Having a directory exclusively comprised of board certified counselors is exciting for Talya Straughter and Rachel Siehs.
“Living in a world that is just a connection away, I know that people can find whatever they need with just a stroke on a keyboard,” says Mississippi-based Straughter, DPC, NCC, LPC, who has been a counselor for nearly 20 years. “I think Counselor Find is a vital component to marketing myself by being visible on reputable sites. It is a win-win for me.”
Siehs, NCC, LMHC, has been a private practice counselor in New York state for eight years, seeing clients with issues ranging from depression and anxiety to identity development and grief. She cheered when she learned NBCC had updated its Counselor Find directory to include practice contact information that would allow potential clients to immediately connect with a counselor.
“When I signed up for the Counselor Find directory, I was hoping . . . this will be another way to gain clients. Plus, it is free!” Siehs says.
Straughter and Siehs have joined thousands of fellow board certified counselors in adding practice contact information to Counselor Find since NBCC upgraded the directory in March. NBCC intends later this year to begin a national campaign to advertise the directory as a public resource.
The upgraded Counselor Find:
Allows potential clients to contact counselors directly to inquire about services.
Makes it easier for counselors to network with other board certified counselors.
Allows counselors to better define themselves among peers.
In addition to contact information and practice areas, the upgraded Counselor Find allows board certified counselors to specify languages if they can work with clients who don’t speak English, and to specify accepted payment methods.
Callie Marino, NBCC’s Interim Vice President for Credentialing and Quality Assurance, says the early response of counselors to the upgraded Counselor Find is rewarding.
“As we anticipated, counselors believe an exclusive search directory will assist them in their efforts to market themselves, and of course the public has a tool that makes it easier to find and connect with the right mental health provider,” she says. “We look forward to Counselor Find becoming a powerful search tool as more and more counselors add their practice contact information.”
It's also a tool that counselors can take advantage of whether they are in private practice, are part of an agency, or work in a school. Because counselors control the information in Counselor Find, they can share the information they believe makes sense for their specific field or position. At the recent ACA Conference & Expo, numerous school counselors added the name of their school or an email address to their Counselor Find listing.
Counselors typically use a variety of ways to attract clients, including word-of-mouth, social media, and the Psychology Today therapy directory (which also covers other mental health workers such as psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists). The exclusivity of Counselor Find promoting board certified counselors appeals to Siehs.
“The requirements to maintain your NCC credential are intensive and show your commitment to the profession," she says. "I think that if you want to be successful . . . you need to stand out and demonstrate to potential clients and employers why you are unique and different from the rest.”
Likewise, Straughter says having an exclusive directory for counselors means “clients will know that they are getting a counselor who has been through a rigorous process in order to practice.”
“I believe this directory can benefit counselors across the board because it says that the counselor took the time to become linked with an organization that prides itself on being a gatekeeper for the greater community,” she says.
Board certified counselors can add practice contact information in Counselor Find by first logging intoProCounselor, going to the “My Information” page, and then clicking on the Counselor Find button. People with questions may firstname.lastname@example.org.