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Alumni experts from St. Edward’s University tackle tough questions about business and careers. They’ve got answers — and, now, so do you.

Therapists have typically shied away from promoting themselves. They’re all about private conversations, right? Promotion suggests you can’t keep your mouth shut, doesn’t it? Not so, says therapist Emily Roberts. A graduate of the Master of Arts in Counseling program at St. Edward’s University and author of the forthcoming book Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Roberts says modern-day therapists need to think about marketing themselves just as other professional-service providers do. Here, she shares tips on how therapists can execute social media promotion the right way.

How can I use social media to promote my professional therapy practice?

It’s important to have an online presence in the 21st century. You need a website, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile and probably a Twitter profile, because potential clients and colleagues who might offer referrals will search for these things. An online presence is the modern equivalent of a business card. If I’m considering working with someone, and I can’t find an online profile for that person, she automatically loses a little credibility with me. You need to take the time to keep up with the times.

People want to see who you are professionally. I post articles and sometimes pictures from conferences I’m attending — things that demonstrate my involvement in the profession. But I also post some personal information. People want to learn a little bit about you. Choosing a therapist can be scary, so future clients want to get a gauge on you before they reach out. They want to know that you’re a real person engaged in the world.

In addition, I use Twitter to keep on developments in the field. Following experts in the field keeps me up to date on advances in science as it relates to psychology. I also learn about trends and hear about concepts that are emerging. But I also share my own writing and opinions because I want to hear from people who agree or disagree. It helps build my brand, and it builds my network of connections.

Don’t wait until you’ve graduated to develop your social networks; start doing this as a graduate student so you have connections and resources when you graduate. It will make marketing yourself much easier when you have an established online presence, not to mention access to colleagues all over the world to learn from and collaborate with.

The Master of Arts in Counseling at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, prepares you to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), or both, in such settings as hospitals, residential treatment centers, nonprofit agencies and private practices.

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