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When building a private practice, it is very common to think that there is too much competition to create another successful practice in your region.

Many therapists often say, “why are people going to come see me when there are so many therapists already established in my area?”

You might find that you are comparing yourself to other senior therapists who have been at it for decades. Even though you feel a level of confidence in your skills, you devalue yourself when
you consider what the “experts” are doing.

You probably know of therapists seeing 30-40 clients a week, which inspires you but sometimes makes you jealous. You wonder how they built up such a strong practice and whether you have
what it takes” to do the same. You’re likely worried that you won’t know how to set yourself apart from all of the “competition” in your area.

I’ll be the first to admit it. I’ve been there!

I spent plenty of months envious of other therapists’ practices. I stressed too many nights wondering how I was going to “compete” in a city saturated with so many amazing healers.

I responded initially by using what I was taught about business in previous sales positions. I focused on learning more skills and told referral sources how I was on the cutting-edge of therapy. I implied I had something newer and better to offer than the “competition.”

This approach is called “marketing against your competition,” and I will be the first to tell you it just doesn’t work out well for therapists. I was often left feeling inauthentic and pushy, because I was coming from a place of scarcity, thinking that there wasnot enough space for me to share my gifts in the community; I was acting out of desperation and fear.

So, the big question remains…how do you “compete” in a sea of therapists in order to establish a new thriving practice?

Here is a secret that many successful entrepreneurs live by: there is no competition. In fact,
remove competition from your vocabulary. There are never too many therapists in a region. It’s
quite simple. There will always be more people in need of therapy than there are therapists.

The therapists I’ve coached that were stuck in a competitive mentality discovered how empowering and effective it is to embody an authentic, non-competitive marketing mindset. When you focus solely on reaching the clients that will be served best by you, the concept of competition falls away. This mentality builds a sense of trust that there are enough clients out there that will benefit most from seeing you.

This type of marketing is about learning how to express the most authentic version of yourself, so referral sources and prospective clients will seek you out.

When you’re able to do this in your meetings with referral sources, your public talks, through online marketing and your website, your uniqueness becomes a known gift that is needed in your community amongst a sea of therapists.

A competitive mindset can be left for sporting events. Simply allow your authentic gifts to shine and you will find that the pursuit for achievement and mastery are enough to turn your vision of a thriving practice into a reality.

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Keith Kurlander

Keith Kurlander is the founder of Higher Practice, a company dedicated to helping therapists achieve their highest potential in private practice. He has two decades of combined experience in business administration, group facilitation, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level, yoga instruction and as a licensed professional counselor in private practice.

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