Responding to Google Reviews in an Ethical Way: Ideas for Mental Health Professionals
If you’re a mental health professional who has a Google My Business page, then you know that you can get reviews from your clients. And if you’ve ever gotten one of those reviews, you know that it can be stressful to figure out how to respond. Our code of ethics limit how we can respond to such reviews, and even within the mental health community, some of us have more restrictive codes of ethics or interpret them differently than others when it comes to this topic. In this blog post, we’re going to give you ideas for very specific ways you can respond to those Google Reviews in a way that is very ethical.
Try to Respond to All Reviews Quickly
Google wants to see that you are responsive to feedback, so responding to reviews quickly may be helpful for SEO. You can set it up so you get an email to notify you whenever you get a new review, so you can respond in a timely manner. We are often limited in what we can say in response to these reviews as mental health professionals, but acknowledging that you saw the review and thanking the reviewer for their feedback is generally considered good customer service.
Responding to Positive Google My Business Reviews
It’s exciting to get a positive review. However, even positive reviews can be a bit stressful for therapists and counselors when they come from a client. Why? Because if it comes from a client they have essentially chosen to give up a bit of their right to confidentiality by suggesting they came to see you. And I’ve found some mental health professionals respond differently than others. Some are really ok with it at that point and others are still worried about the power differential. We’ll try to give you some options for responding regardless of which camp you fall into.
The bottom line is that you want to respond thanking them for their review. If the reviewer mentions something specific that you did that they appreciated, you could acknowledge that as well if it feels appropriate to do so.
Examples of Therapist/Counselor Responses to Reviews:
- “Thank you so much for your kind words!” (Doesn’t acknowledge one way or another if they were a client)
- “Thank you for your review. I’m honored to have been able to help you in your journey.” (This is if you’re ok with kind of acknowledging they were a client if they’ve acknowledged it first-some therapists still may not feel comfortable with this response)
- “Thank you! We try to make the counseling experience as positive and easy as possible!”
- Thank you for sharing! We really strive to provide the absolute best (insert name of service they referenced such as counseling for anxiety or couples therapy or whatnot)!
- “Thank you for taking the time to share! We agree that insert name of therapist mentioned is great! She’s so knowledgeable about name specialty if applicable and cares about really helping her clients!” (This is great if they write a review like, “My husband and I saw Shaina for couples counseling and she saved our marriage” you could respond with, “Thank you for sharing! We agree that Shaina is amazing and truly an expert marriage counselor! She has a ton of training using the Gottman Method and is really passionate about helping couples improve their relationship!”
Responding to Negative Google My Business Reviews
If you get a negative review, it’s important to still acknowledge the review. You want to come across as fairly humble but not defensive. When applicable, you want to also assure the reviewer and anyone else reading that you will work to improve in that area. And of course, still prioritize the client’s confidentiality. It’s often appropriate to encourage them to reach out to you directly….particularly since you often can’t express their specific concerns (or defend yourself very much) in this public setting.
Tips for responding to negative reviews:
- Be humble
- Acknowledge the reviewer’s concerns
- Try to improve in the areas where you received negative feedback
- And always prioritize confidentiality!
Examples of Therapist/Counselor Responses to Negative Reviews
- “We’re sorry to hear that you had a negative experience. We would love the opportunity to chat with you more about what happened and how we can improve. Could you please email us at insert email address?”
- “Thank you for sharing your feedback. I will share your feedback with our Clinical Director (or relevant person)”
- We’re so sorry to hear this. If you’d like to discuss the situation with our team, please feel free to reach out to insert name or role at insert phone number”
- We care deeply about providing the best possible counseling services to insert relevant specialty/niche but know that every situation is unique. We always welcome conversations around concerns and can be reached at insert phone number.
- “Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. We understand that private pay counseling services are a significant financial investment that simply aren’t feasible for everyone. While our clinicians are experts at the work they do and we believe these services are well worth the investment, we always try to provide referrals to another therapist when our services don’t make the most sense. If you’d like other referrals please feel free to email us at insert email address.”
Last Thoughts About Responding to Client Reviews on
It’s so important that we as therapists respond to client reviews in an ethical way. We want to make sure that we’re respecting our clients’ confidentiality while also not coming across as defensive or unprofessional.
In general, try to keep your responses short, professional, and polite. Google also has a few guidelines for responding to reviews that you can check out here. And if you’re ever unsure about how to respond to a review, err on the side of caution and consult with another mental health professional before hitting “submit.”
I hope these examples and tips were helpful! If you have any other tips or ideas for responding to client reviews, please share them below in the comments!
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About the Author
Jessica Tappana is the founder of Simplified SEO Consulting. She owns a private practice in Missouri with 10+ clinicians and still actively sees a small caseload of clients herself. In addition, she started Simplified SEO Consulting after learning how to optimize her website and discovering that great SEO was the key to building her own practice. Now, she has a team of SEO specialists who do much of the day to day work, but she still loves hopping in to help problem solve SEO mysteries, chatting about SEO strategy, keeping up with all the latest SEO news and supporting our incredible team!
Thank you for this article, it is very helpful.
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