Networking is an excellent addition to a marketing plan. Successful counselors in private practice are very connected and involved with others in business, other helping professionals, clubs, organizations and societies. This can be accomplished by joining local, state and national organizations like the local chamber of commerce, Kiwanis, toastmasters/toastmistresses, etc. Start or join a practice group of mental health providers. Volunteer to work on a political campaign or to serve on the Board of Directors of a united way agency, etc. Join your state professional organization and its appropriate division or professional society and get involved. Contribute to political action committees like the Professional Counseling Fund (counselingfund.org). Meet and support local politicians who are favorable to your client population or causes for which you are passionate. While the cost of memberships and donations may seem expensive, think of it as marketing expense that may get you business.
On a national level, renew your membership with American Counseling Association, and join other national professional organizations that are related to your private practice. Moreover, attend the conferences sponsored by these organizations. After our experience at the ACA Conference in Pittsburg last year we wrote, “We would like to thank all of you who attended our pre-conference presentation on private practice at the ACA Conference in Pittsburgh. This session, as well as the private practice consults were all filled with professional counselors from diverse backgrounds and practices. Those professional counselors and others, who stopped by our booth in the exhibit hall, were all learning from each other, sharing successes and failures and networking with counselors from all over the world. Also, it was very rewarding to hear the positive comments about ACA’s private practice initiative and the value of the Private Practice in Counseling, column in Counseling Today. As always, it was exciting to talk with graduate students and new professionals about their dream of private practice.”
You can’t have this experience if you don’t attend the conference. Not only do you get world class learning experiences, but enormous networking opportunities. For those professional counselors attending the conference, please consider attending our preconference learning institute on private practice, stop by our booth in the exhibit hall and enhance your networking. We still have a limited number of 20 minute practice consultation times available at the conference. Just click here and reserve your time. Hope to see you all in New Orleans!
This is how we started. In 1997, we became acquainted through our involvement in the Illinois Mental Health Counselors Association and ACA conferences.
Norm Dasenbrook and Bob Walsh are counselors in private practice, consultants, and authors (www.counseling-privatepractice.com)