Membership magazines

September 2015

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Type of work
Long-form journalism

Professional counsellors often lack the marketing skills and knowledge to promote their work effectively. In this series of five articles, I offer advice to counsellors on promoting their work, attracting new clients and working with the media.

These articles were published in BACP’s international journals and online. As a result of their popularity, I was invited to give a series of related presentations at events across the UK. The presentations explored the importance of marketing and media skills further. They also gave additional practical advice to counsellors on how to promote their work. Recordings of the presentations were later used as training materials on BACP’s online training platform.

BACP University and College Counselling

Many counsellors in academia feel that their work is not valued at a senior level, and that it falls victim to a long-standing tension between the academic aspects of university life and issues concerning student wellbeing. In a climate of financial stress, this attitude is dangerous and, with the threat of outsourcing looming large, it has never been more important for services to successfully promote the many benefits of in-house counselling.

BACP Private Practice
Demystifying the media

There are many similarities between working with the press and with radio outlets, and a few important differences. Appearing on a radio programme can be logistically challenging – you may not be given a lot of notice and you will probably have to travel to a studio either to pre-record your interview or as a live guest. If you are able to work within these constrictions though, radio has great potential as a uniquely direct and emotive medium.

BACP Coaching Today
Promoting your practice

To keep thing manageable, set a radius around the location of your practice and focus your promotion efforts within this area. Get in touch with business groups, networking event organisers and social clubs in your chosen area and offer to visit or give a talk about what you do. Avoid spreading yourself too thinly by assessing opportunities as you identify them and concentrating on those that are most likely to help you achieve your aims.

BACP Children and Young People
Make time for marketing

Get together with a handful of local counsellors and organise a charity event or open day, perhaps to coincide with an awareness day like World Mental Health Day. You’ll benefit from the synergy of a group of like-minded professionals by drawing a bigger crowd, cross-promoting and perhaps getting local media coverage. Operating as a team will also make the event easier to organise by spreading the workload.

BACP Counselling at Work
Marketing yourself

By the time you’ve secured an initial meeting with a potential new customer much of the hard work has already been done. Your contact has probably already decided that they want to employ a counsellor. You now need to capitalise on the hard work you’ve done so far and make sure they choose you over another provider by making a professional business case for your service.