Staying Sane When You Need Therapy Clients in the Door
It’s natural for our therapeutic caseloads to ebb and flow. It’s also natural for our levels of fear and worry to eb and flow with them.
As an art therapist in private practice, I’ve written before about discerning when to invest more in marketing and when to trust the systems in place.
We don’t want to constantly be hustling.
But what if you’re in a period where you REALLY need clients? A period where you recognize that THIS is the time to invest time, effort, and possibly money into marketing.
First off, if that’s you, congratulations. This will be a period of immense growth.
Second, my heart is with you. I know it’s also grueling and scary.
When you’re in a space of needing more therapy clients NOW, it can be difficult to manage both personal and professional time.
When you’re not working, you may struggle to let yourself rest when you know there is something else you could be doing. It may also be difficult to switch your brainstorming mind off.
When you’re at work, it can be challenging to discern how to best use your time and efforts. This is where a plan with limits comes into play.
I’m a huge proponent of blocking out time on task. You decide what days you will work on marketing and for how many hours. These boundaries will serve you when you’re outside of work and you’re tempted to do more. I often remind myself, “Now Jackie, you have marketing time set aside on Wednesday, so you don’t need to worry about that now.”
This doesn’t need to be your marketing schedule forever. Maybe it’s just your marketing schedule until you reach your ideal caseload number.
As for WHAT you do with your marketing time, a plan is also essential. You can start by writing down all of the ideas that come to mind (including researching more marketing ideas). If you’re needing clients immediately, then you prioritize marketing tasks that will help you get clients immediately.
In my previous essay “When have I done enough marketing” I defined the following marketing tasks as essential:
Creating a website that truly captures you (great design, copy, photos, SEO, etc.).
Having a clearly defined niche that differentiates you from other therapists.
Creating new referral networks (reaching out to other therapists, creating consultation groups, etc.).
Refining copy wherever you advertise your services (making ourselves stand out on Psychology Today, etc.).
After this foundational layer, the marketing is up to you and your personality. In my essay on “Marketing as an Art Therapist”, I share that there are ENDLESS ideas when it comes to marketing in the long-run. I’ve heard therapists do everything from newsletters to Tik Toks to blogging to podcasts and more. It’s impossible to do them all, so we have to select marketing tasks that are sustainable - which means picking things that we enjoy doing or can pay others to do for us (which we may or may not have the funds to do).
For me, I like to keep my marketing budget low and marketing tasks within my control. I enjoy working on my website and I also love writing essays. For you, it might look like creating a YouTube channel.
With time, our client acquisition system will run more naturally. It will not require as much effort, time, or money as when we are building to our ideal caseload number.
As we’re building though, let’s not suffer our way through it. Let’s put structure and systems in place so that we can still joyfully do what we’re called to.
Need help creating a marketing plan and systems?
I help therapists create their ideal private practices.