You became a therapist because you wanted to help people. You wanted to relieve pain for your clients. As you became a great therapist, you got better at allowing your clients to struggle at times. You don’t always jump in with a quick fix.
There’s a particular kind of pain your potential clients feel as they are deciding to invest in therapy. When your client is getting ready to make that investment, she may struggle with making room for therapy in her life. Therapy can be a big commitment of hard work, time and money. Until she’s ready to say yes to therapy, she might feel like she doesn’t have room in her budget or her schedule. She might need to be in significant pain before she feels she can make the investment.
When you’re talking to potential clients before they have made that decision, do you allow them to experience that tension, or do you jump in and try to take the tension away with a quick fix?
Two common ways this tension comes up are around your schedule and your fee. Let’s say you only have a few openings in your schedule. When you name those times to a potential client, he says those times don’t work well. Maybe you feel tempted to jump in and offer another an evening appointment even though you don’t really want another evening appointment. Stick with your optimal times and let the client struggle for a moment. Let him consider making the changes he would need to make for one of those times to work.
Perhaps you have a new fee you’ve raised to recently, and you’re still getting used to saying it out loud. If you ask a potential client “is that okay for you?” you’ve just taken away an opportunity for her to say yes to making that investment in herself. Her decision might be “I can’t afford that fee right now.” Then you can be very generous with your offer of referrals. You may be connecting her with the therapist who is perfect for her.
If you’re willing to watch your potential client struggle for a moment, the client will know you are clear in your communication, that you’re taking care of yourself, and that you trust his or her ability to make the right decision. Before you start the conversation with a potential client, be ready to tolerate your own anxiety so that you can witness that struggle.
If you need some help with your therapy practice, check out our free trainings.