How to get referrals (Part 2: Other therapists)

Roughly 20% of the clients I see come from other therapists who recommend me. This number has been rising ever since I chose to sharpen my clinical focus on sex addiction. Having other therapists recommend you is powerful because

of the trust that clients place in their therapist’s opinions. 20-25% is a significant percentage of incoming clients. What is the percentage for you? How do you increase the chance that other therapists refer clients to you?

My thoughts about this are similar to the thoughts I shared about getting referrals from pastors. If a therapist doesn’t know you, they won’t be able to trust you. If they don’t trust you, they will probably not refer you. Though this sounds simple, not all therapists know how to get to know other therapists. Moreover, some therapists do know how to get to know other therapists, but aren’t in a situation where they can invest the time and energy to get to know other therapists. This article is for the first group, not for the second group. I believe the second group will jump back into the networking pool once their situation allows for it!

Ways to Know Other Therapists

One of the best ways I know to get to know other therapists is to join a consultation group. This has been my winner by a landslide. I’m sad it took me 3 years to find this out. I hope my mistake will be your gain! I got licensed in 2014 and for 3 years, I focused only on doing my case work well. I was on an island, and I didn’t get many clients. Looking back, it’s easy to see why. Other therapists could not refer to me if they didn’t know who I was!

Much of this changed around August 2017, when I became part of a monthly consultation group with 2-3 other local therapists. We’re all within one city of each other which makes it very convenient, and we rotate our meeting locations. We talk about private practice issues, we bring up case questions, we bounce ideas off each other, and we also talk personally about our lives. It is so incredibly valuable to me, and I hope we can keep it going for a long time. We refer clients to one another often when we feel it would be a good fit. The specialties we cover are adoption, infertility, post-partum, Restoration Therapy for couples, EFT for couples, and sex addiction. I implicitly trust these colleagues according to their specialties because I have spent so much time with them. Our consultation group started with a simple question: Would you like to start a consultation group with me? After that, it’s just a matter of deciding logistics!

Another way to get to know a therapist is through a phone call or email or hand written note sent in the mail. I received a thoughtful note in the mail one day from a local therapist introducing herself and asking if I’d like to meet up and network. I responded with an invitation to attend our Asian Christian Therapist Meet/Greet in Brea, which she gladly did. This led to more conversations, and now she’s part of the consultation group I mentioned above! What started as a simple note from a stranger, developed into a trusted colleague whom I actively send referrals to!

Finally I’ll mention that joining dialogues on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, blog posts) with other therapists can help other therapists get to know you. It’s not as effective as meeting people face to face, but it’s still something. The key is to actually join the dialogue so that people can get a feel for your voice, your mind, your heart, your niche. What are some examples of joining a dialogue? Things like asking questions, agreeing with an opinion and giving an example, respectfully disagreeing with an opinion and giving an example, even writing and sharing a brief blog article (300ish words?) is a form of dialoguing with other therapists.

 “I’m kinda scared”

I realize that sharing your voice is something that feels very risky and frightening. Culturally, as an Asian American, I’ve always felt like it wasn’t my place to say anything. I would leave the speaking to the alphas, the authorities, or the majority. But I finally got to a point where I felt my opinions and questions were valuable, too. And I started speaking (with a shaky voice!) and I realized I learned so much more about myself and about everything I was talking about because I joined the conversation. I believe you also have valuable opinions and questions, and I’d love to hear them! And if you share with a shaky voice, all the better 🙂

Oh Quick Update!

I signed the lease for an office in Diamond Bar! In my previous post, I said it was 300 sq ft, which ended up being totally wrong, it’s actually about 190 sq ft. Way off. It’s the office with the built in wood shelving. Not very big, but it’s still bigger than my Fullerton office. The other larger office was asking way too much for my budget. I’ll be moving in some furniture probably in mid July, and I’ll show you some pics along the way! 

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