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  • Writer's pictureMartin Beck

And My Inbox Exploded: The Chaotic Comedy of Marketing as a New Therapist (and Relentless Self-Promotion Burnout)

Updated: Apr 15

man walking on a winding road paved with textbooks

The road to becoming a therapist is winding, paved with textbooks, practicum hours, and the desperate attempt to hold on to one's sanity. Just as you think you've reached the promised land of your carefully crafted therapeutic sanctuary, your inbox and text messages explode with the cacophonous and clamorous cadence of offers from marketing companies and SEO practitioners.

It's a cosmic joke of celestial spun around this place of introspection and empathy. So, as a newly minted therapist, my encounter with marketing and the internet's relentless self-promotional barrage has been darkly entertaining and, ironically, educational.


The Art of Being Found

woman playing hide and seek

In this digitized world, where therapists are as ubiquitous as Facebook ads, the challenge lies not in the service one provides but in the art of being found. Playing 'find the therapist' is like playing hide-and-seek, where the child has been hiding for hours, still hoping to be found in time dinner!

The wisdom often imparted to the fledgling therapist is to make oneself visible — create a website, start a blog or podcast, and be active on social media. You must maintain a saturated digital footprint so that Google's algorithms will be tickled pink by your omnipotent presence. The irony, however, is palpable: That advice comes with a price tag and a steep learning curve.


Enter the Predators of Presence

nerdy therapist threatened by a predator

For every online therapy directory promising visibility, there's an SEO company looking to peddle its wares. As avid prognosticators, they prophesy massive web traffic surges, social media prowess, and a return on investment that seems reminiscent of science fiction.

Image: predator


But it's not just SEO companies that prey on the therapist's desire for visibility and success. Countless marketing companies offer services, promising to boost your online presence and bring in droves of new clients. Getting caught up in the excitement of growth and success is easy, but as a therapist, it's essential to remain vigilant and discerning.


Self-Care and Relentless Self-Promotion Burnout


Self-care, that ubiquitous term within the mental health community, has taken on a life of its own. Therapists must not only guide their clients in strategies to unplug and unwind, but we must also craft the means to do so ourselves. That includes escape routes from the labyrinth of emails, texts, and incoming calls from prospective clients and marketing maestros alike.


In this flux between the digital and the analog, the professional and the personal, the true challenge of multi-layered self-care is unearthed. One must be adaptable and discerning to dispense genuine guidance while navigating the trappings of an online presence.

The rise of social media has blurred the lines between therapists' personal and professional lives. While it allows for greater visibility and accessibility, it also opens up the possibility of crossing boundaries or presenting a curated version of oneself. Our authenticity and integrity are paramount to building and maintaining client trust as therapists. Thus, balancing being present online while maintaining professional boundaries can be a delicate dance.


It's easy to develop Relentless Self-Promotion Burnout, my own term for the exhaustion of constant marketing. A new therapist must also find the balance point between accessibility and overexertion, visibility, and vulnerability. Like a tightrope walker, it's about keeping one’s feet firmly planted on the line while gazing ahead with intention and determination.


The Power of Authenticity

an authentic, empathetic psychotherapist with a patient

Remember, your authenticity and genuine connection with potential clients will always be more impactful than any fancy marketing tactics. It's essential to find what works for you and your practice rather than trying to fit into a one-size-fits-all mold. Embrace your unique strengths and approach to therapy, and let that shine through in your marketing efforts.

In today's digital world, authenticity is a highly sought-after commodity. People are bombarded with endless advertising and marketing tactics, making it increasingly difficult to stand out. But the one thing that will always set you apart from the rest is your genuine self.

When potential clients come across your online presence, they want to see a real person behind the therapy services. They want to connect with someone who understands their struggles and can offer genuine empathy and support. By being authentic in your marketing, you create a foundation of trust and credibility that will ultimately lead to long-term success.

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