There’s a lot of competition when it comes to trying to fill your caseload, and everyone wants to help as many people as possible. But have you ever considered becoming a specialist in a very specific niche of therapy? There is no end to the possibilities of specialties, and your creativity and expertise can turn just about anything into a therapy niche.
In therapy, a niche is any very specific area of expertise in which you focus your practice. Usually, therapists choose a counseling niche that is something that applies to them, or that they have personal expertise in, for instance being vegan or an activist for women’s rights. It may also be a minority, ethnicity, or religion based on the therapist's own background. By zeroing in on a specialty, you can spend more time researching and learning about the challenges potential clients in that category might face, and marketing yourself as an expert in that particular aspect of therapy. Additionally, if you choose a niche that you're passionate about, it will create a more enjoyable workload for yourself - working with clients and challenges you care about.
There are 4 main categories of therapy niches: communities, employment, survivors, and life stages; within each of these categories, there are innumerable subcategories. Please note, this is in no way an exhaustive list. With expertise and passion, anything can be a therapy niche!
Those with a terminal illness or in hospice
Childless - by choice
Childless - fertility struggles
Sometimes, it’s possible to focus even more. For example, indigenous entrepreneurs, or minorities in a specific region, i.e., Orthodox Jewish communities in New York or Buddhists in Southern California. For many therapists, a niche in a specific community is often a community that they are a part of or is a part of their background. These are immediate experts; they know the language, the community, and the history of the group. When pairing this personal expertise with their knowledge and skills in therapy, a niche makes perfect sense. \
Abuse - child
Abuse - domestic
Addiction - drugs or opiates
Health care - doctors, nurses
First responders - fire, police, emt
Military - retired
Military - active
Military - family
Social justice advocate
Customer service workers
Inheritances (helping siblings/family)
Again, this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but hopefully it gives you an idea of some of the various specialties that are currently available among therapists. When it comes to your own practice, there are a few tips: try to specialize in one niche, rather than trying to become a specialist in more than one field. This can lead to burnout and spreading yourself too thin. Choose one niche and choose one that is meaningful and important to you. That will help you remain actively engaged and avoid the dreaded burnout. It will also assist in your marketing and keeping your website and social media focused on one topic, making it easier for clients to find you.
As we mentioned, clients have more options than ever before when it comes to getting therapy. In-person and virtual, self-led apps and programs - it can be difficult to completely fill all available sessions on your calendar. This is where specializing in one area can be a great help. When marketing your practice, rather than just marketing as a generic therapist, you can focus on your speciality, looking for the places where your target clients can be found on and offline. Adding information about your niche to your website and social media helps too, since it makes it easier for clients to find you. If a client searches “therapy + niche,” you’re more likely to come up in their results. Algorithms are your friend when you have specific keywords associated with your name and your practice.
When it comes time to start your own practice, it’s important to look at the big picture. First, decide if you want your practice to be online or in person, or a hybrid of both. Then, decide where your practice is to be located. If you're in a rural area and offering in-person services, it won’t make sense to niche down your practice. You’ll be able to help more people and have a larger number of clients by doing general therapy. Take a look at competing practices in your area or neighboring areas. Are these therapists in general practice? Are any of them currently specializing in a certain area? Are there industries that are specific to your area? All of these questions can help you niche down to make your practice successful.
It also requires a little introspection. What are your areas of interest or expertise? Do you have a background or identify as part of a community that could benefit from your services? Creating a niche for yourself and your practice really just comes down to what you can make a living at. As long as you can fill your sessions, just about any niche is an option.
A niche in psychology is extremely similar to that of a therapist, in that a narrowed-down practice focuses on one area of expertise. And just like a niche therapist, focusing on a niche in psychology can assist in competing in a diverse economy. Some examples of psychology niches include:
developmental psychology, which assists children, caretakers, and child-rearing
Forensic psychology, which helps law enforcement & the court system
Marketing and research psychologist - utilized by agencies and marketers to track consumer patterns
Psychology niches fulfill a similar goal as therapy niches; they allow specialization and greater expertise, which in turn can decrease instances of imposter syndrome and feeling overwhelmed by one’s practice. In psychology, a niche also potentially provides alternatives to regular private practice, since some of these specialties don’t work with clients one on one or work within a larger system.
Over-specialization can be problematic;, especially if the specialization doesn’t work well in the area or environment where the practice is set, or is an ill fit for the doctor. It can also lead to boredom in some practitioners, although, as with therapy niches, it is easy enough to pivot and turn to general therapy if needed at any point.
Niches in psychology and therapy are a great way to compete in a diverse and busy marketplace. By positioning yourself as an expert in a very specific area of therapy, it can be easier to market your practice. Using the keywords and vocabulary specific to your niche, you can better find your clients online - either by coming up in their search results or by finding you on social media via keywords.
Niches are also helpful for therapists who already have a significant background with, or as part of a community. Combining personal experience with therapy expertise can lead to a very successful and busy practice.
If your practice is looking for more therapy resources, you can count on Advekit to help so that you can put all your focus on the client. Advekit covers a wide variety of topics to help ease your practice operation, from the numerous pet therapy benefits for clients, how to talk to suicidal clients, the best social media policies for therapists, how to efficiently run an online therapy practice, and much more.