Two mental health professionals arm wrestling You’re a clinician, you get it. You say it all the time to clients, but do you know it? There really, truly, is only one of you.

One unique, distinct person with a particular set of genetics, conditioning, training, and expertise. One individual situated in the right time and in the right place, perhaps to really solve a problem.

Worrying about the competition in private practice does not help you serve your clients best. 

Don’t try to copy models or practices that appear successful. Instead, listen carefully for your own beat, and begin the march. Being the best professional expert you can be is a brilliant way to start or reposition any practice.

Some evidence suggests that identifying and fortifying one’s areas of strength can not only help increase an individual’s happiness levels over time, but increase an individual’s chances of becoming exceptional at what they do. 

Your brand is the niche you fill for the clients you care most about. When you reframe your mindset from competing to strengthening your business, you are making the decision to focus on enhancing your practice and prioritizing your clients’ experience in therapy.

Focus on Using Your Expertise to Help Your Clients

Part of your brand is you—your essence—and is driven by what you are most passionate about. 

This holds true even if you’re building a clinic or group practice. It still needs to be positioned in terms of what the client desires and what problems you intend to solve.

It never works to copy a formula or try to be someone else. 

Too often, we may become distracted with one another, the “competition”. In the process, we forget to look at who matters most: our clients. What are they going through, and what is your approach to helping? How will the client feel after you have helped them?

Selling self-transformation is a type of sale, even if the word “sale” is not your word of choice. 

Great sales begin with identifying the issue someone is dealing with, and perhaps more importantly, clearly outlining how the person may feel after your therapeutic approach has been implemented.

When you fill a unique niche, competition may do more harm than good. Instead, focus on the mutually beneficial relationships you can foster with other mental health professionals in your area. If you both serve niche demographics, you may find you can refer clients to each other. This way, everyone wins: your clients get therapy with a professional who has experience treating their particular issue, and you and your colleague get the chance to work with clients you are most skilled at helping.

If you’re looking for ways to zero in on your niche and start building up your professional strengths, GoodTherapy is a great place to start. Peruse our online continuing education library and earn CE credits focused on your area of specialty. Become a GoodTherapy Member and receive more good quality referrals and an ever expanding pool of professional resources crafted to help you reach your highest professional potential.


Howe, L. (2016, May 24). A self-improvement secret: Work on strengths. Scientific American. Retrieved from