Your Practice “Brand”



E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2014

Like all goods and services, your private practice has a “brand”. Not simply a fancy logo or slogan, but a certain image in the eyes of the public. It can attract or turn away prospective patients, and can influence whether current clients continue to work with you or seek the help of a competitor. Be sure you are projecting the image you intend.

  • What Is Your Practice Specialty?

The public pigeonholes mental health professionals the same way they do others whose services they want to “purchase” — they want to know your area of expertise before they “buy”. Yes, I know. You’re eclectic and want to be known for working with all kinds of psychological issues. But, unfortunately, it’s hard to communicate this to consumers. They prefer to view you as a “specialist”, so they pick one or two problems they heard you can help with and soon you become known as the “relationship” therapist, “kids” doctor, or “abuse” counselor. So define your expertise clearly. Yes, this will put you in a “niche”, but don’t worry about missing out on referrals for other types of conditions. A great clinical reputation will ensure that you get plenty of those too.

  • How Good Are You?

Ouch! Who wants to be asked that question?! You hope the answer is positive, but is it? Are you known for being caring and competent? Viewed as knowledgeable and able to solve the problems that patients come to you to alleviate? Word of mouth is often your best source of referrals, so if new patients aren’t calling and former patients aren’t returning, you may have a problem you need to fix. In this digital age, prospective patients ferret out information about you in many ways to see if they like you and think you can help them. What are they finding out? From what sources? Current and former clients will base their opinion on their experiences with you – and will share these views with others. What are they saying? How do you know? Keep practices in place that help you continuously evaluate and improve the quality of your practice.

  • Keep Practice in Alignment with Your Brand

Your practice identity and activities should be consistent. If you tout your practice as “first class”, for example, make sure you have the budget for “first class” location, office space, and furnishings. Your clients will note incongruities. Some may not be deterred by this, but listen with your third ear for concerns about authenticity and honesty as you work with them. Others will be turned off and never return or never make an appointment in the first place. And your practice brand extends to your personal image and behaviors, so make sure they’re in alignment too. You will not be viewed as credible — no matter how great a clinician you are — if you’re promoting your ability to help folks get control of their lives and you and your office look a mess.

Your practice brand is important and requires ongoing refinement and management. Though it may seem trivial in comparison to the life and death issues you’re dealing with every day, your brand affects your bottom line so give it the attention it needs.

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About the Author:

Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,

The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at or call 954.797.9766.

E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262  Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317

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