All Things Private Practice Podcast for Therapists

Episode 121: Marketing Authenticity and Client Relationships in Private Practice [featuring Ryan Schwartz]

Show Notes

In this episode, Patrick Casale and Ryan Schwartz dive deep into marketing strategies and imposter syndrome in private practice, highlighting the importance of therapists separating their self-worth from business outcomes and using relatable, hopeful, and authentic language in their marketing materials to attract and connect with clients.

They emphasize the need for therapists to showcase their personalities, understand clients' experiences, and create a sense of hope and connection in their profiles to foster meaningful client relationships and successful private practices.

Here are the top 3 key takeaways:

1️⃣ Authenticity is Key: Therapists should focus on their training and ability to help clients feel hopeful and connected in their marketing materials. Crafting relatable, real-life profiles is a powerful way to attract and retain clients.

2️⃣ Language Matters: Using non-diagnostic terms and everyday language can help therapists better connect with potential clients. Embracing relatable examples and metaphors can bridge the gap and create an immediate sense of relationship.

3️⃣ Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Recognizing the overwhelming aspects of starting a private practice, including imposter syndrome, and pivoting profiles to focus on hopefulness and supporting the right clients can lead to greater success and client engagement.

More about Ryan:

Ryan Schwartz believes that therapists can heal our world, but only if they feel supported, connected, and able to thrive. That’s why he created Mental Health Match, a platform that connects independent therapists to the clients they love to work with. Prior to founding Mental Health Match, he was a communications strategist who used words and stories to bring people together and create social change. Ryan is also a co-founder of TherapistsDAO, a therapist community building the first large-scale clinic completely owned, governed, and designed by therapists. 

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I would also like to thank Alma for sponsoring this episode.

Alma makes it easy and financially rewarding to accept insurance. When you join their insurance program, you can get credentialed within 45 days and access enhanced reimbursement rates with major payers. They also handle all of your paperwork from eligibility checks to claim submissions, and they guarantee payment within two weeks of each appointment. You can also attract clients who are the right fit for your practice with a free profile in Alma's searchable directory. Additionally, Alma offers time-saving tools and administrative support, so you can spend less time on paperwork and more time delivering great care to your clients.

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✨ The Receptionist for iPad:

I would also like to thank The Receptionist for iPad for sponsoring this episode.

As you prepare for the new year as a private practice owner, one area of your business where you might be able to level up your client experience is from the moment that they enter your office and check in with you. For many private practices, the client check-in process can be a bit awkward and confusing.

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PATRICK CASALE: Hey, everyone, you're listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice podcast. I'm your host, Patrick Casale. I'm joined today by Ryan Schwartz. He is the founder of Mental Health Match. A lot of you may already know of their services, directory listings for therapists who are in private practice to help you stand out, help you attract more clients.

And today we're going to talk about marketing strategies, impostor syndrome of being a founder or owner of a business, and everything in between. So, Ryan, thank you so much for making the time and coming on.

RYAN SCHWARTZ: Hey, thanks so much, Patrick. I'm so excited to share lessons not only just from being a founder, but you know, we've had almost a million people come in and use Mental Health Match and so we've learned a whole lot along the way about what makes good marketing and what makes a good profile stand out. I'm really excited to share that with your listeners today.

PATRICK CASALE: Thanks a million. That is impressive. So, congratulations on that, especially because, you know, there's so many different directory sites, and listing pages, and places you can market yourself. And I've definitely seen Mental Health Match's name thrown around much more over the last couple of years, which is nice to see, because we need some diversification.

And so tell us a little bit about like, why did you start Mental Health Match? Like, where did that come from? And what really was the catalyst for that?

RYAN SCHWARTZ: Yeah, well, first of all, thanks for the recognition. And I'm laughing because it's always hard to celebrate your wins sometimes. I'm like, so needy, bended. And so it's great to hear just somebody else say like, "Congratulations." And I forget to do that sometimes. I think a lot of us forget to celebrate our wins, so [CROSSTALK 00:02:32]-

PATRICK CASALE: Let us all take a second to just celebrate whatever win you have going on if you're listening. Like, however minuscule it may seem, because I do think when we're in it, we don't celebrate it, we just move on to the next thing, and we're worried about the next thing that could go wrong. So, a million people-

RYAN SCHWARTZ: Absolutely.

PATRICK CASALE: …that's pretty fucking remarkable.

RYAN SCHWARTZ: Thank you, thank you. And so we've come a very far away from when we first started. I started Mental Health Match out of personal experience as a client. It's almost been 10 years but I suddenly lost my mom, and I was grieving, and really didn't know where to turn my head down. I was back home in Texas with my dad and needed a therapist there. I was just very overwhelmed and started the process of finding a therapist, which, you know, as most folks know can be a little intimidating, and was just really striking out with all of the kinds of things that people tell you, they say, "Oh, you know, go to your insurance or go use Psychology Today."

And when you're already in a state of overwhelm those things are not helpful until I managed to finally find somebody and we kind of move through my grief, and realize that, you know, therapists often speak a clinical language. Most clients don't speak that language. And there's just this mismatch between how we connect these two different groups and my background. And working with social change organizations, and communications, I was really focused on like, how do we connect groups that speak differently and speak different languages?

And so I thought, you know, I wonder if there's room here to improve along the directory experience and really help people find what they're looking for quickly, really help therapists get their best profile out there, and find the clients that they want, and that are a good match for them.

So, we started really small. We created a matching system and algorithm that's gotten better over time. And we started locally in Houston. And I just kept getting a lot of really positive feedback. There are therapists on the site who told me that they got clients who were coming their way that probably wouldn't have made it to therapy if it wasn't as easy as Mental Health Match made it which was really, really reassuring that we're doing something right for folks.

And then we have lots of therapists who talked about, you know, just being able to build their practice with clients who are really good fit or if their practice was already filled, be able to pivot to kind of private pay or to more of a niche, and so from that we just got really encouraged to keep growing. And at this point, we're fully national. And we serve somewhere around 15,000 clients a week come to the site, looking at their profiles.

PATRICK CASALE: This is another moment where we can pause to take it in, right? Like 15,000 clients a week are receiving mental health support because of your vision and creation. That's a lot of trickle-down and ripple effect on the mental health community at large.

RYAN SCHWARTZ: Yeah, thank you. It's a great way to start this conversation with a few celebrations. You know we'll get into this too, but I think that there are ways that I was kind of like a naive founder and kind of learned a whole lot in the process. And we're really excited about coming out with version two of our service which is in the works. We're thinking about even better ways that we match people and make it easier for both clinicians and clients.

PATRICK CASALE: I love that. You made a lot of important points that I want to touch upon. And number one is that when you're feeling overwhelmed, and you're looking for a therapist, the last thing you want to do is scroll through like page after page after page. And then after that, what you really don't want to do is scroll through page after page after page of people who sound like walking DSM-5s, and who do not showcase their personality, or discuss your own struggles, because that's what the client experience is looking for right? Like, I want to know that you get what I'm going through, that you can support my experiences. I don't want to really know about all the trainings you've gone to, the different modalities you incorporate into the session, that you'll walk alongside me, that you're empathetic. All of those things are kind of expected and intuitive in nature.

So, I help people rewrite their profiles constantly and their web pages to reflect much better a sense of not only their own personalities, but really what's most important is the client experience. Like, why is the client coming to therapy? What are they looking for? Why are they picking up the phone or searching online?

And I think that's really important, because before we started recording I mentioned, if I had to guesstimate conservatively like I would imagine 95% of mental health professionals have absolutely zero business training or knowledge while starting a private practice. So, you're already feeling overwhelmed with all the details. Like what's an EIN? What's an NPI? Do I do insurance? Do I do private pay? Like, how do I set my rates? How do I choose a business name? All the things.

And then you have to think about like, how do I attract clients? Is the phone actually going to ring? Which I think is one of the most horrifying feelings when you are leaving your agency job or just starting a business in general. Like, is what I'm offering actually going to work?

And I think there is so much impostor syndrome rooted in founding any business, whether it's a private practice, a larger corporation, anything in between, there is such a feeling of impostor syndrome, self-doubt, and insecurity, because as entrepreneurs, so much of ourselves is put into our business and there can almost feel like a correlation between failure and sense of self.

RYAN SCHWARTZ: Oh, absolutely, right? I mean, I think a lot of self-worth gets wrapped up in outcomes of the business, which is a really good first process to unlearn when you are an entrepreneur and find the value and your self-worth that is separate from the outcomes of business, lots of things can affect the business. The fact that you are even taking risks to follow a dream, to follow kind of your hope for some independence and to create your own business like that risk-taking is where your self-worth just come from, the fact that you even did it or interested in doing it. It's when your self-worth gets tied up with outcomes of the business that things get even heavier, right? And so the uncertainty, and the confusion, and the fear really take hold. And that's not the place where you can make good decisions from a business perspective, right?

And we see this, I think, with a lot of therapists who come to write marketing material, to write profiles is that they're starting from a place of confusion, and overwhelm, fear. And they lose sight of the key fact, which is actually when it comes to marketing and clients, like, your therapist training is what you need. You just need to relate to somebody and help them feel a sense of hope, and a sense of connection, and feel seen. And it's what you do every day in a therapy space that should be guiding your marketing materials. But if you're coming from a place of overwhelming, uncertainty, and fear, you lose sight of that.

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely. Well said. I mean, I say this all the time. And I firmly believe that our niche, to some degree, is a version of ourselves. So, if we do believe that to be true, you already know what the client is struggling with. It may not be the exact same situation. But like, example one, I talk a lot about my former gambling addiction. And I talk about it because you just hit on something really important, feeling seen and feeling like there's a glimmer of hope, because in your writing you can instill a glimmer of hope, you can create a sense of safety and security in just your content. And that sometimes comes with a little bit of disclosure, because you're not disclosing to self-serve, because I know there will be some people be like, "No, never self-disclose."

But in reality, disclosure actually offers a glimmer of hope, because if I can send that message out there that you can recover from this gambling addiction, and then get a master's degree, and then own multiple businesses, like, that can pull someone out of some really deep dark places that they don't know if there's relatability. And this work is relational. So, we are trying to forge and build relationships all the time, and mental health therapists are experts at building relationships.

But I think you're right, when you're overwhelmed, when you're feeling like it's just too much, I don't know what to do, I don't know where to start, I don't have any guidance, your marketing feels pressured and panicked. And it feels like it's not necessarily in alignment with, one, your value system, two, your personality, and three, it doesn't really necessarily always feel authentic, because you're doing what you think you're supposed to be doing.



RYAN SCHWARTZ: That's exactly it. Yeah, no, I mean, that's exactly it, right? And you've been trained academically. And so where you fall back on is this academic perspective that is exactly right. You sound like the DSM, right? And nobody resonates with that. Very few clients resonate with that.

And so, you know, if you put yourself into the shoes that you would wear in a therapy space, you know, if you had somebody come to you, and say like, this is what I'm struggling with, you would not say, "Oh, I'm so glad you're here. I specialize in working with clients who are ages 8 -88." And that doesn't help the person who's in the room, right?

And so even just grounding yourself in the confidence that you have the training to do this, you do it every day, you just have to translate what you would do in a therapy space to kind of a client on a profile. But think about, you know, where are they coming from? They're coming from a place of, they're scared, they're overwhelmed, they have strong emotions. And so just grounding yourself in that reality for the client and speaking to that, by being able to make a connection with them, reflecting back at them, what they might be experiencing, and giving them a glimmer of hope. That is what makes for a really good profile. I mean, that's what we see time and time again, when we look at the data.

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely. And the thing about it, right? Is like, I know you see probably even more profiles than I do. And you own a company which is exclusively creating profiles for therapists. But when people ask me to audit their pages or their websites, and I look at it all sounds the same. It's always going to sound like a resume or a DSM, "I incorporate TF-CBT, EMDR, ACT, IFS. And if I was a client who had no mental health knowledge, or language, or experience, I would be like, "What the fuck does this mean?" And ultimately, what's going to happen is they will spend about three seconds on your page before deciding, "Got to move on to the next person."

And what I see is when we're creating these generic profiles, when we're more marketing in this generic way as in like, all-encompassing, I always say you can't be the Applebee's of therapy, you can't do it all. Applebee's is going to sue me one day. But in reality, like you can't do it all. And that's why networking is so crucial. And that's why, like, finding the right landing spots are so important. But really what happens is if people are just calling you because you're speaking very generically, like I work with ages 8 - 88, all these issues, all these things, what's going to happen is you're going to end up not being the right fit after a couple of sessions for this person, they're going to ghost you, they're going to terminate, you're going to start questioning, "Am I a good therapist? Like, is there something wrong? Am I doing something wrong in the room?"

In reality, what I see most of the time, if we can always default back to the relationship is the most important, rapport is the most important catalyst for change, and safety, and security in the therapy space, it doesn't matter about all the interventions. You could be the most clinically sound therapist in the world, but if your rapport isn't there, it's not going to matter. And what will happen is those clients will continue to leave, you'll have a lot of transition, a lot of turnover, the impostor syndrome will really ramp up, your anxiety and your marketing will really ramp up, you'll start throwing your name into every single Facebook thread of like, "I'll take that client, I'll take that client. Oh, $12 a session, yeah, I can do that." And all of a sudden, you've recreated your agency environment that you were so desperately trying to get out of.

RYAN SCHWARTZ: Yeah, absolutely. And you'll burn yourself right out, right? And you know, one of the things I think is really important for people to remember, half of all traffic looking for a therapist is on a phone. And so when you put yourself not only in a client who's overwhelmed, but then they're on a phone, and when you're scrolling on a phone, like, we all know, you know, if you've been looking for a TV show or you've been looking for a restaurant, like, you just scroll and the minute something doesn't click with you, you don't even have time to like, you don't even cognitively process it you just, like, react and move on, right?

And so, when you have a profile that sounds super generic or it's very jargon-heavy, it's got loads of clinical language, most clients will just move on without even giving it second thought. I don't even know if you get three seconds. Like it's often very reactive.

And, you know, we do get from time to time, there's always a therapist who's like, "Just give me everyone and I'll sort them out later." And six months later they're not saying that anymore because they're overwhelmed, they have spent so much time on consultation calls that go nowhere. They spend so much time in the first session that go nowhere. And then they just get burned out really fast.

And you know, Mental Health Match, we really believe that the alliance starts actually on your profile. It's where the client starts develop a relationship with you and develops assumptions about who you are. And it's really important to make that connection at front and make sure that the client thinks that they're a good fit for you, that you know you're a good fit for them, and you can actually start doing the work together.

PATRICK CASALE: It's perfectly said. And I think that there's so many things we could unpack here that are deeply embedded within the therapist communities of like, I'm supposed to take everyone that calls me. That's just like how I've been trained in my community mental health and my grad school program. I have to speak this way. Like, I can't showcase my personality or highlight anything that feels like it's not robotic, head nodding, sounding boredish.

But I really do think we're seeing a shift in the era of psychotherapy. I think COVID brought that about because so many people were like, "I am no longer working for a company that doesn't treat me well. I'm going to start my own thing."

And then you mentioned something that's really important, the propensity for burnout increases significantly when you are not working with clients who are your ideal clients. And in my coaching programs, one of the most important things we do is identify the clients who are not your ideal clients, because knowing your ideal client and your niche is crucial, knowing the clients that you really don't feel prepared for, or comfortable to work with, or you just don't enjoy is equally as important. But that conversation brings up a lot of emotion for therapists, especially, shamefulness, especially guilt of, "I'm not allowed to turn these people away."

But I always think about it like this, borderline personality disorder gets a horrendous stigma in the mental health community. However, there are people in your community who absolutely love working with clients who might meet that client profile and avatar and identify that way. That is why it is so, so important to learn who is in your community, who works with who, who specializes in which populations?

Because when a client reaches out to you, and you're already thinking like, "This isn't really a good fit for me, but I don't know how to say that." You'll end up taking the client on. And then ultimately, like you said, discharging, termination, it won't last long, whatever the case may be. But if you were just able to say, "You know, I don't really specialize in working with this struggle, or I'm not really the best fit, but I know that Ryan is, and I know Ryan has openings" All the client wants is the ideal landing spot to know that they are going to have the support from someone who really is excited to work with them. And that really makes a difference when you look at your calendar every week that you set for yourself and you're like, "I am so excited to see the clients that I'm seeing." Like, that feeling is why you're creating your own practice is to be able to have the autonomy and the freedom to do that.

I know this is a very long-winded rant, I could talk about this all day. But I really do think it's important to start aligning yourself with like, who are the clients that energize you? What are the areas that you feel really, really passionate about supporting?

RYAN SCHWARTZ: Yeah. And Patrick, I love the flip side of that question, because sometimes you have to start with who is not the fit for me, right? So, you know, we always ask clinicians like what issue areas do you not see? If you don't see borderline personality disorder, you can see [INDISCERNIBLE 00:22:05] like, put that here, and we will make sure that we won't show your clients who say that that's an issue for them.

And so I love like that as an approach to start to figure out, okay, well, who do I really want to see? I think it's really challenging for a lot of folks, I think, especially when you're coming from a fear or scarcity mentality, it's really hard to say like, I'm only going to see these types of folks, and I'm not going to see these other ones, because you might be turning away, folks. But this is what it means to create a long-term sustainable therapy practice.

And, you know, I will say it is okay to not know who that is, it is okay to not know your niche. But try some things on and it is really important for your profile, or any marketing materials to talk about a niche, because clients, you know, we talked about, they want to feel hope, they want to feel seen, and they want to feel a sense of connection with you as a human. And in order to help them feel seen, you have to have some kind of specialization. That, "I see ages 8 - 88, I see everything under the sun." Like, that doesn't help a client feel seen.

And so even if you don't know your niche, yet, even if you don't know what type of clients energize you, try something on and say, okay, I'm going to make this profile and I'm going to go for this niche, because I think it interests me. Try it on for a little bit, you can make a different profile, and a different site with a different niche. You can change your marketing in a couple of months to try on a different niche.

And I think that this is where people get hung up, because they say, "Oh, in order for me to write this profile of this specific niche, I have to make a long-term career commitment to seeing these folks."

And that's not true, right? There's a difference between how you're align yourself in your career, and what you're going to put on your profile. And I think putting on a profile, you need to have some sort of specialization to help clients say like, "Oh, this person gets me or like, this is the person for me." But you can change that, right? It's not a commitment, it's just a message for the moment.

PATRICK CASALE: And I love that. That's so important for people to remember, because I think that when you're choosing a niche that's exactly what comes up is the permanence, this is what I have I have to do forever. What if this is really not my jam? Like, what if my interests change? Your niche will evolve over time, just like your career will evolve over time. And what happens? Really important that you mentioned, when you solidify yourself in a niche, in your community, it is going to take time, it's going to take patience, it's going to take testing things out. But ultimately, what's going to happen is you're going to become known as the go-to referral source for X population, or X struggle.

And that is so, so important, because like, when I started, I only worked with men, male-identifying clients who were struggling with addiction, similar to myself. And I did a lot of networking with halfway houses, detox centers, rehabs, addiction treatment centers in the area, because we have a ton in western North Carolina. And ultimately, what happened is, you start to see that all of the clients calling you have a similar commonality in terms of struggle area, and then you become known in the community as that referral source. But I didn't want that to be my career forever, for a variety of reasons. And that evolved over time.

And then as that evolved, you change up your marketing, but you kind of go back to what work. Like, I'm going to solidify myself in this niche, in this population. And I teach people how to write content so that when you're speaking to your ideal client, you're also speaking to other clients who might have experienced something similar so that when people feel like, "If I niche down too much, no one else is going to call me." That's really not the reality.

In the reality, if you can learn how to write, so, for example, if we take anxiety, depression, PTSD, some commonly thrown out diagnostic terms and experiences, and you break those down without actually saying depression, or anxiety, or PTSD, and you just highlight what it's like to experience anxiety on a daily basis, personally, professionally, in relationships, etc., someone else is going to read that and be like, "That feels like my experience, I'm going to call this person."

So, really trying to highlight these experiences without using the diagnostic terms. And it's a really useful skill that I've seen that I use in my coaching programs that has really helped people start to conceptualize like, I can write content without having to like, use this term over and over and over again, and still attract other clients as well.

RYAN SCHWARTZ: Yeah, you know, you really just hit on something that I think is super important here, which is, people use simple language to describe their feelings. The best profiles that we see on Mental Health Match don't use any kind of clinical language like anxiety or depression. They just talk about those feelings, and oftentimes, they help put into words what people might be experiencing, but haven't put into words for themselves. And when somebody looks at that, they go, "Oh, my gosh, this person is talking about me."

I have an example here, one of the profiles on our site, this profile, 66%, two-thirds of the people who will get this profile end up contacting this therapist, which is really, really high for our site. But I'm looking at it and they talk about things like, you know, I specialize in working with people who feel overworked and unappreciated. My clients are the go-to person and their family/friend circle and work, and although they've checked all the boxes of what they're supposed to do, they're questioning who am I really and what makes me happy?

But that is a really good way, you know, that doesn't say anything clinical. It's not clinical jargon. It's just experience level. Like, and it really reaches people. And like two-thirds of the people who see this profile go to contract with therapists. And that's huge, right? It's very connective, it's very reflective of people, it allows yourself to kind of establish who you are in relationship with your clients. So, I think that that's really great.

And then when you look on the flip side, we see profiles, like nobody contacts them, it is the like, just the laundry list of clinical terms, whether that's modalities or its clinical specialties. But even things like anxiety and depression, you know, there are going to be some people who do say, like, "Oh, I'm looking for help with anxiety and depression." But there's other people who are not naming those things, who are not calling themselves depressed. So, it's really great to just use that everyday language that matches with people's experiences.

And that's really hard to do, unless you're really kind of centering yourself in what the client is experiencing. So, you know, what is it like when they walk in through the door into your therapy space? Like, how do you relate to them in that space versus the like, "I don't know what I'm supposed to write. And I'm going to go back to my clinical training and just like write down a bunch of words." It's really helpful to kind of ground yourself.

And, you know, we often say to folks, like, think about writing this just to your ideal client, maybe you have an ideal client from the past few months that you're working with. And when you first sat down with them, what did you say to them? Like, go put yourself back in that mindset. It's really helpful to have like a specific person in mind, so you don't fall back on just the clinical jargon stuff.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely. I love that. I even use like, you know, if it's harder to access that, like, "Oh, I was in community mental health, and I worked with everybody, I don't really have an ideal client." Okay, who is a favorite TV show or movie character? And what would they be picking up the phone to call you for if they needed therapy? Like, to really get outside of the box in terms of creatively writing, and actually using experience highlighting like examples and metaphors, using current media references, whether it be highlighting shows. Like I'm wearing a Ted Lasso shirt right now. I will use Ted Lasso references in my writing. I'm a big Lord of the Rings fan. I use Lord of the Rings references in my writing, like, to be able to connect with those people who are really drawn to similar things. And I think it's really important.

And, you know, in my group practice, my clinicians who really take this advice that we're talking about, their ideal clients are contacting them all day long. And then we have some therapists who just rely on the fact that we take several insurances and are kind of more broad and generic, and they get a much more diverse clientele, but the clientele don't seem to stay around as long, because they're not exactly niched in.

And if I scroll through my Facebook group right now, on any given day, in All Things Private Practice, there is at least five therapists asking about their content, asking about their profile pages, wondering why the calls are not coming. So, if you all can really embrace what Ryan and I are talking about and really shift into this mindset of just trying to be relatable, relational, offering a glimmer of hope, and just highlighting some experiences, because even the term as simple as anxiety may be for most people in the mental health world, some people never use that language.

And it feels, you know, like, this is a basic term that everyone knows, but some people don't have the language to put to anxiety. So, maybe they are overthinking everything they do. Maybe they are thinking worst-case scenario about everything that happens, maybe there's tightness in their chest constantly. But they don't have that language to say, "But I'm experiencing generalized anxiety disorder."

So, in reality, if you can just highlight those experiences that you may go through on a daily basis as well, I myself do, then it's very easy to start putting the language to things and making it relatable, so that when someone's looking at your page, oh, yeah, this is the therapist for me, for sure.

RYAN SCHWARTZ: Yeah. You know, there's somebody close in my life who recently told me, they don't have anxiety, they just have a gut intuition that something bad is going to happen. Which I love, but it's like, you know, I laugh at it. But it's also, you know, people don't use those terms, those terms can be stigmatized, those terms can be unknown. And so, you know, if you're with a client in a therapy space, like, you wouldn't necessarily ask him, are they experiencing anxiety? But you would ask them, like, are they feeling the tightness in the chest? Or like, where do they feel that? And I think that that's really helpful for your profile as well, because people just don't have the… they're not speaking the same language as you do as a clinician.

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely. I mean, and you can really start thinking about that in so many ways. Like, if we apply anxiety to driving a car, and like having phobia around driving, or like flying, or any of this stuff, start using examples that are really relatable, you will see an uptick in client inquiries. And the client inquiries will be the ones that are much more aligned to your ideal client, and your niche, and the people that you really like to serve.

But going back to what Ryan said, really focusing on the things that people are struggling with, and wanting glimmers of hope, and like really wanting this to be relational. They want relational work. You're forming relationships with people when you're working with them. And it's really important to remember that even before they contact you.

RYAN SCHWARTZ: Yeah, and on that note, like when we do kind of language analysis profiles, we very much often find that the best-performing profiles, they use words like we or together. There's words that create that relationship versus talking about yourself in like a third person, or talking about your clients in the third person. They're using words like, you know, together we're going to do this, or we can make these things possible. And that helps create that relationship immediately.

But when you're saying, you know, like, if you're talking about yourself in the third person, which we see a lot of, it doesn't create that relationship. It just comes across as like, a little bit cold. And so using language that helps people feel connected to you and help people, "Oh, like, together we can do these things." Is really, really important.

And on the flip side of that, together we can kind of approach is to really focus on the outcomes that you make possible for people. When people are overwhelmed and scared, we often see poor-performing profiles that just reinforce the overwhelm and the scare. And that just causes people to shut down, right?

Like, you're asking somebody who's overwhelmed and scared to make a very kind of big decision and be able to, like, do something that's bold and brave for them, and to think about it and rationalize it, and decide who's best as a therapist, who they want to work with. And so if you just reinforce the scary stuff that kind of shuts them down, they're not going to contact any therapist.

And so, you know, it's one thing to say like I often work with people who are struggling with, you know, these different types of addiction, but then really quickly pivot to like, together, we can make this possible, we can help you gain control over these things, we can help you develop a sense of confidence that you can do these things, whatever it is, but just pivot to that hopefulness. That's why people are coming to you in the first place. They're not coming to be reminded of the downsides. And oftentimes we see profiles that will put people on the defensive.

So, even, you know, are you struggling with alcohol use? A lot of people who maybe are struggling with that, that just puts them on a defensive and make someone like, close your profile and move on to the next one.

So, really being, you know, open and I think if somebody came to you and said, like, "I think I might be struggling with alcohol." You wouldn't reinforce that, you wouldn't reinforce the negatives, right? Again, so it's really about putting yourself in a therapy space with your kind of like fictional anonymous ideal client to be able to write their profiles for them.

PATRICK CASALE: Absolutely. Yep, I see a lot of profiles that feel like sales pitches, like struggling with sleep? Having a hard time getting through the day? I'm like, are we meant to go into like a sleep drug or like some sort of [CROSSTALK 00:26:04].

But you know, there's lots of ways to improve this stuff for everyone listening and at the foundation, I think the point is, like, just get it out there, because like, you can have it in your head and perfect and perfect and perfect, and then ultimately, never publish. But just get your profile out there. And you can always edit and make improvements, but people cannot find you if you do not exist. So, it is really important to just be visible, and really important to start shaping your language to really attract the clients that not only want to find you, but deserve to get support from you as well, because you're going to show up as your best self when you're attracting the right types of clients to your practice. And I think that's also really, really important here.

Ryan, I feel like we can have this conversation all day. And I really, really love having these. And this has been a lot of fun. And I really enjoy Mental Health Match. It's very affirmative. It's a very inclusive space, you know? And I think that's important for those of you listening as well, so that you all know that there are lots of options out there in terms of therapy directory sites, and Mental Health Match is definitely one that you should be considering, and definitely should be publishing your information on. So, I really encourage you all to think about that as you're starting your practices or developing your practices as you go.

Ryan, as group practice owner, are there group practice options on there to promote a group practice? Or would you recommend everyone does their own individual profile in addition?

RYAN SCHWARTZ: We do work with a lot of group practices, but we do recommend that each individual clinician has a profile because it is so personal. And really, we're trying to make the best match between a client and a clinician that's going to result in a long-term client. And that's really hard. You can't really do that with like a generic group, right?

But we do have lots of groups on there that have profiles for their each individual clinician, and, you know, a lot of times there's like internal referral that happens, and somebody's got a waitlist, they can bring somebody else in the group. But we really do want clients to feel like, "Oh, I found the person." And not just kind of like, "I found a company that I'm going to call." And then kind of get lost in and you know, I think it's really important for that individual connection piece.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, yeah. I'm glad you highlighted that. That's really important, because I get that question a lot. And I think the more personalized, and the more connection you can develop even in simplistic writing, and even in writing on a page that has a character limit, it's really important, and it can make a world of difference, and it can really, really jumpstart your practice.

So, Ryan, thank you so much for coming on, and sharing this wisdom, and just being an awesome guest. And please tell the audience where they can find more of Mental Health Match and what you're doing out there.

RYAN SCHWARTZ: Yeah, we're For your listeners, we have an offer for two free months and then 10% off. So, the next three months afterwards, you just sign up using the referral code ATPP, All Things Private Practice, ATPP. So,

You can also find me on LinkedIn. I'm Ryan Schwartz. And then Mental Health Match also has an Instagram if you want to keep in touch with us via social.

It's been such a pleasure talking about this. I just want to reiterate like the number one thing, if you take one thing away from this conversation, it's that you should just be your authentic therapist self. And if you sit down to write your profile, and you feel scared, and you feel overwhelmed, and all of a sudden you feel like you need to be somebody or you should be somebody on this page, take a step back, take a deep breath. pretend you're in a therapy room with somebody who's just walked in for the first time and go from that perspective.

PATRICK CASALE: I love that. That's great, great advice. And I hope everyone listening can use that and start implementing that immediately. All of Ryan's information and Mental Health Match's links and information will be in the show notes for everyone to have easy access to.

To everyone listening to the All Things Private Practice Podcast, new episodes are out every single Saturday on all major podcast platforms and YouTube. Like, download, subscribe, and share. Doubt yourself, do it anyway, and we'll see you next week. Thanks, Ryan.



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