I talk to a lot of people who do different things, for example: coaching and therapy, or psycho therapy and hypnosis, or counselling and mindfulness. The possible combinations are almost endless. However most struggle with how to present them, and how to manage the pricing.
Here are a few case studies and some advice.
The problem usually comes in two halves.
The first is where people come for a specific method. Maybe they were referred by a doctor for counselling but would benefit from something else you do, or maybe they have decided the approach they want is one of the things you offer and they are not as open to something else that you may feel is more useful.
The other side is where we second guess the issue and imagine people will have a problem with the different services, or we think we'll confuse people.
Here are three examples from real therapists and coaches.
- 1st A Hypnotherapist who does evidence-based hypnosis and Past-life Regression.
- 2nd A Counsellor/Psychotherapist who is also a Hypnotherapist.
- 3rd An EFT Therapist who does Massage therapy and Mindfulness meditation.
I've taken a few of the more unusual examples I've encountered, to illustrate different ways to do this successfully. We'll look at each briefly and look at the issue of pricing as well as how to offer things.
Example 1 - Hypnotherapist who does evidence-based hypnosis & Past-life Regression.
I've seen this three times, always with the same worry. To go with one example: this lady was concerned that the more mainstream people would be put off by the past life interest. So she was holding back from putting herself out there.
The reality is that if she offered her services to only one side of this audience, she'd be leaving others without any awareness of the additional help she offered.
In all three cases, I recommended having two separate brandings. Just 2 websites, each aimed at a different audience. This lady implemented that and used her own name for one and a business name for the Past Life side.
This allowed her to offer both to different audiences (different demographics on her Facebook advertising, Holistic Fairs for the Past life therapy, Business groups for the mainstream, and so on) without feeling she had to hold back because of any perceived conflict.
It also allowed her to have two different fees without any conflict.
Now, while this worked well for her, I'm not sure it was strictly necessary. There was no real-world feedback that people were being put off by one or the other and I suspect she could have been successful with a single website, but the advantage here was that it freed her thinking and allowed her to put her energy into promoting herself in a more open way, and that was a big win.
Example 2 - Counsellor/Psychotherapist who is also a Hypnotherapist.
This is quite common. I fall into this category too in that I do mainstream Trauma therapy with one of only 2 methods the World Health Organisation recommends for trauma in people of all ages, so I get referrals from doctors etc. for that specifically. However, sometimes I need to use other methods with it, because everyone is different and the problems are unique.
I'm often asked by people how they should manage this sort of situation, should they have different fees and different websites for what they do etc.
My advice is to be about the issues you help rather than the methods you use. A website on psychotherapy, another on Hypnotherapy, and a third on Counselling won't really be beneficial. But if you talk about the issues people suffer and let them come to you for help about them, it all gets easier.
For example I talk about Anxiety, Trauma, and Depression - the three things I work most with in clinic. That's what my 'brand' is about, what my cards are for, what my brochures explain about, and what my website focuses on.
Once people come for those issues I explain what method/s I feel will suit them best and most people are happy with that. They want a result more than wanting any particular system to work on it.
Occasionally, but rarely, I get someone who says, 'No, I want NLP' or EMDR or Hypnosis, and then I decide if that's appropriate for their issue. If it is, I respect their wishes. If I feel it's not, I refer them on to someone who might fit their preference better.
I charge different fees for different things and people are fine with that as long as they know up front.
However, your help is valuable. Charge the rate that lets you continue. If you have one rate for counselling and one for Hypnotherapy, you could be giving the message that one is better than the other. In all the data I've tracked working with scores of therapists, price is rarely the deciding factor.
We put too much emphasis on that and not enough on the help we give. Be about the help and other issues diminish.
Example 3 - EFT Therapist who does Massage therapy and Mindfulness meditation.
This is a combination I see a good bit of too. A physical therapy and an emotional/psychological therapy combination is more and more common.
The question here again was how to offer EFT, Massage, and Mindfulness? Should it be three sites.
My answer is again to always talk about the benefits not the method. Usually no one cares how we help until they understand that we actually can help.
All three of these offerings can help with stress for example. All three can help with physical pain.
It is very hard to look credible while talking about the huge lists of issues any therapy can be useful for, in terms of ailments. So pick what you want to make a difference in – the symptoms you address, and offer different styles of solution for those issues.
If people ask which is best, talk to them and see which suits their situation.
That way your website, marketing, social media etc. can be consistent and helpful without dividing attention between different methods of delivering help. Once people come for the help, you can guide them to the best method for their need.
This is a hugely successful way to match modalities together in a single business.
So lets look at the pricing issue.
Say you charge 50 for counselling, 80 for hypnotherapy, and 60 for massage and a client comes for counselling.
Part way through you think they would benefit from massage to loosen out tight muscles which are adding pain and stress into the situation. You have several options. You could explain how the other therapy (massage) can help but that it's more physically demanding so it costs ten extra. Or you could simply charge the rate they are on and just offer them the massage at fifty. You could also refer them out to a massage therapist you trust, if that makes it easier to keep rapport and still serves you and the client well.
If the massage is a longer or shorter session, that may make it easier to explain the price difference.
If it's a case where you feel a more expensive therapy would help that's OK too as long as you and the client are comfortable with it. Your clinical judgement is a big part of what you bring to the job. Our experience is an important part of what people pay for.
So if you're counselling someone and feel hypnotherapy would be a better option, I'd recommend explaining that and explaining why to the client. If it's a quicker intervention, then pointing out that it could save money long-term by shortening the overall length of treatment, could help. If the hypnotherapy session is longer, explain this.
Again you have the options of just doing the alternative therapy at the same price as the counselling, referring them out, or charging a different rate.
A lot of therapists and coaches I've spoken to about this, worry about the money putting people off getting what could be a more beneficial therapeutic encounter. In my experience, I find that once a client is well-informed, they usually choose to follow our expertise. However it is their choice. We obviously won't pressure anyone, but giving clear information and reasons helps them see the best way forward for themselves.Personally, and this isn't a recommendation, if I take someone for one method and they need another, I keep the price the same. It's easier to do when you're booked out and have a waiting list I'll grant, but it lets me do more for them and I don't have to worry about the money side.
My final thought is that unless we hear it back from clients that something is an issue, we shouldn't pre-judge it. Most of the 'I have a problem...' statements I hear from therapists and coaches are our own flawed mind-reading of others without actual evidence, which just shows our own worries, not the clients.
Look for evidence before making changes.
Wishing you every success for the year ahead,
If you'd like some help with getting your message out in a way that connects and helps people take action you can get free training at www.TherapyandCoachingSuccess.com
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John Prendergast is an award-winning Success Coach and and Psycho-Trauma Anxiety Therapist.
He is also the Founder of Therapy and Coaching Success that specialises in helping Therapists, Coaches and other Wellness Practitioners, connect with those in need, build their diaries and earn the income they need.
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