How to Retain Clients as a Therapist
In the field of psychiatry, talk therapy -or psychotherapy- is one of the hallmark services you can offer clients. Psychotherapy is an effective means of addressing various issues via multiple therapeutic modalities that can reap benefits (typically) without the use of pharmaceuticals. Finding the right “fit” between a client and therapist is a huge hurdle that many people find intimidating. Instead of taking the time to find the right person to work with, clients may either settle for the first therapist they try OR sign off on talk therapy as a bad experience. And while it CAN happen, the odds of the first therapist being the one they want to stick with is pretty small.
But talk therapy isn’t a one-way street. It’s a reciprocal relationship between you, the provider, and the client. We’re here to talk about how you can increase the odds of being the right “fit” for your clients in the event they’re one of those people that picked your name out of a hat and didn’t take the time to research your therapeutic approach, philosophy, or personality.
The Process of Choosing a Therapist, According to Google
How do people decide on a therapist? A quick google search reveals 3 main avenues. Firstly, people are told to consider their finances. They’re told to choose a therapist depending on whether or not that provider accepts specific health insurance options, what billing looks like, figuring out a budget, etc. And at the end of the list of questions is “What is the therapist’s philosophy to wellness?” or “What issues are you looking to address in therapy?” While financial aspects are certainly important for the client to know, it may increase their perception of a provider if those questions centric to their wellbeing- the questions typically last on the list of “questions you should ask your therapist”- are addressed up front.
People have an innate need to be seen, heard, and treated like a valuable member of society. By all means, answer their questions about billing, copays, and insurance needs, but also take a second and follow up with addressing why THEY want to be there or what they expect from you.
Word of Mouth
Another common tool being cited on how to choose a therapist is word of mouth. Multiple sources directly state to ask relatives and friends who they see and call for an introduction. This works well for the provider, granted they have clients out in circulation willing to disclose their name to others. But this isn’t necessarily the best option for the client since choosing your therapist is a highly personal experience.
If you find yourself with multiple clients that are coming to you because they were referred to you by a personal acquaintance, first off GREAT!
Second off, again, follow this up with connecting with the client more intimately. Yes, their relative/friend/coworker has a productive and beneficial relationship with you. But make sure THIS person knows that each person has different needs and you are concerned with making sure you can be a benefit for THEM.
Credentials and Online Access
Lastly, if someone is looking through Google on advice on how to pick their therapist they will also see to check credentials and look for online access (because telehealth tends to have lower copay rates). Be sure your credentials, licensure, and specialties are easily visible on your website if you have one (or databases you may be listed on). If you don’t have this information listed online, offer it when approached by a client. Transparency and openness can give the client peace of mind that you are a trustworthy provider that may increase the odds of retention. And if you don’t have a website, consider making one as this increases your searchability and access to larger client bases.
Becoming a trusted provider for a client is a weighty responsibility, and retaining that trust takes time and intention. Sometimes the match isn’t good despite the effort you make for it, and that’s OK. You’re still doing the best you can and that’s all anyone can ask for. And if you’re feeling chatty, spread some word of mouth by telling your friends or coworkers about My Psych Board so we can help you all become the successful providers we know you can be 🙂 Contact us with any questions you have today!