Authentic marketing for mental health providers. Plus, download a list of marketing ideas for the most searched issues.

Jeff Guenther on May 30, 2017

Marketing is the last thing you want to worry about as a therapist. In my experience, the very idea of marketing can bring up all sorts of feelings for counselors. Marketing might make you feel overwhelmed, confused, helpless, bored, or any number of other negative emotions. As therapists, we are trained to sit in a room with someone and create a genuine connection. We are helpers and healers that enjoy analyzing and problem solving. Our job is to emotionally connect with our clients, not to think of savvy and creative ways to market to them. Am I right?

See what I did there? I authentically connected with your problem. As a therapist myself, it’s pretty easy to understand your emotional experience around marketing your mental health practice. I have experienced it many times in my career. I am trying to really get inside of your experience and show you that I totally get it and I feel your pain. Sure, I am doing this to bring you in and convince you to keep reading. But I also really understand it. This isn’t just some marketing lingo that I picked up from a focus group of therapists and counselors. I truly do get what you’re going through. And that is the key to “authentic marketing.” 

Take a look at the video. You’ll see an example of a healthcare company finding a creative way to authentically connect with their ideal patients and clients by showing them that they really understand and empathize with their experience.

One of the unique characteristics of most mental health issues is that they are invisible from the outside. Even as a trained mental health professional, chances are that you can’t walk into a restaurant and spot the person suffering from depression, PTSD, grief or relationship problems. We deal with mental health problems internally. Since they are not easy to spot at a glance, they can be hidden and go untreated for a long time. Because of this, the struggle and pain of a mental health issue might be experienced alone, with shame and stigma sometimes attached to it. As you market your practice by creating content for your website or therapist directory profile, it’s important that you keep this in mind because you could be the first person that is naming someone’s mental health issue and giving them hope through your understanding of their problem.

Authentic marketing is about creating a real emotional connection with your future client that makes them feel understood. Your empathy, along with your training and skills, will help create trust between you and your future client, and is the start of the healing relationship.

I hope that you can look at marketing the same way you view your first session with a client. It’s all about building rapport and creating trust. As a therapist, you’re a natural at that. All you need to do is showcase those abilities in your online marketing. 

As an added bonus, and to really get you thinking, I have come up with some authentic marketing ideas for some of the top issues that bring people into therapy. Use these ideas as a jumping off point when creating content for your website. For example, here are some authentic marketing ideas for relationship issues:

  • Describe a scene where a couple gets into an argument and one of them goes too far. How does each person in the relationship feel? 
  • Speak to the type of impact this type argument can have on the relationship if they happen often and are never addressed. 
  • Connect with how daunting it could be if this argument has been repeatedly experienced in past relationships.
  • Talk about how helpless the client could feel if it is tied back to their family of origin? 

Click here to download a list of more authentic marketing ideas for the following issues. 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Child or Adolescent Issues
  • PTSD
  • LGBTQ Issues
  • Family Conflict
  • Personal Growth
  • Self-esteem
  • Gender Identity

Jeff Guenther, LPC, is a therapist in Portland, OR. He has been in private practice since 2005. Jeff is the creator and owner of Portland Therapy Center, a highly ranked therapist directory. Jeff, and his team, have launched a new progressive therapist directory, TherapyDen.

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