I’ve been seeing a great client in individual counseling. Recently she asked me if I could also take on her husband as an individual client because they decided that they both should be in therapy. Now I know that most therapists would say “yes” to this, but I always worried that it would constitute a dual relationship, so I told her that her husband should really get a different therapist. The client agreed that she would tell him he needed to find someone else. At the next appointment she complained that they were unable to find another therapist. She also disclosed that when she was looking for her own therapist that I was the only therapist who called her back. Now, I know that there are tons of therapists in Boston. How hard can it be? I told her that I would try to find someone for her.
Part of the reason I agreed to this was because I felt guilty for saying “no” to take on her husband and the other reason was because I assumed it would be easy to find a therapist. Boy was I wrong. What I found was that therapists put several barriers between them and prospective clients. When I called therapists from the insurance directory, several numbers I called were disconnected. Other phone numbers led directly to a voicemail message that did not have a greeting. There was no way to tell if you were leaving a message with a therapist or if it was a wrong number. After all the disconnected numbers I called, I was unwilling to leave a message on voicemail that had no greeting identifying it as belonging to a therapist.
I then decided to turn to the internet. I figured that therapists would keep their website up to date, right? Wrong again! In addition to more disconnected numbers and email addresses that didn’t work, other therapists made it a mystery as to how to even contact them or what insurances they took. If I was having a hard time finding their contact information, you know a prospective client would too! I found websites without the therapists contact information, contact boxes that didn’t work, and phone numbers that you couldn’t actually reach the therapist with. They only lead to a nondescript voicemail. I did end up contacting a few therapists, but two weeks later I am yet to hear back from any of them.
Therapists are always talking about how much they want more clients, and yet the impression I got was that that was untrue. If you truly want more clients, you have to make it easier for clients to reach you. Something I want you to ask yourself right now is “How can I make it easier for prospective clients to contact me? What’s a barrier that I can remove that’s between myself and prospective clients?”