Filling your therapy practice using authenticity
Who do you get really excited about? Is there someone who when you hear their name, or a particular topic comes up you just WANT to talk about them?
Bruce Perry, MD, PhD is like that for me. I was just starting graduate school when I landed a job at a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault center as a case manager. One major perk of the job, was a 75 hour intensive training in the areas of trauma and direct service. To be honest, it wasn't until after I completed graduate school that I realized just how LUCKY I was to have that type of training.
In the midst of many guest speakers, video lectures, articles, etc. I watched one 20 minute video of Dr. Perry... it rocked my world. One 20 minute video connected with me on such a deep level- I immediately knew my thesis would be inspired by that video, it has informed my work from that day forward, and I become something of a Bruce Perry groupie...
Actually- I don't know what the term is- but anytime he was presenting within driving distance- I was THERE! I must've seen him present 10 times in the span of a few years.
What does this have to do with having a full, thriving (cash-pay) private practice and getting referrals?
You see, during that 20 minute video- I HEARD his passion, and it was energizing and exciting to me. Partially because it aligned with some passions of my own-but that isn't the only reason. To be honest, there are researchers out there that have some work and theories that resonate deeply with me- but the authenticity just isn't there. I have a big ol', huge really, BS detector and I can spot someone faking tears from a mile away. Crying on command? And then using that to pitch your products? No, thank you. Back to the point.
How many people have I shared his books, speaking, thoughts, website with over the years? Hundreds, thousands... I mean- this article alone will be shared with over 10,000 therapists around the world. Seriously- you should go check out his Child Trauma website, or YouTube videos.
Letting yourself be known
When is the last time you let someone in and really let them hear your passion? When is the last time you sat down and really explored personally your deep down passion?
People talk about the idea of determining their "ideal clients" like it is an intellectual exercise, but truly- drilling down into who you should, who you must, see in your private practice- it is an emotional exercise. It is allowing yourself to be full present and honest with yourself about what makes your heart skip a beat, and what makes you recoil.
Authenticity has nothing to do with self-disclosure.
Can you feel it, sense it when someone is speaking passionately about something they truly believe in? Allow yourself to tap into a particular issue that you in your heart you are meant to tackle, something that you think can change the world and share that with your friends, family, colleagues, personal trainer, neighbor, etc.
When you give the old standard, general I see everybody vanilla therapist response- it hides you. It puts your work behind a curtain.
People sharing about people that they know, like, and trust.
Just remember- when you go to a therapist event and you hear 15 therapists all describe that they see individuals, families, and couples from 8-80- do you walk away with a clear connection and recollection to that person?
Or, is there someone who speaks about their passion, eyes shining bright, you feel the energy and it sticks with you. They don't have to give any personal details about their life to show that piece of themselves.
Developing an Elevator Pitch for your Private Practice
Maybe you might say this blog is about developing an elevator pitch for your private practice- but it isn't. An elevator pitch that isn't authentic to who you are won't resonate with people. It won't get them excited and make them WANT to tell people about you.
When you allow people to see that little glimpse- whether it is done in 30 seconds or 30 minutes- it will change the conversation!
And no, allowing people to know about your therapy passion doesn't mean you can't have a diverse practice! This is just one of the common misconceptions about speaking from a place of passion- that keeps therapists hiding their true passion and brilliance!
Your private practice building homework
So, here is a quick little exercise to complete to help you build your practice:
- Why did you enter this field? Truly, what called you into this work?
- What did you initially envision your work would look like after graduation (before you knew any better)?
- List out 10 books you would LOVE to read and devour in a night.
- What clients create a beautiful emotional reaction of "yes- this is why I do what I do?"
- If someone was going to give you a billion dollars as a therapist to reach out and really touch a specific healing/helping issue- what would it be?
Yes, your passions and specialization change, shift, and develop over time. However, I find that many people actually don't stray that far from their initial passion and energy. Spend some time today, dig in, get inspired, dig deep- and feel free to share your passion below!
Want to dig deeper with us? We have a free training next week about the ins and outs of developing a specialization or niche that will get people raving about you! Grab your free private practice training entry here. Yes, it will be recorded- if you can't be present live- just register for the event and we'll send you the recording after the fact!
Oh- and if you are looking for more nitty gritty details and accountability in building, expanding, or launching your cash-pay private practice- grab a Business School Bootcamp for Therapists interview today. Our next group coaching session is August 11th- and we'd love to help you get on track today!