I get frustrated. Angry. Annoyed. I publicly apologize for the profession I’m about to join. Therapists are an amazing bunch of people who put everything they have into helping people heal. But there is a huge gap in what therapists do and what prospective clients experience.
Therapists are often clueless about the non-office “stuff” of therapy, especially marketing. I completely understand and empathize. I came out of HR where I knew all those people I interviewed were so nervous and the balance of power was in my favor. In any profession, with time, we lose sight of the emotions of prospective clients. This blog post is dedicated to one particular story that makes all my work worthwhile in helping therapists connect with people seeking their help online.
I’m on a message board where someone asks for therapy help. She has contacted THREE therapists and gotten nowhere. What’s the problem? The problem is she doesn’t KNOW what her problem is. Huh, you wonder? Three therapists asked her why she was calling and she couldn’t give a good answer. So what does she do? Gets stuck. Sad. Frustrated. Confused. She doesn’t know how she can call a fourth therapist if she gets the same response.
After just two small email-type exchanges with her it is very clear she could benefit from therapy. Her stepfather recently died of cancer. Her mother has attempted suicide three times. Her brother is also suicidal. She’s newly married and has a new baby. She’s deeply grieving. She’s angry, traumatized, feeling very alone, and having marital issues. My heart aches for her.
What makes me mad…or perhaps just really, really sad?
Three therapists were not skilled at dealing with a prospective client who couldn’t label their pain succinctly
Three therapists may have been trying to figure out if she was their ideal client but instead pushed her away from seeking any help.
Three therapists didn’t demonstrate that when someone is calling for therapy they are feeling extremely vulnerable, confused, afraid, and out of their element. The client deserved more. You may not be their ideal therapist but for the profession of psychotherapy, really think about what you can do to help send people at least closer to where they ought to be.
I’m not even a trained therapist yet and with two or so simple questions (with the help of my new therapist husband) I was able to immediately hone in her issues and the direction she may want to go. Remember, you may literally be the last person they call before giving up, spending the rest of their life in unnecessary pain. It should not be the job of random people on a message board to help a struggling person get psychotherapy help.
My message for you today: It’s not the clients job to say, “so, I think need a little EFT for my marriage with some EMDR for my PTSD and a wee bit of CBT for my PPD would be great, thanks.”