8 August 2016

For therapists; Compete or Collaborate? by Cathy Towers

This has been reblogged with kind permission from a blog by Cathy Towers published on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/compete-collaborate-cathy-towers-mbacp-senior-accred?
It is hard enough promoting yourself as a therapist ... then you see all the other therapists.  Traditional marketing can make us look at all others as competition, but I think that causes huge stress for therapists who are, by the nature of the healing work they do, more inclined to creating relationships than competing.
I have had people interested in renting a room at my clinic then saying "oh, you already have a reflexologist/counsellor/life coach so we would be in competition".  I believe this is a thought pattern which hinders us in the business of private practice.  Our professions are already high up on the scale of isolated working, why add to that?  
Look around the area you live: similar types of business congregate in the same street or industrial park.  Restaurants cluster together, car sales cluster together.  Yet they are in competition - so how does that work?  Well that area of town gets known for cars, so it is the place that everyone goes to when they want a car.  By having their sales units close together, they make it easy for the customer to look around, rather than give up and stick with what they have. It encourages a sale as the customer has choice. The decision is which car is right for me rather than shall I have a car or not?
I believe that together we therapists are stronger and better.  I like to take things a step further - cooperate, be helpful to each other, share knowledge and expertise generously and it comes back to you. Collaboration is a professional way forward.  My peer group has provided advice, supervision, cross-referrals, recommendations, ideas, emergency back-up... in fact a whole host of practical and emotional help.
The team at my clinic have also worked together at conferences, fairs, talks, written articles and peer-led learning. This also presents us as clearly client-focused, as we ensure that the right referral gets to the right person.  Result? Happier client, better word-of-mouth reputation for the group as a whole.
Look kindly at your colleagues.  I feel blessed to have such excellent 'competition'.  Their support helps me raise my game, act with integrity and also creates a safety net for clients. 

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