Finding Your Mental Health Niche
After years of hard work, your efforts have finally paid off: You’re licensed as a therapist, you’ve opened your own private practice, and you’re ready to help clients overcome the issues they’re facing and become the best versions of themselves. That’s fantastic news!
That said, treating clients is only half the battle. You have a business to run, after all. And that means you need to attract enough clients to earn a living and keep the lights on.
While you might be tempted to accept any client that comes your way because you know you can help all of them, you may find that it’s easier to sustain and grow your practice when you specialize in a certain niche.
Why Choose a Therapy Niche?
From the outset, you might think that picking a mental health niche doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. After all, why not treat as many clients as you possibly can?
From improving client outcomes and making your practice easier to discover online to making your own work more enjoyable, there are plenty of reasons to focus on a specific niche.
Provide the best care possible
As a therapist, you’re no doubt focused on helping as many people as you can become the best versions of themselves possible. That said, there are almost certainly areas of care that are most interesting or most relatable to you — and those that you’re most skilled and knowledgeable in. By focusing on a niche, you can increase the chances you attract the ideal clients for your practice — the ones you can help get through their issues the most.
Increase SEO rankings
Many clients seeking therapists search for specific credentials. For example, someone who was abused as a child will likely want to engage therapists who are experienced in that particular area of focus. To this end, they will likely search a keyword like “therapists for sexual abuse.”
By zeroing in on a niche area, you can increase your discoverability online, making it easier for would-be clients to find you — and improving the likelihood you onboard more clients through relatively straightforward marketing efforts. This, in turn, can help you build a more resilient practice.
Enjoy your job more
Let’s face it: Even if you love your job as a therapist, there are likely certain topics that aren’t the most appealing to you and certain traumas that you’d prefer to avoid if possible. When you find a niche that excites you, work becomes substantially more enjoyable, and you wake up eager to help all of your clients every day.
Now that you have a better idea of some of the benefits that come with choosing a mental health niche for your practice, let’s take a look at some options you can consider.
Mental Health Niche Options
When it boils down to it, there’s no shortage of different niches your practice can focus on. Some of these include exclusively providing therapy to specific groups:
- Survivors of abuse
- Survivors of incest
- LGBTQ+ individuals
- Transgender individuals specifically
- Individuals or couples with neurodiversity
- People experiencing or recovering from addiction
- Racial or ethnic minorities
- People who have immigrated to your country
- People living with chronic or terminal illness People with personality disorders
- People with eating disorders
- Individuals living with disability
- People experiencing infertility
- Individuals who work in a certain industry or have certain professional responsibilities (such as the entertainment industry, executives, or first responders)
Did you know that we now offer a way for you to indicate you work with particular communities or industry professionals under “Industries & Communities Served?” If you haven’t updated your profile recently, do so now and see if there is anything you can add there. It’s another way for potential clients to find you. Don’t have a profile with GoodTherapy? Check out our membership options.
Specializing in a niche could also have more to do with your modalities than who your clients are. Some people start their search for a therapist with a specific therapy model, like brainspotting, play therapy, or the Gottman method, in mind. By training in a specific modality beyond what you learned in graduate school, you can open up a world of possibility for your practice.
Of course, you can also combine these elements — specific client populations and specific modalities — to craft the mental health niche that works best for you.
These ideas are by no means comprehensive. But they should get you thinking in the right direction when it comes to choosing a mental health niche.
Of course, you can’t just snap your fingers and decide to pursue any of these niches. You need to think long and hard about the niche you’re going to ultimately target so you can make the best decision for your clients and your career.
How Should I Decide My Mental Health Niche?
As you begin narrowing down the focus of your practice, here are some tips to keep in mind to increase the chances you make the best decision.
Make sure it makes sense to specialize in one niche
First things first: There’s no rule that says you have to focus on one mental health niche. In fact, there are many reasons why you might decide to run a more general therapy practice. For example, you might prefer dealing with a client base that is going through a wider variety of issues just to keep conversations fresh and different. Or, you might live in a rural area that doesn’t have many options for therapy. In either scenario, it may make more sense to operate as a general therapist.
Pick something that interests you
If you’re sold on targeting a mental health niche, research your options and think long and hard about what topics interest you on the deepest level. Not only will picking something that interests you make your job more enjoyable, it will also help you become the best therapist you can be because you’ll be actively engaged with each client instead of just going through the motions. When you truly like what you do every day, you’re much less likely to get burned out.
See how many competing practices exist in your area
For argument’s sake, let’s imagine that you’re thinking about offering therapy to people experiencing or recovering from substance addiction. Before you call it a day, do some research to see whether there are competing practices in your area. If a quick Google search reveals 10 therapists targeting the same niche within driving distance of you, you might want to reassess your options and pick a niche with less competition.
Understand things aren’t set in stone
Just because you orient your practice toward a specific niche doesn’t mean you can’t see clients outside that are going through different issues. After all, this is your practice we’re talking about here. It’s up to you to determine which clients to take on — and how narrow your niche should be. For example, you might decide to spend most of your time talking with victims of domestic violence. But you could still opt to see sexual assault victims on top of that.
Ready to learn more about choosing a niche for your practice?
Take a look at our CE course, How to Create a Hyper-Niche for Your Therapy Practice.
Premium and Pro members with GoodTherapy have unlimited access to our CE program. If you’re new to GoodTherapy, check out our a la carte and CE-only subscription options here.
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