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You Don’t Have to Spend Money to Know What Will Work For Your Website

How To Know What Will Work For Your Website

You Don't Need to Spend Money!

Let’s say you want to build a website for your practice.

How do you know what works? What doesn’t?

What kind of material should be on your website? Should it be a single landing page? Multiple pages? Should it have a blog? Videos? Lots of images?

Countless questions can crop up and leave you paralyzed before you even start.

You can make headway though.

In this article, we’re taking a look at a few therapy websites and showing you how to analyze them so you can start building your own site.

Start With the Competition

The first step in designing your site is looking at other therapist’s websites in your area.

Let’s say one of your specialties is couples therapy.

How do you find other counselors specializing in couples therapy?

The easiest way is to head to Google ( and type “couples therapy” into the search bar. Google reads your location and displays local results to you, so you’ll see other couples therapists in your area.

Yes, it’s that easy.

The same applies to other specialties, whether it be addiction, anxiety, depression, divorce, etc.

You’ll see something similar to the following…
At the top you’ll likely see some Google Ads related posts:
Then a Google My Business Map listing:
Ignore both of those.

We’re not concerned with either right now.

What we want is to see the top ranking website owned by actual therapists.

So skip PsychologyToday and Yelp as well. (They dominate the search results in most areas because they’re aggregate websites.)

Based on my unique Google search I see the following sites own the highest position on Google:
Now that I’ve collected some sites I can dive in and see what they’re doing that’s got them on the first page.

Then I can use that information to get an idea of how I should lay out my own website.

Analyzing the Sites - Homepage

Of the sites listed above, I want to start by honing in on The Relationship Center of Colorado as it had the highest rank of the sites at the time of my search.

So, let’s take a look (

And while looking, I want to ask a few questions:
  • What’s included in their menu.
  • How much text is on their homepage?
  • Do they have links to social media?
  • How is the site organized?
  • Is there a blog on the homepage?
Let’s walk through an analysis of the site…

The Menu

First off…

Notice how many pages are included in the menu. Some items even have drop-down menus.

All-in-all, there are 23 links to choose from.

It might even be too much, but that will vary from one practice to the next.

The point is… there’s lots of content on this site. That means Google likes ranking multi-page sites for the keyword, “couples therapy.”
Multiple pages means lots of information. These practices are detailing everything they do through Specialty Pages and their blog roll.

To compete we’ll also need multiple pages, with lots of helpful information.

(Depending on where you’re located, you may find a single-page site ranking: a site that doesn’t have a menu because it’s only one page. But this is very rare.)

Social Media

Also, right at the top of The Relationship Center’s website, there are quite a few social media links:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
We’ll definitely want to include social media links on our own site, particularly Facebook since it’s where therapists tend to congregate.

But, do we need all of those sites?

Let’s look at the rest of the competition and see what they include:
  • Growing Self: No Social Media links on the homepage
  • Colorado CFT: Facebook and Twitter
  • Individual Relationship Center: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube
  • Colorado Relationship Recovery: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram
Growing Self is the one site that doesn’t include social media links on their homepage. Compared to the rest, it’s an outlier. We’ll ignore it.

The rest feature Facebook. We will definitely want to consider having at least Facebook linked on our homepage.

What Kind of Sites are These?

Still on the homepage, we want to ask what kind of sites are these?

What I mean is… how were they designed?

Are the websites created by Brighter Vision, TherapySites, GoDaddy? Or, is the site custom made by a web designer? Or maybe Squarespace?

This is fairly easy to tell.

Scroll to the bottom of the page where you’ll find the footer, and you may see text like “Site created by Foley Designs LLC,” for example.

Colorado Relationship Recovery provides a good example. At the bottom of the homepage you’ll find “A Bright Site by Brighter Vision”
But the rest of the sites are all custom made…
  • Growing Self: Custom
  • Colorado CFT: Custom
  • Individual Relationship Center: Custom
  • The Relationship Center of Colorado: Custom
  • Colorado Relationship Recovery: Brighter Vision
Of the 5 sites we’re analyzing, only one is a Brighter Vision website.

We probably want to avoid using a site generator like Brighter Vision or TherapySites if we want to climb the rankings, based on our analysis.

Is There a Blog?

Next, let’s see if the site features a blog.

And see if the blog is active.

If all the competition has inactive blogs (blog pages that haven’t been updated in months or years) that’s a great sign that my site can beat them in the rankings—so long as I actively blog.

Google loves active websites.

The search engine wants to show users websites that are actively being updated because it prioritizes the most recent content.

So what do we see in our sample…
The Relationship Center of Colorado: The last post (at the time of this writing) is dated November 29, 2019. Not great. That means the site is stagnating.
Individual Relationship Center: the last post is December 13, 2019.
Colorado CFT: the last post is dated February 11, 2020
Colorado Relationship Recovery: last post dated January 17, 2020.
Growing Self: very active, the last post is dated February 10, 2020.
Based on the blog activity of the sites our site we’ll have to blog consistently to rank well on Google.

Looking at the Specialty Page

Let’s take a look at Colorado Relationship Recovery’s specialty page.

Again, let’s ask a few questions:
  • How many words are on the page? (A lot or a little.)
  • How is the specialty page organized?
  • What kind of information is included?
Starting at the top, the specialty page in question is a little less than 1000 words. That includes everything featured on the page, which we can see is broken up into 4 sections:
  1. Bulletpoints about Relationship Recovery.
  2. The 5 Phases of how the therapist does therapy.
  3. A short Q&A
  4. A few anonymous testimonials.
It may seem like a lot at a glance here. But it’s important to scrutnizie the page. When we break each section down it turns out they really haven’t written that much:
  • 113 words are used to bullet point what couples therapy is all about.
  • 271 for the phases of therapy and how they help
  • 160 for a brief q&a
  • 231 for testimonials
(No, you don’t actually have to sit there and count the words. It’s enough to just look. We’re only breaking down the word count here to show that looks can be deceiving.)

When we create our own Specialty Pages we’ll want to have just as much content with a lot more substance.

Organizing the Specialty Page

We may want to follow a similar structure for laying out our Specialty Page as Colorado Relationship Recovery.

But we may also want to broaden it a bit, to make our Specialty Page unique to us and our approach:
1. Bulletpoints about Relationship Recovery → Address the reader’s concerns: Substance means sentences and paragraphs. Starting an article with bulletpoints (whether it be a blog or Specialty Page often doesn’t provide enough context for your readers.
2. The 5 Phases of how the therapist does therapy → Your approach to therapy: Introduce your approach to your Specialty, how do you approach Couples Therapy? Why should the potential client choose you over someone else?
3. A short Q&A → Commonly asked questions : Address the most commonly asked questions that may hold a potential client back from going forward with therapy. Empathize with them and offer meaningful answers.
4. A few anonymous testimonials → Further information: If you’re not comfortable with including anonymous testimonials you might choose to remove this section altogether (keeping HIPAA-compliance in mind), or include links to further information about yourself and your practice across your website.

Concluding Thoughts

Keep in mind… whatever the competition is doing you don’t want to mirror it exactly.

What they’ve done works in the eyes of Google (and by extension for clients) so it makes a good start. But what we want to do is make it better.

You want to stand out. So, take what they’ve done, study it, learn from it, and improve it.

Make it your own.

Want to Learn How to Stand Out?

We’ve put together a 3.5-hour training to help therapists and counselors build their own website, regardless of their experience with technology.
You don’t have to be an expert to make a great website that works. You just have to know where to start and be willing to put in the effort.

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Scammers Are Calling About SSL Renewal

Scammers Are Calling About SSL Renewal

One of our clients received a phone call pretending to be their website’s SSL certificate provider. The caller went on to explain that our client’s website would experience issues if they didn’t renew.

It’s a scam.

The caller is using scare tactics to intimidate our clients and others.

5 of our clients, so far, have received a voicemail from the same number.

Hang up and block the number if you receive a similar call.

How The Caller Knows About Your SSL

Anybody can view a website’s SSL certificate.

If you’re using Chrome, go to your website, click the padlock to the left of your domain, and click “certificate.” It looks like:
In Firefox, click the padlock, and then the arrow next to “Connection Secure,” and then “More information” to view the certificate. It looks like:
An SSL certificate is public because it’s a sign of public trust. In other words, an SSL certificate tells the world that your website is safe to browse.

That makes them easy targets for scammers selling their own SSL service. They can see when a website’s certificate is expiring and intimidate the owner into buying the scammer’s SSL certification.

The scammer may not even be checking the SSL certificate on a particular website. They may be scraping phone numbers and trying their luck by calling every number they collect.

Don’t give them your information.

You Will (Likely) not be Notified About SSL Renewal by Phone

Here’s the script the spammer used for one of our client’s websites:

Hi ____, my name is _____ I’m calling in regards to an expiring SSL certificate for URL — the current one in your Go Daddy certificate on the site to set to expire tomorrow around 4 o’clock Pacific standard time. Once it does, the site will start loading with the privacy error message. If you’d like to get that certificate renewed beforehand you can give me a call back on my direct line at 626-508-1560. Thanks and have a nice day.

The person calling may even be running a real business. Their marketing tactic is what’s unethical. Their vague language suggests that they’re the website’s SSL provider.

In reality, they’re independent and they’re calling people who aren’t familiar with SSL to sell them their company’s services.

Determining if an SSL Renewal Notification is Real

If your website’s SSL certification is going to expire you will likely receive an email from your provider.

Many people implement SSL through their hosting company, such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, Siteground, or Bluehost. If that’s the case all you have to do is log in to your hosting account on the provider’s website to renew the certificate.

Free certificates issued through Let’s Encrypt automatically renew.

If you’ve implemented through another company then you will likely receive an email from them if it’s time to renew.

However, be aware that some scammers do try phishing by email.

Do not click links within an email if you’re unsure.

Always go to your provider and log in to the website directly to be safe.

Our Clients Don’t Need to Worry About Renewing Their SSL

At Counseling Wise, we keep you and your website safe without worrying about the hassle of renewing SSL.

If you work with us and receive a phone call or email, ignore it or let us know.

We implement free SSL from Let’s Encrypt which automatically renews every 3 months, or we implement SSL through GoDaddy and Sucuri which also automatically renews.

If you receive a phone call or email and feel hesitant feel free to contact us.

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So, Your Therapy Client Wants to Try Psychedelics?

So, Your Therapy Client Wants to Try Psychedelics?

Psychedelics are no longer the taboo they once were. They’ve become a topic for dinner-table conversation. What was once considered a stigmatized icon of sixties counterculture has entered the mainstream as a therapeutic treatment for mental health.

Study after study has shown that substances such as LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA provide relief for people suffering from a host of disorders. But because psychedelics are still largely illegal people are taking it upon themselves to self-medicate. Experimentation is not isolated to clients either.

Many therapists are also trying psychedelics on their own—or in groups (you may be one of them)—to learn why so much attention is being given to these substances after so many years of disapproval. There is a mad rush to understand, both in scientific and mental health communities. Once curiosity is let out of the bag it’s near impossible to stuff it back in.

Therapists have clients visiting them who are reporting either an interest in psychedelics or reporting a good or bad experience. In this article we want to educate therapists as to how to respond to clients in these three situations:
1. Clients are interested in having an experience and need to be educated for harm reduction.

2. Clients have had a “good” experience and need help finding meaning and to integrate the experience into their lives.

3. Clients have had a “bad” experience and need help resolving the trauma, finding meaning, and education to reduce future harms.

How did this psychedelic revolution happen?

Author and journalist Michael Pollan published How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence in 2018, and it hit The New York Times nonfiction Best Seller list for the year. In it, Pollan discusses the history of psychedelic treatments, details his own experiences with psychedelic substances, and shares ongoing research exploring psychedelic-assisted treatments for PTSD, depression, and a host of other mental health issues.

While there have been efforts, prior to Pollan’s book release, to alter the cultural perception of psychedelics since they were made illegal, Pollan’s book helped turn those rumblings into a national discussion.

For now, most psychedelics remain the purview of researchers in clinical environments—they’re a long way from receiving FDA-approval for medical treatments. As far as the rest of the population is concerned psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, DMT, and their ilk remain illegal. But that hasn’t stopped a homegrown movement.

What should you, as a therapist, know about the burgeoning use of psychedelics?

A Very Brief Overview of Psychedelics

A complete history of psychedelics needs its own textbook. So, we’ll stick with what’s happening today, and what you should know as a therapist.

Currently, there are a handful of organizations running clinical trials to study how psychedelics may be used as a therapeutic aid, including the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) as well as the John Hopkins Psychedelic Research Unit, among others. While research has increased in recent years due to a shift in cultural attitudes, studies have been ongoing since the fifties.

And what has recent research uncovered?

Psychedelics have had an enormously positive impact in helping alleviate an array of disorders. They’ve been used to treat PTSD, anxiety, addiction (psilocybin has helped smokers quit cigarettes, permanently), depression, and cluster headaches. And that’s only a sliver of the potential psychedelics pose.

Studies are ongoing. There is a small army of researchers working to discover the full potential of various substances.

What is a “psychedelic”?

It’s important to understand what exactly is being referred to with the word “psychedelics”. Well, some of the substances currently being studied for therapeutic purposes include:
  • LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide)
  • Psilocybin (aka Magic Mushrooms)
  • DMT (a chemical substance found in many plants and animals)
  • Ayahuasca (a brew also known as yagé from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine )
  • Ketamine (previously used as an anesthetic)
  • Cannabis (Medical Marijuana)
  • MDMA (commonly known as Ecstasy or E)
There is no strict one-to-one correlation between a particular psychedelic and its application to a particular disorder, as of yet. MDMA has shown promise as a treatment for PTSD and other traumas, and both ketamine and cannabis have also been effective in trauma treatment, as well.

Are they safe?

Yes. Psychedelics are physiologically safe. At least one study concluded that psychedelics are non-addictive, do not cause brain damage, and do not lead to mental health problems. In his book, Drugs Without the Hot Air, Professor David Nutt, speaking of LSD and psilocybin, writes:
“It’s virtually impossible to die from an overdose of them; they cause no physical harm; and if anything they are anti-addictive, as they cause a sudden tolerance which means that if you immediately take another dose it will probably have very little effect.”
He goes on to state that while physiological harm is virtually unheard of, psychedelics in the wrong hands can cause psychological harm.

If someone were to unknowingly ingest psilocybin—as a topping on their pizza, let’s say—they might think they were losing their mind. Mitigating psychological harm is a matter of being informed and working with knowledgeable people.

Dispelling Urban Myths

There are urban myths surrounding psychedelics that are worth dispelling to have a reasonable conversation. A classic relates a hapless hippie who took LSD and believed he could fly, jumping out of a window while flapping his illusory wings. The apocryphal story is the Reefer Madness of psychedelics. There is no evidence that this event took place, though it has been circulated by word of mouth for decades.

And the above story is just one piece of a junkyard of stories that’s been used to fearmonger rather than inform. People are far more prone to injure themselves and others under our legal form of self-medication, alcohol.

What is the Psychedelic Experience Like?

The most difficult question to answer is “What is the psychedelic experience like?” Language tends to fail the desire to describe what happens. Though books like Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception have made the attempt. What we can say with a degree of certainty is many people self-report their psychedelic journey as being one of the most profound experiences of their lives:

“Psychedelic experiences are notoriously hard to render in words; to try is necessarily to do violence to what has been seen and felt, which is in some fundamental way pre- or post-linguistic or, as students of mysticism say, ineffable. Emotions arrive in all their newborn nakedness, unprotected from the harsh light of scrutiny and, especially, the pitiless glare of irony. Platitudes that wouldn’t seem out of place on a Hallmark card flow with the force of revealed truth.” -Michael Pollan, How to Change Your Mind

“It’s a very salutary thing to realize that the rather dull universe in which most of us spend most of our time is not the only universe there is. I think it’s healthy that people should have this experience.” -Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception

“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life.” -Steve Jobs from Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson

While no single quote will perfectly summarize the experience we hope the above conveys the profundity some people have felt.

Legality of Psychedelics

Almost all psychedelics are labeled as Schedule 1 dangerous substances, which means the federal government recognizes no accepted medical use for them. That includes cannabis, heroin, LSD, peyote, ecstasy, psilocybin and quaaludes, among others. The current labeling places psychedelic substances in the same category as heroin and quaaludes.

Today, psychedelics are only legally consumed in clinical research trials (or if you’re a member of the Native American Church). However, psilocybin mushrooms are decriminalized in Denver, Colorado, which may be the first signal of a legal shift on at least the local level. That does not mean mushrooms are legal for consumption but that law enforcement treats their possession as a low-priority for enforcement.

However, the FDA has granted Breakthrough Therapy designation to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. It is a signal that the federal government is paying attention to the flood of research, as well as the diligent work of nonprofits, researchers, and institutions, that have pushed for a shift in perception.

With that little background, we can now delve into how psychedelics may help your clients.

What do I do if my client wants to have a psychedelic experience?

You can’t stop a client from experimenting with a substance no matter how much you may try to persuade them. The eternal truth is that people will do what they want to do. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to advise your client if you feel its against their best interest.

It’s ultimately up to you to decide how much you’re willing to talk about psychedelics with your client.

If you want to engage your client then start by asking them what their intentions are. Why are they interested in psychedelics?
  • Have they heard about psychedelic research as an aid to therapy?
  • Are they seeking a spiritual experience?
  • Are they curious about the experience itself because of the rise in popularity of psychedelics?
Help them introspect to discover what it is that’s motivating them.

No matter what their answer the next step may be the most important. Encourage your client to educate themselves. (We’ve included a host of further resources at the end of this article.)

Psychedelic substances induce powerful, sometimes life-lasting experiences. Contrary to high-school movies and pop-culture they should not be viewed as party drugs—though they are certainly used in that way by some people. For clinical purposes, they’re best viewed as tools.

Some therapists have an ethical dilemma

Therapists who have clients with crippling depression, anxiety, trauma or relationship issues are torn about what to do. If they’ve done their research around how these substances can help, they may feel morally obligated to support their clients to find help, even if that means referring their clients to underground psychedelic guides.

If you’re in this situation, we get it. However, we also want to be clear that if you refer your clients to underground guides or other sources for illegal substances, you are putting your license at risk. We understand if your ethical commitments supersede legal considerations, however, we want to be clear that there is a legal and professional risk.

The role of the therapist/guide

The benefit of your clients working with underground therapists/guides or being part of clinical trials is that someone is with the person undergoing the psychedelic experience. These people might be called sitters. They are there to anchor the experience, helping the person through any crisis that may arise—MAPS provides a thorough manual detailing the role of the sitter.

The sitter is someone who has had their own experience but remains sober to help the person, bringing compassion, understanding, and knowledge to the experience to foster growth.

Trained therapists also typically help a person reintegrate into their day-to-day life as powerful psychedelic experience often lingers in the days and weeks after the event. This is because unconscious materials often manifest themselves during the experience: thoughts, memories, and notions of the self that challenge who we think we are.

*The role of the sitter is the most important aspect of any psychedelic experience, whether it be used as an aid to therapy or spiritual growth or curiosity.

Proper dosage

Every substance works under its own dosages. LSD is measured in micrograms (a single microgram is one-millionth of a gram), whereas a common dose of psilocybin may be anywhere between 1 and 5 grams. It’s important that the person understands the typical dosage of the particular substance they plan to ingest.

What makes up a psychedelic experience

There are three factors which heavily impact a psychedelic experience. And no two experiences are self-reported in exactly the same way, though some similarities exist. What determines a psychedelic experience is threefold…
1. Set: refers to one’s mindset.

2. Setting: the environment in which the experience takes place.

3. Dosage: both the substance and the dosage of the substance.
Substance: each psychedelic also fosters its own experience, i.e. an LSD experience is often radically different from a DMT experience.

Before you advise your client to seek a substance you may suggest that they try more legal means.

Legal Alternatives

You may want to advise your client not to dive into the world of psychedelic substances straightaway, particularly if you believe it’s not beneficial for them. There are legal alternative therapies in the same vein as psychedelic substances. These therapies also produce non-ordinary states of consciousness and can be therapeutic.

Breathwork is particularly popular. It’s easy to overlook breathwork as the equivalent of yoga. But, it can produce as positive, altering effects. Holotropic Breathwork was developed by Stanislav and Christina Grof, Stanislav Grof being a psychiatrist that studied LSD until they were made illegal in the 1960s.

In states where cannabis (marijuana) is legal, there are a number of cannabis-related clinics, typically used to treat PTSD. The same is true of ketamine, which has been used to alleviate both severe depression and PTSD.

Psychedelics are not lifelong therapy

Unlike anti-anxiety medications such as valium and Xanax, psychedelics are not intended as a lifelong treatment. Often, people take a psychedelic substance for a limited time (until they’ve recovered from a particular ailment) and stop. These are not ongoing treatments.

There is an often-shared quote from Alan Watts that illustrates this point: “When you get the message, hang up the phone. For psychedelic drugs are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones. The biologist does not sit with eye permanently glued to the microscope, he goes away and works on what he has seen” (The Joyous Cosmology, Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness).

A smoker does not continue to take LSD after overcoming their addiction; a person who suffered from PTSD does not continue to ingest psilocybin mushrooms. After the experience, the former-sufferer lives their life.

What makes psychedelics psychedelic?

What binds each psychedelic substance under the category of “psychedelic” is their effect on conscious experience. The word “psychedelic” means “mind-manifesting.” It’s a helpful etymology to keep in mind.

Unfortunately, words—especially in this short space—are only capable of capturing the experience to a small degree. What occurs is a deconstruction of the ego: the systems which combine in the brain to create everyday (ordinary) conscious experience are disrupted or shifted. That may sound frightening. And it can be if the person is unprepared. However, the overwhelming number of people who report positive experiences as a result of psychedelics is evidence that a kind of mental vacation is a lifelong beneficial experience.

Your client already had a psychedelic experience and needs help

For the sake of simplicity, we’re dividing the types of psychedelic experiences into two camps. (In truth, like a symphony, there may be, and often are, many highs and lows in a single experience). Unfortunately, without having direct experience with a psychedelic yourself you may find it difficult to relate to your client. However, what you can do, as with all therapies, is listen to your client while keeping an open mind, helping them talk through what they’ve undergone.

Positive Experiences

Numerous reports abound about positive psychedelic experiences. Clients may gush if they’ve had the experience recently. Or, they may be relating a memory of an experience which they believe had a meaningful impact on their life.

One word of caution, which really applies to the client, is that psychedelics often induce experiences of profound meaning. People tend to want to act on these experiences right away, such as, say, quitting a job. It’s important to emphasize that any person who has recently undergone a psychedelic experience should always take time to consider any momentous change in their day-to-day life, with all faculties of the mind, i.e. reason and emotion.

Even if your client’s experience was positive, a lot can be gained by helping them integrate the experience and meaning into their lives. This is something you can help them with.

But it’s all-too-easy to focus solely on the positive aspects of psychedelic experiences without pointing that there can be negative experiences as well.

Negative Experiences

Difficult psychedelic experiences are not talked about enough but do happen. Colloquially, they’re known as “bad” trips, although the nomenclature is changing, and many therapists and clinicians prefer to call them challenging trips. Why? Well, there is almost always something beneficial to be gained from the experience so long as there is a trained therapist helping the person talk through the lingering unconscious manifestations in the following days and weeks after the experience. Otherwise, the experience may linger as a deeply painful memory.

Challenging trips occur for a variety of reasons. In most circumstances, they’re a natural consequence of the psychedelic itself. Traumas buried in the person’s unconscious rise to the surface once the psychedelic has broken down the brain’s normal defense mechanisms. A challenging trip as a result of the substance is normal, and nothing to be ashamed of, but are one of the reasons why it’s important that someone undergoing an experience have someone to guide them.

It’s when external factors influence the experience that additional trauma is created instead of being relieved.

Proper dosage

Due to the underground nature of psychedelic-assisted therapy, negative experiences often occur due to a poor guide. Lack of certification and an enforced standard of behavior has created a motley economy of guides offering their services. Some are excellent, but as with anything, there are also those who taint the psychedelic-assisted therapy community. That may be the result of inexperience, their own unresolved trauma, a person prone to take advantage of their clients in a vulnerable state, or an inflated ego that believes it’s responsible for the effects of the medicine rather than the medicine itself.

Unfortunately, there are also guides who engage in unethical behaviors. Psychedelic experiences put people in a particularly vulnerable position. This enables them to face unconscious traumas, addictions, and behaviors with a proper guide. But they can also be taken advantage of by opportunistic charlatans. A wise soul said, “Many people who have an investment in control become teachers,” and these people shine in the underground therapy environment.

We don’t want to disparage those who have created safe environments to help people. There are many people doing excellent work. But it’s also important to be aware of those engaged in questionable practices. We’ll soon be publishing a post detailing what therapists and clients should know in regard to unethical underground therapists.

Overseas Clinics

Due to the legality of psychedelics in the United States, some people travel to other countries such as Jamaica, the Netherlands, or one of several South America countries where some psychedelics are legal. Clinics have popped up in these countries like mushrooms after a rainstorm. As with poorly trained underground guides (detailed above), these clinics have both good and bad actors. It’s difficult to determine what you’re getting yourself into, alone.

There are websites that review retreats. We recommend taking a look at Psychedelic Experience as well as AyaAdvisors before committing to any particular place.

Again, this is why education is paramount. Both clients and therapists need to be aware of what it is they’re signing up for and with who.

Psychedelic-assisted therapy may be the future

Counterculture’s association with psychedelics substances earned them a stigma but the tide is finally turning. While it’s unlikely the federal government will change its position on psychedelic substances in the short-term, people’s curiosity due to study-after-study has created an underground sensation that is unlikely to fade. Whether you support or discourage psychedelics, they are here, and they are near-impossible to ignore when there is a national conversation occurring daily regarding their place in mental health treatment.

While we haven’t been able to cover the entire galaxy of psychedelics, their research, and therapeutic applications, we hope this brief overview has been helpful. If you have any questions please leave a message in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them.

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Ideas for Your Next Private Practice Blog Post

Ideas for Your Next Private Practice Blog Post

Blogs help rank a website on search engines, but that’s not their only purpose. A blog is also an expression of you and your practice’s brand, and it could be the deciding factor that turns a potential client into a long-term client.

But the question, “What should I blog about?” too often becomes an excuse to not write at all. And then the blog section of the site sits there like a forgotten relic.

The truth is ideas are everywhere. The world is brimming with signposts that can be followed to a blog post. But you have to know what to look for.

Which is why we’ve compiled the following list: to help you see possible sources of new ideas for your blog.

1. Build off of Client Questions

Did a new client recently tell you they are worried about confidentiality? Have several of your clients told you they’re interested in natural remedies for panic attacks?

Questions always present themselves as opportunities for exploration.

So, based on the above scenarios you may write a post called “How HIPAA Protects Client Confidentiality,” followed by a blog detailing six natural anxiety remedies (or however many you choose).

The general idea is to always be listening—which is the theme for any of the following sources of inspiration.

But remember to protect your client’s privacy. Do not use their name in the post. You shouldn’t have to anyway. The general idea of the question is what you’re exploring, not the client.

2. Presentations

Conferences, TED talks, and presentations on YouTube are all possible sources of posts.

Whether you agree, disagree, or fall somewhere in-between, detailing your thoughts is a simple means of churning out blogs.

They have a dual-purpose too. You may clarify your own thinking as you write.

Just remember that you want to orient your writing towards your readers. And those readers are typically potential clients.

So, find a way to make your discussion relatable to their concerns. You don’t want to scare people away by writing super technical details that are only going to make sense to your peers.

3. Current Events

Therapeutic practices regularly make appearances in the news cycle. Particular stories may afford you an opportunity to respond.

Whether it be the opioid epidemic, another study linking meditation and grey matter, or the World Health Organization’s recognition of video game addiction, news media offers engaging subjects to add your voice. And your therapy blog is the perfect outlet.

There’s nothing wrong with expressing your opinion. And doing so with tact affords a prime opportunity to develop blog posts.

Display your expertise but gear your language towards everyday people; the kind of language you would use at a dinner party.

4. Pop Culture

Ideas for blog posts can be drawn from every aspect of life, including pop culture.

Use movies, shows, music, or any popular fiction to illustrate a concept, point, or practice. People often learn best through example. And what better example is there than the pop culture icons that bind us together?

TV shows like “The Good Doctor” play into self-evident topics in the therapy community. Whereas even a billion-dollar franchise like Star Wars can be used as an analogy for aspects of mental health.

Unless your therapy blog has a very formal tone use popular culture to feed your blog and relate to your readers.

5. The Latest Research

In a way, this one is related to current events, above. Communicating your thoughts regarding the latest stride in research—relevant to your field—is an excellent source of blog posts.

The same is true of experimental research. Of course, you do need to be careful. As potential clients may come to you after reading a blog post because of their interest in a new study.

Always remember that a blog post is part of a marketing strategy, as much as it is an expression of your practice. Put your best voice forward.

6. Books

What are you reading? If it’s relevant to your practice, or even if you find it a particular source of inspiration, write about it. Blog about how it connects to therapy.

If you want to be proactive, find books relevant to your niche. That might be self-help books, or something a bit more nuanced. Then translate what you’ve learned into a blog post.

But we have to issue a small warning. Writing about books is fine from time-to-time. But don’t turn every post into an article about what you’re reading. Don’t turn your site into a book review blog.

7. Google Alerts and RSS

Google Alerts is a powerful tool for keeping on top of trends. Enter in a phrase like “new anxiety treatment,” and Google will send you an email alert whenever content with the term is published.

RSS is another underused tool. Using an RSS feeder, like Feedly, you add your favorite websites from around the web, and then read all of those website’s articles in one place. It’s a great tool for tracking what others in private practice are talking about.

With Google Alerts and RSS you stay on top of the latest topics—online at least. Use what the industry is talking about to jumpstart your next blog post.

8. Myths

Combating misinformation may be one of the most important roles an expert can take today.

If you learn that people believe some false claim in your niche, address it.

Explain what makes the claim false, and what the truth of the matter is. Use your blog to set the record straight—while also displaying your expertise.

A Blog Shouldn’t be a Chore

The blog section of your practice’s website does not need to be singularly focused: a series of posts that just targets or keywords, or shares your specialties, etc. Blogs can be as versatile as you are. And doing so not only displays your expertise but humanizes you and your practice as well.

So don’t forget that a good idea can be found just about anywhere. Pay attention to every aspect of your life and you may be surprised to find inspiration finding you.

If you’re still unsure what to write about, though, consider letting us take this off of your plate by checking out our professional blog writing packages.

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How Much Does a Therapist Make?

How Much Does a Therapist Make?

Whether you’re a couples therapist, family counselor, or a psychotherapist specializing in a unique niche you likely entered your career with one primary goal in mind: to help people improve their lives.

Although money wasn’t the driving motivation behind your pursuit, paying bills is a reality nobody can avoid. So there’s a lingering question.

How much does a therapist make? And beyond that, how can therapists supplement their salary to make more money?

This post details the salary range of various therapists (including private practice therapists)—and provides four crucial tips to help you start making more money down below.

Therapist Yearly Salaries

  • Mental Health Counselors: $42,840 per year // 20.59 per hour
  • Substance Abuse Counselor: $43,300 per year // $20.82 per hour
  • Genetic Counselors: $77,480 per year // $37.25 per hour
  • School and Career Counselors: $55,410 per year // $26.64 per hour
  • Rehabilitation Counselors: $36,860 per year // $16.76 per hour
  • Marriage & Family Therapists: $48,790 per year // 23.45 per hour
  • Recreational Therapist: $47,680 per year // 22.92 per hour
  • Psychologists: $77,030 per year // $37.03 per hour

*All salaries below are taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; they display median pay and reflect the year 2017 unless otherwise stated.

But How Much do Private Practice Therapists Make?

Salaries for Private Practice therapists vary wildly. Some articles report an average salary of $150,000 per year, while others claim that a licensed professional counselor working in Cambridge, MA, grosses $39,778 annually. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

Based on user-submitted data reports that Licensed Professional Counselors earn, on average, $61,232 annually.

But averages only say so much.

If we return to the BLS page for mental health counselors we can see that salaries differ quite depending on state, sector, and years of experience.

Top Paying States for Mental Health Counselors (Mean Wage)

Map from the Bureau of Labor Statistics detailing the annual mean wage of mental health counselors and therapists by state
t’s interesting to note that mental health counselors are currently paid the most in states outside of major metropolitan belts. This is likely due to fierce competition in populous communities. The laws of economics hold even for therapists.
  • Alaska: $65,520
  • Utah: $61,080
  • Wyoming: $58,020
  • Oregon: $55,670
  • New Jersey: $53,410

States with the Highest Employment for Therapist: (Mean Wage)

Bureau of Labor Statistics map detailing employment of mental health counselors and therapists by state from May 2016
As expected the highest rates of employment is in states that have high populations, with California being the most populous state in the union. The other states below:
  • California: $47,070
  • Pennsylvania: $43,480
  • Virginia: $48,310
  • New York: $42,070
  • Massachusetts: $45,030
The BLS predicts that demand for mental health counselors will continue to increase in the coming years.

That applies particularly to rural communities that have so far been underserved by the profession.

Wages by Sector for Mental Health Counselors (Mean Wage)

The sector for which you perform your duties is fairly large determinate of your average salary, although it does not have the final say or stop you from earning more—or less for that matter.
  • Government: $50,600
  • Hospitals; state, local, and private: 47,000
  • Individual and family services: 42,190
  • Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers: 42,140
  • Residential mental health and substance abuse facilities: 37,210

Years of Experience

As with any occupation the more experience you bring to the table the higher your salary. For private practice therapists, this often means honing your business instincts along with developing yourself as a therapist.
  • 0-5 years: $49,000
  • 5-10 years: $58,000
  • 10-20 years: $67,000
  • 20+ years: $73,000

Job Growth for Therapists

It’s interesting to note that the BLS predicts extraordinary job growth for many types of therapists.

Marriage and Family therapists are expected to grow by 23% between 2016 to 2026.

Meanwhile, Psychologists are growing 14% year-over-year, while School and Career counselors are growing by 13%.

Average job growth from one year to the next (that includes all occupations) is only 5 to 9%.

But Many Variables Affect A Therapist’s Income

Something to keep in mind is that while statistics provide insights into the general picture of therapists’ income, there are many variables at play for any particular individual.

Working Part-time vs. Full-time.

Many private practitioners work flexible hours at hourly rates.

Full-time work will typically yield a higher income: promising a workweek between 32 to 40 hours on average. Whereas part-time work falls under 32 hours which on paper has a lower average income; although technique and efficiencies can make up for less hours.

Working at various places.

When therapists are new to private practice, they often supplement their income by working for agencies or schools, while maintaining a part-time position in their private practices.

Hourly fees.

Some of the “high end/boutique” therapists I work with charge $250/hr. I have one therapist client who charges $450/hr for phone conferences. Plenty of others charge $100-120/hr while seeing between 23-28 clients/week.

Marketing strategy and website.

Having a strong marketing strategy often results in more clients and higher wages. Supplemental online courses and webinars. These allow therapists to continually supplement their income.

A Final Note on Therapist Salaries

Before jumping to conclusions, it’s important to consider the elements that factor into the above figures. With any statistical data, these numbers are meaningless unless you understand what elements generate the sum.

Remember, there is no set-in-stone salary. Some therapists make $30,000 a year while others fill their bank account thanks to a six-figure salary. The variations can be extreme. And are dictated by whether or not a therapist works for the government, a hospital or other healthcare facility, or has their own private practice.

How much you make isn’t dependent on data, but on you.

There is a Wide Range of Earning Potential for Therapists

How much does a therapist make
The question, “How much does a therapist make?” is, therefore, more complicated than it appears on the surface. The meaningful question should be: “How much money can I make moving forward?”

To increase your income you need to begin learning how to successfully market yourself.

By developing a solid marketing strategy—or by hiring a reputable, effective marketing company such as Counseling Wise—your income and practice can grow exponentially.

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The Top 8 Therapist Directories (Pros, Cons, and Costs to List Your Practice)

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The Top 8 Therapist Directories

(Pros, Cons, and Costs to List Your Practice)

You’ve heard of therapist directories.

Maybe you even discussed the effectiveness of getting listings and which ones to use and avoid with your professional colleagues.

So, is investing your time in therapist directories like Psychology Today or Good Therapy worthwhile?

Let’s delve into the often confusing, sometimes overwhelming, phenomenon of adding your practice to a therapist directory. Specifically, we’ll shed some light on the value of online directory listings and the rate of return you might see.

We’ll look into the pros and cons of employing therapist directories, offer tips on how to use them to engage clients, and take a closer look at the cost and benefits of the top rated directories for therapists.

After reading this article you’ll have a much better idea as to whether or not investing in a therapist listing is the right move for your practice.

The Pros and Cons of Using Therapist Directories

Therapist Directories and their Benefits

  • Impress potential clients with an attractive therapist directory listing.
  • Your therapist website can increase its online visibility.
  • Help people seeking therapy discover your practice.

Many therapists view therapist directory listings as if they’re an electronic version of the Yellow Pages. But, Yellow Pages are simple when compared to a digital directory listing. Think of Yellow Pages like a business card: What you see is what you get.

Listing your practice on a therapist directory is about much more than simply getting your name and number added to a website directory listing.

Therapists who set themselves apart from other mental counselors can see a significant benefit from listing on therapist directories.

Sites like Psychology Today and Good Therapy help qualified therapists make authentic connections to their target audience. Used well, they can increase a therapist’s online visibility faster than getting their site ranked on Google.

And with a well-written profile page, you too can make a good impression on potential clients, regardless of how they first hear about you or your practice. That all sounds great, right?

The Drawbacks of Using a Therapist Directory

  • Creating a great therapist directory entry is time-consuming.
  • If you live in a city you may have trouble standing out on therapist directories.
  • Even when listed on multiple therapist directories visibility is not guaranteed.

The cons of using online directory listings to help clients find you are not insignificant.

Building a profile that will connect with clients can be time-consuming. (To help simplify the process I walk you through how to write an outstanding bio a little later in this article.)

If you’re in a sizeable metropolitan area—like New York City or San Francisco—you may have a hard time standing out among the hundreds of other mental health professionals with similar practices or backgrounds as yourself.

In order to drive the desired results you’ll need a strong profile page and a great website.

There’s also a misconception that joining a therapy directory guarantees a certain level of visibility. Many listings tend to randomize the therapists they show on their front page.

And if you choose therapist directories that don’t offer the ability to produce and publish new content it could take several months before you’re able to secure a regular spot on related search results. Another potential roadblock is the persistent belief among some therapists that people who browse a database are reliant on specific insurance companies. This could mean that private practice therapists are drawing from a much smaller pool of potential clients than their peers who are on insurance panels.

None of these cons are reason enough to completely reject joining counselling directories. But, they illustrate the importance of finding the right therapist listings for your practice and location, and the benefit of writing a strategic and engaging profile page.

Tips to Find the Right Therapist Listings

There are a wide variety of therapist directories available online. Of course, some are more naturally authentic and relevant to your specialties than others.

Doing your homework about different counselling directories and how they might relate to your practice is important.

One of the most effective ways to begin narrowing your list of directories that feature the best therapy websites is to Google each of your specialties, along with your geographic area, e.g. “Anxiety Treatment Denver,” or “Marriage Counseling Dallas.”

By examining the results you can see which therapy directory is most relevant to your practice and location. If different counselling directories appear at the top of the search for different specialties, you might want to consider listing your practice in more than one database. You might also consider asking colleagues which directories they find most effective.

Factors to Consider before Listing on a Therapist Database

Be aware that a variety of factors can affect directory referrals, even after you find the best therapist directories for your practice and location.

These factors include:

  • the number of people searching for a mental health counselor in your geographical area.
  • the total number of mental health professionals available in the community.
  • the quality of your profile on the therapist directory.
  • the quality of your website (many potential clients will visit your website after seeing your profile).

When you have selected a few directories to explore, take advantage of free trials to ensure you know what you’re getting for your monthly payment.

Some paid therapist directories will give you free listings for a period of time—up to six months in some cases. It’s a wise move to put a reminder on your calendar for a few days before the trial ends so you can cancel without losing money if you get few or no referrals.

Choose Directories That Work for You

Keep in mind that the most effective online therapist directories don’t just offer static content. A successful listing will bundle original content or give you a platform to express your expertise, bringing new readers to your website and boosting your search results.

Finally, you can further leverage your opportunities by getting listed in the directories associated with your professional state, provincial and national associations. While they may not contribute directly to referrals, therapist directories do provide you a degree of professional credibility.

Your professional colleagues may also check their association’s directories rather than general search engines or counselling directories when looking to refer someone to another professional.

Creating a listing may not be an instant ticket to success, but leveraging your online therapist listing can be an effective way to build your digital marketing brand and grow your client base.

Once you find the right directorie it’s time to write an outstanding profile page.

How to Write a Standout Bio for a Therapy Directory

Your biography should be brief but compelling.

Easier said than done, though.

The best approach we have seen for this step—and the one we use to help our clients get more out of therapist directories—is to develop a mini-specialty page.

This page should…

  • Fit in the space allowed.
  • Offer a compelling introduction of yourself.
  • Deliver the message to potential clients that you understand them, they aren’t alone, and how you can help them.

It should also communicate why they should choose you instead of another therapist. This unique selling point could be about your methodology, background, hours of operation or even that you validate parking in a busy city.

If you choose to put a listing on multiple therapist directories, don’t duplicate your biography! Each bio should be unique in its language, message, and tone.

In crafting your mini specialty page, keep these points in mind:

  • Identify the pain your clients are going through. Show them you understand what they are going through.
  • Make an effort to normalize their potential diagnosis. This helps the client see that they are not alone in their struggle and that counselling is an appropriate option.
  • Describe your approach. Note specific modalities you use, the way you work with clients, and any methods or techniques you have found to be particularly effective.
  • List three frequently asked questions (FAQ) that emerge from potential clients. This could be as simple as “Is therapy worth it?” to “I’ve already tried therapy and it didn’t help me. What makes your approach different?” or “Can I still do couples counseling if my partner won’t attend?”
  • Finally, end with a Call to Action (CTA). Invite people to visit your website or contact you by your preferred method.

Once you write your biography, take a few minutes to review your therapist directories listings and ask the following questions:

  • Is your photograph professional and friendly?
  • Do you give clients a reason to call you?
  • Do you communicate your services and approach clearly?
  • Did you review the directories do’s and don’ts?
  • Have you reviewed your listing for errors before submitting?
  • Do you offer a free consultation?

Reasons a Directory Listing Might Not Work

First, don’t give up too quickly on whichever therapist directories you choose to list on. It takes some time to connect with potential clients, and even people who are “ready to get started” may take weeks or months before calling.

Success can also be modulated by your specialty, geographic area and competition.

Other factors that can impact the effectiveness of a therapist directories listing include the quality of your bio. Is it optimized for search engines? And does it connect with potential clients on an emotional level?

If you specialize in a modality or condition that people aren’t searching for (or that only serves a small population) you may struggle to attract potential clients to your profile. Making things more difficult, potential clients don’t always know what to search for in describing their problems.

Take a few minutes to do some research and find out what potential clients are looking for online—for example, “marriage counseling” instead of “couples therapy”—then incorporate those terms naturally into your bio.

Finally, market saturation can impact the efficacy of a therapist directory listing. Make sure that your profile sets you apart from the competition. And, consider whether paid advertising may help you rise above competitors while your listing gains traction.

The Top 8 Therapist Directories You Can Use Today

There are literally dozens of therapist directories listed online, and finding the right place to start can be a little intimidating.

To get you started, we’ve broken down 8 of the most popular online directories for so you can get a sense of what will work best for your practice.

Keep in mind that if you practice a specific therapy or distinct approach, such as arts-oriented therapy or neurofeedback, you may have better luck listing your practice with therapist directories that cater to your specialty than one of the standard directories below.

1. Psychology Today

Cost: $29.95 per month
image of the psychology today therapist directory website.


The Psychology Today therapist directory is the largest of its kind online. Pros include fast set up, spectacular search engine optimization (SEO), and a free trial.


The Psychology Online listing is so large individual therapists can be overlooked in the swell of candidates.

You have a very short amount of time to connect with a potential client, and you’ll want a great website or social network where potential clients can learn more about you and your practice.

2. Good Therapy

Cost: $29.95 per month or $323 annually
The Good Therapy website homepage where users can search for therapists in their area.


Good Therapy is the most significant competitor to Psychology Today. The therapist directory guarantees a referral within the first three months of building.


There are also stricter guidelines for membership, reducing the competition (though you’ll typically be up against more qualified competitors).

3. Better Help

Cost: Said to be $35 to $80 per week or $140 to $320 per month
The Better Help Therapist Directory website where counselors can list their practice.


With nearly 2,000 listings, Better Help has made a significant investment in its online visibility to those seeking treatment.


This therapist directory is strictly an e-counseling platform, and clients are automatically matched with counselors.

4. Network Therapy

Cost: $179 per year
The Network Therapy online directory listing


Includes an optional video or audio introduction and a dozen extra pages for posting articles, therapy groups, office photos and more.


An outdated, 90s-era web design may scare some potential clients away even though it hides a fairly robust therapist and therapy practice directory.

5. Find-A-Therapist

Cost: $199 or $299 annually, depending on membership level
Find-a-therapist website where therapists can add themselves to the site's directories.


A by-the-number directory that also offers content pages and e-commerce support. They guarantee that your listing will be viewed at least 365 times annually or the account will be kept active without charge until it reached 365 views.


Somewhat more expensive than alternative therapist directory listing sites.

6. Therapy Tribe

Cost: $29.99 per month or $299 annually
The TherapyTribe website where therapists can list their practice to attract clients.


This directory is distinct for its use of “tribes,” or separate directories geared towards a common problem, such as anxiety or depression. This won’t reduce competition, but it will help potential clients search for the right therapist, which can increase conversion rates.


According to our analysis, TherapyTribe has had inconsistent growth over the last 12 months. While it still brings in quite a bit of traffic you’re listing may not receive as many views over a prolonged period as it would on another listing.

7. Theravive

Cost: Ranges from $247 to more than $890 annually
The Theravive website makes listing your practice simple.


A fairly standard directory that offers content pages, individualized geographic listings, and a guarantee that your practice will receive at least one paying client during the year.


One of the more expensive options for therapist directories, but the guaranteed paying client can help offset the cost.

8. Find A Therapist

Cost: $9.95 a month or $99 annually
The FindaTherapist online directory listing website.


This is a relatively bare-bones directory with a few key features that include a mobile app, direct messages from client and other customizable features. Not to be confused with Find-A-Therapist.


Find A Therapist currently has the weakest SEO of the 8 directories we’ve listed here, meaning that your listing may not be as visible on the directory as it would be on another site.

Finding Local Therapist Directories

Keep in mind that you also have a ton of state and local options for listing your practice and expertise. These may include local therapy networks, state and local associations, professional affiliation groups, religious organizations, or LGBTQ+ resources, among others.

To List or Not To List

As we said at the beginning, therapist directories can be a valuable tool for attracting new clients to your practice. However, some time and effort must be invested in your therapist directory listing in order for it to generate paying clients and draw attention to your practice.

It’s also important to identify therapist directories that are in line with the character and location of your practice.

Lastly, a therapist directory listing should be just one part of an overall marketing strategy that includes digital marketing and the use of social networks.

We hope this guide has been helpful in understanding and navigating the benefits (and potential drawbacks) of listing on therapist directories and that your efforts lead you to a more successful and busy practice.

If you would like to learn more about how to market your practice we encourage you to engage with our Private Practice University, where you can learn to create and operate your own strategic website and online marketing to build your client base and generate inquiries from potential clients on a more regular basis.

AND... before you go... get our FREE 9 step guide to make sure your counseling website works for you.

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