Arranging the Initial Therapy Client Call

Understanding the journey your client travels to find you can better prepare you for this initial conversation and gain a new client.

Therapy Practice Client Call

Therapy practice client call - How do you manage that, all important, first chat or initial call with your prospective therapy client? My latest infographic is about the journey your therapy client travels. I think there are eight Steps and six Touchpoints in a therapy client's journey which starts from the moment they decide they need help to when they complete their therapy sessions with you.

Therapy Practice Client Touchpoints

The infographic shows my ‘take’ on the Steps and the various Touchpoints in that therapy client journey. Touchpoints are times when a client will have contact with you or your presence, such as your website or directory listing coming up on a web search or a word-of-mouth referral.

At any one of these Touchpoints, a client makes a decision. To stop or to continue and ultimately become your client. All aspects of the client journey are important but Steps 4 and 5, and the corresponding Touchpoints, 3 and 4, are when the prospective client moves to become a paying client.

Arranging the Initial Client Call

Before I talk more about Step 5 I want to focus on Step 4, the client reaching out to you. How they contact you will depend on where they’ve found you. Contact might be a phone call, message, or email.

There are different ways of arranging the initial call. Some therapists will use an app like Calendly or TidyCal. I use TidyCal. These allow clients to book an initial call with you through the app. Often the booking form can be integrated with your website and your preferred calendar.

The other option is to respond personally, in writing, to arrange the call. Or you can call the prospective client and, if it’s convenient for the client, have a chat there and then.

If you arrange and time and date for your call what method do you use?  As I mentioned above you can make a phone call. Some therapists use video conferencing, such as Zoom. This has the advantage of enabling you both to see each other rather than rely on sound alone. There is no right or wrong.

Once you’ve set a time and date, you are heading to Step 5, the initial call itself.

Therapy Practice Call Preparation

Remember the purpose of this call is to have the person move from prospective client to client.

Your mindset about this call is very important. Do you go into the call with the expectation that you will be able to help and that they will become your next new client? Yes or No?

If it’s ‘Yes’, great they are very likely to be so. You will come across as confident, focused on them and their needs and wants and be actively listening.

If ‘No’, then the chances are they won’t. Why? because you will come across differently in that call. You may be worried that they won’t become a client. Worried that you won’t say the right things. They will pick up on your uncertainty, on your hesitancy in your abilities or some other ‘vibe’.

Remember the Henry Ford quote "Whether you think you can or think you can't. You are usually right"

Visualise yourself signing up your new client and having that first session.

On the Client Call

During the call, the focus is on the prospective therapy client. Rather than focus on you and what you think you need to tell them, be present and pay attention to them.

After ‘hello’, how do you proceed?

I hope it’s to ask what they are looking for help with and what achieving that outcome will be like for them. Get really specific on the latter part. Many clients know what they don’t want, but can find it hard to describe what they do. You might be familiar with the conversation below!

Client - “I don’t want to be worrying about things all the time”

You - “If you weren’t worrying about things all the time what would you be thinking about instead?”

If they are too general, e.g. “I just want to be happy”.

Dig down into what that means for them with questions such as;

“What will you be doing when you are happier?”

“What will be there when you are happier that’s not there at the moment?”

“What would others sense about you when you’re happy”

Helping them do this in this Initial Client call provides insights into how working with you can change their life. It helps to ‘future pace’ them by encouraging them to consider, in more depth, how their life will be when they’ve worked with you.

Therapy Practice Client Call - What to Avoid

During this call you want to come across as confident and ‘human’. It’s about building rapport with the client. When first starting out, therapists and counsellors can be nervous and say things, such as:

“I’ve only been a therapist for a year”


“I haven’t worked with many clients”


“I’m only starting out”.

What happened to all those people you practised with when training? They may not have paid you but you still worked with them on real issues.

I’m not asking you to lie. I’m saying that even if you have only started seeing paying clients remember you do have some experience.

If someone asks you if you’ve worked with their specific issue, and you haven’t, you can say “not specifically but I have worked with clients who have had similar issues”. And, if possible, give some, anonymised, examples.

At this stage they just want to know you can help them, not the therapy. Avoid the temptation of explaining all the different techniques you use. If they have any questions about what technique you’ll use you can explain a little then.

You might also teach the client something helpful, such as a simple relaxation technique that they can use before their first session.

Finishing the Initial Call

When you come towards the end of the call and whenever referring to working together during the call, rather than use ‘if’ … use ‘when’

Experiment, now, saying these two beginnings.

“If we work together ….

As opposed to:

“When we work together ….

Did you sense any difference in how you responded?

There are many other ways in which to structure your language to positive effect. Those of you with any NLP training will know of them and, I hope, use them.

You also need to get their agreement that they want to work with you and book the first session. You need to ask!!

You can ask:

“Is there anything else you need to know before booking our first session or have I covered everything? Allow them to answer. If they need more information then that’s great. Once you’ve answered you can continue with something like, “Good, now that I’ve clarified that, let’s get that first session booked in. When is a good time for you?


“Now that you’ve heard more about how I can help you when would be best for your first session. I have availability on x or y?”

There are many different phrasing combinations, I won’t go into them all.

You can discuss what you are going to send them, e.g. their link to their online session, a client agreement, directions and anything else you decide to include. You might have an mp3 you give them or provide a pdf of self-soothing exercises.

I hope this has been helpful. Many therapists hate the ‘sales bit, however, if you don’t ‘make the sale’, your client is not going to get the help they desperately need and benefit from your knowledge and skills.

I’d love to hear your own experiences of the initial client call - what worked, what didn’t. What you call them - discovery, fact find, pre-session ...?

To Your Therapy Practice Success 😊

PS As well as visualisation, there are other ways to change your marketing mindset

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