Back to School Marketing Tips for TherapistsOct 25, 2021
September and October are big referral times for therapists who see kids, teens, young adults, families, and college and graduate students. Why? Heading back to school after a long summer is stressful for most students. Additionally, parents, teachers, and administrators are often most aware of kids' mental health struggles right around the time those first report cards come out in late October. September and October are the perfect time to get out there and network with school counselors, teachers, librarians, college counseling centers, school psychologists, principals, coaches, and academic support services. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
SCHEDULE MEETINGS WITH SCHOOL COUNSELORS
Therapists who work with kids, teens, and college students often overlook the important role of school counselors. New therapists often assume that they know the best plan for their clients' success at school. Novice therapists often call school counselors and leave long voicemails telling the school counselors ‘what to do’ with their clients. This is the wrong approach. One of the most important things you can do is create a collaborative relationship with school counselors in your community.
TO DO THIS YOU MUST:
Try to secure a release for your clients' school counselors so you can share information and work collaboratively.
Set up a time to seek out the school counselor’s clinical impressions of your client.
Don't assume that you know best! Don't walk into a 504 plan meeting and tell everyone in the room what to do. This isn't your role.
Recognize that some public school counselors are not allowed to refer to private practice therapists (due to school policy). However, having open communication with school counselors helps promote your reputation as a solid member of your community and strengthens your business relationships.
WONDERING HOW TO GO ABOUT SECURING A MEETING WITH A SCHOOL COUNSELOR? HERE IS ONE SCRIPT I USE FOR CONNECTING WITH THEM.
“My name is Kelley Stevens. I have a psychotherapy office close to your school and I often have your students in my practice, but parents are hesitant to sign a release for me to speak directly with the school. I’d love to find a time to come by, introduce myself, and get copies of your school release forms to keep in my office. That way, when I have a concern about one of your students I’ll be able to let parents know that you and I know each other and work together to form circles of support around the kids we work with. What time would work for you?”
MEET WITH COLLEGE COUNSELING CENTERS
Do you have a local college or university near your office? Use the same script listed above to secure a meeting with the college counseling center. When you are meeting with the counselor, consider offering to do a free training or workshop for the counseling center staff and discuss ways that you can work together to serve college students in your local community. You could also consider offering to do a group therapy program right on campus for students struggling with the transition back to school.
OFFER TO DO FREE PARENTING WORKSHOPS AT LOCAL SCHOOLS
Consider meeting with the principal of local elementary, middle or high schools and offering to do free parenting workshops on campus. Parenting workshops are a great way to give back to your community, get to know school administrators, and speak directly to potential clients. Here are a list of potential topics:
How to talk about drugs and alcohol with your teen.
Identifying mental health struggles in middle schoolers.
How to hold boundaries around screen time with your child.
How to promote confidence and resilience in your teen.
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