Nancy Ryan and Dana McNeil started The Confident Couples Therapist | GP 31

Nancy Ryan and Dana McNeil started The Confident Couples Therapist | GP 31

Are you considering joining a group practice? Do you want to learn more about how to be a successful couples therapist? What are some tips on how to set up a comfortable practice for your clients?

In this podcast episode, Alison Pidgeon speaks with Nancy Ryan and Dana McNeil about the Confident Couples Therapist.

Meet Dana McNeil and Nancy Ryan

Photo of Dana McNeil who has built a successful private practice offering couples therapy and now offers a program to support couples therapists in growing their business.

Dana McNeil and Nancy Ryan are Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists and founders of thriving group practices specializing in couples therapy and utilizing an evidence-based type of couples therapy which is known as Gottman Method. Dana and Nancy’s practices both work with all types of relationship issues, parents of special needs children, sex addiction therapy, LGBTQ+, as well as a number of individual and family issues.

Recently Dana and Nancy have come together to create Confident Couples Therapy, a program focused on bringing training, education, and support to couples therapists throughout the nation. Their mission is focused on helping therapists become confident in working with couples and building a successful, cash pay practice

Visit their website and get in touch via email:

In This Podcast


  • Benefits of cash-pay clients
  • Helpful marketing tips
  • How to set up a comfortable office space for your clients
  • What to look for when hiring new clinicians

Benefits of cash-pay clients

Systems that work with insurance-based payments often require a diagnosis of a patient prior to starting treatment and therapy. For couples that may be in a dire situation and would like to “fix” their problems quickly may struggle with this route. Having the option of cash-pay means clients can receive therapy faster, and provides you, the clinician, with a wider set of possible patients.

Due to the faster method of payment to services, there is an incentive for clients to opt for this option as it allows them to start the therapy sooner, rather than later.

Helpful marketing tips

You have to be aware, you’re not just a practice, you also have to have the ability to do some sales.

  • Get yourself visible to the public. Write blogs and have them published in local online papers and columns.
  • Make videos, do more Facebook posts, have more social media outreach.
  • If the budget allows, purchase some advertisements through Google.
  • Be proactive, especially during uncertain times such as a pandemic, clients may not be aware of your new procedures. Phone up old clients without charge to check on how they are doing, this may motivate them to recommend you to their peers and inner circle.

How to set up a comfortable office space for your clients

Create an environment and experiences so that clients feel they are in good hands, and that they are coming to an event they might look forward to.

When a client feels comfortable in a space, they will invest in it. Providing dependability of comfort, especially when the service is therapy, will help clients feel more at ease with you and with the practice.

  • Creating a safe, tranquil space for your patients is part of the process for you and for them.
  • Consider seemingly small details such as furniture and wall colors. These may not seem important but they all add subtle comforts for your clients, enabling them to feel relaxed and secure in a therapy session.
  • In the consulting room, have space. Provide clients with a large enough couch so that they may have some personal room between them. Perhaps have a scent in your consultation room such as vanilla, provide clients with water, or a unique offer of chocolates to make them feel at ease.
  • Consider painting the colors of the walls greens and blues. Studies have shown that these colors evoke feelings of replenishing, calmness, and security.
  • Use soft lighting instead of harsh overhead lights, place a carpet or coffee table.

These small touches go a long way in making your clients feel relaxed and ready to discuss their grievances with you.

What to look for when hiring new clinicians

This is an intimate process that involves looking at multiple factors. Observe how potential clinicians hold themselves in a space, if they are team players, what their attitudes to issues are like, and considering what personal work they have done in their own lives.

There are techniques that group therapists can learn that they may not find in any theory. These techniques can be learned from professionals with experience such as Nancy and Dana, and they are along the lines of knowing how to handle the room where there is conflict, noticing the partner that is not talking often, and how to incorporate them. The balance between being emotionally empathetic while maintaining professional boundaries is one of these skills that cannot be found in theory but only in practice.

Learn What Confident Couples Therapists know about building a successful cash-pay practice with couples.

Get Your Free Copy of Three Conflict Busting Techniques Confident Couple’s Therapists Use to Manage Escalated Clients

Useful Links:

Meet Alison Pidgeon

Photo of Alison Pidgeon, host of "Grow A Group Practice Podcast" which is a new podcast for the therapists who are running a group practice.Alison is a serial entrepreneur with four businesses, one of which is a 15 clinician group practice. She’s also a mom to three boys, wife, coffee drinker, and loves to travel. She started her practice in 2015 and, four years later, has two locations. With a specialization in women’s issues, the practices have made a positive impact on the community by offering different types of specialties not being offered anywhere else in the area.

Alison has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, through mastermind groups and individual consulting.

Thanks For Listening!

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