Therapists often find themselves wondering how to attract their “ideal client.” What does this person look like? How do you identify them? And once you’ve found them, how do you get them to take the next step in starting therapy with you?

While there is no one perfect answer to these questions, there are a few things you can do to help point you in the right direction. Whether you’re just starting a private practice or looking to grow your current practice, identifying your ideal client is key. In this blog post, I’m going to cover 5 things you need to do to identify and attract your ideal client:

1. What is an ideal client, and why should you care?

2. How do you identify your ideal client?

3. How can you target your marketing efforts to find more of these ideal clients?

4. Once you’ve found them, what do you need to do to get them to take the next step of starting therapy?

5. What other benefits can you expect from working with your ideal clients?

What is an ideal client, and why should you care?

An ideal client is someone who is a good fit for your services, someone who you enjoy working with, and someone who is likely to benefit from therapy. They are generally people who share your values, beliefs, and goals, and who feel comfortable working with you.

There are many reasons why it’s important to identify and attract your ideal client. For one thing, it can help ensure that your marketing efforts are targeted and effective, leading to more success in your business.

Additionally, working with your ideal clients can be personally rewarding as you build a relationship with them and help them achieve their goals. Also, identifying and attracting your ideal client can benefit both you and the client by ensuring that therapy is a good fit for both of you.

Finally, by specializing in your ideal client you can command a higher fee. A higher fee brings more financial freedom and also allows you more time for reading and training as you’re not cramming your schedule to make ends meet. This allows you to become an even better therapist to your ideal clients, and the positive cycle continues.

How do you identify your ideal client?

There are a few key things to keep in mind when trying to identify your ideal client. First, think about the type of person you enjoy working with. What are their characteristics? What do they have in common? Second, consider the type of client you are most successful with. What do they have in common? Finally, what are your values and goals as a therapist? What type of person is most likely to benefit from your services?

Some specific questions you can ask yourself include:

  • What age group do I enjoy working with?
  • Do I prefer to work with men or women?
  • What type of personality do I work best with?
  • What types of presenting issues do I feel most comfortable treating?
  • What is my ideal therapy setting?
  • Do I prefer to work with individuals, couples, or families?

The first step in finding your ideal client is knowing what you’re looking for. What are the characteristics of someone you would love to provide therapy for and work with? What kind of person would you be excited to see on your calendar?

Try to be as specific as possible in your answers. If you’re a therapist specializing in couples’ therapy, for example, what sort of couple would you be most excited to work with? What are their characteristics and shared goals?

Thinking about these questions can help you identify potential clients that you may not have thought to target before. You’ll also begin to see patterns in the types of clients you want to work with and be better able to market yourself directly to those individuals.

Your Ideal Client May Be a Different Version of You

Many therapists discover that their ideal client is another version of themselves and shares many of the same characteristics. This doesn’t mean that you’ve necessarily struggled with the same issues as your ideal clients but that there may be some similarities between them and you.

For example, I work frequently with couples who are struggling with the aftermath of affairs and other forms of infidelity. I myself have not had to deal with this personally (though there are those close to me who have). What I share in common with many of my clients is not the presenting problem but rather how they see and interact with the world.

I often work with couples where one partner is more logical and analytical while the other is more empathic and emotionally expressive. Being a therapist now might surprise some of the people I grew up with as I wasn’t, let’s say, the most socially or emotionally adept youth in the bunch.

Having done my own work and grown immensely in this area, I now have the privilege of leading my clients on an analogous journey. You may find that your ideal clients speak to you in a similar way.

How can you target your marketing efforts to find more of these ideal clients?

Once you have discovered more about your ideal client, it’s time to get to work. Knowing your ideal client is only half the battle; now you need a way to reach them and call them to take the next step of starting therapy with you.

The characteristics we’ve discussed so far fall into two categories: demographics and psychographics. These are both important when targeting your marketing efforts as they provide different but essential pieces of information.

Demographics are the “who” of your ideal client. This includes information like age, gender, location, and occupation. Psychographics are the “why” of your ideal client and include things like values, interests, goals, and challenges.

Some of this information you may already know about your ideal client. Other parts, like values and interests, will require a bit more digging to uncover. A great way to do this is by surveying your current clients and asking them what drew them to you and your practice in the first place.

You can also look at demographic data to get an idea of where your ideal clients might be located- both online and IRL (in real life for those who aren’t hip with all the acronyms LOL). For example, if you work with young adults, you may find them in cities with a high concentration of college students or recent graduates. They are also more likely to engage in newer forms of social media such as TikTok and Instagram.

Once you have more information about your ideal client, you can start to target your marketing efforts specifically to them. This could involve anything from creating social media ads to participating in local events to writing blog posts or articles.

The key is to focus on your ideal client, what makes them tick, and how you can reach them in a way that feels authentic and genuine. By doing so, you may begin to see more success attracting the clients you want to work with and creating the practice of your dreams.

What are some other ways that you can target your marketing efforts to find more of your ideal client? What methods have worked best for you when reaching out to potential clients in the past?

Create a Website that Speaks to Your Ideal Clients

With the information you now have about your ideal clients, it’s time to craft your marketing message. I touched on this briefly in a previous post, How to Succeed in Private Practice. Basically, you craft your message by using the formula  “I help [specific person] overcome [specific problem/challenge] so they can achieve [specific result].”

You may need to play around with this a bit, and it may change or evolve over time. That’s okay. You have to start somewhere, and progress is better than perfection.

When a prospective client comes to your website, they want to know two things: Do you understand my pain? and Can you help me?

We answer those two questions by establishing Empathy and Authority. We accomplish Empathy by telling the prospective client that we understand their problem. We establish Authority by telling them why we are the right solution for their problem.

Everything else is secondary, including how much you charge, what insurance you take, when you’re available, and your education and credentials… (here’s a hint: most people don’t know or care if you’re trained in CBT, DBT, DOG, or MEOW as long as you speak to their pain and provide hope for healing).

Most of my clients don’t have a clue what Relational Life Therapy is. Heck, a lot of therapists still aren’t familiar with it. You’ll find a bit of information about it on my website, but I mostly talk about what therapy is like and how I believe I can help my clients achieve the results they are looking for.

That’s the key to a successful website: Speak to your ideal client’s pain and provide hope for healing. “I understand, and I can help.” Yes, it’s that simple.

Blogging for Your Ideal Client

So many therapists overthink blogging. They get it in their heads that they are back in grad school writing a thesis. *Yawn*

Since you now know your ideal client, you can begin answering their questions and concerns, showing up, and being helpful. That’s all blogging is. Heck, that’s all effective marketing is as therapists.

The more you can show up for your ideal clients, address their concerns, and be helpful, the greater the success you will have in private practice.

A lot of therapists get bogged down with blogging because they think they have to blog about therapy, research-based topics, and all sorts of other similar fluff.

Again, your ideal client wants comfort, not a PhD in psychology. So write an article that addresses their fears and struggles. Take those articles and turn them into content for social media posts so you can continue the conversation there too.

For starters, what keeps your ideal clients up at night? What are their fears and worries? What would you tell them if they were sitting in front of you right now?

Start there, and don’t worry about SEO or conversions or anything else. Let your writing call your clients to take action. The more you write, the better you will get at it. And remember, progress is better than perfection.

How to Get Your Ideal Clients to Contact You

Speaking to their pain and providing hope is a great start and puts you miles ahead of other therapists, but engaging copy will only get you so far. You also have to make it crystal clear what next step you’d like them to take.

Think of your private practice website as a roadmap on their journey to becoming a client. They either start on your homepage or on a specialty page. You are the guide; make it clear where you want them to go next.

Every page on your website should end with a clear Call-to-Action or CTA. This CTA should be consistent throughout your website as well. Sure, you can eventually have multiple CTAs- call, text, email, submit this form, sign up for my newsletter- but there should be one that stands out above the rest.

On my practice website, I have a widget that pops up in the lower corner of the screen that says “Get Started Now.” If you click or tap on it, it encourages you to schedule a consultation. This is the quickest way to get started with my practice, so I make it really clear that’s what I want them to do.

That being said, my contact information is also at the top of every page. You don’t want to leave prospective clients guessing what you want them to do next. If they have to guess, chances are they just won’t.

What other benefits can you expect from working with your ideal clients?

Oh man, this could be its own blog post (and maybe it will be someday). But for now, let me just list a few benefits:

  • You will be excited to see them on your calendar
  • They will be less likely to drop out of treatment
  • They will be easier to work with
  • You will feel more fulfilled in your work
  • You will have fewer no-shows and cancellations
  • You will be more likely to get referrals from them
  • You will be less stressed and burned out

Do you see how this could make private practice so much easier and more enjoyable? When you are only (or mostly) seeing clients that you love working with, it’s hard not to have a great day.

Plus, I mentioned earlier that you can charge more when you’re a specialist. You can make much more than the average salary for an LPC Associate. This means you can make more money seeing fewer clients. You’ll have more time to engage in enriching activities, both personally and professionally. It means you’ll be a better therapist.

Another benefit is that it makes choosing to work with an LPC Associate that much easier for the client. What you lack in clinical experience, you can make up for with personal experience and connection with your ideal clients.


When you know who your ideal clients are, it becomes much easier to identify and market to them. And when you’re working with people that you enjoy seeing and that are easy to work with, private practice is a lot more enjoyable! Not only will you make more money charging specialist rates, but you’ll also experience less stress and burnout.

It took me a while to get on board with the thought of an ideal client. After all, was I really saying I’d only work with certain kinds of people? But as I’ve become more successful in my private practice, I’m so glad that I took this step. My ideal clients are a joy to work with- and it shows!

So if you aren’t sure who your ideal clients are, now is the time to figure it out. It will make everything else about your business much easier and more enjoyable to boot. If you’re an LPC Associate, one of the benefits of working with me is that I will help you identify your ideal client and craft a marketing plan to build your practice.

Identifying your ideal clients can be the best thing you do for your private practice. Let me know if I can help. Good luck!

Mark Cagle is an LPC Supervisor in Texas | Supervision for LPC Associates

About the Author

Mark Cagle is an LPC Supervisor in Texas and provides online supervision to LPC Associates throughout the state. He also has a thriving private practice in Dallas focused on working with couples in crisis.

Being the nerd that he is, he also builds websites and creates digital marketing plans to help other therapists flourish in their practices.

There are many great reasons to work with Mark, but don't just take his word for it. If you want to skip the usual associate slog and jumpstart your career in private practice, schedule a chat.

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