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What's In A Brand? - Page 5

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“Hi, this is Dr. [name]. If you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, or limitations in your career or relationships because of past trauma, I can help. You may have tried to work on these issues before in talk therapy, only to find that it didn’t really help. I was frustrated with the limitations of talk therapy myself and began exploring alternative methods of treatment several years ago. What I discovered was a remarkable technique called EMDR. In all my 22 years of practice as a psychologist, I’ve found EMDR to be the most effective method I’ve ever seen for rapidly resolving past traumas and emotional blocks. This well-researched experiential technique bypasses your normal resistance and helps you resolve your emotional issues quickly, giving you the freedom to create the life you prefer. If this sounds interesting to you, give me a call at [number]. Let’s set up a time to talk, no charge, just so I can learn more about your situation and discuss specifically how EMDR can be of help to you. I hope to speak with you soon. Thank you for your time.”

In this one short video, speaking in plain nontechnical language, this practitioner has clearly stated his brand in a much more engaging way than even the cleverest wordsmith could do with text on a page. Auditory, visual, and emotional connections are made simultaneously. Viewers with any serious interest in therapy will be curious about this technique, and there’s a high likelihood that they’ll inquire about the next steps.

Even if you’ve developed a powerful and informative brand, however, you’ll waste all that effort if you make the common mistake of using your own name as both your practice and web-domain name. Listing your practice as Jenny Smith, LCSW, Clinical Social Worker and using for your website would be fine if your name itself was already a brand, as is the case with best-selling authors. But for the rest of us, we need people who’ve never heard of us to find our information online. For example, if you’re living in Chicago, having panic attacks, and searching Google for help, which of the following would you be more inclined to click on: or

Malcolm Gladwell, in his best-selling book Blink, discusses how many choices in life are made unconsciously in an instant. The decision to click on a name that shows up on a search engine list happens in a split second, and the name that conveys the most meaning to a potential client often gets the click. So whenever possible, choose a brand name and a web-domain name that says something specific about your work. Here are some great examples in our field:,,,, and


As therapists, many of us still carry around the idea that our profile in the world is supposed to be discreet and modest. To toot our professional horn in public—and even worse, to make money doing it—would be unprofessional, and perhaps even inappropriate. But that old attitude has become a crippling handicap. These days, our brand needs to be highly visible and energizing, offering an authentic picture of who we are and what we can do for people who need our services. It’s an essential form of communication that helps us attract the people whose lives will benefit from contact with us. And the more people we connect with, the greater the good we can do in the world. It’s finally time for therapists to realize that doing good work doesn’t mean we can’t also do well for ourselves.

Joe Bavonese, PhD, is the director of the Relationship Institute in Michigan and the codirector of Uncommon Practices, a service that helps psychotherapists create their ideal practice. Contact:

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