157. How to Position Yourself As the #1 Trusted Practice In Your Community Brent Stutzman

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Grow Your Private Practice, Marketing A Private Practice, Online Marketing, Podcast

In this episode of the Private Practice Elevation podcast, host Daniel Fava interviews Brent Stutzman on how to position yourself as the number one trusted therapy practice in your area. 

With around seven years of experience, Brent ventured into the marketing realm when his wife, a therapist, decided to start her own private practice. 

His journey began with branding and marketing, which he mastered through self-learning due to budget constraints. He successfully launched ‘Kid Matters Counseling’ with his wife, achieving a waiting list status before its onset. 

Eventually, Brent expanded his expertise to help other therapists establish and grow their practices, learning the critical importance of positioning as a trusted authority in the market. He also has launched TheraSaas, a powerful CRM for private practices.

His work is significantly impacted by the StoryBrand framework, which he has adeptly applied to launch over twelve practices across the country. As a certified Storybrand Guide, Brent emphasizes the power of storytelling and how therapists can become trusted guides for their clients. 

Brent states that this transition – moving from YOU being the center of your marketing to having your clients be the hero – has the potential to help take your marketing to a new level of success.

In this episode, Brent provides five steps to establish yourself as a guide, including demonstrating empathy, providing a sense of safety, demonstrating authority, illuminating the problem, providing a plan, and calling the hero to action. 

Tune in to learn how to position yourself as the go-to practice in your community.

In This Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • The brain’s role in survival and calorie conservation – and what this means for your marketing
  • The Importance of clear and simple communication to engage potential clients
  • The importance of storytelling in building trust and positioning oneself as a guide for your ideal clients
  • The shift from telling your own story to inviting clients into a story where they are the hero
  • The need for clear and simple communication to capture and maintain attention
  • Brent’s five steps to establish trust and position oneself as a guide
  • Examples of guides in literature and movies, such as Dumbledore in Harry Potter and Gandalf in Lord of the Rings.
  • Brent Stutzman highlights the importance of guides demonstrating empathy and providing a sense of safety
  • How to be the guide while still demonstrating authority and expertise
  • Brent Stutzman shares how to position yourself as a guide.
  • Website and copywriting tips to position yourself as a guide and call your clients to action
  • The ultimate transformation in your marketing: when heroes become guides

This Episode Is Brought To You By

Alma is on a mission to simplify access to high-quality, affordable mental health care by giving providers the tools they need to build thriving in-network private practices. When providers join Alma, they gain access to insurance support, teletherapy software, client referrals, automated billing and scheduling tools, and a vibrant community of clinicians who come together for education, training, and events.

Learn more about building a thriving private practice with Alma at helloalma.com/elevation.

Links mentioned in this episode:


About Brent Stutzman

After helping his wife successfully launch her counseling practice in 2016, Brent Stutzman saw a need to help other therapists launch, market, and scale their practices. Since then he’s launched over 12 private pay practices across the country, an intake CRM software for therapists called TheraSaaS, and an eCourse called Private Pay Practice Program.

His mission is to help launch, grow, or scale over 30,000 private practices by 2030.

He’s a certified Storybrand Guide and lives in Chicagoland with his wife of 19 years and their 3 beautiful children.

Positioning Your Practice as the #1 Trusted Authority: Key Takeaways

  • Embrace Your Role as Guide: To emerge as the most trusted private practice, therapists must transition from the hero role to that of a guide, crafting a brand narrative where clients are the protagonists.
  • Storytelling is Magnetic: Storytelling is powerful; it hijacks the brain and prevents daydreaming, making it a powerful tool in engaging potential clients and crafting marketing messages.
  • Structural Clarity Wins: A clear, simple plan and a strong call to action on therapists’ websites and marketing materials are essential for guiding clients through their journey—both signals crystalline intent and direction.

The Neuroscience of Private Practice Marketing

Why Storytelling Compels Us: 

At the core of human cognition lies the imperative to survive and thrive while conserving energy. 

These brain functions are central to understanding consumer behavior, especially when therapists articulate their services. 

When the information presented helps potential clients thrive without taxing their cognitive resources, they are more likely to remain engaged. 

Thus, therapists must convey how their services contribute to survival and thriving in the most energy-efficient way through storytelling. 

As Brent explains, “If you confuse, you lose,” emphasizing the need for straightforward and compelling messaging.

“You need to communicate something about you or your practice and your clinical skills that will help potential clients survive and thrive.”

Leveraging the Power of Story: 

Storytelling invites people into narratives that their brains willingly follow for hours without distraction. 

For therapists, this means sharing stories where they are not the heroes but guides. By inviting clients into such stories, they can create connections that foster trust, an essential component in the therapeutic journey.

The Character of the Guide

Defining the Guide Role: 

There are five critical steps to effectively establishing yourself as a guide. These include demonstrating empathy, showing authority, illuminating the problem, providing a plan, and delivering a clear call to action. 

Stutzman uses references from popular culture, citing Dumbledore from “Harry Potter” and Gandalf from “Lord of the Rings,” to illustrate how these characters offer safety and wisdom without overshadowing the hero’s journey. 

This analogy aids therapists in understanding their roles in their clients’ narratives.

“Invite clients into a story where your client is the hero and you are the guide to help them solve their problem and to win the day.”

Translating Guide Characteristics to Private Practice Management: 

Therapists must extend the guide role beyond therapy sessions to every aspect of practice management, including the language used on their website and interactions through staff. 

Offering a safe space for clients and potential clients—both physically and psychologically—and demonstrating expertise go a long way in building trust.

Impactful Communication Strategies

Optimizing Website Messaging: 

The website serves as the first impression for many potential clients. Having clear, jargon-free, and resonant messaging that acknowledges the visitor’s challenges and offers concrete solutions is crucial. 

Therapists must ensure that their websites answer immediate concerns: “Can this practice help me?” and “How do I get started?” Implementing these strategies leads to higher client engagement and trust.

“Your website can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you… You literally just have three or four seconds to convince someone to keep scrolling down on your website or they’re going to go to your competition.”

Calls to Action and Simple Plans: 

Every piece of content—be it on the website, marketing material, or even interpersonal interactions—should navigate the client toward a definitive next step. 

Calls to action encourage commitment and progress in the therapeutic journey. Similarly, outlining a simple plan demystifies the process of therapy, making it more approachable for clients.


With a narrative that fosters trust and leadership, therapists can harness the ‘guide’ paradigm to significantly impact their communities. 

By doing so, they not only draw clients to their practices but also catalyze transformative experiences that may inspire those they help to guide others, creating ripple effects of healing and growth. 

The union of storytelling finesse and operational strategy makes for a winning combination in the domain of private practice growth—a tale as old as time, reimagined for the age of digital communication and personal branding.

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