Quid pro quo is universally frowned upon in the counseling field; and rightly so. Harassment of any kind is absolutely deplorable. The only exchange of “goods for services” should be in the form of therapists accepting client copays. However, there is one place where quid pro quo is completely acceptable.

Cross-Marketing and Relationships Help

Cross-marketing is a healthy way to reach new clients. Cross-marketing is, in a sense, quid pro quo. It’s likely that you routinely interact with numerous businesses, most of which are not in competition with your practice, and never will be. Why not network with the resources in your catchment area?
Here are a few examples of how this could work for your counseling practice:

  • Build a relationship with local primary care physicians. PCPs often do not have referral lists for mental health supports. If they do, the list is generally outdated.
  • Connect with urgent care facilities. These offices treat numerous patients a day, many of whom present emotional and psychological concerns for attending physicians.
  • Reach out to civic, religious, and service groups. You would think that these organizations have referral networks, but they are often in need of qualified referral sources for mental health supports, particularly if you take insurance.

Build relationships with these providers and they will refer clients to you; but be willing to do something for them in return. This will solidify the fact that you want a professional relationship that his mutually beneficial. These providers receive far too many calls and impromptu office visits from people who want something from them. Let them know that you are willing to contribute to their practice.

Remember to Give

Offer to give a free staff training on recognizing the suicidal ideations of patients who visit urgent care facilities. Be willing to write articles for a quarterly newsletter. Volunteer at special events. If you’re asking them to place your brochures in their waiting room, be willing to do the same in yours. These things do present you in a positive light, and they will reflect favorably on your counseling practice.

Be creative!

Find ways to partner with the providers in your area. While it will take time and effort to establish and cultivate these relationships, the payoff is equal to a flourishing caseload for your private practice.