Ask a room of therapists whether it’s better to generalize or find a niche, and you will likely find opinions on both ends of the spectrum. Generalizing allows you to gain experience in a variety of different areas while niching offers rewards such as more focused marketing and higher pay.

Is niching right for you? While the definitive answer depends on your interests and professional goals, you can make an informed decision by exploring the benefits and drawbacks of establishing a niche.

What is a niche?

Put simply, a niche is a specific area of focus within your practice. While some might think that niche is synonymous with specialty, they differ in important ways. A specialty is a type of service offered– for example, DBT or EMDR– while a niche refers to a specific population that you treat.

Suzanne Monroe, founder and CEO of the International Association of Wellness Professionals, encourages therapists to ask two questions when defining a niche: what is the problem you want to solve, and who has this problem?

For example, let’s say your specialty is trauma and that you have been trained in both DBT and EMDR. A niche might be “therapy for LGBTQ+ victims of sexual assault.” You can then narrow your niche even further by age group, gender, and other demographics, if desired.

Pros and Cons of Niching as a Therapist


Easier to market

One of the biggest advantages of establishing a niche is that it allows you to more effectively market your services. You can speak directly to the concerns of your ideal client, increasing the likelihood that they will connect with your practice.

Marketing within your niche can also help you network with other therapists who treat the same populations and issues. For example, Belongly enables you to search for therapists with a certain specialization or post the details of your own niche so that colleagues can connect with you.

Higher fees

Another advantage of having a niche is that you can charge higher fees for your services. When you are an expert in a particular area, clients are often willing to pay more for your knowledge and experience. You may also attract more self-pay clients who are willing to go out of network to get their specific needs met.

The ability to focus on your passion

A niche gives you the opportunity to focus on the aspects of your work that most energize you. For example, if you enjoy psychoeducation and like working with pre-adolescents, your niche could be running psychoeducational groups for middle schoolers.

More referrals

Similar to branding, niching helps other therapists understand what you do, who you help, and whether you would be a good fit for their client. This can help you build a referral network so that over time, you will become the “go-to” clinician for your niche.


Grow your practice and find help for clients you can’t currently serve, with Belongly Referrals.

As mental health professionals, we know how challenging it can be to find high-quality referrals from trusted sources. Today, other websites are charging monthly fees to deliver high-volume, low-quality referrals and it feels like a race to the bottom. And what to do when clients are seeking therapy that you can’t serve? What about the long waitlists that leave clients in need of mental health services, while they sit in limbo with no immediate answer?

Introducing Belongly Referrals. The fastest growing, HIPAA-compliant, therapist-to-therapist referral network for mental health professionals. 

Care They Need


Risk of boredom or burnout

Seeing the same type of client day in and day out may make you more susceptible to burnout, particularly if your niche includes high-risk clients. You can help guard against burnout by expanding your caseload to include clients from outside your niche or diversifying to include non-clinical work such as writing and workshops.

Fluctuations in supply and demand

Another disadvantage of having a niche is that the market can be unpredictable. Some niches become oversaturated with therapists while others effectively dry up due to sociocultural factors or insurance coverage. Make sure to perform market research so you can rule out niches for which there is too much supply or too little demand.

Less flexibility

Having a niche can make it harder to pivot to a different area of focus down the road. For example, once you establish yourself as an expert in autism spectrum disorders, you might find it hard to branch out to substance use disorders or grief counseling. This can limit your options and make it harder to adapt to changes in the mental health field.


Establishing a niche as a therapist has both advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, there is no wrong decision, as long as it is made with consideration to your interests, goals, and market demand. By weighing the pros and cons, you can make an informed choice about whether a niche is right for you.

Share your thoughts and comments.

Our members are talking about this article on Belongly.
Register today and join the conversation.

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.

Keep Reading

Want more? Here are some other blog posts you might be interested in.