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.
The best way to help your clients feel comfortable with you even before your first session is to establish yourself through your online presence. Think of your website as your welcome sign. This is a gateway for your potential customer to get to know you and understand what your practice is all about. Your social media and web presence should display your professional accolades, but also should showcase you as a real, authenticate person.
Online Presence Builds Trust
There are multiple ways for readers to come across your material and get a sense of you who are. Maybe a friend retweeted something of yours. Maybe they saw a media interview you did or read a recent blog article on your private practice website. Or maybe they found you organically through a Google search. Either way, you can make a significant impression by your online content. Hopefully, readers will feel a connection to something you’ve written or said that will cause them to seek you out more. In this way, they are learning to trust your opinion both as a professional and also as a person.
If and when someone does seek out your professional services, they feel more comfortable since they already know a good deal about you philosophy and therapy style. This means you almost get to skip a step in therapy: the individual has already been introduced to you and likes you enough to have personally chosen you as his or her therapist.
Building Trust Takes Time
Creating a strong online presence to build trust with your clientele is a long-term strategy. It won’t happen overnight. You need to continually put work into creating content for your social media platforms, engage in the professional conversation, publish guest posts, etc. to build up that reputation. I once had a customer who had heard me speak nine months earlier before she was ready to call and make an appointment. It takes multiple exposure before someone decides to become a paying customer.
A relationship with a professional counselor is one of the most intimate relationships a person can have. An individual is very vulnerable as he/she shares deep struggles, insecurities, and pain. Building trust and confidence is a critical part of therapy, and thankfully social media can facilitate the process. Creating and maintaining a strong online presence can greatly contribute to your reputation as a credible professional and trustworthy confidant.
How do you build trust with potential (and existing) clients through your online presence?
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Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to KSL TV's Studio 5, and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Facebook & Twitter. Her book The Burnout Cure is available now and The Assertiveness Guide is available now.