Sometime during 2024, Counseling Compact will enable therapists to work with potential clients outside of their licensed state, so long as their state has joined the Compact.
One of the main motivators for the compact is so that if a therapist is working with a client, and they have an established relationship, and that client moves to another state, the client can continue working with that therapist, instead of having to find a new one.
An effect of the above, is that Counseling Compact is expanding the market for potential clients for therapists.
(Psychologists already have a similar agreement through PSYPACT.)
As of this writing, about 75% of the country will be participating in the Compact.
So, therapy is about to become a lot more accessible: many potential clients will be able to work with therapists not just outside their zip code but outside their state.
But there’s a big, looming question ahead of the Compact’s implementation…
How can private practices use their websites to make the most out of Counseling Compact? How can you prepare for the New Year?
We have our ears to the digital ground so in this article we’re covering the basics on how you can make the most out of the Compact once it goes live.
Who Is Eligible To Join the Counseling Compact?
Applications are expected to open sometime in the middle of 2024. And counselors will need to apply separately for each state that’s part of the Compact. It is not a given.
And there will be a cost, which will be determined by each state, individually. (Depending on cost, you’ll probably want to choose which states to participate in.)
We have to stress this is not a license, but a privilege to practice in other states. And part of that privilege includes using telehealth to connect with clients.
(Afterall, most counselors are not likely to travel between states to see clients.)
Now who exactly can participate?
Anyone who is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or equivalent (such as LPCC or LMHC) is eligible.
Those that don’t qualify include…
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs)
- Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs)
And your home state must be part of the Compact, otherwise, you are unfortunately unable to participate. The good news is that many states have already joined.
At the end of this post we’ve provided the full list of states which are part of Counseling Compact.
(Head to the Counseling Compact website for more information.)
How Should Private Practice Websites Take Advantage?
Here’s the million dollar question…
Now just because Counseling Compact will enable private practices to connect with potential clients in other states, doesn’t mean private practice websites will automatically connect with those same clients.
Private Practice websites will still rank locally, first and foremost. Expanding beyond your locality, as far as rankings are concerned, will be a little difficult.
(And we’re going to be brainstorming how Private Practice website’s can take advantage of Counseling Compact, so stay tuned!)
For now, therapists are going to need 2 things to benefit from Counseling Compact:
Neither of the above is easy, especially on a national level. You have to compete with everyone, not just your neighbors.
You may be wondering…
“But, why can’t I just add all of the other states I have the privilege to practice in through Counseling Compact?”
Because to rank locally you need an office, and a Google Business Profile. So, unless you run out and open an office in every state you sign up for through the Compact, you wont rank within other States.
Let’s take a step back and talk Conversions first…
By Conversions we just mean that the people who come to your website become clients, i.e. when they become a client that’s a conversion.
You may have a lot of blog traffic for a post on your site about Narcissism, but if all that traffic is coming from Königsberg, Germany, it’s not going to convert, i.e. they’re not potential clients.
But if that traffic was coming from a state in which you can practice, then you would be visible to the right people: your potential clients.
So, how do you make sure your website is visible to the right people (the ones who potentially want to work with you) across the country?
Now we can expand on Visibility…
There are four ways for Private Practices to be visible for their Specialties across the country.
The first two are relatively straightforward:
But the above are only going to reach a small percentage of the total potential client base.
The fourth reaches a lot more people…
Serving The Niche and Underserved
There’s only one real keyword strategy at the moment for ranking nationally, and that’s blogs.
There are a few niche keywords that rank nationally. You may have noticed your own blog ranking for some of these terms, garnering a ton of traffic.
Very narrow niches tend to give you opportunities to rank nationally. The reason is that there’s not as much competition within them. Some examples include…
- Daughters with narcissistic mothers
- Mothers of kids with potentially fatal food allergies
- Folks with particular fetishes
- LGBTQ folks in conservative states needing help
- Couples struggling with Asperger’s
- Cultural, religious, or ethnic groups underserved
- Couples with different religious backgrounds struggling to parent their kids
Writing about the above may land you on the first page of Google in one of the states you have a privilege to practice in through Counseling Compact.
The problem is that, unlike Specialty Pages, we don’t have as much control, because, unlike local rankings, on the national level, everyone is competing against everyone. It’s a real free-for-all.
But, for now, blogging about particular niches does stand as the best way for Private Practices to expand their reach beyond their local rankings, and connect with potential clients outside of their state.
How you then convert those potential clients who land on your blogs, we’re saving for a future post, so stay tuned!
What States Are Part of the Compact?
Below we’ve listed all of the states participating in the Compact.
The Counseling Compact website has an interactive map that shows which states are participating, and which have legislation pending.
We’ll update this list as it expands.
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
States With Pending Legislation:
- New Jersey
- South Carolina
- Rhode Island
- Washington D.C.
Private Practices Can Connect With Clients Nationally
Counseling Compact provides a new opportunity for therapists to expand their reach and to see more clients. But, as mentioned, this isn’t a turnkey solution.
Therapists will have to do work to become visible. But it can be done. Serving underserved niches is the best way to rank nationally, since there’s limited competition.
So, an effective SEO blogging strategy can connect private practices with potential clients across the country.