This weekend a friend visited me. This isn’t any friend, he’s my best friend from college. We were roommates. Scheduled our graduate school classes together. Our kids love playing. But we ended up talking about how to name a private practice.
He’s worked a full-time job in a college setting for about ten years. I always wanted to see him do private practice, but it was never a goal of his. During this visit, we started talking about finances, career goals, and private practice.
In my personal life, I really try to be careful about getting to psyched about consulting-type conversations. Mostly because the average person doesn’t care.
You do, that’s why you’re here.
But shockingly, the average person isn’t pursuing their dreams and taking action to make them come true. But something changed in my friend. He discovered what could happen. Even just seeing three people a week could significantly change any family’s income:
3 sessions x $150/session x 46 weeks = $20,700 – 40% for taxes and expenses = $1,035 per month!
The process for how to name a private practice
All weekend we talked about what it would take to launch a private practice. (In fact, we may be doing something where you can watch his consulting with me…it’s still in the works, but if you’re interested make sure you are a part of the How to Start a Practice newsletter.) But the first step was how to name a private practice.
Before we got too far into the planning, we stopped where most people stop: How to name a counseling private practice.
Today I’m going to take you through that process:
- Who are you as a clinician?
- What do people experience in your sessions?
- Who is your ideal client?
- What URLs are available?
- What name feels really awesome?
Types of Counseling Practice Names
Before we go through the process of how to name a private practice, it’s good to know where you want to land when naming your private practice. There are five primary types of counseling private practice name:
- Location-Based Private Practice Names: These are names that are usually [your town] + counseling or therapy. Examples are: Traverse City Counseling or Northern Michigan Counseling.
- Specialty-Based Private Practice Names: These practices focus on their counseling specialty. This could be that you do depression counseling, help empty-nesters or people that are stuck. So your counseling practice name might be [Your city] + [Your specialty] + counseling or therapy. Examples might be Boston Depression Counseling.
- Process-Based Private Practice Names: Maybe you have a particular process, approach, or modality that you use. For example, maybe you really value the process of counseling, so you might be “Clear Process Counseling.” Or maybe you do DBT counseling only, so you’re [your city] + DBT + Counseling
- Personality-Based Private Practice Names: A personality-based name is usually a metaphor or something that is important to you personally. For example, Anchored Counseling or Lighthouse Therapy.
- Name-Based Private Practice Names: This is when a counselor names their practice after themselves like Sanok Counseling. I recommend that you never do this, because it makes is hard to expand, you have to rebrand, you rarely could sell your practice, and it limits what people think about your reach.
Now that we know the main types of private practice names, let’s go through the process of figuring out your practice name.
How to Name a Private Practice | Who are you?
Before we land on what to name your private practice, let’s brainstorm a bit. Open a document on your computer and just start brainstorming. Here’s the first question.
When you’re doing counseling, what’s counseling like?
Just brainstorm words, phrases and things that clients might say. Don’t worry about how to name a private practice. Here are some examples:
- Fresh start
- Move forward
- Solution focused
- Behavioral activation
- How to motivate
- Goals and objectives
How would clients answer this?
My life is better in working with [insert counselor name] because I know how to…
Here are examples:
- Tap into my strengths
- Handle problems
- Tap into problem solving within
- Answers inside
- Go back to
- Day after the storm you regroup
Inanimate objects that represent these words
Next think about inanimate objects that represent these words. You’re not necessarily going to name your private practice these things, but you can then ask yourself, “Why did I pick a lighthouse, what is it about that object that I connect with?” Here are examples of a brainstorm:
- Storm/day after a storm
- Stars been a guide
Naming Your Practice with a Specialty
Next brainstorm your specialty areas. For example you might have:
- Empty nesters
- Motivation issues
- Inadequacy and their own strengths
Now we start mashing things up to see what ideas we generate. Remember, at this stage of naming a private practice we’re not looking for the final name. So don’t judge or rule out.
Private Practice Name Ideas
In the above examples, we would next want to go through and decide which words or phrases we emotionally connect. We can also start to rule out words that may be confusing or strange. For example “Movement Counseling” kind of sounds like it may have to do with bowel issues or physical therapy. Also ruling out words that have multiple or complex spellings is important. For example avoid the use of the words:
- to, two, too
- Numbers since they can be spelled or be numbers
- Four, for, 4
- Commonly misspelled words
Now you’ve got the beginning list for your practice names! Start putting words together to see what sticks! But first make sure that the URL is available.
Unsure if your website is available?
Use this tool to see if your URL is available as you name your private practice.
Strength Solution Counseling
Inner Solution Counseling
Solution Centered Therapy | Counseling for people who want results, Results-oriented counseling for motivated people
Clear Objectives Counseling
Clear Goals Counseling
Personal Results Counseling
What’s next after naming your practice?
After you name your practice, the hard work begins! First, congratulations!!! Next you will need to:
- File your PLLC or LLC: Based on your state, you’ll want to file for a PLLC, LLC, or S-Corp (consult your own accountant or connect with my accountant for a free 30 minute consult) to file you can use LegalZoom to make it easier.
- Find space to sublet: Find a local counselor where you can pay a set amount per session or a percent of what you bring in.
- Create your website: I used Bluehost when I first started, it’s only around $5/month. Here’s a WordPress Installation a Step-by-Step.
- Get a phone number: I love Grasshopper because you can add extensions, virtual assistants, and don’t need to buy a phone system.
- Business Cards: It’s worth paying a little more for sweet business cards. It makes you look more professional and you can usually charge more as you build that image. I use Moo, if you click here I’ll get some Moolah.
- File with Google My Business: You know that map that shows up with other private practices that you are not on? File with Google My Business so you can get on too. Then have other counselors and friends write reviews about how awesome you are (not clients).
- Set up your alias email: This is so you can send an email from [yourname] @ [yourwebsite] .com instead of gmail.com
- Email me for 6 months of Psychology Today: If you want 6 months free of Psychology today, just email me joe @ practiceofthepractice.com
Also, you might want to download my 28-step checklist for starting a private practice. Good luck!!!
Joe Sanok is a licensed counselor, owner of Mental Wellness Counseling in Traverse City, MI, and a private practice business consultant. He is one of the most sought-after consultants and podcasters in the private practice industry. He is a co-founder of The Most Awesome Conference and loves being a dad and husband.