This blog is dedicated to the nuance your webmaster likely has NO CLUE about. It’s dedicated to therapists who have been doing this so long, they may have forgotten in their hearts the nerve-wracking, angst filled nature of clients finding therapists. And yes, we know couples take 7 years on average to actually seek marital help. (So what are they doing and thinking in those 7 years?)
In no particular order, here are my musings:
1 – from the point someone decides they are open to the *IDEA* of therapy, it may still take days, weeks, months, or years to actually contact someone. It’s slightly easier if you really talk about the issue they’re struggling with instead of having a bullet point list of all sorts of human symptoms (that, frankly, every OTHER therapist also has on their list.)
Example: “I work with people struggling with depression. Whether you’ve had an official diagnosis or are pretty sure you are depressed, I understand how any action at all can be extremely exhausting. The idea of picking up the phone, talking with a stranger and coming to my office may feel like climbing Mount Everest. I promise to give you all the care and attention you deserve when you get to my office. My former clients can attest to the power of psychotherapy for depression. There is hope.”
2 – Someone may find you are one of a few strong contenders. However, if they have financial issues, or insurance issues, or scheduling issues, the therapist who gives details may win out because the client doesn’t have to call you to find out. They can just go to the “Safe” therapist they already know takes Blue Cross, or who has weekend hours, etc. If every therapist point of contact feels like a prick of a needle, prospective clients are reducing the pricks as much as possible.
3 – Animals. You may love them, have them in your profile photos, or on your website. You may have your “resident dog” in your sessions. Just be aware NOT EVERYONE likes dogs (or cats, or birds, or horses…) While YOU may be OK with a non-pet-loving client, the CLIENT is simply not going to call you and insultingly say they want your animal out of the office. They’re just going to go elsewhere. Be aware of this fact so you’re not unknowingly turning off clients who you could really help. A healthy-client is not going to want to feel like she is insulting you or your pet by expressing concern.
4 – Watch your website traffic if you have access to it. There is a big surge at lunch, morning (before work) and in the evenings (probably after dinner.) Weekends tend to be slower for website traffic because people are busy and not focusing on mental health. If you’re a very creative therapist, consider how you can leverage these peak times. For websites that sell stuff, they may have “lunchhour sales” that are only for 2 hours. It creates a sense of urgency and it’s when the peak traffic is online anyway. Have you been to monster.com lately? They have (I believe it’s Monster…) a “boss button.” It’s a clever way if reading a website and if you hear the boss coming, you press the Boss Button and it changes the page to boring text. All they have to do is use the back button on their browser to return to your website. I mention this because it gets to the reality that JOB SEEKERS are most likely at WORK where they would be in TROUBLE for job searching. Similarly, few people would be thrilled to discover their cube mate, boss, or nosy coworker watching them surf for mental health help.
I hope these help! I’ve got a lot more but wanted to get this blog entry published today. If you’ve got any pointers or hints, remember to comment! It helps others, confirms I’m not talking to an empty room (I know I’m not because of my website traffic, but still… it makes me feel loved to get comments!) AND commenting with a link to your website helps YOUR website traffic.