"Helping people who help people"

I’m reading Irvin Yalom and thoroughly enjoying his stories and advice to a new generation of therapists.  I think it’ll be one I buy (it’s a library book.)  Reading more makes me want to delay finishing my  e-book on writing profiles because I have new metaphors and new ways to explain what therapists do in profiles that makes me cringe.

One huge piece of Irvin’s work is immediacy – which some of you DO but the term is foreign.  Research shows even the most experienced therapists often don’t use it, in part, likely, because it’s risk taking to be in the HERE and NOW in relation with the client.  (Though interestingly immediacy is one of the key differences between a coach and a therapist.  A coach backs up and never gets hot with the issues a client has within their relationship whereas a therapist finds it grist for the mill.)  Immediacy is one of three ways to address the RELATIONSHIP NOW:

discuss the relationship between you and your client in the present moment (example: You are showing up late to sessions, I wonder how you’re feeling about me and your therapy experience….)

discuss how you feel about what your client is saying (used as a therapeutic tool, says Irvin, because your reactions are likely similar to everyone else in the clients lives and you can offer a safe “a-ha” awakening by being safe but honest)

discuss how the client felt tell you something powerful, or even just how it feels for the client to share to you (ex: you’ve never shared these sexual traumas with anyone.  How does it feel to tell me something so buried and powerful?)

The problem with therapy profiles is when you attempt to “discuss your relationship” with the prospective client before you even have the relationship.  For example, a lot of therapists feel it is important to have “the right fit” between client and therapist.  They go on to articulate this in their profile.  While that may be true, it may be that some things are better left said in the therapy room.  I read some profiles and STRESS OUT thinking oh my GOD, apparently I don’t have to just find ONE potential therapist here, but a few? And then I have to make appointments, spending money, and “interview” them?  All the sudden the idea of therapy seems really stressful.  Honestly even writing this out makes my anxiety rise.  I can’t imagine having to interview a bunch of therapists when therapy in general is scary and vulnerable.  Plus my view is the therapist has some power (albeit healthy power I give them) so the idea of confronting the powerful therapists that I just met seems beyond the pale.

This is a teaser for what will be in the e-book.  I am not interested in simple copywriting or “marketing” but a holistic look at messaging within the therapy-client context.  None of this you learn in grad school (sadly!) but a lot of it can kill your chances of attracting new clients.  Or of attracting the types of clients you want.

Consider how you use immediacy in your therapy profiles or website.  More to come!


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