In this article we’ll cover how counsellors and therapists can identify their ideal private practice client.

Question Mark
How do you identify your ideal client?


Lots of businesses out there offer their services to whoever is willing to pay for them.


Because they:

  • Are too afraid to not be seen as a generalist
  • Assume it’s the best way to do business
  • Think it’s the only way to do business
  • Are worried about scaring people away
  • Worry it will reduce their visibility within the market
  • Are desperate for paid client hours
  • Struggle with saying ‘no’

If any of that sounds like you, you’ll definitely want to read on.


It might be that you’ve never really considered this question before. Your ideal client is whoever is willing to be your client, right?

Or perhaps you’ve considered the question but you have a bit of a wishy-washy answer, such as, “My ideal client is a woman.” Whilst it might be the case that your niche focuses on women, your specialism or particular areas of professional interest are unlikely to be as broad as ‘all women’.


Answering this one question can inform almost all other areas of your business, from where your practice is located and the hours you’re available, to the social media accounts you prioritise and the content of your website.

I bet there’s plenty of people you DON’T want to work with. How about those who don’t show up or don’t pay on time?

If you find yourself putting up with far too many late cancellations, no-shows and non-payers it can have real negative consequences on you and your business. It’s hard to stay positive, motivated and passionate when you feel your hard work isn’t getting you anywhere or goes unappreciated, isn’t it?


Avoid Bad Experiences and Love Your Job

Working with your ideal clients can help you to avoid the bad experiences I mentioned above, such as late cancellations and no-shows. Imagine only working with clients who always show up (or at least give you reasonable notice of cancelling), are engaged, appreciate your approach and pay on time!

Become a Credible Specialist and Expert

By focussing on those clients who want the services you’re best placed to offer you can hone you knowledge and skills and become known as an expert in your niche. You don’t have to be a generalist.

Know What Language to Use

Because you’ll be working with more of your ideal clients, you’ll know what language and words they use to describe their problems, situations and expectations. You can use these keywords and phrases in your content to speak more easily to other potential clients. This is an important aspect of any marketing strategy.

Attract Clients More Easily

Once you’ve identified your ideal client you’ll be using this ‘avatar’ or ‘profile’ to really target your communication, language and style, marketing and services to this one person. By doing this, the type of clients you’re looking for will see your website, your content and your online presence as speaking to them directly. You know them and you know what they are looking for. You are offering the very best solution.

Be Able to Say No

If your website clearly advertises your services to everyone then you have little basis to explain why you think you’re not the best ‘fit’ for someone. However, if your website is written with a clear ideal client in mind you can more easily choose who you want to work with and who you would rather refer on.

Save Time and Money

By targeting your ideal client you don’t need to juggle loads of social media accounts and write blog articles targeting a different audience every day. Instead you will just need to spend quality time speaking to your ideal client.


Identify Private Practice Ideal Client Therapy

So, now we know why our ideal client profile is so important and that an ideal client is someone who:

  • Needs the services you specialise in
  • Shows up
  • Gives adequate notice if they need to cancel  
  • You will enjoy/appreciate/look forward to working with
  • Appreciates your methods
  • Pays you on time

How do you go about properly identifying this ideal client?

Identifying your ideal client is achieved by asking yourself lots of questions.

You can start with:

“Who do I enjoy working with and what do they have in common?”

(and, conversely)

“Who don’t I like working with and what do they have in common?”

“What services fulfill me the most as a therapist?”


“What services wouldn’t I mind never offering again?”

“Do I want to work online?”

“Do I want to work face-to-face?”

“How do I want to be paid?”

“What hours do I want to/can I make available to clients?”

Go as deeply as you can with these questions. Don’t just stop at female or male.

Are they young or old? Is it a female CEO or stay at home mum? What are their expectations? Where do they ‘hang out’? LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter? Do they pay in cash or by credit card? Are they local or expats?

Be as specific as possible and be honest with yourself

You’re not telling the world you won’t work with anyone who falls outside this profile; you’re just saying that this is the person you’re choosing to market your services to. These are the people you feel you can help the most and that also help your business to be a success.

You can have more than one ideal client

Sometimes we offer more than one service, and as such we might have more than one ideal client profile. Just be sure they’re all as complete as possible so as to not confuse your communications.

Your ideal client can change and grow

It’s OK to pivot, change or grow over time. Things will likely change over the months and years and your ideal client profile can change along with that.

There you have it: How to Identify Your Ideal Private Practice Client

I recommend reading How to Market Your Private Practice: Understand Your Ideal Client and Speak Directly to them in your Marketing next!

As always, let me know what you think (and introduce yourself and your practice) in the comments below and don’t forget to connect with me on LinkedIn.

Do you want your ideal clients to come to you?  Could you do with some help focusing your marketing and other communications to your ideal client?

Get in touch for straightforward and affordable help from Koala VA.

We’ve Got This.

Samantha is a Virtual Assistant and owner of Koala VA. Koala VA provides tailored and affordable virtual assistance and business support packages to private practice counsellors and therapists in the UK. Services include: Social Media Support, Website Maintenance, Diary Management and General Admin.