“I’m a therapist not a salesperson.” “My forte is not the business of business.” “Trying to promote what I do frustrates me.” When you begin a therapeutic practice, the fact is you have entered a service industry. You are a businessperson even if there is a tendency to think of that part of your career as secondary. We have run a successful therapy practice in an alternative method for twenty-eight years. For twenty years, we’ve trained practitioners to use the therapeutic approach we developed, NEURO-THERAPY Training. This has provided insight into successfully accomplishing the combining of what we do best-therapy, with the necessary requirements of building a successful business.
When my husband and I sought training in hypnotherapy and other alternative mental training methods our focus was on the therapeutic effects of the state of mind rather than its traditional analytical, behavioral or cognitive applications. Knowledge that emotion is a physiology-an electrical chemical reaction in the body was not a part of most psychotherapy sessions. Ways of using the mind more effectively to actually lessen the eruption of emotion in the body were not being offered to people seeking help. What was more important, and the impetus for our search for more relevant therapeutic tools, was knowledge that the power of the immune system was lessened by the physiology of emotion. People with illnesses needed to learn ways of using their minds more effectively to play more active roles in helping the body heal. NEURO-THERAPY Training evolved through a successful practice, a textbook and a long-running classroom-based training program. It now exists as a popular distance learning program, as well, training practitioners from all over the world.
We understood that a new model of therapy such as we had developed, needed to find its place and gain respect through people’s experience of its effects. To begin, we spoke before any group that would have us, from Kiwanis meetings to informal metaphysical gatherings. We knew our method well and could explain it effectively one-on-one. Presenting it to groups of people became more professional with practice. This gave people a chance to get to know us. Also, we had a chance to explain our way of helping in more words than were allowed in paper-based advertisements.
We met with certain medical professionals in the community who would be most likely to understand and appreciate our approach. A local D.O. we met through a presentation at a Kiwanis meeting was very interested in preventative medicine, and found himself frustrated by symptoms, like fibromyalgia and helping patients control their addictions to cigarettes. These were symptoms not easily treated by traditional medical interventions. NEURO-THERAPY Training made sense to him as a missing link engaging people in the process of developing self control over conditions like pain and addiction. An M.D. we knew, whose daughter had developed cancer, had gone in search of mentally-based programs to enhance medical treatments. NEURO-THERAPY Training made sense to him as it was more clinically based, not relying on metaphysical explanations. Both doctors began referring clients.
We did not advertise, building our business on referral only. A therapist can say anything they want about a therapeutic approach, they can even use statistics to illustrate success, but the real test is if someone who experiences your approach refers someone else. We helped people gain self control over physically, chemically and mentally based symptoms through more effective use of their minds. An important part of that self control was helping them lessen the physical and chemical eruption of negative emotions in the body. It was a powerful missing link in therapeutic tools offered to people, but it had to be experienced rather than merely understood. We could say or even believe what we wanted about our therapeutic approach but when our practice grew through referral, we gained the most important validation of what we knew to be true.
We believed in the importance of NEURO-THERAPY Training for people facing life-threatening illnesses. Knowing they faced a maze of challenges, especially financial, we began working free with those we could see who were faced with the challenges of cancer and AIDS. Scientists had clearly shown that the effects of the mind, the physiology of negative emotions, lessened the effective working of the immune system. We knew that NEURO-THERAPY Training was an approach so important to those facing life-threatening illnesses who did not have the luxury of time for traditional cognitive approaches to therapy. We have continued our free work over the years, even forming a foundation to encourage that same commitment among graduates of our professional training program. Though not done for that reason, that free work helped to build our good name and the understanding of our approach. Our referrals grew.
We worked on the skills of article writing. There are many skills a businessperson could develop to help promote what they do, but some are more important than others. The ability to write about what you do is critical. We began offering short articles to regional publications for free that helped explain what we do. We took classes and joined a writing group to learn more about writing articles and how to market them. Our skills have developed and every article published in a magazine or online helps set our approach apart from others. Every article helps expand our vision. The article writing ability has become even more important as our distance learning program requires online promotion for reaching those seeking the tools we offer.
Speaking to groups of people, learning to explain our approach to interested medical professionals, the giving back freely by working with certain clients for free, and the expansion of our knowledge and skills as writers have all combined to benefit us from a business perspective as well as enhancing our lives. Our key was developing ways of getting the word out about our business that felt less like the business of business and more like a celebration of what we believe in.