7 of the Best Referral Sources for Therapists

Growing your practice is not always easy. You have to compete against the top mental health professionals not only in your city, but across the state and even country since remote therapy has become such a big thing. But unlike a product business, your services are unique. People want YOUR expertise to help them overcome the challenges they face. So making sure that you position yourself for success in your specialty(ies) is crucial. That’s probably why you’ve stumbled upon our blog, “7 of the Best Referral Sources for Therapists.” In this post, we will highlight our top 7 ways you can get new clients to help you increase your case load. Let’s jump in!

1. Have a Niche

Having a niche is so important. Some mental health professionals try the approach of treating everything, which leaves an impression that they are not particularly great at any specific approach or treating any specific condition. You’re much better off creating a niche in both treatment modality and the condition(s) that you treat. For example, if you decide to treat eating disorders, you can also showcase your expertise in DBT and CBT-E. Now when another therapist has a client that they can’t treat or don’t have time to treat, your name can be top of mind to receive referrals.

2. Ask for Referrals

Another crucial strategy to get referrals is to simply ask for them. If you have relationships with other mental health professionals locally, make sure to nurture those relationships strategically. If you’re looking for more clients, make it known to your referral sources that you can take on clients they don’t have time for or don’t want to treat. These people can regularly send you leads that align with your niche, helping you grow your practice quickly.

3. Network Offline

While online marketing is extremely powerful and we 100% believe in it (we do run a marketing company for therapists), networking offline has its place. The internet can’t replace a hand shake. Knowing and cultivating your relationships with other mental health professionals locally and beyond can help you gain valuable referral sources to grow your practice long-term. You can meet therapists at networking events, required education trainings, and by simply reaching out and asking them to lunch. Comradery goes a long way. It’s important not to see everyone as a competitor, but as someone who can help you grow your practice.

4. Online Directories

Online directories come in all shapes and sizes. These work by creating a large SEO strategy to rank in cities and states, and to rank for many different topics that clients search for online. With powerful SEO strategies in place, directories can bring in clients and patients who are searching for services like yours, acting as a bridge to connect you with your ideal clients. There are of course drawbacks to directories (i.e. competing against many other mental health professionals on each directory, not ranking for many placements in search engines, prices, etc.), but in general, it’s a great idea to join directories. Our directory TherapyByPro is free to join and offers you the ability to showcase your expertise via guest blogs, which is incredibly valuable for being found in search engines. Of course there are other paid options as well, such as Psychology Today, which is probably the most well-known directory for mental health professionals.

5. Contract with Insurance Companies

While many therapists we work with do not work with insurance companies, some of the group practices and larger facilities do. These can be great referral sources as you will be listed as an in-network provider. Of course the negatives of taking insurance can be great (i.e. requiring tons of admin work, not getting paid much for your services, etc.), the benefits of getting more clients can be great.

6. Reward Loyalty from Client Referrals

As you continue to make a difference in the lives of your clients, you’ll naturally start receiving referrals from clients whom you’ve made a big difference with. If you receive a referral from a client, it’s important to show sincere thankfulness. You can accomplish this by sending a handwritten letter. By acknowledging that you truly valued their referrals, they will continue to refer friends and family to you when they face a problem. These referrals will trust you because they trust the person who referred them.

7. Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy

Last but certainly not least is creating a digital marketing strategy. We’ve written about this extensively but let’s review the things you should be doing in your digital marketing strategy:

Your Brand

It all starts with your brand. Branding your therapy practice is than a logo and colors. Branding is how your clients see you and how they connect with you. The language you use is important, the images you use are important, the colors you use are important, the overall feel is important. It’s critical to first figure out WHO your clients are and what they need help with. You can read more about branding your practice here.

Your Website

Designing your best therapy website is more than just how it looks. Your website needs to function well and be built with strategy top of mind. This plays a massive role in how successful your SEO strategy will be, which will dictate how many clients find your practice online, and ultimately, it will massively impact your bottom line.  Do you need a new website? Read the top 10 signs that you need a new website here.

Your SEO Strategy

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a foundational strategy. This means, it should be a primary focus in your marketing efforts. This is because SEO, when built correctly, can massively grow your practice overtime, and without costing you money or much effort. You can read more about why mental health professionals should focus on SEO here.

Your Content Strategy

What is content? In terms of SEO, it is simply creating new pages on your website that can be found by potential clients. This can take the form of blogs, pages, quizzes, video, podcasts, and more. To be successful in SEO, you need a great content strategy. You can read more about blogging for mental health professionals here.

Social Media

Social media is a great tool to showcase your brand and personality. Social media can also direct clients to larger content pieces on your website, such as your blog posts. To get started with social media, we’d recommend choosing 1 channel and posting regularly about things your clients care about.

Email Automations

Email automations can save you a lot of time, but also can be effective tools to grow your practice. While your practice management software probably automates reminder emails for sessions, you can also create your own automations for things like new blogs being published. This can bring your expertise directly to your email list of clients and potential clients.


Advertising is last on this list. For individual therapists, we don’t recommend advertising much. This is because advertising is not as easy as social media and Google makes it out to be. It can take many months to refine campaigns and drill down to an ad formula that works. However, if you’re a group practice and you’re already have a great brand, a great website strategy, a SEO strategy, and a content strategy firing at a high level, you may need more clients. Larger practices can benefit from advertising in addition to the above.

Final Thoughts on The Best Referral Sources for Therapists and Other Mental health Professionals

Thank you so much for reading our post on the Best Referral Sources for Therapists. We hope this list gave you some great insights into what you should be doing to get more referrals. If you are consistent with your efforts and are doing the right things, you can grow your practice consistently over time.

TherapyByPro is an online mental health directory that connects mental health pros with clients in need. If you’re a mental health professional, you can Join our community and add your practice listing here. We have assessments, practice forms, and worksheet templates mental health professionals can use to streamline their practice. View all of our mental health forms, worksheet, and assessments here.

Anthony Bart
Author: Anthony Bart

Anthony Bart is a huge mental health advocate. He has primarily positioned his marketing expertise to work with mental health professionals so that they can help as many patients as possible. He is currently the owner of BartX, TherapistX, and TherapyByPro.

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