Article for the Colorado Association of Psychotherapists
by Greg Meyerhoff & Anne Salisbury, PhD
As a psychotherapist it is important to deal with our clients in the most professional and respectful manner possible. Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind:
- Dress in appropriate attire. A client wants to feel he or she is cared for by a qualified professional. For example, sexually appealing clothing can be both inappropriate and distracting. A professional outfit, which may feel a bit understated, can help a client feel comfortable.
- Answer the phone with a business tone. “Hello, this is Susan. How may I help you?” is a simple yet welcoming greeting if you are answering a combined home and office phone. If you have a separate business line you could answer, “Hello, this is Susan at the ABC Clinic. How may I help you?”
- Return calls promptly. This is a subtle yet important way to let your clients know you are there for them. You can have a personal policy to return calls the same day or at least within 24 hours. If you are out of the office for an extended period you can have someone reliable pick up and return your calls.
- Be prepared. Have intake forms and equipment ready when they walk in the room. For example, test the tape player for sound quality before they arrive. This way they know you are honoring their time and money.
- Be on time when starting and ending sessions. Make sure you are always ready five minutes early. A few minutes of meditation can always help you get centered. In your initial session let your clients know that you start and finish on time so they can plan their day accordingly. When your session time is up you can always ask their permission to go over a few minutes. In this way you are honoring your agreements.
We are all in this business because we enjoy people and relish in watching them grow. By asking yourself, “How would I want to be treated if I were the client?” you keep the client’s perspective in mind.
By Greg Meyerhoff and Anne Salisbury, PhD, Co-Directors, the Transpersonal Hypnotherapy Institute