Career Consultation

How an Associate Counselor Can Target Clientele

May 2024

Photo Credit: Illustrations by Michael Hoeweler

Every issue we ask a counseling student or new professional to pose a career-related question to another counseling professional who has experience in that topic. This month, Brent Armour, LPC-A, founder of Therapy Spectra in Houston, asks Jessica Eiseman, LPC-S, how associate practitioners can best connect with their clients. Eiseman is the founder and clinical director for Ajana Therapy and Clinical Services in Houston.


My state recently afforded associate LPCs the legal right to practice independently, so I have started a solo practice focusing on clients seeking to address a specific set of concerns. I want to pursue certifications so my clients will feel more confident in my ability to address their needs, but I am finding that many certifications require me to be fully licensed. In lieu of these certifications, how would you advise an associate practitioner to better connect with their target clientele?


Building trust and credibility with clients is crucial, especially in the early stages of your practice. While certifications can bolster your credentials, there are alternative strategies to foster connections with your target clientele. Here are a few:

  • Focus on your specialization: Tailor your services to address the specific needs of your niche market. Conduct research on current trends and demographics to ensure your offerings resonate with your target audience. Clients are drawn to therapists who specialize in addressing their particular issues, so focusing on your specialty will attract those who need your expertise.
  • Understand your ideal client: Envision your ideal client by considering their demographics, interests and values. Offer flexible appointment times and incorporate elements that align with their interests, such as mindfulness exercises or holistic approaches.   
  • Continue your education and training: Pursue ongoing education and training relevant to your specialization to deepen your knowledge and skills. Attend workshops, seminars and online courses and engage in self-directed learning to stay informed about the latest research and best practices.
  • Seek supervision and consultation: Get guidance from experienced clinicians through supervision and consultation. Reflect on your practice and seek feedback to improve your clinical abilities and increase your confidence as a practitioner.
  • Build your network and increase your community engagement: Get involved in professional organizations, community events and online forums related to your specialization. Networking with other professionals and engaging with the community can help others learn about your practice and help you build trust with potential clients.
  • Trust your expertise: Be confident in your education and experience and know that your foundational training has equipped you with valuable skills as a therapist. Stay patient as you navigate building your client list and running your own business and know that your continued learning and professional growth will strengthen your skills over time.

By implementing these strategies, you can enhance your presence in the community, build trust with your ideal clients and other professionals, and ultimately cultivate a successful practice. As you continue on your journey and eventually attain full licensure, your additional credentials will be a testament to your ongoing commitment to excellence. Wishing you all the best as you embark on this new adventure!

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