If you look at the directory profiles and websites of most therapists you’ll find that the majority provide services for common psychological problems including depression, anxiety, ADHD, and so on. The average therapist lists 10 to 15 disorders they treat. But what about the people who are suffering because of subclinical problems like loneliness, job dissatisfaction, or procrastination? They may not even think of themselves as needing therapy, but they do need help. And you can provide it.
Many problems that people suffer with every day don’t meet the criteria of a clinical diagnosis, yet they are keeping people from a fulfilling life.
If you are looking to build your practice, you should consider offering services in a subclinical niche. Here are some common problems that people in your community face every day:
- Grieving a loss
- Fear of the dentist (or pediatrician, getting an MRI, etc.)
- Toilet training
- Coping with cancer (both the patient and his/her family)
- Support for caring for an older parent
- Workplace stress
And many more.
Let’s just look at the problem of loneliness as an example. A recent study found that more than 40% of American adults describe themselves as lonely, whereas only 20% described themselves with this problem in 1980. In spite of the fact that we are all supposed to be hyper-connected, many people all around you are suffering by being alone. And besides the psychological problems that accompany loneliness, people who describe themselves as lonely tend to have many more health problems (click here to see the NY Times Article “How Social Isolation Is Killing Us”).
Now let’s take a look at how you can help the four out of ten people in your community with this problem.
- Offer groups to help people feel more connected to others
- Offer resources on your website for people to download (like those available from BetweenSessions.com).
- Give lectures in your community (churches, libraries, service clubs, and so on) about how people can get socially connected in the real world
- Develop a brochure on the niche services you might offer for people who suffer from shyness and social anxiety. Mail the brochure to key community figures, post it on community boards, drop it by at local physician offices, and so on
- Give workshops on overcoming specific social problems such as dating after a divorce, living alone, social problems of the elderly, etc.
- Create material on overcoming loneliness, such as an ebook, podcast, or online course.
If you are considering creating a niche for your therapy practice, I urge you to think it through and commit. You’ll want to be THE PERSON people think of when they or someone they know has a particular problem. Make sure you are passionate about helping people with this problem. Most successful experts agree that passion is the single most important element that has led to their success.