This subject is near and dear to my heart for a few reasons. I am most inspired to light fires under tushies of therapists when I know you in real life, and I then visit your website and see a huge gap. Usually it goes like this:
Ah, (Joe/Jane) is such a cool person! They really have this interesting warmth, yet intensity and seriousness. They have a really great sense of humor and perspective that just makes ME feel calm and I’m a colleague/friend, not their client. I can’t imagine how great it would be if they were “extra on” in the therapy room! Let’s go visit their website to see what’s going on for them.
I visit the website.
I see generic psychobabble. I have no clue who the person is that I’m reading about because it’s not personalized. And I DEFINITELY don’t see Joe/Jane on that website, other than a photo. Sigh, I think/say/do inside. I hope when they are ready, they put more moxy online.
5 Tips to Being Yourself
Realize it’s always scary to truly be yourself, but over time and with practice, you learn you can’t “be” any other way. Things then become more natural and you become a lot more client attractive.
Pay close attention to who you are before people get to know you (in real life) and after they get to know you. If those are very similar, then you can and should be more “you” on your website. If there is a bit of a gap, say you’re quieter and take a while to warm up, then be a little bit less your “full throttle self” online but allude to it by describing yourself a bit. I’ve seen jokes and things on therapy websites that are a bit of a turnoff, but, if I liked the joke and the first time I meet you as a client you’ll tell jokes, then you’ll be a magnet for your ideal clients.
Realize that no matter what you say or write, people will analyze it. Being tame and neutral is not client attractive, will not give you better results than being slightly risky, and will not actually be the special bird song that attracts your best clients. (OK I was going to do some bad metaphor there and decided to stop but keep the special bird song image because that is actually a great way to imagine expressing yourself to the world in a special song and the right people will find you.) I’m also really bad at metaphors and picked up an entire book for metaphors in the therapy room to improve. ;-)
Don’t ask therapy colleagues to look at your website. Ask your FRIENDS. They know the real you, and will be able to tell you if they “see you” on your website through the psychobabbly nonsense that your therapy colleagues read as insightful, beautiful self-expression of your therapeutic modality.
Try all the modalities to see what you naturally shine at! This would be writing, speaking (audacity is a free software to speak into your computer and record MP3′s), and video (similar to speaking but with the visual component that you may enjoy more, or less, than staring at your laptop and speaking.) You could also try, within writing, various forms such as poetry, short stories, or being a curator of information for your ideal client such that you become an expert by proxy and only write a few sentences before sharing various links or research. For artistic therapists, by all means, share music, or art in ways that speak to what you do in the therapy room. You could easily have a blog that links to You Tube videos, or use Pinterest to share art and then have it link to a blog post where you talk about the art. I appreciate art but am bad at doing it, but have still managed to have fun with Pinterest. Check out my premarital Pinterest board wedding sanity savers section to see how I get creative with the images I share and the text I sometimes add.
Trust me, I know how scary this all is. My plans when I graduate take my breath away with excitement and fear. You’ll see a lot more of me in various modalities in the coming months and years! I know my first videos are going to suck, and my first therapy website for clients won’t be anywhere as awesome as it will be after time and feedback from clients and referring partners. But we gotta start somewhere, and we gotta stop treating ourselves like commodities but rather like the complex, highly unique individuals we are that bring a universe of lived and learned wisdom and perspective into the therapy room.
Getcher moxy vest on, take off your protective seat belts and FLY. Your perfect clients need you to be your TRUE self so they can find you.