Updated: Mar 7
I went on paternity leave over December. I had a case load of 15 or so clients per week. When I came back in January I had 2 come back and 4 new clients on the schedule. Over the past 2 months, I've been able to triple my weekly clients, from 6 to 20, through a combination of client retention, website optimization, and increasing frequency of sessions. In this blog post, I'd like to share some of the strategies that have worked well for me, and offer some tips for other counselors who are looking to grow their own caseloads.
1. Client retention:
I believe that the NUMBER ONE foundation of any successful counseling practice is a commitment to providing high-quality, compassionate, and personalized care to each and every client. By focusing on client RETENTION, and client SATISFACTION I've been able to build a loyal following of clients who value the support and guidance that I offer who come back week after week.
To retain clients, I make sure to:
Listen actively and empathetically to my clients' concerns and needs
Develop personalized treatment plans that address their unique challenges and goals
Provide ongoing support, encouragement, and feedback throughout the counseling process
Offer resources and tools that clients can use between sessions to support their progress and growth
For further ideas check out what Tony Robbins has to say about how to create Raving Fans.
“We're not competitor obsessed, we're customer obsessed. We start with what the customer needs and we work backwards.”
2. Website optimization:
In today's digital age, having a strong online presence is essential for any business, including counseling practices. I recognized that my website was a key tool for attracting new clients, so I invested time and resources into optimizing it for search engines (SEO) and making it more user-friendly. I currently use Wix as a host, and luckily my wife does search engine optimization for her job. I did all the design work, but she was able to help me set up my website in a way that earned me calls and clicks. Furthermore, I write blogs and curate my website to enhance my ability to be found for people in the local area searching for counseling for their teen. Use your niche to your advantage here.
Here are some of the strategies that have worked well for me:
Conducting keyword research to identify the most relevant and high-traffic search terms for my services
Creating valuable and informative content that addresses common client concerns and questions
Ensuring that my website is easy to navigate and loads quickly on all devices
Optimizing my website for local search results, as many clients prefer to work with counselors in their area
Here is a picture of my online "Visibility" with other local competitors.
The tool that allows me to see how I am ranking for certain words versus competitors is from SEMrush.com
"Don't find customers for your product. Find products for your customers."
3. Increasing Frequency of Sessions:
One of the avenues through which I tripled my weekly clients was by having more urgent or needy clients see me multiple times per week. As a counselor, I understand that some clients may require more frequent sessions in order to address their pressing concerns and make meaningful progress. By accommodating these clients and offering more frequent sessions, I was able to provide them with the support and guidance they needed to overcome their challenges and find new ways forward. It's a win-win for clients and me. They get more immediate attention, time, and results. I get more clients scheduled in the week.
To support these clients, I made sure to:
Schedule sessions at times that were convenient for them, but not cutting into time outside of what I have given for counseling (family time)
Be responsive and accessible outside of sessions, so that they could reach out to me for support when needed - clients appreciate being able to call to schedule an extra appointment
Develop treatment plans that addressed their most pressing concerns and provided them with actionable steps they could take between sessions
Offer a safe and supportive environment where they could share their feelings and experiences without judgment or criticism
Obviously I have the benefit of seeing my clients as cash pay. I am not sure if insurance pays out multiple sessions per week. I don't take any insurance right now (Currently an LAC!!!!)
“It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
- Jeff Bezos
If seeing a client multiple times per week makes their experience better, then I do that.
Overall, offering more frequent sessions, website optimization, and client retention has helped me work up to a full caseload (20-25 for me). I love everything private practice. I love building my brand, designing impactful products/services that help individuals and families in our community thrive, and partnering with other private practice owners. If you are in the private practice world, I would love to connect.
P.S. If you need the hook-ups with SEO and getting your site found, feel free to email me and my wife Kayla might be able to help you with what you need.
My name is Jesse and I'm a Licensed Associate Counselor in Northwest Arkansas. Growing up, I had some amazing role models who inspired me to make a positive impact in the world. Now, I want to pay it forward by helping others through counseling, volunteering, networking, and writing. My goal is to provide encouragement, support, and smiles to the people I work with. I believe that everyone has the potential to be their best selves if they take action towards their goals, give themselves time, and allow for grace along the way.