Be a Human Being, Not a Credential

Is your About page drowning in alphabet soup? Almost every therapy website makes this mistake.

Your credentials are important, of course, and they need to be included. But too much information about your degrees, certifications, and trainings makes clients feel like they’ve stumbled into an overgrown credential jungle.

Here are two reasons to avoid credentialing your clients to death:

Reason #1: Your credentials are confusing. Most clients will see the words “licensed professional counselor” or “registered art therapist,” for example, and that’s all they need to see. Everything else is gibberish to the average person.

Reason #2: Credentials are not what clients are looking for. They’re looking for words and phrases that match their experience—for example, not “CAC II certified” but “specialized training in helping people with addictions.”

So, how can you include credentials in a helpful, informative way without being overwhelming?

First, spell out anything that follows your name. It’s okay to do this in a very simple, straightforward way: “I am a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the state of North Carolina. I am also a registered art therapist (ATR) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC).”

Second, avoid long lists of certifications and continuing education trainings. If it’s important for you to include all of this information, place it at the bottom of your About page with a heading like “Specialized Trainings,” so that the overwhelmed client can choose to ignore it.

If there are two or three approaches that you use with most clients, this featured list can go higher on the page. Use bullet points for ease of reading, and briefly explain each technique or approach in 1-2 sentences. If most people haven’t heard of a specific technique, consider adding a link to an external website that explains the approach in detail.

Above all, remember that the “voice” of your website (the overall effect of the words you choose to describe yourself and your services) serves as a proxy for your in-session therapeutic voice. Mention your credentials, but put the main spotlight on your own distinctive qualities—the elements that will ultimately lead clients to reach out to you.

Want more writing advice for your therapy site? Go back to the full list of articles.