Web Sites/ Online Presence for Mental Health Professionals

Psychologist-turned-Web Designer: At Your Service

I speak your language and know what your private practice needs

A Successful Web Site is Really a Relationship: Between You and Clients Looking for You

A web site for a therapy practice that really reflects and projects who YOU are and what YOU offer is a way of creating a connection with the clients who are looking for YOU.

Your online presence–as a mental health provider–needs to be handled by a designer who grasps the particular challenges of your work as a provider of mental health services. You’ve come to the right place.

Times can be rough on mental health professionals in private practice.  You’re up against Managed Care and a “Quick Fix” culture offering help in a pill.  In some ways, the practice of psychotherapy seems to be a different game from what you signed up for. Sometimes it’s even hard to remember why you went into the field in the first place.

Web Sites for Mental Health Professionals Like You.
Sites that Attract the Right Clients to Your Practice

What you need is a better way of finding the right clients–the people who will value the kind of work that YOU do. GoodWorx Web & WordPress Design specializes in creating a web presence that promotes your practice and attracts and connects to the clients who are looking for YOU.  We build Web sites and Blogs for professionals in private practicePsychologists, Psychiatrists, Social Workers, Therapists, Mental Health Counselors, Personal Coaches— in short, any practitioner who works with clients around mental health issues. You can see some examples of sites GoodWorx has built for other mental health professionals like you.

The Human Side of Web Design

I’m Marcia Hutchinson, the Creative Director of GoodWorx. I’m a former Clinical Psychologist-turned Web designer who now practices The Human Side of Web Design.

The world of technology and the Internet can seem like a cold place to many people–especially people in the human services where face-to-face intimate communication is the currency of the realm.  But it doesn’t need to be that way. That’s why GoodWorx serves as a bridge between these two worlds–speaking both languages.

I bring a human touch to the web design process, helping service professionals and creative individuals feel comfortable building an online presence that reflects their core qualities and connects with the clients who will most benefit from their work.

I bring an intimate understanding of the profession of mental health counseling to all the work I do with mental health professionals who are seeking human-scale, dignified, and credible Web sites for their therapy practices that attract clients.  If you’re wondering how or why a Psychologist became a Web Designer, click the link that follows for more.

Read how a Psychologist turned into a Web Designer »

I became a Licensed Psychologist in 1982, and maintained a private practice in the Greater Boston area until 2005. My specialty area for most of my career was in the area of Body Image in Women and Body-Centered Psychotherapy.  My first book (derived from my doctoral research and translated into 5 languages) helped open up a new field and established my reputation as a pioneer in it.

For many years I led workshops throughout N. America for women who struggled with their bodies and for the professionals trying to help them. After publishing a second book and blazing a trail for many, many years (Google Marcia Germaine Hutchinson), I decided that I had left enough bread crumbs crumbs for others to follow. I felt that it was time for a change. In the mid-90’s, managed care proved to be the nail in the coffin of my enthusiasm for running a private practice.

Parallel to my work as a psychotherapist, I have always pursued interests in writing, art, design and publishing. I decided to return to an earlier life as an artist.  Before I ever entered the world of therapy, I had been a sculptor–in wood, fabric and metal.  Being an artist can be a very solitary occupation.

But this go round I made it an interactive one.  And instead of working in sculpture, I began painting very large room-sized canvasses that would serve as rugs (following an old historical tradition of Floorcloths).  I began to design custom floorcloths and worked with clients in a very interactive process to realize and manifest in fabric and paint their inner visions of a piece that would be a work of art for the floor.  My company was called “ArtUnderfoot.” I did this work for many years (in parallel with the end of my therapy practice).

What I did for my floorcloth clients was a harbinger of the process I use with my web design clients.  I ask lots of questions, listen with the third ear, get to know them, discover what image they carry deep in mind but may not be aware of.  And then I bring to life.  Using paint and fabric.  When I design a web site for someone, I do the same thing but the product manifests as a web site–in colors, images, words and finally code.  The final product is the endpoint of an interactive process between me and my client.

During all this time, I developed a close relationship with my computer, and discovered that I was a closet geek. When the Internet came along, I was an early adopter. I fell in love with the medium of the Web. It’s too long and complicated a road to describe, but along the way I went back to school to learn how to write for the online medium.

In the course of that training my assignment was to create a Web site. What had always been a totally mysterious realm to me now became accessible, demystified and fascinating.  And I found the Web (as a publishing medium) to be a very exciting frontier. It was a place that I could bring together many of my skills and interests.

A Web designer needs to really listen to their clients so that the product truly reflects their work and their needs. Who better to do the listening, than a trained professional listener!

A Web Site as the Hub of Your Outreach as a Mental Health Professional

When I was a Psychologist in private practice,  there was no such thing as the Internet and Web sites and the World Wide Web.  You now have this very powerful resource at your disposal. Creating educated consumers by educating prospective clients is just one of the many very useful things a Web site can do for you and your practice. Especially, if your work is new, unique, subtle, complex or difficult to describe.

The Ethical Rules Have Changed:  It’s Now a Necessity to Publicize Your Practice

When I began to practice as a solo Psychologist in private practice, the ethical rules were just changing. There was a time when “advertising” your practice was taboo. That has all changed. Now, putting your work in front of the public is essential–it’s a competitive world out there. But that reluctance–and even aversion– to self-promotion runs deep and dies hard.

Mental health professionals have been slow to adopt the world of technology as an adjunct to their practices.  But that’s all changing.  There is now a public expectation that you have a Web presence.  Now is the time to take the leap and promote your therapy practice with a web site. Or to update your existing site that that it powerfully attracts the clients who need what you offer. Since you share many of the same professional concerns as other health care professionals, please read this page also.

Your clients expect to find you online. 96% of clients search online for mental health professionals.

  • More and more, people look to the Internet to find thingsincluding therapists.  And I anticipate that this trend will only grow larger with time. Potential clients– especially those under age 55–expect you to be online, if only in a very simple way. Because the online environment is increasingly important to your clientele, they want to know that you are a forward-looking enough professional to have a presence there.
  • Prospective clients may be looking for a therapist with a particular orientation or specialty. A Web site is an excellent way to target that population and broadcast about the nature of your practice.
  • Increase your referrals. You may think of your practice as local, and your reputation as something that builds by word of mouth—on a local level. It does. But the truth is: You never know where your next referral or opportunity will come from.  In our “global village” the rules and the boundaries have changed. Through an online presence for your private practice, people everywhere can learn about the important work you do– your specialties and offerings. Your referral sources have access to the Internet, and they will use the information you provide on your Web site to determine which clients they will send to your practice.
  • A web site is a great way to educate your clients. At its heart, therapy is an educative process.  Your Web site (and especially an attached Blog)  can extend that process by providing timely  content for your clients that can enrich the therapeutic relationship and their lives. At the same time, your efforts to provide this useful content will establish you as the go-to expert on these topics.
  • Your web site needs to be discreet, dignified and highly professional. This doesn’t mean that it can’t have personality. In fact, nowhere is the personal element more important to include than in a Web site for a mental health professional. Your work is an extension of who you are. YOU are your instrument. And your clients and prospective clients want to know who YOU are because they are placing their sensitive issues in your hands.
  • Your web site needs to convey your humanity, your treatment philosophy, your theoretical approach, your commitment to your clients/patients and your therapeutic style. It needs to communicate your warmth and approachability and trustworthiness. In other words, your Web site needs to tell the world about what makes you special–some call it your brand, I’d rather think of it as your professional identity, the essential you, heart and soul of your work.  All this adds up to  convey what makes YOU the right therapist for the right client.
  • Your Web site should target the right audience. By defining yourself clearly as a professional with a clearly defined audience (your ideal client) you can aim your promotional activities to reach the audience you need to reach.  With a web site that projects you as a unique professional with unique gifts, you can reach the clients who are looking for you.  With a well-targeted web site, you can make use of powerful local search engines and directories that can help your clients find you.

Honing and Promoting your Special Professional Identity is the Key to a Web Site for your Private Practice

Some call it “Branding”  I prefer to call it “Soul.”

You’re not Coca Cola or Toyota.  You don’t make and sell Widgets. You are an instrument who performs a special service to people in needYour work is a calling. Your work is an extension of who you are and of your values as a human being.

In many cultures, the Healer is a member of the priesthood, and not the world of commerce.   So it’s understandable to have a reaction to associating the concept of “brand” with the work you do.  That’s why I prefer to call it “Soul” or “Core Identity” or “Essence,”  And that’s how I think about it when I counsel a web design client about creating an online presence for their practice. Your humanity–and the unique personal and professional qualities you project in your web site–is what tells a prospective client that she/he has found “the one.”

I find that in the interactive process of developing a web site, the relationship is the thing.   The work has a lot of continuity with the psychotherapy work i used to do with clients.  In a way, when I develop a web site with a client,  I help in delivering and manifesting an expression of my client’s core identity.

Clients go through a self-identity process as they define

  •  who they are as a professional
  •  what do they have to offer to the world
  •  their core–what makes them special and unique
  •  how they want to project themselves to the public
  •  who is the ideal audience they wish to attract and to speak to

Together, we will build a web site for your therapy practice that captures
the heart and soul of your work, and tells the world about it.
At GoodWorx, we speak your language!

You're a professional. You have special needs
Your Web site is an extension of who you ARE, and it needs to reflect the essence of your work.

You need an online presence that is:

  • intelligent
  • dignified and discreet
  • classy, and
  • professional

Flashy high-tech fireworks and slick commercialism won’t impress the people you need to reach. What you need is to convey your qualities and credentials and to inspire trust.

To design or re-design your Web site, GoodWorx is a great choice. Hire an adult– and a former health care professional-turned-web designer!

We know just what you need