I’ve been absorbing everything I can for free from a therapy coach, Casey Truffo. I met her this summer (fun!) She is a therapist turned coach and is now creating a very cool Therapist Leadership Institute, to help promote the world of therapy, build its reputation in our culture, and other fabulous things.
One piece of advice she had at my meeting, and she has in her book, her telecourses, just throughout everything she says is that you MUST OFFER SOMETHING IN RETURN when it comes to building connections and networks with people or organizations who can refer people to you. Casey is a little like Oprah in that everyone must go to her saying they have something awesome, and will she promote it. That doesn’t cut it. Casey, or Oprah, or me with the therapy directory and The First Dance, are not going to just promote something without some sense of relationship and mutual-benefit. The mutual-benefit doesn’t have to involve money, but it has to feel reciprical.
As you may know, or would learn more about in my trainings, getting website links to you is a key component to getting your own website ranked high for search engines. The problem is you may find you all the sudden “need” people you didn’t think you needed before! All the sudden the island mentality has to end, and you may be in a new, weird world of trying to build connections based primarily out of your own self interest.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I consider doing a local premarital retreat with my therapist husband. I’m also thinking about it a lot as he builds a new office across town from his other office. I want everyone in the new city to know he exists and to refer couples to him. But, what will they get in return? Unlike coaching or social media consultants who can sort of “pitch” a wide variety of items, a therapist has to be very careful and protective. It reminds me of a call my husband got from a life insurance agent saying he’d like to get his name out to his clients he may see in groups. Um. No, my husband is not going to enter the insurance world with clients coming to him for therapy or group support. It’s an example of a misfire. The agent had no idea of the culture of therapy and the role many therapists have when it comes to protecting the sacred space and trust of the process.
I was lucky that before I knew links were so important, fantastic organizations and people gave us great links. That really helps, a lot. I didn’t have to ask for links. But now I’m getting creative on my husbands part. And wondering what he can “give away” or offer to prospective referring professionals. But with 80% of people starting online to find a mental health professional, will he reverse his personality and try to get those 20% who ask their doctor or teacher or someone else for a referral?
The real world always collides with the online world. It is part of what keeps me utterly fascinated and passionate about what I do!