Therapy is an investment. It’s not cheap (or it shouldn’t be!). Most things can’t be solved in one session and clients need to choose to invest in changing their thing and improving their life.
But how much should they invest? How many sessions will it take? Can you definitely get rid of their thing in that time? Or are you expecting an unknown investment? And could this be putting clients off?
Would you take your car to a garage if they told you they had no idea about how long it would take to fix or how much it would cost? Would you go out for dinner and order food but not know how long it will take to cook or how much they will charge you at the end of evening.
So why do we expect it of our clients????
Lots of therapists talk about having bespoke sessions that they tailor to meet their clients needs (which is great) and that once they meet the client and talk in more detail they can tell them how many sessions they need….
So, basically this is asking a client to invest in you without knowing how many sessions or how much money making this change in their life will cost or how long it will take.
This makes it VERY hard to get clients to sign up. Just like the garage or the restaurant, would you say yes?
You need to be confident in your skills
How long will it take you to end anxiety or heal hurts or break addictions or erase phobias or help with whatever you help with? Honestly? If you can do it in a session, do it in a session; if it will take 4 sessions, be honest and confident that it will take those 4 sessions. Tell a client what they need to invest in terms of time and money.
For me, most things I worked with were 4 sessions – eating issues, anxiety, addictions but I knew phobias or simple issues (like being able to sit at a dinner table at a wedding…which was the next day…and eating in front of people) could be solved in one or 2 sessions.
Clients find it much easier to say yes if they know the extent of their investment and that they trust that at the end of that time things will be different. Yes, stuff happens along the way and what seemed to be a simple problem actually is much more complicated. If that’s the case, be honest with the client as soon as possible and offer them the options. Also, be ethical, don’t drag out a driving phobia for 4 sessions when you know you can solve it in one but also don’t be pressured or persuaded by what other therapists are doing either. Just because someone markets that they can end anxiety in an hour doesn’t mean you should feel pressure to. You have to be confident and comfortable with your own practice; leave the giant egos to get on with theirs!
So, if you want a client filled diary then start with being clear and honest about the investment you expect clients to put in. Tell them how much time and money they need to spend to change their thing.
Trust me, removing that element of unknown investment will make such a difference in clients saying yes.