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Mental Health’s Most Overused Buzzwords

“Megan is a licensed clinical social worker who strives to create a safe, supportive environment for clients to explore thought patterns and heal past trauma.”

Sound familiar?

It should, if you’ve ever been on Psychology Today or any other clinician profile bank. Therapists of very different backgrounds and approaches tend to use the same language to describe what they do, making it very difficult to differentiate between them.

In the past six months, I’ve personally written (and rewritten) over 200 Psychology Today, Therapy Den, Goodtherapy, etc. profiles.

And frankly, I don’t blame clients who are having a hard time finding a therapist. There’s so much overlap in therapy profiles, I could create a set of fridge word magnets that would be able to recreate 75% of the profiles found on these sites.

Moving Beyond Carbon-Copy Language

It’s not only therapist profiles guilty of using duplicate language. Companies often echo the same tired language.

Sure, you have to express core ideas and approaches in marketing materials, but using cliches and jargon can do more harm than good- to your company and your clients. Codifying language prevents people from forming real connections. Everyone in the industry- from individual practices to large venture-funded start-ups- is using phrases that have become so commonplace that they are almost meaningless.

Worse yet, even new terms that “go viral” and generate interest in mental health can quickly become tired and overused (see: “gaslighting” and “shadow work”). Mental health marketing should focus on breaking down complex concepts into easy-to-understand language that actually means something to people.

When I was pushing through several therapist profile rewrites per week, I kept a list of “do not use” phrases that I would reference and sometimes send to clinicians. I challenged these intelligent, caring, insightful professionals to put away their grad-school-term-paper approach and dig deeper into their philosophies, experiences, and wisdom.

And let me tell you- we made magic.

My “Do Not Use” List of Overused Phrases

I thought I’d share my “do not use” list with you.

Now, please hear me on this: the concepts represented by these terms are absolutely key to the therapeutic relationship.

But unless you want to pull your languages straight from my “Therapist Profiles” fridge magnet set, you should plan on getting creative on how you express them in your marketing.

My list grows all the time, but here are the most frequent offenders:

  • Holistic approach
  • Empathetic and non-judgmental
  • Safe and supportive environment
  • Tailored to your needs
  • Personalized therapy
  • Confidential setting
  • Unlock your potential
  • Path to healing
  • Empowering individuals
  • Transformative journey
  • Reach your goals
  • Overcome life’s challenges
  • Find inner peace
  • Cultivate resilience
  • Discover your true self
  • Compassionate care
  • Client-centered approach
  • Experience growth and change
  • Enhance your well-being
  • Live your best life

Bottom Line:

Your profile shouldn’t read like a term paper or a resume. Your potential clients are probably in crisis, and they don’t need a list of your credentials. What they need is to know who you are and how you’ll help them. They also need to believe that you can offer them hope that things will get better- a hope that will be hard to find if your profile looks just like the next 25 on the page.

Keep it simple. Keep it human. Keep it you.

(I’m not currently offering profile rewrites to individual clinicians- although I may in the future. If you are a larger practice or company looking to take your therapist profiles up a notch, you can email me for my availability and rates:


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