How to Build Trust with a Client Before the First Session A strong online presence helps potentials clients trust you and choose you when they are ready for therapy.
Clients sometimes have a hard time trusting a new therapist. It’s understandable: who feels comfortable telling their innermost problems to a complete stranger? But trust is a critical part of the client/ therapist relationship if any real progress is to be made. Thankfully, there are ways to build trust before your client even walks in the door.
Building Your Private Practice In A Digital World: NASW Webinar Nov. 8
Let me show you how to build strong online presence to grow your private practice!
If you're not a social worker, you can stop reading now. I know social workers are supposed to be inclusive, but this is one small exception. This webinar is only open to social workers. If you are a social worker AND a member of National Association of Social Workers (NASW) then I hope you'll join me for my first national webinar "Building Your Private Practice In A Digital World: Creating A Strong Online Presence For Your Practice" on Nov. 8.
Social Media Ethics (part 1): Digital Dual Relationship Dilemmas
photo credit: Eric Schwartzman
I’ve spent months writing about how to effectively use technology, and social media in particular, to build your private mental health practice. While the Internet has opened up exciting new ways for mental health therapists in private practice to market their practice, reach potential clients, and educate the public, it has also allowed for new ethical dilemmas.
When I first started practicing nearly two decades ago, I was concerned about my child being on the same soccer team as a client's child, or about running into clients at parties of mutual friends. The increasing Internet usage by therapists and clients alike has created new opportunities for dual relationships online. Over the coming weeks I'll be discussing ways to use social media ethically in the digital age.
Here are a just few examples of digital dual relationship dilemmas that therapists now face:
Paper Or Electronic? Why I’m Grieving My Paper Files Call me a bad therapist. It wouldn't be the first time. But I write my case notes during sessions. It's not "writing" really. It's more like "jotting" a few important things down as I go. I sign and date the note at the end of the session and I'm done. Call me crazy, but I like to complete all work, notes, letter writing on behalf of the client during the session. I have resistance to adding and hour or so at the end of my day for case notes.
If you haven't been able to tell from past posts, I tend to be an early adopter when it comes to technology. I had a therapy website in the early 2000's. I've been on Facebook and Twitter for 4 years (which is a long time for the over 40 crowd). I love my iPhone and iPad. I developed an app. But, I haven't yet transition to electronic notes and health records, until now.
Starting today my therapy clinic is finally transitioning to an electronic records and practice management system. After a lot of research we decided to go with Care Paths.
Mobile App For Your Private Practice? It’s Easier Than You Think By now you know that I love technology, especially when it comes to practice building. I recently blogged about how shrinks can prepare for the mobile marketing revolution. Well, here's another cool way to make sure that your private practice website is "mobile friendly." You can now build your own private practice app! Seriously.
Last weekend I stumbled on this blog http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57336404-94/how-to-build-your-own-app-for-free/ and thought I'd give it a try.
My clinic website, Wasatch Family Therapy, has an active blog, newsletter, YouTube account, Twitter, and Facebook page and we pride ourselves in being fairly tech-savvy, so an app is the next step, right? In addition to providing clinical services, we highly value outreach and community education and technology and the Internet allow us to reach far beyond our own community in Utah.
In less than an hour, through the tools available on conduit.com I created a custom mobile "Wasatch Family Therapy" app, complete with it's own QR code (the code you can scan with a bar code scanner on your mobile phone). I was also able to set up a notification to my website visitors using a mobile device to select the app or open the full-version. Cool huh?
Simplify Your Social Media Life With HootSuite I have wholeheartedly embraced social media to build my therapy practice and to educate the public on important emotional health and family relationship topics.
Technology and social media have allowed me to grow my private practice free of managed care during difficult economic times. Facebook is the #2 referral source to my private practice website, topped only by Google. A common challenge for private practice therapists is learning to effectively manage social networks in a way that maximizes their time and draws people to their practice.
People often ask how I stay on top of posting and interacting regularly on my social media networks. Just to give you an idea, I manage 3 Twitter accounts, 8 Facebook pages/profiles, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Ping.fm, 3 Ning accounts. One of my favorite social network management systems is HootSuite, a social media dashboard. Although I can't manage all of my accounts from HootSuite, I can manage the largest networks. I pay only $5.99 per month which includes the ability to add one "team member" to can access and manage my social network accounts.
5 Free Ways to Market Your Therapy Practice Thanks to technology, there are many free ways to effectively market your private therapy practice. Since these free strategies do take time to implement, I suggest focusing on the ones that sound interesting, fun, fulfilling, and a little challenging so you get something back personally from your time investment.
It can take some time until you actually see the benefits of your marketing in terms of clients coming to your practice. Part of effective marketing is simply raising awareness of your practice and your specialties, which will bring in clients over time.
After nearly 10 years in private practice, I've found that the most effective strategies for building your practice use what we already know as therapists about building relationships: building rapport, using your authentic self, starting where the "client" is, to name a few, and translating those skills into a new formats that reaches larger audiences.