Doctor Referrals in 4 quick steps

Counseling private practice doctor intro letter
Counseling private practice doctor intro letter
Attached is my intro letter that I use for physicians. I have found it to be most useful as something they plan to hand out to their clients. When I first started my practice, I sent letters to physicians, referees, and judges. I had fancy postcards done, business cards, and letters that explained who I was. I got zero referrals. I have found that having a couple great referrals is the best way to kickstart a practice. Here are the tips that have worked best to build those high quality referrals.
1. Start with who you know.
Do you have a pastor? Doctor? Specialist? Dentist? Start with people that already know you. Those folks are in the best position to be great referral sources. They just need the handout that you provide. They aren’t going to say, “I have this friend, here’s his/her number” and write it down.
2. Describe your ideal client to them in detail.
For example I see, “Angry kids, frustrated parents, and distant couples…and just about everyone else.” My referrals sources now have a starting point as to who I see. Then may then call me and say, “I have this kid in my practice, he’s not angry, but boy he’s got anxiety, can you help?” Then I’m not longer the “angry kid therapist” but the “kid therapist”.
3. Collaborate
Ask your clients if you can collaborate with their physician, get a release signed, and work with them. Make their job easier because you are in their client’s life.
4. Make sure your branding is clear.
Do you see how my footer, website, and letter all use similar colors? Even if it is only in color, do something to tie it all together. It makes it look like you have your stuff together.
I hope this serves you well. If you’re looking for more resources or want to join my e-newsletter, check out the homepage:
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC is the owner and a counselor at Mental Wellness Counseling in Traverse City, MI. He has built referrals by connecting and collaborating. He enjoys having breakfast with other professionals.


  • Joe, just thought I would drop in here to say thank you for spelling out these simple steps to further integrating our practices into the medical field. If we don’t understand how to make physician’s lives easier, it is unlikely that they will include us as part of their treatment teams.

    One of the things I notice is that many mental health professionals have a mental block about even approaching physicians. It’s not just that they don’t “know what to do.” It’s often that they have a lot of myths tied up around working with physicians and are afraid of them. Oh! Now that I think about it – I’m going to have to pull a blog post together on this topic. And, when I do, I’ll be sure to tip my hat to you for the inspiration and share this post as a resources, too.

    Thanks, again, Joe, for all you do to support therapists!

  • Darlene Chulak says:

    Thanks for this detailed information re obtaining referrals/initiating a working relationship with new physicians! I have a 30 yr pvte practice & find that both PCP’s/Pediatricians appreciate notifications re mutual pts, of all ages, that have begun tx here, whether or not they have referred them here. A release form is usually included@intake, which allows me to do this. And while some physicians do refer here based upon our history of collaborative work, there are some that likely tend to refer, based upon the reputation of my adorable dog (doxie) co-therapist, that frequently works part time with me.

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