Jodie Gale MA built a thriving practice through online presence, blogging and social media. Read about her journey in this inspiring guest post.
When I returned home from the UK several years ago, I was shocked at the state of psychotherapy in Australia. There was, and still is, a lack of understanding about what psychotherapy is and a lack of promotion regarding the benefits of psychotherapy from our professional associations. Frustratingly, it is rare to find a psychotherapist (or a family/play/art therapist) working as part of a multidisciplinary team in private or public health.
There is also a deeply pervasive myth that it is impossible to fill a ‘full fee paying’ private practice as a counsellor or psychotherapist because of the mental health plan insurance system which only provides rebates to psychologists and a small number of social workers. Trying to persuade clients to engage in weekly, depth psychotherapy (without a rebate) literally felt like mission impossible. My private practice reflected this and was sporadic to say the least. Desperate and down hearted after 8 years of Master’s training to become a psychotherapist – I found myself smack bang in the middle of a major career crisis.
At the beginning of 2013, I built a strong online presence through blogging and by taking the Julie Hanks LCSW's Private Practice Toolbox Blog Challenge. Since taking the blogging challenge I am now described by my colleagues as a prolific blogger and I credit creating online content as the foremost reason for my practice growth and success.
10 Benefits of Blogging Regularly on my Private Practice Website
1) I have more than enough clients
A great deal has changed since then! My practice is out of control busy and I have literally had to take my phone number off my website because I couldn’t keep up with the high level of phone inquiries. Last count, I have referred 50+ clients to other therapists in my local area and beyond.
2) Networking with colleagues
The initial benefit of blogging specifically through taking the blog challenge was networking with colleagues from around the world and building ongoing personal and professional relationships. Connections are crucial, especially when working from a home office, private practice as I do.
3) Keeping current on research
Writing one-two times a month has kept me up-to-date with the latest research and news within the therapy field.
4) Building writing confidence
Initially terrified of putting myself out there, I found that my confidence and writing improved with every blog post.
5) Increase in client inquiries
After about four – five months of blogging, I noticed a significant increase in client inquiries. One client specifically mentioned finding me through the ‘Top 10 Books’ blog challenge post. She had Googled one of the book titles, then ‘counsellor’ and I ranked first in the google search.
6) Provides resources for current clients
A blog is a great resource centre for my clients and I often send them links on a specific topic. Once my blog is written, I share it on Pinterest as my boards are the ultimate resource centre for clients and therapists alike. Whenever I choose an image for my blog, it is with Pinterest in mind as I find my articles are shared more frequently on Pinterest than on other social media pages.
7) Higher ranking on Google searches
Six months into the blog challenge, I started to rank on the front page of Google Australia and I often rank at number one for my local area, key word searches. My practice has been full since then. When I reply to inquiries, I let the prospective client know that my practice is full, I offer to make a referral and ask if they would like to go on my women’s workshop mailing list.
8) Professional credibility
Historically, psychology articles were limited to journals or written by journalists for popular magazines. As therapists, we have a wealth of knowledge to share. Blogging helps to raise the profile of our profession.
Blogging has raised my profile as an expert in the field and the go-to professional for women’s psycho-spiritual health and well-being. I have been interviewed, written guest posts and featured on Private Practice Toolbox, The World of Psychology , About.com, ABC Radio, Australia Counselling, The Manly Daily Newspaper, The Morning Show and Australian Well-being Magazine.
9) Job opportunities
Blogging helped me to land the job of my dreams. Late last year I attended a two-day workshop and I was approached by the two directors who offered me the position of Assistant Clinical Director of an eating disorder unit. Having written about eating disorders from a soulful and psycho-spiritual perspective, they loved my blog and felt that I would be a good fit for their team.
10) Sense of power and effectiveness
Finally, I have found a sense of personal power due to taking responsibility for the growth of my practice and career progression. I was filled with a sense of hopelessness regarding our field and often envied other therapists who appeared to have more clients and success than I did. When my practice was sporadic and slow, I was working from a place of lack. Now I work from a place of generosity and abundance. And… most importantly, I have realised that there are enough courageous, ideal (and full fee paying) clients out there for everyone!