You know that networking is a crucial part of growing and maintaining your practice, but you don’t know how or where to begin. Or, if you are like many therapists, you shy away from the idea of “self-promoting” among large groups of virtual strangers. In a study conducted by Forbes Insights, 85 percent of professionals agreed that networking is important, but close to half also reported having difficulty doing it.

At its most basic, networking for therapists is about building relationships with other professionals with the shared goal of connecting patients with treatment resources. You already possess all of the skills required for networking– if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be a therapist! Here are 6 ways you can network more effectively:

Join a peer supervision group

Peer supervision groups offer the opportunity to meet regularly with a select group of colleagues for support and case consultation. Belongly offers a variety of groups that focus on specific topics or treatment niches. Your first group session is free, and if you can’t find an available group in your area of interest, you can start your own!

Other social media

In addition to Belongly, social media sites like LinkedIn and Instagram can also help expand your professional network. Consider joining a professional interest group on Facebook, or following fellow therapists on Instagram. Regular engagement is key. Set aside some time each week to post, like, comment, and share relevant content.

Referrals to and from other therapists or health providers

Referrals are a great way to build relationships with other therapists. Belongly’s referral network connects therapists seeking patients with therapists looking to refer patients. The site includes relevant details like geographical location and presenting issue, so you can choose the referrals that best fit your practice.

Volunteer in your community

Volunteering in your community is a great way to increase your “know, like, and trust” factor among prospective clients and referral sources. Volunteering allows you to showcase your skills and build relationships with people who share your interests and passions. For example, if you are interested in working with children with ADD, you can offer to give a free talk about executive functioning skills at a local school. If you specialize in meditation for pain management, you can volunteer to lead a mindfulness clinic at a local hospital.

Attend conferences and workshops

Professional conferences and workshops are another way to network with like-minded therapists. Conferences within your treatment niche help you to connect with potential referral sources and learn about the techniques and resources most relevant to your client population. Although conferences are more expensive and time-consuming than virtual networking, research indicates that face-to-face encounters may yield stronger connections with fewer distractions.

Come up with an “elevator pitch”

Mass emails get buried and business cards often end up in the trash. For this reason, experts recommend coming up with an “elevator pitch” in preparation for any networking event. An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you can use to spark interest in your services. Make sure you consider your specific audience and highlight your “USP,” or unique selling point in your pitch. At the same time, focus on how you help clients versus simply listing your credentials.

Keep track of your communications

One of the biggest faux pas you can make in networking is pitching yourself to someone you’ve already met. Keep a list of contacts and the date that you last communicated. When several months have passed, you can reach out again to give an update on your availability and the services that you provide. If you do get a referral, consider sending a thank you note or gift to the referral source.


Networking provides therapists opportunities to connect with peers, build relationships, and ultimately, grow their practices. While it won’t yield results overnight, it’s well worth the investment of a little patience and consistency. With any kind of networking, it is helpful to remember the “give to get” principle. Especially if you are just starting out, you might have to do more giving upfront– by referring to providers or offering other services like free training. Rest assured, however, that these efforts will pay off in the end!

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About the Author: Belongly
The community for mental health professionals. A free, secure space for mental health professionals to collaborate with and meet new colleagues, support each other through referrals and stay connected to a trusted network of peers.

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