Naming Your Practice Is Like Naming A Child

I have four children. Luckily, I still like the names my husband and I gave them. Their names fit them. Their names aren't too common or too weird. Like naming a child, choosing a practice name that fits can be a difficult process that brings up anxiety for therapists. You want your practice name to be an accurate reflection of you, as a therapist, and also appeal to your ideal clients.  You don't want to regret your decision down the road, right?

Ten years ago I wrestled with the question of what to name my practice. Funny enough, it was just one month after my 3rd child was born and we  didn't name him for a couple of days because my husband and I couldn't agree on his name. The name he'd picked for our son, Joshua, was a fine name but it just wasn't him. He was Owen, not Joshua. I don't regret taking a couple of days and "going to bat" for the name that fit my son.

I don't regret the name I picked for my private practice either. I wrestled with a few different practice options and settled on Wasatch Family Therapy. Here are some common questions about naming your practice and some insight into how I made my decision.

Should I use my name or come up with a separate practice name?

  • I wanted the name to sound bigger than a solo practice because that was my long-term vision for my practice: to grow it to a clinic with several therapists, so I chose a name that sounded established and respectable.
  • I was advised by my attorney not to use my name as my practice in case I was involved in a lawsuit. He said that my practice name would be out in the media and would provide an added layer of protection of my personal name.

Should my practice name be tied to my specific geographical location?

  • I decided to tie my practice name loosely to my location. The Wasatch Front and the Wasatch Mountains refer to a regional area, not a specific city or town. Because my vision was to grow the practice and possibly have multiple office locations, I didn't want it to be limited to a narrow location. Last October, we opened up a second location in Provo, UT, which is still considered the Wasatch Front.

Should I try to be clever or straightforward in naming my practice?

  • Don't worry about being clever or deep with your practice name. Since most people are finding their mental health information and providers online, consider including searchable terms in your practice name.  I included "Family Therapy" in my practice name because it's something that my ideal clients would type in a search. Ask yourself, "What will my ideal clients type in Google if they're seeking my services?" If you're a child therapist you might want to use the term "child counselor" or "child therapy" in your name. If you work with couples you may want to use "couples counseling" or "marriage therapy" in your name.

I'd love to hear your process of naming your practice?

Do you have moments of regret about your practice name or are you happy with it?

Share your thoughts in the comment box below!