Just 25 years ago, the psychotherapy field was still at the tail end of the Golden Age of Therapy.
Most clients accepted the challenge of therapy as serious, life-changing work, despite the ambiguity and sometimes mystifying ritual of the weekly or biweekly therapy appointments. Those who asked to know track records, who insisted on dictating what they wanted out of therapy, who tried to put limits on the length of treatment or haggled over fees, were seen as caught in the scramble of their own resistance. Of course, it was hard and expensive and time consuming to be in therapy, but therapists and their clients had a sense of being privy to a secret tool, a demanding yet rewarding process for living the well-examined life.
Today therapists are no longer seen as elite healers, but commonplace service providers of healthcare. The devaluing of therapy has made it more accessible to the public--something most would agree is a good thing--but has created a precipitous change in the way therapy is valued and delivered.
In working with therapists to build their practices, I’ve started calling this new type of client educated consumers or ECs for short. This term helps therapists better understand clients who, despite a lack of education about the methods or history of therapy, possess a deep knowledge about finding and purchasing what they want. To serve these ECs, we need to learn to do things differently—to articulate services more clearly in ordinary language, highlight and concretize the value of therapy, measure and underline progress within each session.
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Topic: Professional Development
Tags: educated consumers | marketing private practice | marketing psychotherapy | marketing therapy | mental health | psychotherapy | psychotherapy field | psychotherapy marketing | resistance | selling psychotherapy | therapist | therapists