Making an initial appointment with a therapist can be scary business. Even scarier when the therapist is difficult to find, hard to schedule with, and not transparent about the process of beginning therapy.
Creating a practice that is easy to access is beneficial to you and the client.
It helps clients find therapists, schedule, and come into therapy with lower levels of anxiety. As therapists, we want to REDUCE not INCREASE anxiety for our potential clients.
For therapists it makes it easier to get and schedule referrals and connect with your clients before even meeting them.
Here are 5 ways that you can make your practice easy to access:
- Be transparent.
- Transparency is key. Offering transparency about fees, skills, location, policies, and how to schedule with you creates a sense of ease for the client. No one likes to enter something without knowing as much information as possible.
- Be visible
- How can people find you? Are you using your website and blog to help people get to know you? Do you utilize social media? Are you on a directory?
- Use online scheduling
- There are so many great online scheduling solutions out there – Fullslate, Acuity, Simple Practice, and so many more offer ease of access for your clients (and help you organize your schedule, too!). Online scheduling allows people to see your availability and schedule themselves at any time of day.
- Set up shop where your clients are.
- When you are deciding on your practice location consider where your ideal client lives or can access. If you want to work with children, it might be best to have a parking lot so parents can come right after school. If you want to work with “high achievers” perhaps you want to be in the business district of your city.
- Respond to e-mails and phone calls
- This should go without saying but it is a major issue in our industry. The number complaint I hear from clients when I first return their call? “I am so frustrated! I have called ten therapists and you are LITERALLY the first person to call me back”. Honestly, calling people back and responding to e-mails promptly was probably one of the top three reasons my practice grew so quickly.
When building your practice, consider the anxiety someone might be feeling when they reach out for therapy. Use your empathy spidey senses to create accessibility in your practice that reduces anxiety and INCREASES the likelihood that clients schedule, show up, and continue services with you.
Written by: Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT
To read more about Liz, click here.