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How To Start A Private Practice In Sex Therapy

Navigating the complexities of growing a private practice as a therapist, counselor, or social worker comes with its set of challenges. Graduate programs often focus on honing therapy techniques but might overlook the critical business skills needed to run a successful practice. This gap leaves many professionals wary of embarking on a private practice journey immediately after their studies. Therapists find themselves at a crossroads, trying to balance the business aspects of their practice with the intricacies of providing effective therapy. Achieving success in private practice demands a blend of therapeutic prowess and business savvy.

From my vantage point, the importance of establishing a robust brand and identifying a specific niche cannot be overstated in propelling your private practice forward. Choosing to specialize, for instance, by venturing into sex therapy or earning a certification in sex therapy, stands out as a potent strategy for differentiation and growth. To fully understand the advantages of specializing in sex therapy and how it can benefit your practice, I suggest watching the following video. It sheds light on the myriad ways in which embracing this specialization can serve as a boon for your practice’s development.


Doubling Your Client Base: Growth Hacks for Sex Therapists -
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Guide To Growing Your Private Practice

    Start A Private Practice in 7 Steps

    Keep It Simple To Avoid Analysis Paralysis

    Use This Checklist To Start Your Private Practice Easily

    This is not a comprehensive list of everything needed to set up a practice, but it will get you started.  I am planning on writing a comprehensive guide to setting up your practice in the future.

    Step 1: Define Your Niche and Personal Brand

    Sex therapy encompasses a wide range of issues. Identifying your niche not only helps target your services but also forms a crucial part of your personal branding strategy. Consider what unique perspectives or approaches you bring to your practice. This could be anything from working with LGBTQ+ couples to specializing in sexual dysfunction. Your personal brand should reflect your unique offerings, values, and the specific outcomes you help your clients achieve.

    Step 2: Obtain Necessary Credential

    To start a practice, possessing a license or a pre-license, under the requisite supervision, is fundamental. Additionally, proving your expertise in the specific subject area is crucial. When it comes to practicing sex therapy, demonstrating proficiency in this field is essential. While obtaining a certification is not mandatory for proving competency, it certainly can be advantageous. It’s worthwhile to carefully consider your choices before hastily pursuing any certifications. For a more detailed discussion on this topic, refer to my piece, “How to Become A Sex Therapist.”

    Step 3: Set Up A Place of Business

    Offering therapy online is indeed a cost-effective and convenient alternative to leasing office space. However, to appear on Google Maps—a crucial factor in your practice’s visibility—you’ll need a physical address. The significance of being listed on Google Maps cannot be overstated, as it can significantly influence your success. Initially, I opted for a practical solution by renting an office space once a week.

    Select a city or state for your practice that boasts a substantial population and faces minimal competition.

    Step 4: Set Up A Website, Email, and Phone Number

    You need a website and an email/phone number for people to reach you.  

    Step 5: Professional Pictures

    The use of high-quality pictures plays a critical role in establishing trustworthiness, especially in professional settings. Good photographs not only convey professionalism but also create a first impression that can significantly influence a potential client’s perception of credibility and reliability. In fields where establishing trust is paramount, such as therapy or counseling, a professional, welcoming image can bridge the initial gap between strangers, making it easier for clients to connect and feel comfortable reaching out. High-resolution, well-composed photos that reflect the genuine nature of the professional can enhance approachability and convey a sense of confidence in their expertise, thus fostering a foundation of trust even before the first interaction.

    Step 6: Get Listed On Online Directories

    Online directories like Psychology Today or Good Therapy can be valuable sources of client referrals. Having experimented with various platforms, I’ve found that Psychology Today consistently delivers more leads. Additionally, exploring local directories, such as the Portland Therapy Center, is beneficial not only for the direct referrals they may generate but also because they offer a valuable link back to your website. Such links are advantageous for search engine optimization, helping to improve your site’s visibility and ranking.

    Step 7: Get Listed On Insurance Panels

    If you are licensed, joining panels can serve as a foundational step to grow your practice. While the compensation may not match that of private payments, it provides more accessible entry points for those just beginning their practice.

    Become A Sex Therapist

    Improve your therapy practice with our online course designed for therapists entering the field of sex therapy. This detailed program provides 24 hours of video content, case studies, and selected readings to broaden your understanding of sex therapy. With 12 AASECT CEUs, it allows for self-paced study and offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. 


    Sex therapists can make anywhere from  $80.00 to $450.00 per session depending on experience, visibility and location.

    When choosing a name for your therapy practice, it should be memorable, topical, and align with your brand. Memorable names are easier for potential clients to recall. Ensuring the name sounds like it belongs to a therapy practice helps with SEO, as including keywords related to therapy can improve search rankings. Additionally, integrating your location can boost local SEO. The name should also reflect your practice’s values and areas of specialization to help attract your target clientele.

    My very simple tip for your very first therapy session is that when you get nervous or don’t know how to respond you say “Tell me more about that” until you gather your wits.  Also, if you get lost, think that you are just having a conversation with a friend.