Improve How People Understand What You Do in Therapy (Productize, Productize, Productize)

April 30, 2018


It’s a jargon word from marketing--but it simply means to make your service into a product that potential therapy clients will understand--in their own language.

Therapists can easily productize their practices--or areas of practice--to make sure that people understand what the experience of therapy is like. When people understand, they are more likely to reach out to you and start therapy. It’s an authentic way of marketing your therapy practice.

They will start therapy because they understand--from where they are--what will happen.

Productize the Therapy

Suppose you’re a therapist who works with people on their mindset--helping people find the effective ways to handle situations, and thus reach their full potential.

There are lots of ways you could express the process of therapy, but most would involve jargon--which is not client-friendly at first.

Instead, you can simply tell the potential client that what the two of you will do in therapy is “learning, practicing, becoming”.

It’s a three-step process which tells the client what will happen along the way--it also doesn’t commit you to a specific time frame since that’s far more open.

But with your experience you know that your mindset clients go through a process of learning, then practicing what they’ve learned, and living into that practice in their lives--becoming the person they want to be.

Another therapist, who works with depression and anxiety, describes their process as “accepting, planning, completing”. First, the client works through to accepting what their issues are and what causes them. The therapist and client then plan ways to handle those issues and causes. Finally, the client is able to follow through on those plans--completing them.

Productizing your therapy is a process

You begin by thinking through how you do therapy with the clients in your niche. Ask yourself what happens at each stage, and how you know when a client is ready for the transition to the next stage.

We’ll look at this with a three-step process, but it can be modified to work with your process.

  • Stage 1--What does the beginning of the journey look like? What is going on? Clearly summarize this stage.
  • Stage 2--What is the client doing? What reflections, learnings, discoveries are happening? What does the transitional phase look and feel like?
  • Stage 3--What does the end stage look like? What words capture it? How do I know the client is there? How to do we look back to Stages 1 and 2? How do we know when we can finish our work together?

Go through the process you’ve found through your therapy. You may recall some words and phrases you’ve used with different clients. I bet there are several you’ve used. Focus on them to help create the keywords for your process. Those keywords will become the basis for your productized practice

Once you have the keywords for each stage, some may become the obvious candidates. I think you might have some candidates in mind already, but think them all through.

And you’ll have a practice which is productized:  “Learning, Practicing, Becoming”.

Productized therapy practice and getting your message across

If you productize your practice, you’re actually keeping your client in mind. It helps clients with their self-talk--speaking to them as they are. They will relate to you more quickly.

If it sounds clinical, it’s not the right way to say it--at least at first.

You’re trying to help your clients as they make the decision to go into therapy with you. You’re working on what you’d say during the first phone call--whether it’s the free 20 minute call you offer as a promotion, or just the first call which begins your therapy relationship.

You are helping to create some degree of expectation with the client. Your intake session/intro call will be clearer, and you will help the client determine if you are a good fit for them, and vice versa.

Productizing your niche practice will help prevent drop off after the first or second session. If your practice works in several niches, you may end up having several different “products”.

The productized practice can also be featured on your website and Facebook page. Set it up with a strong call to action--setting up the free 20 minute phone conversation, for example--and I think you’ll find clients readier to make the commitment to the process.

They’ll have the key expectations, which you reinforce during your first session. The expectations are set, and you and your client will be able to get more quickly to the work that needs to be done.

Productizing doesn’t mean changing

Thinking through your practice in this way doesn’t mean you’re changing what you do. It won’t take away from your professional background.

It simply helps clients buy into therapy--they can understand better what will happen. You will at the right times know when to be clinical, and your clients will trust you more because they’ve bought in.

You’re not committing to a set period of time for therapy. You know that you shouldn’t guarantee results in a set number of weeks. And the transition between steps of the process, between “learning” and “becoming”, for example, is rarely clear cut. Some clients may be in both stages at the same time.

But this approach does allow you to describe in a nutshell what will happen over the course of treatment with you. And it works because you show that you can speak to them, in the terms they would use.

And speaking in the client’s mode builds trust.

And creates clients.

Josh Meah CEO Therapist Marketing

Josh is the CEO of Mindset Market. His goal is to be the marketing and business development partner of therapy practices around the world, supporting them so that they can help others.