How To Get Therapy Referrals

You’ve done the hard work to create a business, a website, and get listed in directories. You’ve heard all about how many people are looking for therapists... and yet your phone isn’t ringing like you expected. What gives?

The truth is, you can have amazing credentials and clinical skills, but that doesn’t translate to a full caseload. Having a sustainable practice means having enough clients to work with, month after month. But how can you get more clients when you need them, and most importantly — how can you get more of the right clients — the ones that fit your niche and specialty? A better match means you get to do your best work, your clients do better in therapy, and you’re less likely to burn out; all factors in a sustainable practice.

Getting therapy referrals from therapists and current or past clients is one key way to do this, and there are several tactics you can follow in order to obtain more therapy referrals. But it’s important to note these shouldn’t be thought of as just one-and-done strategies. Instead, think about getting therapy referrals as playing a long game. Your marketing and networking efforts need to be consistent in order to gain a healthy, ongoing flow of referrals that you can tap into when things are getting slow.

And when you have a burgeoning waiting list? Or when you get referred to a case that isn’t a fit for your practice? You can refer these prospective clients to OTHER qualified therapists. That’s how therapy referrals work. It’s a reciprocal, relational, and ongoing process.

Whether you’re just starting out or been in the profession for years, take a look at our 5 strategies below for getting more therapy referrals and growing your practice.

5 Ways to Obtain More Therapy Referrals

1. Focus on being excellent at what you do, and watch as word spreads fast.

This might seem too simple, but it’s one of the most surefire ways to grow a practice. If you focus on your training and skills, and know your strengths well enough to pick a niche that you excel within, you will quickly become known for it. Clients will refer you to other people, and those are often the most rewarding referrals. Keep in mind, seeing family members, friends, or close colleagues of clients may be inadvisable, as it’s difficult to manage conflicts of interest.

When someone is happy with their therapy experience, they tend to spread the word. That may be to their primary care physician, through private messages on a social media post, or by sharing your information “through the grapevine.” While it may not be an instant-gratification, being excellent and focused in your work will go miles in the long run.

2. Invest time or resources into digital marketing.

Digital marketing efforts can include creating and maintaining an optimized website and blog for Google (SEO) or using social media like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube. Not every digital marketing channel is for every therapist or practice, and the type of clients you are looking for will also impact which digital marketing avenue is best to pursue. Having a presence on social media and on Google, however, is not just to help clients find you. It can also help other therapists or professionals find you, too, if they are looking for the right therapist to refer a prospective client to.

It is most strategic to choose one or two platforms that will attract the clients or therapists you need and the platforms you can realistically dedicate time to on a consistent basis, rather than thinly trying to have a presence across the board.

Keep in mind, you’ll have clients seeing your posts. Never reference something that has happened in session, and be mindful about using content from a recent session to fuel your posts; it can often feel like a breach of confidentiality, even if you haven’t used names.

3. Attend (or host) in-person events.

Attend community events, join professional associations with in-person meetups, or even host an open house at your practice. Use these opportunities to introduce yourself, create a memorable connection, and establish a way to continue the relationship, like setting up a lunch or coffee date.

Some of these individuals may not be therapists or clients — however, they may know one. Having a well-rounded network gives multiple points of entry to your practice. It can also help introduce a client that needs you who may not otherwise be connected to you.

Have business cards or brochures on hand to help better cement an initial connection.

4. Join an insurance company panel.

Joining an insurance panel is another way to increase therapy referrals because many prospective clients will use their insurance company’s website to find a therapist. However, there are pros and cons to taking insurance, and you’ll want to do your research to see if this is a good fit for you.

5. Join a secure online network, like Consult List.

While there are a few online networks available, not all of them are secure and founded on a grassroots mission to improve access to quality mental healthcare and increase privacy in the referral process. Consult List is a growing online platform built for therapists, by therapists, where PII is always protected. It’s a network of dedicated therapists who are committed to solving the mental health crisis in America by increasing access to quality mental health care.

Join Consult List for free — and simply raise your hand when a case fits your practice. This is how you can open the door to more therapy referrals, instantly.

Ready to learn more about Consult List? Click here to start finding more good-fit clients today.