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TheTherapist's avatar

How should a therapist advertise to you?

Asked by TheTherapist (71points) March 21st, 2008 from iPhone

Trying to improve myself

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6 Answers

kevbo's avatar

Tough question. So much of the “advertising” process is word of mouth and the temperature of the first session or two. Plus, whether the patient is new to therapy or has done it before is a factor. Plus, (I’m assuming) you don’t want to influence treatment by pulling back the curtain to show the mechanics up front. Plus, so many feel stigmatized about therapy that it needs to be a “me calling you” dynamic instead of “you calling me.”

If by advertising, you mean in the traditional marketing sense, I would rely more on word of mouth than anything. Network with primary care doctors to build a referral base, employers, school health practitioners, social and community organizations or whatever is applicable to your focus. Drop brochures at these places. Obviously, make your contacts familiar with your method (I’ll assume CBT) and what kind of patients you are best at treating. People who will be doing the referring need to “manage up,” meaning they need to tell the referred patient that you are good and they recommend you.

If you decided to do traditional advertising, I’d keep it small and consistent. Try out a few different ad wordings and a few different placements (e.g. daily paper, weeklies, radio, online) and see what seems to bring in clients, and then stick with the method that works and drop the others. I suppose the message would promise a safe, confidential environment and benefits to the patient—a happier, more fulfilled life without so many emotional burdens.

If you mean advertising in the sense of how you present yourself in your initial contact with the patient (so I guess this would be more of a retention effort), I would say your front desk staff and waiting area absolutely have to put the patient at ease and establish confidence in your practice, and I would think you demeanor and office should be somewhat nondescript, except maybe for objects, tools, what have you that you might use to get a point across. First timers probably need more hand holding to get them to open up—maybe an up front description of the process so they don’t feel like they’re opening up out of context.

Is any of that along the lines of what you’re asking? I used to do marketing for a large, integrated delivery system, so that’s where a lot of this is coming from.

annaott22's avatar

I think this would be great on a business card….. “So you think your crazy. Let’s talk”

gailcalled's avatar

@anna: If I saw that on a business card, I would think, “Whoops. Why would I go to a therapist who mistakes “your” for “you’re.”

cwilbur's avatar

One of the things about therapists and doctors and such is that the relationship matters. It’s important to find a match for you, not just “the best.”

For instance, I had a horrible relationship with my last doctor; he didn’t understand how I thought, and took a very authoritarian and by-the-numbers approach with me. This didn’t impress me. But he was referred to me by a friend who loves his approach. I’ve never been in therapy, but my encounters with clergy for counselling suggest to me that I would need a therapist who’s at least as intellectual and academically inclined as I am.

(I talked to two different priests about matters of faith prior to becoming confirmed. One of them told me that it was just something I had to feel, that I would know. That was useless to me. The other thought for about 30 seconds about how to answer my question—it seemed like an eternity—and then looked at me and said, “How about I put together a reading list for you, and then once you’ve read what’s on it, we can talk about this more concretely?” That worked.)

On the other hand, that latter priest really turned off a lot of people because of her cerebral approach to things – so again, it’s a matter of getting the right match.

annaott22's avatar

oops I’m on my Iphone sorry for the typing error. Also I read the rest of the question after I had answered. I hope I didn’t offend anyone

gailcalled's avatar

Nope. Never offended…just here to “remember the language and keep it holy” :-)

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