When I first started my marriage and family therapy private practice in 1986, it was considered bad form to advertise your services. It was not considered unethical, just something a “professional” did not do.
That never really made a whole lot of sense to me.
I think it came from the never was true notion that all you had to do was hang up your shingle and the clients would flock to your door.
Breaking the rules
So when one of my colleagues and I put an ad in the paper for a teen therapy group we were running, you would have thought we had shot someone. The reaction varied from stunned silence to comments such as “What are you guys, ambulance chasers?”
Well, what made all the flack easier to take, besides the fact I have a fairly thick skin, is that it worked. We tapped into an underserved niche (teens and their parents), the practice took off, and I’ve been busy ever since.
Because I had run a few adds in the local paper, when it came time to interview an expert, the reporters came to me. For years I had everything from one line quotes to full feature interviews in the paper. This was nice, as it upped my perceived “expert-ability” and brought in many clients.
And then came the mother lode. I was asked to write a weekly mental health column for the local paper. This brought in a flood of clients. That would have been great enough in and of itself. Then the parent company of the local paper picked up the column for syndication and began to run it all over the country and then all over the world.
Almost 20 years later
Here it is almost 20 years later, and at the last local marriage and family therapy association party, I had people following me out to my car asking questions about how I do what I do. The funny thing is that some of these folks asking for tips are some of the same ones that gave me flack years ago.
I don’t tell you this to impress you. I tell you this to impress upon you the answer to the question in the title of this article - “Is it wrong to let others know what you do?”
The answer is a resounding NO! Not only is it acceptable to let others know what you do, when you have something inside you that can help others, you not only have the right to let others know what you offer.
I believe you have the obligation to let others know what you have to offer.
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