Your Credentials Aren't Enough

Psychotherapists are highly intelligent and highly educated people and they have the credentials to back it up!


As amazing as these credentials might be, credentials fall short of telling the whole story. To most people outside of the psychology bubble your credentials:

  • Are nothing more than a string of random letters
  • Don’t prove you have experience
  • Don’t build deep trust

Some psychotherapists put a lot of emphasis on their credentials, where they were schooled, and what specialized trainings they’ve attended but none of this can replace being open, authentic, and generous.

It’s not that you should hide your credentials or your schooling or academic experience. In fact, it would be a mistake not to mention your academic background. But if you aren’t sharing how you’ve helped others or offer help now, then telling everyone about your credentials is meaningless.

No one wants to become your client because of your credentials alone.

How do you differentiate from other therapists that have the same credentials? What beliefs do you hold that inform the way you practice? What experiences have you had that speak to who you are? What is your communication style?

People want to know if you align with who they are, if you will be a good match. People are asking, “are you the right guide for me in my journey of healing?”

To help your website visitors understand if you are the right therapist for them, try and share the specific ways that you’ve helped others or are helping others. The former is simply what you did to help in the past and the latter is the activities that you’re involved in that give help today.

Saying, “For 5 years, I worked with sexual trafficking victims struggling with the aftereffects of trauma” says more about the therapist than “I’m Jerry Smith LMFT.”

Saying, “Here, read this blog article that will give you some practical advice about how to cope with grief” actually gives value! It shows your generosity and demonstrates your knowledge. It’s preferable over saying, “I have a PsyD.”

It’s awesome that you’ve done the work of schooling. Getting these credentials takes years of dedication and sacrifice. You’re an awesome person for it. Seriously!

But remember to open up, tell us how you’ve helped, and if you have the time, be generous and give help freely through sharing what you know.

Photo by Patrick Goethe

Kat Love

Hi, I'm Kat! Therapists helped me heal from childhood sexual abuse, so I've helped them with websites and marketing for over 7 years. You can get a website designed with us or write your therapist website in the easiest way possible with my easy, fast, and affordable sister solution called Empathycopy. Glad you're here.

1 Comment

  1. John Harrison on April 6, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Great post, Kat! This is especially helpful for newer therapists who are still living under the academic shadow of “therapeutic appropriateness”. I went ahead and shared this on my page.