The easiest client to get is the one you’ve already got! Sometimes we are so concerned about keeping those referrals coming in that we find ourselves neglecting the proverbial “bird in the hand”.
Client contact outside of the session might feel like a slippery slope (therapeutically/professionally/ethically); decide which of these (or other ) things feel comfortable and appropriate to you. Always be sure that you are doing something to benefit your client and that your efforts are not fading any boundaries.
As in everything else we do, it is critical to keep in mind legal and ethical considerations. Always be sure to have your clients’ consent and discuss with them (in advance) issues of confidentiality and procedure when contacting them for any reason. Include a spot in your intake paperwork that asks for permission to contact your client by phone, mail, and email
If you determine that staying in touch with your clients is appropriate for you and your practice, here are a few ways to let your clients know that you are thinking of them and that you are there when they need you.
- Send a welcome note after the first session. This can be as simple as a copy of the contract they signed along with a business card with your contact information and a copy of your last newsletter
- Send holiday and/or birthday cards
- Send a copy (by mail or email) of your practice newsletter each month/quarter
- Let them know when you are running any groups or if you know of any new groups from which they might benefit
- Share information about resources that you think might be helpful or of interest to them (title of a new books, news article)
Whether or not you decide to reach out to your clients outside of session, do your best to value them by never losing site of how special each of them is to you and your practice. Your acknowledgment of that will shine through and your clients will feel special.
HI, Deborah! I’m so glad to find you here and you are exactly right. Getting a new client is more costly dollar-wise and effort wise than keeping a current one. I, too, stay in touch and there are lots of ways to do that . . . .
Sending a note following up on a therapy session . . . .
Mailing a cartoon that is relevant to the work we are doing . . . .
Sending a news article or book review that you think might be of use . . . .
Notifying your client of a new support group in town . . . .
Sending an announcement of additional certifications / awards that you have received . . . .
The list goes on and on. Just be creative and the ideas – therapeutically supportive ideas – will come!
Deb – I had an opportunity to hear you speak last year at ACA’s annual conference. The room was packed and you delivered good, solid material. It’s nice to find you here online.
Best wishes to you in 2012!
@ Tamara: Great to hear from you. Thanks for adding to the post with helpful tips that are sure to make a positive impact on clients/referral sources. I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet you at ACA. I’ve really like your blog and have used it as a resource for my coaching clients. Hope to see you at a future event; perhaps we can work together on an event of our own for our readers 🙂