Being authentic on your therapist website ensures your website truly reflects you.
But it’s not as easy as “just being yourself”
We may fear that our real self isn’t good enough (or professional enough, or trained enough). If we fear rejection and want people to like us it’s challenging to show up and be seen as the real human we are.
In embarking on the project of being more authentic, we may want to sit with what comes up for us that could hold us back from being truly genuine. And that is because…
Authenticity Is Important On A Therapist Website
Authenticity is important to the client. It helps make a website visitor feel comfortable, safe, and respected. People can tell when someone isn’t really being true to themselves or when they aren’t providing complete information. Witnessing that can trigger feelings of disgust and fear – which are not feelings any therapist would want to inspire in their website visitors.
Authenticity is also important to how a therapist feels. It’s important to feel confident in how you put yourself out there online. Nothing is worse than having stuff out there that doesn’t feel true. It can bring up a lot of shame and a impulse to flee and hide.
Inauthenticity may also lead you to feeling like you are manipulating or lying to people so that they’ll be your clients. There’s a tangible feeling of “yuck” around that as well that is best to be avoided.
How To Be More Authentic On Your Therapist Website
So instead of inauthenticity, how can therapists really show up as their true selves on their websites? Let’s walk through the top suggestions.
1. Get Aware
The absolute first step in showing up more authentically on your website is becoming more self aware. Without being in touch with who you are, how would you be able to express it?
There are a lot of ways to become more self aware but start with these two simple questions:
- Who am I when I am the most myself in session?
- When do I feel like I’m playing a role? Or taking on someone else’s’ persona?
For example, you might feel like you’re yourself the most when you are really guiding a client in connecting with and trusting their intuition. Or perhaps you have witnessed yourself really feeling alive when you are helping clients put the puzzle pieces of their lives together.
And the reverse of this question is important to explore as well. Do you have moments in session where you feel like you’re playing a role or not quite you?
Like perhaps you’re bored if you have a client that just talks about what happened over the week and nothing else? But you play the role of being the understanding therapist.
Or maybe you feel a sense of frustration with clients who are really stuck and not capable of doing deeper healing – but you continue to show up and hold space for that anyway.
On your website, you want it to reflect the you that is the most you – not the you that plays a role or takes on another persona in order to get through a session.
Getting aware of who the true you really is, is the first step towards a more authentic website.
2. Find Your Voice
Once you have clarity on who you are when you are the most yourself in session, translate that self awareness into your written voice on your website.
So, if you’re the most you when you’re doling out some tough love to your clients, be compassionately blunt in your website writing.
Or, if you’re all about the mind-body-spirit connection, find opportunities to weave that energy into your words. Perhaps correctly using quotes or writing content for your blog with tips that your best fit clients would also be drawn to.
Perhaps you are the most you when you bring humor into a session. You and your clients often find yourselves cracking up. If that’s the case, you could give your website’s words a authenticity boost by bringing humor in.
Your real voice is based on who you really are and using it on your website is an authenticity boost.
3. Match The Visual Design To Who You Are And What You Know About Your Clients
Your website’s visual design is important because visuals make the absolute first impression on your website visitors.
The visual design also helps you show up authentically – landing in the immediate felt sense that a visitor will have.
The guiding question here is:
What is my In-Session Superpower?
Fill out this formula with your answer:
I am ____ (your superpower, adjective)____, clients tell me they feel ____ (describe the feeling they get in sessions) ____
For example, you might come up with answers like these:
- I am safe, clients always feel secure opening up to me
- I am really motivating, clients tell me after our sessions, they feel they can conquer
- I am warm, clients feel like I’m a close friend
- I am accepting, clients tell me they never feel judged and it helps them be themselves
- I am dark, clients tell me they are able to share their darkest feelings with me
Once you have your answer, it can guide all of your website’s visual design decisions. From color psychology to design principles like shape, volume, space, typography, and more, clarity on your superpower can lead the way.
Another aspect of your website’s visuals are the website’s images. To make the images more authentic to you, match your images to your unique perspective and understanding of what your clients are going through.
By either using stock images or shooting your own, you’ll want to have images match the journey that your client is on. What do your clients really want to achieve with your help? And what types of places do they find supportive in their healing journey? Find images that reflect how you show up to help them in their healing.
Your website’s design in its entirety can be a powerful way to be more authentic.
4. Be Human In Your Website Copy
Perfection is not genuine because perfection does not exist. Instead, embrace and share your imperfection. Your website visitors want to work with someone who is human, someone they can really connect with. Not a cold, clinical, perfect therapy robot.
One way to be more human is to self disclose something personal about yourself. Without going into TMI or overstepping your own personal boundaries, find something that feels ok to share.
For example, you might share that you’re an immigrant to the USA and that experience of feeling like you don’t belong is what helped you decide to become a therapist. Or maybe sharing about your own loss of a beloved pet inspired you to add pet bereavement therapy to your offerings.
Other ways to be human include sharing your “why” behind chosing the niche that you did, writing more conversationally (instead of using psychobabble), and telling your own story.
Even if you’re scared no one will relate to your story, be courageous and give it a try.
Whatever way you choose to be more human on your website, note that you don’t have to share every last thing about yourself. Find a way to show up and be seen and your website will be more true to who you really are.
5. Create Content That SHOWS How You Care
If your website consists only of sales material, you are missing out on the opportunity for both potential clients and referral sources to get to know you.
Creating and sharing content on your website, like blog posts, podcast episodes, videos, can help show how you care.
So instead of only the sales side which says “I do therapy” and “I know a lot of stuff that can help people”, content has the power to demonstrate that you do.
Content helps show you care.
To get started with writing content for your website, start with writing a simple mission statement. This formula is based on the work of content marketing expert Andy Crestodina:
My [content] is where [people you help] get [information] for [benefit]
So for example, you might be an LGBT+ teen therapist and your content mission statement could be:
My blog is where LGBT+ youth get tips and ideas for increasing their confidence and belonging.
Next, start creating content for your people and in alignment with your mission. The best place to get ideas is in the intersection between what it is your clients need and how you love showing up and helping.
Inspired To Make Your Website More Authentic? Here Are Free Journal Prompts
- Exploring my fears of being authentic
- I have fear I’m not good enough because…
- The part of me that fears I’m not good enough is telling me…
- The part of me that fears I’m not good enough needs…
- Becoming more self aware
- I feel the most “me” in session when…
- I feel like I’m playing a role on my website when…
- Exploring your super power
- After a session with me, my clients feel…
- My best-fit clients get results with me when I am…
- Using your discoveries, complete the formula “I am [adjective], clients feel [the results].”
- Exploring the journey your clients are on
- My clients find it hopeful and healing in life when…
- I help my clients reach the destination they desire which is…
- Exploring my own humanness
- I am passionate about being a therapist because…
- Things I say during a first session are…
- A piece of my own struggles that I would feel good about sharing is…
- Exploring how I care
- Important ways that I show care for my clients is…
- If I create content, the results I would want my clients to get from the content are…
Onwards Towards More Authenticity On Your Therapist Website
The discoveries you make through a process of intentional effort towards authenticity will help you ensure you reflect who you are in your website.
The website’s design, copy, and content can come together to paint a picture of who you are and how you help.
But before you even venture down that path, it may be worthwhile to dig into your fears around being seen. It makes sense if parts of us resist visibility. It’s our job to show them curiosity and compassion and help them get what they need in order to feel safe with proceeding.
Once we’ve embarked on that level of care, we may find ourselves free to start truly getting real. Being ourselves. Being human. And that being ok.
Hope this helps you on your journey! And also know that there is further help with writing your therapist website to be as authentic as possible.