Four Unique Features for Therapy Websites

by Elizabeth Doherty Thomas on September 28, 2010

All websites are not the same!  It’s all about your reader.  Here are some features you should consider if you’re a mental health professional.

Available days/times – I don’t mean you have to keep your website super updated, but if you see clients Monday and have never had an opening, it may be better to avoid that day  as an available day for prospective clients.  Even more importantly, if you offer EVENINGS, EARLY MORNINGS, or WEEKENDS, these times could be a make or break for some clients getting help at all.  Do be sure to list those unusual times.  If you ever do intensives, support groups, classes, list those NEAR where you put your availability.  If someone loves you but can’t see you for therapy they may still sign up for something else you offer even if they do see another therapist!

“Share with spouse/partner” – this could be a simple javascript that your webmaster created, or if you’re able to find a button (free options on socialtwist.com or addthis.com or many other places) you can chose the email feature.  This is a fantastic idea for anyone who does couples therapy or if your audience is a family or parents or kids.  Anytime you don’t have just an individual working on the individual schedule, it’s a great way to acknowledge there will be scheduling issues and someone else is a stakeholder in the therapy.  That other person is likely going to have to read your website and agree that you should be contacted as a potential therapist.  You might as well make it easy for the first person to SHARE your website with a spouse or teenager. With those buttons they usually just have to enter the email address, and it sends without having a “sent” email on your work computer.  It also demonstrates that you’re aware therapy is a “team effort” and conversations will be taking place before the therapist is contacted.

How a Prospective Client Should Connect -  I know that I’m going to do this when I’m a therapist.  If you’ve never seen a therapist before how do you know what to SAY?  Do you send a super short email?  Do you drone on about your issue?  Do you call and leave an awkward, long message?  Does the therapist have a preferred way of being contacted?  Even having a simple area on your site that says, “How to Connect with me” may have a few examples of what they may want to say, or tips to help YOU.  Does it make it easier for you if the client gives you the only available days/times they can see a therapist?  Do you prefer if they mention whether and what insurance they have?  Or what about if they share WHY they’re seeking therapy?  Do you greatly prefer email?  What about whether your phone is an office phone so a client can leave a message at 10pm without worrying about waking you up?  Just mentioning this issue will guarantee new clients because they’ll feel like you GET how scary  it is to call a therapist.

Have Your Email Visible -  people are mostly at work when they’re looking online for a therapist.  Forms on websites sometimes don’t work. Therapists often have weird emails that don’t match their website name which means a client may not even NOTICE you replied and are in their inbox.  People can’t call you at work unless they’re in a private office.  People can wait to call you at home, but then they’re back at work and can’t talk the way they can on email.  For these reasons and more, you are best off getting more spam for more clients.  I’m in my 30′s and I don’t even call my FRIENDS.  I email.  If you don’t believe people use email over the phone, then perhaps you’re never wanting to see someone under 40 years old and this doesn’t apply to you.  I will only passingly mention the phone-bias actually hinders anyone on a sales floor, construction job, or traveling sales people, among many other jobs where email is a better way to share information to book a session.

There are many other unique qualities to being a therapist and having a website, but hopefully I’ll have impacted even ONE therapist reading this.  That one change may give you a new client or even more powerfully, it may result in someone getting therapy AT ALL.  Do comment if you’ve found some cool feature or statement that helps attract clients!

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Elizabeth Doherty Thomas

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