Like so many of you, I find myself worried as I’m writing this. I’m worried about my children who had to say goodbye to their friends for who knows how long. Even more so, I’m worried about loved ones who might be more vulnerable to the Coronavirus going around. I’m also worried about my clients’ folks. Because the truth is our clients need us more than ever now.
First of all, our clients have the same mental health concerns they’ve always had.
The COVID-19 outbreak didn’t magically cure our clients of their anxiety, depression, family conflict, PTSD, substance use issues, or a host of other things we were working with them. In fact, it likely made those things worse. As a therapist, you know the impact stress can have. What’s a recovery addict going to think of? And that teen who already doesn’t get along with their parents. Are they magically getting along better than ever now that they’re home all day together? Your depression patient is now sleeping all day.
Yep, the same concerns they’ve always needed our help with are still there. Or worse than ever.
Secondly, there’s added stress.
There’s additional stress now. I don’t typically think of myself as anxious. Maybe a little high performing anxiety that pushes me to be super productive. The last few days? I’ve noticed waves of anxiety. I’m doing all the things – calling friends, turning off the television when needed, upping my meditation game, drinking some calming hot tea, etc. In other words, I have been using some coping skills that (at least so far) are really effective for me. However, for many, many, many people this is going to overwhelm them. Their typical coping skills aren’t going to cut it anymore.
That’s where we step in, right? We literally have books and books of coping skills. When a client says their normal ones aren’t cutting it, we have more to offer. Or a different way to use the old skills.
We may see a dip in revenue, but people will come back to therapy.
The honest to goodness truth is that most of us will see a dip in revenue, especially at first. People are worried about finances and cutting back. It’s not unlike the month of December. Therapy is suddenly less of a priority, right? For very different reasons, but we see this dramatic reduction in client visits. However, their stress is still there, so by the time January comes around, they’re clamoring at our door.
Even if the closures and social distancing go on for a while, I do believe we’ll have people start to seek us out. They’ll notice the impact being cooped up is having on their mental health. And we are the people to turn to when that time comes.
I hate to admit it, but insurance-based counseling practices may have an advantage here…
As a proud owner of a 7 clinician private pay group practice, I’m thankful I don’t have to worry about insurance most of the time. And, I have lots of good reasons I don’t work directly with insurance companies. But even I can admit that right now, those of you who accept insurance may have an edge. People who typically can pay for out of network care and would usually consider it might now be more insistent about using their insurance. Especially if their insurance is making an exception for telemental health services right now.
My point: Most of our therapy businesses will survive the COVID-19 outbreak.
I truly believe this. If you’ve been following me for long, you know I’m the type to call it like I see it. I just so firmly believe that our clients need us more than ever. Therefore, I can’t imagine that too many of our businesses will fail.
Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t play it smart. You absolutely should. Be strategic in how you spend your money. I just turned down the temperature in my office so we’re not heating an empty office and I also figure I’ll save on snacks and drinks.
There are areas of my therapy business I’m investing in right now.
But oddly enough, there are also areas I’m investing in. My private practice is paying Simplified to optimize a ton of blogs this month and I’m paying a very small amount to “boost” those on Facebook. Furthermore, Cory wrote our new Online Therapy in Missouri page and optimized our new blog posts. But that was an IMPORTANT investment because we immediately went from not ranking at all to page 1 for several keywords such as “online therapist in Missouri.” Now, SEO won’t be that immediate for many of you as I already have a really good basis for my SEO. Google and I have spent the past 3 years developing trust in one another. So, Google was happy to let me rank for yet another service type. But truly I do believe now’s an important time to invest in SEO. Several of our current clients changed their pages for this month to be online therapy pages. They understand this investment will help them survive this difficult time. I’m also leading my first ever online SEO workshop for people wanting to invest their own time working on their own website optimization.
Optimizing Your Website
Like I said, my first instinct in all this mess was to harness the power of SEO to get my own website ranking well for online counseling keywords. And it worked. If you think NOW is the time for to invest either your own time or money in optimizing your website, we’d love to help. This month only, you can use the code COVID (I thought I’d make it something easy to remember right now….) to get 15% off any of our online SEO training courses. Or maybe you’d just like to know the optimizing is done right and efficiently. Trust me, my team knows how to do SEO for therapy practices. That’s why I trusted them to optimize pages for my own site during such a critical time. If you’re interested in our Done for You SEO Services, the best place to start is by scheduling a free 30 minute pre-consulting call where we meet over Zoom and discuss your practice needs.