By Guest Author Whitney Owens
While searching for a therapist, Jillian types into Google “Christian counselor”. She is hoping to find multiple clinicians within a short drive from her home. She wants someone who not only has clinical skills but also understands how her faith plays a role in her life. Sadly the only counselors that pop up are those with ads or those who do not even mention Christian on their website. She leaves her computer discouraged.
Christians often struggle to identify a new therapist who will understand their faith
Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence for multiple reasons. In some cases, there are just not enough Christian counselors in a specific radius. Other reasons are that counselors simply do not have good websites or have websites at all! Yes, someone told me that this morning. It is vital that clients are able to find counselors that meet their specific treatment needs. A good website and SEO are key to helping more people find the best fit therapist for them.
But can I market myself as a “Christian Counselor?”
That being said, Christian counselors need to do all they can to make their names known. Now, you may be wondering, what does it even mean to be a “Christian counselor” and what credential do I need to call myself that. It is simple. If you call yourself a Christian and also are a counselor, then you can put these words together and call yourself a Christian counselor. This does not mean that you are a theologian and know everything the Bible has to say on every issue. It also doesn’t mean that you only talk about faith in session or that you pray at the beginning and end of every appointment. Being a Christian counselor means you can bring faith into the session when appropriate when a client requests this approach in treatment. If you want to get a degree from a Christian program or get a special certification to help you integrate faith in counseling, that is great. But, from what I know, there is no specific requirement to call yourself a Christian counselor. If you know differently, please let me know.
Marketing helps clients who need your services find you
Therefore, Christian clients need to know where to find their ideal counselor, one who makes faith a part of the work. We know that most clients look for a therapist on Google or by word of mouth. Christian counselors, even if their work is not all Christian, need to give clients an option of finding them. The best way to do that is through a good website and SEO that will drive potential clients your way.
A simple way to help your clients: Add a Christian Counseling page to your website
If you are a counselor who considers Christianity to be a part of your work, I am pleading with you to add a Christian Counseling page on your website. You can make this page like any of your other service pages such as your Substance Abuse page or your Child Counseling page. It does not have to be front and center on your website if you don’t want to market only as a faith-based practice. But, if you want to do that, no problem. Most clinicians I speak to do not want to only work with Christians. I get that. That is why I recommend you make Christian Counseling a page under your drop-down menu for Services. This way, when people are looking for a Christian counselor, there is a chance you will be found. And as any consultant will tell you, make sure you have good internal and external links on your page so people have a greater chance of finding it. And as a bonus tip, you can also blog about Christian counselors to get better hits the next time Jillian gets on Google to find you.
About the Guest Author
Whitney Owens is a therapist, the owner of a private pay group psychotherapy practice in Savannah, and a consultant with Practice of the Practice specializing in helping Christian therapists grow their private practices. You may also be interested in a blog post she wrote about “What is required to call myself a Christian counselor” and a podcast she hosted with another amazing therapist (shout out to William Hemphill!) answering the question, “Can I call myself a Christian counselor?” Whitney will also be starting another round of her popular Faith in Practice Mastermind group for Christian private practice owners starting in July. You can learn more about that mastermind group here. Several of our SEO clients have been through her previous masterminds and have found them really helpful as they build a successful practice that is in line with their Christian values.