Therapist directories seem like an institution of the counseling profession. In the end, adding your information to therapist directories is about covering your bases and increasing the likelihood that a potential client will find your information. Below, we’ll discuss why they might be a positive addition to your practice, some possible drawbacks, and how you can take advantage of these directories to really showcase your therapeutic style and reach potential clients in more genuine ways.
Before getting to therapist directories like Psychology Today, we should first review the search patterns of people seeking therapy. When a person decides that therapy might be a positive step in the right direction, they usually start by doing their own research. Word of mouth is important for your reputation, but many people don’t actually talk to others about their decision to start therapy.
Therefore, most people just do an online search that could be as simple as “therapists near me.” If you perform this search for yourself, you’ll see that some of the first hits on Google are not actually therapists, but rather Psychology Today and Good Therapy directories that help you search for therapists—their Find a Therapist search function. If a potential client conducts a quick search, and Google leads them to Psychology Today, imagine how much business you could be losing if your profile is not in that directory.
As we just discussed, one of the main positive aspects of listing your information on a directory like Psychology Today is that it makes it easier for clients to find your profile after conducting a simple search. Even better, if the client is well-informed about the type of therapy they’re looking for (like EMDR or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) they can use those parameters to search for therapists who offer such modalities.
Having your own website for your counseling service is important for marketing reasons, but it’s much more difficult to raise the Google search ranking of your website than it is to be found in a directory. You’re competing with websites like Psychology Today that have been ranking in Google for many years. However, if a potential client finds you in a directory, you can then lead them to your curated website, where you can provide more information about your practice and really begin to control the buyer’s journey by adding CTAs to getting them to call you for a free consultation. In other words, creating a profile in an online directory helps increase your online visibility and gives people a better chance to discover your practice.
One way therapist directories help you find more potential clients is through content marketing. Some directories are just your information, which are often called static content because there’s nothing to add. Other directories, however, let you publish original content and give you the platform to show your expertise in your area of specialization. Potential clients who might do their own research regarding therapeutic approaches might find you through this content rather than a directory. And if you have a website, you can publish the content on both ends, increasing the likelihood your potential clients will run into that page.
Another benefit that comes from using therapist directories is that you can make a good first impression on potential clients. If your profile is written well and you follow all of our other guidelines below, you’ll set yourself apart from other therapists in your area.
Of course, nothing is perfect. Let’s get one thing straight: adding your profile to a therapist directory does not guarantee a certain level of visibility, especially in a large metropolitan area. Think of the number of therapists available in New York or Los Angeles—any simple search is going to pull up hundreds of therapists, and there’s no guarantee your name will show up before any others. Even listing your profile in multiple directories doesn’t guarantee extra visibility. Some directories even randomize results, so you never know where you’ll show up!
Another drawback of using therapist directories is that it takes time to create great profiles. When you’re working full-time as a therapist and running your own counseling practice, time is valuable, and sometimes you’re not sure if spending hours on a profile in a therapist directory might be worth your time. Below, we walk you through creating a profile in order to make it easier and hopefully less time-consuming.
Now, these drawbacks are not necessarily enough to jump ship entirely and forget about therapist directories. However, they do highlight the importance of selecting the right therapist directories for your practice, so you can spend time building engaging profiles that will pay off.
By the way, there’s still a lot of work you can be doing apart from therapist directories to increase the likelihood you’ll be found by potential clients, like social media marketing, content marketing, and email marketing, all of which we can help with!
Because there are so many therapist directories, picking the right ones on which to focus your energy can save you time and effort. Some will be more relevant than others, and some will have a similar aesthetic presentation to your own approach which will make it easier to sell your brand. For these reasons, it’s important to do your own research and find out which directories will be the most effective for you.
However, even after you find the best therapist directories for your practice, there are a variety of factors that affect the referrals you’ll receive. First and foremost, the quality of your profile (how complete it is being one of the most important aspects) and the quality of your website will be strong factors that affect your ranking. There are also factors that are beyond your control, like the number of people searching for mental health therapists in your area and the total number of mental health professionals who are practicing in your city or community.
As you’re doing your research, consider the following tips to maximize the use of therapist directories.
One of the best ways to find out which directories might be the most effective is to search your specialty along with your city or geographic area. For instance, you can search for “depression counseling milwaukee” or “couples therapy in baltimore.” You’ll immediately get a great sense of which directories are showing up first, and therefore which directories it might be beneficial to join. If different directories show up for different searches, then you might consider listing in multiple directories in order to cover your bases. This is a great way of putting yourself in the shoes of your potential client and finding out how people are likely to find you.
After finding out which directories might be useful for your practice, don’t forget to take advantage of the free trials they offer before becoming a paying customer so you can truly find out what they offer. Some therapist directories even offer free listings for a certain period of time—Psychology Today, for example, offers six months for free. This is a great benefit because in six months, you’ll definitely be able to decide whether or not you’ll want to pay for their directory. Set a reminder in your calendar before the six months are up, and if you cancel in time, you won’t have to pay a dime.
Don’t forget to sign up for the professional directories of your state and national associations. Even though they might not be as effective in producing referrals, they do serve the purpose of boosting your practice’s reputation and credibility. This might also help your colleagues find someone when they’re looking to make a referral. Professional mental health counselors are more likely to use their association’s directories rather than a general Google search, and if you’re listed there, you might make it easier for them to find you.
Of course, the research is half the battle. Once you’ve decided where you want to create listings, you’ll want to write a compelling profile in order to get your potential client to make the call.
It’s never easy to summarize what you do in 500 words or less while simultaneously standing out from the rest. However, it’s important to craft a tailored bio in order to get across your main message and garner interest in what you do.
One of the secret hacks we recommend is to change up your bio depending on the therapist directory. Copying and pasting the same bio between directories shows that you’re not really interested in standing out, while adjusting each bio for messaging and tone will be more effective and show that you understand each platform and its audience.
You probably didn’t become a therapist thinking you’d also have to be a gifted salesperson. For some therapists, it’s their least favorite part of their job. We’ve written an entire article about how to think of your selling points as a therapist, but we’ll summarize some of the tips here.
First of all, your profile should be the right length. You’ll likely have some word limit, so you’ll have to keep your profile under that limit. The most important thing to keep in mind is that this is your opportunity to stand out, to show the potential client why they should pick you instead of another therapist. That’s your purpose when writing your profile description. This selling point could be anything, including your experience, approach, or even your hours of operation (if you work late, you could be some people’s top choice).
When you are writing your profile, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Finally, don’t forget your professional headshot! The first thing a potential client sees is your photo. If this image has low resolution, is clearly outdated (some hairstyles might not be in vogue anymore), the potential client might leave with the impression that you’re not very professional. This can even occur with a selfie. A professional, high-quality photo has an immediate impact on your credibility and the client’s initial impression, building trust in your practice. You can even make yourself look more approachable by using calming colors in the background.
Crafting the perfect profile is not an easy task, especially when you’re busy doing your main job. But joining some therapist directories like Psychology Today can help potential clients find you and increase your credibility. If you would like help creating your profile or managing your brand, we are here to help, every step of the way.