I’m always telling you not to use jargon on your website or in any of the writing meant for your potential clients. If you’ve followed me for a little while, you know that I advocate using the kind of words your right-fit clients use when you write about their pain, their problems, what happens in therapy, and what it’s like to work with you. Unless your right-fit clients are all therapists, you’ve got to unlearn some of the words you usually use.
But as much as you shouldn’t use jargon or clinical language, you also shouldn’t use cheesy, dumbed-down or overly general language.
Your right-fit clients are smart and discerning. Writing feels cheesy when it pulls for an emotional response that seems exaggerated or out of context. Cheesy writing is like a proposal on a first date. “I love you, will you marry me?” on a first date is creepy, even if one might enjoy hearing those words at the right time and in the right relationship.
You want to find a sweet spot in your writing: neither clinical nor cheesy. The way to avoid both of those is to be specific and descriptive of your right-fit client’s experience.
Let’s use the example of a therapist I’ll call Jane who loves working with smart young women who want to improve their relationships. Jane’s right-fit client wants to find a good partner or improve the relationship she’s in, and she wants stronger, more resilient friendships. Jane uses attachment theory in her work.
She might be tempted to write something like this:
“In therapy with me, you can increase your capacity for relational engagement. We will investigate and heal your attachment injuries in the context of a safe therapeutic relationship.”
(I made that up, but I see things like it all the time!) Her right-fit client would glaze over, because although she understands all the words, she doesn’t really see her experience in those sentences. Too jargon-y. Too clinical.
The other extreme would be for Jane to get a little cheesy and say:
“In therapy with me, you will learn to thrive in your relationships in new ways.You’ll finally create relationships that are stronger and last longer. I help you learn to love yourself so that you can create the relationships you deserve.”
(I made that up too, but again, I see things like it all the time.) Remember, Jane’s clients are smart, and this just sounds too general. Her right-fit client begins to roll her eyes.
To reach her right fit client, she needs to use words that are both descriptive and specific.
Jane could write:
“You’ve tried setting better boundaries, using “I” statements, and being more emotionally honest. Your relationships still aren’t as satisfying or close as you want them to be, and you’re ready to find out why. In therapy with me, you’ll get comfortable with those parts of yourself that bring up self-criticism and shame. As your relationship with yourself improves, you’ll find that all of your relationships begin to shift.”
Better. What’s different? Jane has had to work harder to come up with these words. She has articulated what her right-fit client is experiencing and how therapy helps. She’s found a way to say all of that using words that her right-fit client would find accurate.
It’s worth the effort. Every time I’ve guided a therapist to edit their words and find the right ones, they’ve told me it was worth the work.
Is it time to build the private practice only you can create? Apply for a free 20-minute consultation with me now.