A recent article in the NY Times about branding your psychotherapy practice sent readers into despair over what they saw as a selling out and a ruining of the profession. They questioned the author’s quick fix solutions and her training and commitment. I might not have panicked as the author did after only three months with no clients, but most readers didn’t see themselves as business people. As if that would diminish the care they delivered.
Branding, at its core, is defining in a deliberate way what differentiates you from others, making it easier for people to find you and make informed decisions about buying your product or service.
Branding, by itself, doesn’t compromise ideals; at its best, it reinforces them.
People in professions driven by ideals can suffer from viewing their services as too precious to be tainted by deliberate business activity.
But in the case of therapists, in order to heal, they have to get people in the door. The care starts before a client walks through the door by making it easier for them to find and choose the best person to work with. The challenge then is to describe who you help and what your philosophy is in their terms, not yours.
The resistance is understandable.
A fear of new territory.
A fear of more work.
A fear of taking a stand.
It’s far easier to think your work should speak for itself. But if you really help people through your work, you have to put your ideals to work in ways you hadn’t considered before.