Online directories for therapists are one of the ways that you can get referrals for your private practice. In fact, Psychology Today says Let Psychology Today find new clients for your practice. Sounds nice right? Pay a monthly fee and get the phone ringing. But do you really need a profile?

An online directory seeks to appeal to your desire to have help with filling your practice. However, for a directory to really make sense, you have to work at it. It is not a passive process. It takes constant tweaking and testing. No magic wands here!Truth is, it usually takes getting 1 new client a year from an online directory to offset the risk of having a listing. That is not a bad entry point at all. But lets face it, you want more than 1 client, right?!

  • Fast set up. In the time it takes you to purchase the domain name for your website and install a basic template you can set up a profile on Psychology Today. They give you the format and you simply fill out your profile and put up your picture. Con: You still need a website even if they say you dont. You have more control over formatting and the ranking of your website than if you were solely on a directory.
  • Great SEO. Directories like Psychology Today show up on the first page of google often when people are searching for a therapist in their area. The con: you are lumped in the search with everyone in your area. You get in line with potentially hundreds of other therapists to be seen.
  • Free trial. I always take advantage of free trials to test the market. Especially when I am trying new directories. However did you know, most associations also have directories that are part of your membership dues? Then after the free trial comes the monthly dues. Most directories are month to month and you can quit at anytime.
  • Free CEUs and other benefits. Its nice when directories take care of their membership. From free training to giving therapists a spotlight in a blog, many directories have added benefits beyond the listing. Con: Some offer benefits that arent so helpful such as a free trial with save your money and go with
  • Community. You arent alone on these directories and many afford an opportunity to build a network of therapists in your area, reach out for consultation or list an event you are hosting. Con: You arent alone. You typically put in line with a bunch of other people in your area wanting to be seen for treating depression. Dont worry though! We are going to show you how to stand out and shine in our next article.
  • Just the basics.With a limited space you have to get really clear about how you help. You are a quick advertisement in the blip of a persons search. Con: Many people are attracted to directories in hopes the directory will do the work for them. You have a short amount of time to connect with a person and stand out. Your website will do a better job of this. However, in an upcoming article we will discuss how to make an amazing profile.

  • Choose a directory that reflects your values. Some directories support causes or align with organizations that will not align with the mission of your private practice. Sacrificing your integrity is not worth signing up for a directory that doesnt clearly align with your values in your own work and life. Read their about pages, their vision statements and other information about the company. Look at how they present themselves and who associates with them.
  • Choose a directory where you can shine. How many people in your area on on the directory? Some limit the amount listed, others do not, which means it could take a while for you to be on the first page. Next, look at other people in your zip code and area on the directory. What do you think about their profiles? What issues, needs or specialities that you can fill are missing in your area? Look for opportunities like these when choosing a directory.
  • Choose a directory that will benefit you and the client. What are the listing options? What other benefits does the directory give you? Some allow blog posts where you can give great information to the community, others allow CEUs which enhance your training and knowledge base. Is it easy for the client to use and find what they are looking for? Do the profiles allow for the detail needed for you to target whom you seek to serve?

Take out a pen and paper or a spreadsheet and evaluate the directories. Here is a brief overview of some of the more popular directories.

Psychology Today: One of the largest online directories. They verify your license, however, para professionals can list on their directory as well. Their magazine is nationally known as well and can be found in many waiting rooms of private practices. Investment: $29.95/Mo.

Good Therapy: A directory that guarantees a referral within the first 3 months of your listing. With stricter guidelines for membership, Good Therapy offer CEUs for its members and opportunities to blog on their site. Investment: $24.95/Mo or $269/Yr.

Theravive: This is an online directory that is propelled by its values. This is where people typically decide if Theravive is for them or not. They also limit space for each area. This means you wont be co-listed with hundreds of other members as you would be in a bigger directory. Investment $269 to $299 a year.

Therapytribe: What makes this directory stand out is its use of tribes., separate websites geared towards a common issue such as depression. Investment: $20/mo or $199/yr with a 30 day money back guarantee.

Network Therapy: Network therapy is also popular in other countries and allows you to post articles, a video on your profile, and some audio features. Investment: $179/yr.

Also be sure to check out the directories that come for free with your association memberships and other free listings in your area.

There are so many options to fill when you sign up with an online directory, so how do you stand out amongst the crowd.

  • Headshot Before you just slap that family reunion pic up, take a moment to select an image that shows you how you look (no glamour shots either) when you go to session, that has you smiling and inviting. If you dont have a professional shot, for now, get something up there. Take a pic outside in a natural environment.
  • Title Along with your name, you usually can add a title or subtitle. Beyond your LMFT or LPCC you can add something like Marriage Help or Teen Specialist. Stand out just a little more from the get go with your title if the directory allows you to do so.
  • First sentence Before a person clicks to read your profile, you have 1 sentence usually to say Hey you, I can help you! If you profile starts out with I, youve missed the mark. This is about them. For tips on writing an amazing message, check out this article.
  • Specialties Pick the specialities that are authentically what you love working with and if you can also ones that arent listed heavily in the directory. Dont select things just so you show up all the time. You want to find the people that would be a best fit.
  • Location Some profiles allow you to list other zip codes that you serve. Choose ones that have fewer listings or are missing what you have to offer. Choose the ones where your ideal client lives.
  • Accuracy and Completion If you dont have a sliding scale, dont put that you do. If you only give superbills, then say that. Fill every option that you can. The information you give up front, the more the profile can help you select the best clients for you.

Once you get your profile loaded and complete, be sure to link it to your website as well. Go back and check your analytics monthly to see how many views, clicks and calls you have received. And remember, if it isnt working for you, thats ok. You have other marketing options.

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