Today I am excited to share something that I find to be so important. It is connected to and actually birthed out of the concept of Customer Service. Recently, I resigned from my full-time job as a Bureau Chief (Behavioral Health) where I supervised a large staff. Upon making the decision to leave, my staff would stop me as I walked around the Bureau to tell me how I made them feel, how I encouraged them, how I approached situations, and how I showed humanity towards everyone. This made me feel amazing, as for me my character is so important to me. My life as a leader (not a Boss) and supervisor has been paramount in terms of ensuring that individuals know how to impact others even in most stressful situations.
In May 2017, I launched my private practice Selah Wellness & Therapeutic Services, LLC in Prince George's County, Maryland. The calls came immediately, way faster than I anticipated, which was a true blessing to me. What I realized is that about every other new client I received a call from would say things like, "You are the only one that answered the phone," "You were only one that was nice and took the time to speak with me," "You sounded so nice and welcoming on the phone," and "You helped me even though you did not take my insurance." I have to admit that I was happy to know how I made them feel in beginning or continuing their therapy journey.
With this joy also came sadness and disappointment in hearing that there were clinicians who were not no so kind, patient and supportive when callers were seeking services. Callers shared how they were met with, "I am not taking any new clients now!," or "I don't take your insurance" with no feedback or support in connecting to another resource. There are many with the mindset that the therapeutic relationship begins at the first appointment. I beg to differ, the therapeutic relationship for me begins at the first call.
Now, don't get me wrong, it is not your responsibility to do the follow up or leg work for the prospective client, but it is your responsibility to ensure that the client feels safe even when calling. Please keep this mind. A little kindness goes a long way especially during the first call. That person may be inclined to send others your way or even choose to pay out of pocket because of how you presented and your skill set. It is your humanity and character that guides your interactions with those in need. Remember, The Therapeutic Relationship Begins At The First Call.
SELAH (Pause. Reflect. Revive)