I knew starting a private practice would mean fielding all referrals myself, and honestly, this was one reason why I waited to make the change. So many people need support, and I am not the right person to help every single one of them. It was really helpful to have an administrator who could give people appropriate referral information instead of returning all of those messages myself.
Although I have not had availability for new therapy clients in quite some time, I regularly get inquiries. People need support, and they reach out in the hopes that I will either have an opening or be able to give them the name of someone who is available to see them. I have heard stories of clients reaching out to dozens of therapists and never hearing anything back, which can be disheartening.
While I can understand not having time to respond to inquiries, I think it is important to get back to clients even if it’s to tell them I can’t see them. So, I have created an automated reply in my email that refers them out for me.
This way, they get a response instantly! They don’t have to wait until I have the energy to write back with referral information and can seek out another provider while they are in the zone of reaching out to therapists. Plus, it saves me time.
Since various agencies in my area have ever-changing availability, I don’t want to provide specific names that might need to be updated every week. I instead chose to refer clients to the TherapyDen directory, since profiles on TherapyDen indicate if a therapist is full, available, or accepting clients on a waiting list.
If you are a therapist in private practice, feel free to use my automated reply as a starting point to create your own. Let’s make it easier for clients to find a therapist with availability and lower the number of emails we need to reply to!