Thoughts on Your Psychology Today Therapist Profile, by Jim Nolan, Ph.D.
I am a few months into private practice. I have been fortunate enough to get paneled with a bunch of folks (I think being a Psychologist in a town with relatively few Psychologists helped.)
When you write your “professional profile” for Psychology Today or Goodtherapy.org, you kind of fumble around at first. I did, anyway. Not sure what to say, what to leave out.
I listened to “Selling the Couch” podcasts (they’re on Facebook too—great group, by the way, for private practice dialogues and tips.) I learned a lot about profiles and presenting oneself.
Some learnings and observations:
- The average guy in the street does not have much of an idea what EMDR, EFT, CBT, DBT, Brain Spotting, or depth psychotherapy are. They just don’t. I decided not to lead with anything like that. I wouldn’t make them the focus.
- The “About You” section is not supposed to be about you!
- The key is helping prospective clients know how their life situation, relationships, whatever, can be improved by seeing you. The focus is on THEM. Their growth, relief, moving forward, NOT your wondrousness. (I know, you really ARE wondrous—they will figure that out—you don’t have to tell them…) You want them to feel that you are going to help them, by really hearing and being with them, NOT necessarily because you are the Second Coming.
- If you list twenty-seven things you specialize in, I think you are sending a not good message. Nobody is good at twenty seven things. If I tell you I am good with Aspergers, LGBTQ, trauma, TBI, depression, anxiety, bi-polar, clearing your energy, personality disorders, couples, kids, families, blended families, gay families, left-handed families, and people who wish their family didn’t suck, you lose track of who I am. I just seem to be nobody in particular, but I really need clients. That is the message, from my perspective. Focus. Be modest. Be intentional. Who do you WANT to see? Not “Who am I willing to see if they have cash?”
- Be really, really clear in your presentation what kind of person you are. What your values are. How you look at things, what you think “therapy” is. For example, I do not think I heal anybody, and I am not a proponent of the construct “psychopathology”, or “mental illness”; I believe we create much of our own experience. (Subtle message: “If your views are really different from mine, that’s fine—just don’t call me. If you like feeling like a victim, or like it is everybody else’s fault, or society’s fault, or whoever’s fault, don’t call me.”
- I like Positive Psychology, I like the Principle of Attraction, I like inspired people who want to manifest more in their lives. I want to work with people who believe they can make their lives better, even amazing, if they are willing to do the work.
- I have worked with lots of trauma in my professional life. I don’t want to do much of that work anymore. It is energetically too taxing at this point in my life. I am very happy that others love working with trauma. God bless ‘em. I don’t want to see families, either. Too chaotic for me. Some people LOVE families. That is so great, I can’t tell you.
I have gotten quite a few calls and emails, and it is pretty clear that people have actually READ my profile, resonated with something pretty specific, and they were calling me because of the connection they felt with my profile. Nobody has called who is a bad fit. I think my profile is responsible for that. I still re-read it and play with it every couple weeks, just to make sure it feels good today. I totally believe it is working.
(Small note: Notice, too, that I used a word like “suck”, and I have a picture of myself at the Taj Mahal. It is my belief that those two choices convey a lot of intentional information. If you think I don’t sound professional, don’t call me. If you think it makes me more “regular”, more approachable, great. If you resonate with, or are intrigued, by world travel, having a wide experiential base, a multiculturally-informed perspective, or just India, we might really connect. Call me. It’s all intentional–it is all meta-communication…)
Good luck with your private practice. (What an odd name for a type of business. Why “Private”? As opposed to what? Anyway…)
If I can be of any help, let me know…