years, but she feels powerless to stop him as time marches on and she drifts like a ghost in the wind.
Mother of adult children, Struggling with empty nest, Reconnecting with their partner, Taking care of parents, Looking for help with self/feeling fulfilled, Dealing with grief or family issues coming up, Son or daughter with an addiction or otherwise unsettled in their life which causes them to worry
Evidence-based, Informative, Conversational
Sean waited his entire life to arrive at retirement and now that he’s here, he isn’t sure what to do. Newly widowed and without the purpose his career gave him, Sean wonders if his great legacy was worth it now that he feels so adrift without those anchors. He’s looking for community but doesn’t know how to find support or make friends at his age. Finding meaning is important to Sean and so is feeling valued.
Dealing with retirement & finding meaning in life post career, Finding meaningful ways to spend their time/ Invest in their legacy, Feeling isolated from family and friends, Death anxiety and reflecting on life
Mental Health Professional
Evidence-Based, Conversational, Thought-provoking, Informative
Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn
Annie is fresh out of school, with a boatload of life and volunteer experience but still getting her bearings for how she wants to develop her own therapeutic identity. Annie is looking for community and certainty, and she loves exploring the topics she hopes to see most often in her own practice. From theory to anecdotes, Annie is eager to immerse herself in her counseling career.
Someone in the beginning of their career who is looking for resources to help work with their clients. They are looing for ways of explaining important topics, or even somewhere to work or send referrals for specialized therapy services
Mental Health Professional
Professional, evidence-based, thought-provoking
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
Richard is doing phenomenal work in his niche therapy practice. He has recently expanded to creating online workshops and webinars for those who want to see him but can’t afford his fees. He is thriving and loves what he does but wants community. Richard is looking to grow his reach and make connections who share his passion to stay current in his field.
Looking for fresh perspectives about common therapeutic knowledge, Looking for insightful ways to integrate first-hand experiences in the field with how you need to market yourself in today’s culture, Looking for a support community to help with non-therapeutic parts of the job
It may seem counterproductive at first to narrow down your potential client pool, but having a niche, and marketing to that niche, will actually help you find clients who align with what you have to offer. For example, maybe you want to work with couples who are expanding into non-monogamous or poly relationships, or perhaps you specialize in helping young working professionals. Using language that speaks directly to these individuals in your marketing will attract these specific types of clients. When they look at your website or blog posts, they will be able to tell right away whether the services you offer will meet their needs.