Recently, I received an email from psychotherapist Kelly Lucas, telling me all about a pattern she is currently seeing in her couples’ practice.
“Right now, the biggest challenge I face is getting people – men, especially – to see the benefit of couples’ therapy. A close second would be persuading couples that the fact they are seeking help is a positive step, as opposed to a sign of weakness or an admittance of failure in their relationship. There is also the ever-present challenge of the cost, even with insurance.”
I think the struggle with convincing couples to see the value of therapy as a solution to their marital struggles applies to all genders.
In fact, I also got a very similar email from Haley Ritchie, MFT LPC of Ohio.
“As of lately, given that it’s summertime, much of my frustration has centered around the natural trend of summer being slow and clients being busier and perhaps less motivated for therapy. It’s nice out, people are tied up with their families, kids, holidays, vacations, etc.
I find couples tend to be less consistent in the summer. I get it, life is busy, but it’s difficult when – as a therapist who wants the best for their clients – you know full well that a packed personal schedule is acting as an obstacle to building that all-important momentum.”
So, what are the best practices for demonstrating the value of your services, even during the warmer months when you may be struggling to get private, paying clients?
First, you need to establish the value in couples’ therapy in your potential clients’ minds, long before they even think about reaching out to you. It is essential that you develop your therapy practice into a visible brand with a consistent message.
Don’t pigeonhole your practice by trying to carve out a niche for yourself. You should present your services as an obvious solution for couples with a wide array of relationship troubles.
Think about it this way. Everyone knows what it’s like to be hungry and ready to eat, but sometimes, we add extra data to the problem. We say things like, “Where can we take your parents out for a nice dinner? They like Italian, right? Or do you think they would prefer something else?”
We are then faced with the issue of selection, rather than simply sating our hunger. We turn to trusted sources like Yelp or that friend who told us they went to a great restaurant last weekend.
You want to position your practice as an establishment that can provide the perfect solution – whatever that might be – taking away the dilemma of choice.
Another way to break through your clients’ summertime excuses is to get in front of them as often as possible. Use your brand to develop a message that grabs your clients’ attention. That way, you will be able to filter through the noise in their life by being a consistent, front-of-mind presence.
All it takes is a weekly email, blog, or video that addresses a sequence of problems your target audience is likely to be experiencing. I suggest you run a 90-day summer campaign – just make sure you commit to a proper schedule. Once you’re done, assess your results and pivot if you need to.
Your business practice is as important as your clinical practice and ability. That is why we integrate both of these aspects into our Couples Therapy Training Academy, designed to help therapists develop their brand and enhance the delivery of their services.
Get on the Priority Notification List to find out about the next available opening for our Advanced Gottman Mastermind Group, where we introduce a range of different approaches to couples’ therapy and help you incorporate them into your unique vision for your business and brand.