3 Steps to Growing Your Therapy Practice in the New Year

Woman holding mug and working with laptopAs we prepare to enter a new year, now is the time to reflect on where we’ve been and set our sights on what is ahead. The journey to growing a successful psychotherapy practice often has ebbs and flows that can feel out of our control, but when we are willing to tune into our practice-building power, we realize that our business is simply reflecting us back to opportunities for our own awareness and healing.

Each New Year’s Eve, I spend some mindful time in reflection to honor where my practice has been, where it is now, and where I intend it to evolve in the upcoming year. This simple process has been a significant part of the growth and maintenance of an abundant and satisfying practice that I’ve evolved over the past 10 years, and I’m excited to share it with you now.

Below are three steps of this practice-building ritual that you can use to support yourself in the year ahead.

Step 1: Reflect and Acknowledge Progress

As we know as therapists, a significant part of growth comes from a willingness to reflect on where we’ve been and acknowledging progress along the way. When leaning into the growth of your practice in the year ahead, it can be helpful to spend some time in sacred reflection of the past year. Here are a few questions that may be helpful in this supportive end-of-the-year ritual for new year expansion.

  • How did your practice evolve in ways you are proud of this year?
  • What marketing experiences did you feel most connected to and which ones were you repelled by?
  • Who did you connect with this year for collaboration and/or referral partnership?
  • What is your vision for the evolution of your practice next year?

After answering these questions, you will be tuned into the energy of your practice. You will also have a road map for what you’d like to continue in the new year.

Step 2: Clarify

Clarity is the single most effective marketing tool we have. When we are clear about who we are and who we support, we align with the energy we want to attract into our practice and business begins to grow with greater ease. Attempting to grow a practice without clarity is like closing your eyes and shooting an arrow hoping it will find the bull’s eye. We’re much more likely to connect with our intention if we open our eyes (clarity) and then take inspired action (marketing).

The notion that marketing is an external experience is only a piece of the practice-building puzzle. The truth is that our willingness to get intimately acquainted with ourselves and the vision of our work is equally as important as our efforts in physically marketing and networking. Here are a few questions that can support you in welcoming clarity and aligning with the vision and energy of your ideal practice.

  • What three words capture the essence of your ideal client? (For example: creative, introspective, curious.)
  • When you are tuned into the essence of your ideal client rather than his or her diagnosis or issue, you can intimately speak to that person when you write content on your profile listing and website. This is how people feel truly seen and heard and know that you understand them.
  • What three words capture the essence of you and your work? (For example: gentle, compassionate, supportive.)

When you are tuned into the essence of yourself and your work, you can clearly communicate who you are to your ideal clients and they can feel this energy even when you’re not talking about it. People are looking for you, and if they see and feel only a shell of who you are, they are less likely to follow through with reaching out to invite you on their healing path with them.

You may choose to use these words when you write your profile and/or website, but it’s less about using them and more about being aware of them that is supportive in growing your practice.

Step 3: Shift Your Perspective on Marketing

In my mentoring practice for therapists, I talk to many private practitioners each week who are uncomfortable with the idea of traditional marketing. I get it. We don’t want to have to put on a sales show and convince anyone to work with us. I often hear things like, “I’m not a marketing person,” “I hate going to awkward networking events where we’re all throwing business cards at each other,” and, “I don’t know what to say on my profile to communicate in a way that’s true to me.”

The version of you that shows up with your clients each day is the same version that can support your marketing. Marketing is simply relationship building.

If you’ve ever felt any of these things or had any awkwardness or fear regarding marketing, I have good news for you. The version of you that shows up with your clients each day is the same version that can support your marketing. Marketing is simply relationship building. It’s showing up authentically as who you are and building rapport with potential clients and/or referral partners. This doesn’t have to be salesy or weird (actually, it’s much more satisfying and has long-term payoffs when it’s not).

So as you create an intention around marketing for the year ahead, I invite you to shift your perspective from “marketing” in the traditional sense to an energy of connection and relationship building. See what you notice and whether you give yourself permission to show up more freely and authentically in opportunities for sharing your business with others.

Ready, set, surrender! I wish you well as you create some time to allow these three steps to support you in growing your practice in the new year.

About the Author

keri-nolaKeri Nola is a psychotherapist, bestselling author, and mentor for therapists. She creates products and experiences for soulful practitioners to blend their internal awareness and energy with inspired action to birth businesses into being that make a difference in the world. For those interested in developing their practice-building power, she offers the Practice Building eCourse, an opportunity to take a deep dive into your fears, clarity, and authentic marketing approach. Visit her website for more information and to register.

© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Keri Nola, LMHC

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Ellen

    December 29th, 2015 at 7:39 AM

    This could be helpful advice for anyone who has their own business and is looking for elements to grow in the New Year. Thanks as always for the helpful tips.

  • virgil

    December 29th, 2015 at 11:29 AM

    It can be pretty great when you actually let yourself look back on the things that you have accomplished throughout the year versus only looking at that which did not get done. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Seeing what you did not do should only help you establish your new goals for the upcoming year.

  • Matt

    December 29th, 2015 at 4:05 PM

    If we could all get focused in on what we wanted and what we needed
    then I think that all of us would have a better chance
    to become a success story

  • Katie S

    December 29th, 2015 at 8:10 PM

    I love how you made the soft of calling marketing “connection and realationship building”. What a great way to flip the negative energy that lingers so close to the word for so many people.

    Thanks for sharing!


  • Keri N

    December 30th, 2015 at 9:05 AM

    I’m thrilled to know this is resonating with so many of you! Thank you for sharing your comments and I wish you all the best with your practice in the new year. Blessings, Keri

  • Cara

    December 30th, 2015 at 10:26 AM

    I work for a doctor and I see daily just how important that it is to build professional relationships and to have a very intact and tight referral system. If you have good working relationships with others in your area then when they have someone who needs counseling services then of course they will send them your way. I know that for some this can be uncomfortable that whole networking thing, but in the end it really can make a difference in how big and strong your own practice can become.

  • trey

    December 30th, 2015 at 4:08 PM

    I tell everyone that I know that I love my counselor.
    I think that it is good when you can allow some of your clients to do some of the work for you!

  • Kelvin

    December 31st, 2015 at 7:33 AM

    In my line of work while I know that marketing is the key to growing my business, it is the hardest thing for me to do, to try to tell everyone why they should use me instead of someone else. It is not always in me to toot my own horn I guess.

  • Marquis

    December 31st, 2015 at 11:05 AM

    It does help when you can zero in on what you want your focus to really be and go steadily toward meeting that goal.
    Knowing which community you want to work with the most and who you most desire to help

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