Thursday, December 5, 2019

Building a professional practice

“My father was a businessman,” Wendell began quietly. At that time, I hadn't yet fessed up to my Google-binge, so I nodded, pretending this information was new.

He told me that when he was starting out, his father suggested that he make an offer to prospective patients: They could try a session, and if they chose not to continue to work with Wendell after that, the session would be free.

Since many people were nervous about starting therapy, this risk-free session would give them the opportunity to see what therapy was about and how Wendell might help them.

I tried to picture Wendell having this conversation with his father. I imagined the pleasure his father might have gotten from finally giving professional advice to his gentler son.

His suggestion wasn't groundbreaking in the world of business, but therapists don't often think of what we do as a business.

And yet we do run small businesses, and Wendell's father must have realized that his son, despite leaving the family's company, had actually become a businessman after all. Maybe he took great joy in having that connection with his son. And maybe it meant a lot to Wendell, which is why he was willing to pass this wisdom along to other therapists like me.

In any event, his father was smart. As soon as I implemented this offer, my practice filled up.
Source: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

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