January 13, 2023
Dr. Carlene MacMillan, MD
As a mental health clinician, your online reputation matters a lot.
More than half of prospective patients will search for “psychiatrist” or “psychiatrist near me” to find a new provider. Google often leads them to online clinician directories like Psychology Today that are optimized to show up towards the top of searches.
If you don’t have a Google Business Profile yet, you should (we’ll cover how in this article).
But what about investing your time and money into setting up profiles on clinician directories like Psychology Today and Alma? Are they worthwhile?
Keep reading to learn about:
After reading this article, you’ll have a better idea of how and where to list your practice and ways to make a positive first impression.
Almost three-quarters (71%) of surveyed patients use online reviews as the very first step to finding a new doctor, and 23% use review sites to validate a provider choice. Creating a bio on listing sites like Psychology Today increases your chances of being found. But there are always tradeoffs.
Takeaway: Overall, we think the pros outweigh the cons for most psychiatrists launching a private practice to choose at least one clinician directory to be listed on. You just want to be mindful of these factors as not all directories will be a great fit.
The upfront time investment usually pays off many times over with referrals—especially if you also have a website to send people to learn more once they find you (many prospective patients will look for your website after finding you). You should track how many referrals you get from each directory and how many go on to be patients in order to determine if they are a good return on investment.
We’ll cover specific directories below. But before you list your practice anywhere, you need a scroll-stopping bio.
Your practice bio should be brief but compelling. Your goal is to introduce yourself, your unique approach, and communicate to potential patients that you understand their struggles and can help them.
The key here is to include a unique selling point that distinguishes you from other psychiatrists, such as your approach, background, and treatment philosophy. Some directories allow searching by specific clinician attributes like sexual orientation or spirituality so you will need to decide if these are aspects you wish to self-disclose.
Focus on creating content that is keyword-rich and engaging—and relevant to your niche. For example, if you offer accelerated TMS, definitely include that in your bio as it differentiates you from other clinicians. Google is more likely to display your Google Business Profile on the front page when people Google that key term.
In addition, your bio should:
When reviewing your listing, make sure your photograph is professional and friendly, you review the directories' guidelines, you check for errors, and you offer a free consultation if applicable.
With your bio in place, you’re ready to list it on multiple directories and set up your Google Business Profile.
Let’s cover the most common online directories where psychiatrists list their practices:
The bread and butter of therapist and psychiatry directories. Some solo practitioners opt just to have an online profile here rather than a practice website. A Psychology Today subscription is currently $29.95 / month for clinicians (ask a colleague for a referral code for several months free!), and free to patients to search. Unlike many other directories listed in this article, Psychology Today doesn’t provide a way for patients to review their providers.
ZocDoc is transitioning from a yearly subscription to a pay-per-patient model, and you’ll need to contact them to learn about prices in your area. ZocDoc is free to patients, and allows patients to book an appointment with your practice directly through the ZocDoc scheduling tool.
Alma membership costs quite a bit more than the other directories in this article, currently $125 / month, and includes marketing, insurance support, digital tools, and a clinician community platform in addition to its clinician directory. Like Psychology Today, Alma doesn’t show patient reviews.
Every clinician who has an NPI number has a free listing on Healthgrades which is a review site for patients.
While Yelp is famous for restaurant reviews, the platform is used to find and review all types of businesses, including psychiatry practices. Yelp is centered around patient reviews, and some complain that it overemphasizes sponsored businesses and charges businesses for paid badges. Nevertheless, Yelp allows patients to filter by several helpful categories including location.
Keep in mind that if you practice a specific therapy or distinct approach, such as arts-oriented therapy or neurofeedback, you may have better luck listing your practice with clinician directories that cater to your specialty.
The Bridges Clinician Directory features NYC-based mental health professionals who provide competent, culturally responsive services to Asian Pacific Islander South Asian Americans (APISA). Note this is focused on therapists but psychiatrists and psychiatric NPs can register as a therapist. Cost: $9/month or $99/year.
Inclusive Therapists offers a directory of culturally responsive, LGBTQ+ affirming, social justice-oriented clinicians. There is a category for medication management.
Open Path is a nationwide network of mental health professionals dedicated to providing affordable, in-office, and online mental health care to clients in need. This is for therapists who are willing to offer sessions between $30 and $60 and there's no separate category or fee structure for psychiatric practitioners. Cost: Free.
Postpartum Support International (PSI) offers an online directory of qualified perinatal mental health professionals and support groups in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Cost: Free.
Mental Health Match is a matching platform that connects therapy-seekers with therapists who are most likely to become recurring therapy patients. It does not have options to identify as a psychiatric prescriber but could be a good fit if you are looking for ongoing therapy patients. Cost: $29.97/month or $199/year.
TherapyDen is a progressive directory with expansive search filters. There's even a category for Psychedelic Integration Therapy. While the language is directed toward therapists, there's a category for medication management. Cost: Free.
Therapy for Black Girls is an online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. There is an option to indicate if you prescribe medication.
Cost: $25/month or $300/year.
Therapy for Latinx leverages technology to serve as a national mental health resource for the Latinx community by working with licensed therapists across the country. There's a category for psychiatrists. Cost: $19.99/month or $140/year.
A network of unaffiliated, independently practicing therapeutic service providers in New York City who are sex-positive, affirmative, and have expertise related to issues faced by kink, poly, consensually non-monogamous, trans, gender non-conforming, and/or LGBQ individuals, as well as those with stigmatized jobs. Listing can be of therapists, psychiatric clinicians, or other medical or wellness professionals who specialize in these populations. Cost: Free
This is a national directory for professionals who work with patients with borderline personality disorder and their loved ones. Cost: Free
If you offer any of these types of services, the manufacturers offer the opportunity to be listed in their online directories. For TMS clinicians, the Clinical TMS Society offers a public directory for its members. Cost: Free for industry sites. For CTMSS it's included in the cost of TMS Society membership.
Each directory has its own set of features, so be sure to take the time to explore each one and find the one that works best for you and your practice!
In addition to listing your practice on national directories, you can also find local mental health and medical directories in your area. These local listings are often free and provide a great way for potential patients to quickly locate providers in their area.
Some review sites also offer paid advertising opportunities that can help you reach even more prospective patients. However, patients tend to trust organic listings more (i.e., listings that appear because of the quality of the content rather than because someone paid for an ad). So be sure to focus on creating high-quality listings rather than simply paying for ads.
When looking for a provider in a specific geographic area, many patients may use Google search or Google maps to find conveniently located practices. You can create a business profile on Google Search and Maps at no cost to add your business and edit information such as business name, location, contact information, open hours, photos, and more.
Whether or not you list your practice on review sites, I highly recommend creating a Google Business profile. Besides capturing local searches by location, you’ll show up when someone Google’s your name or practice name. At this point, your prospective patient is very close to choosing a clinician, but they want to do a bit more research.
A Google Business Profile doesn’t replace the value of having your own website, but you can capture eyeballs with minimal work. Take some time to create an accurate and engaging profile that will make a good impression.
Your reputation matters a lot as a mental health clinician—especially when it comes to acquiring new patients. Creating a well-optimized Google Business profile and listing your practice on popular directory sites are two great ways to create a positive first impression when someone’s actively looking for a psychiatrist.
By following the tips in this blog post, you can encourage patient referrals, build credibility with prospective patients, and attract new patients to your private psychiatry practice.
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