Money is a loaded topic for most therapists and healers.
Whenever I find myself in spaces with other therapists and healers, and the topic of *money* comes up, the shift in the room is palpable.
Everyone straightens up a little bit more. Gets a little more observant of what others are saying. There’s a tightness in everyone’s voice. I’ve totally been there.
After having countless conversations with therapists and healers about their money stuff, I’ve noticed many are unconsciously blocking full fee clients.
Whenever your clients bring up worries about paying for your services, you jump into the problem-solving/rescue mode without a second thought.
This is what it looks like:
On a consult call, the potential client shares:
“I’m not sure I’ll be able to afford your fee.”
Without gathering more information, you immediately pipe in:
“That’s okay, I have a sliding scale!”
The reality? If you take one more sliding scale client you won’t be able to keep your business afloat.
A current client says:
“I’ve been worried about the amount of money I’m spending on therapy.”
Without missing a beat, you anxiously reply:
“If you need to take a break from therapy, that’s okay.”
Had you dove further into the fear, you might have discovered it had nothing to do with money.
When you respond to money conversations in this (fearful) way, you’re giving your client an “out” to work on their own money healing.
When you immediately leap into rescue mode, without asking more questions, you bypass any opportunity to talk about what’s going on underneath.
The reality is: your client’s fears about paying for your services MAY have NOTHING to do with the actual amount of money they have or their true ability to pay your fee.
There’s often much more at play underneath the surface.
Here’s a few examples:
When you ask your client to share more details about their financial concerns, you might hear:
- Their partner controls the finances. To seek out therapy, they’d have to tell their partner how much they are struggling. This requires them to advocate for their needs and be vulnerable with their partner – which they are afraid to do. They might need empathy from you, and perhaps strategy around talking to their partner, to take the next step.
- They worry therapy won’t work for them. They feel like they are just a lost cause. To seek out therapy would be to acknowledge they have hope for themselves, which might go against what they have been told their whole life. They would need you to first have hope for them, so they can start to learn to have it for themselves.
- They may have deep shame around getting help. They have been told by their family that getting help is a sign of weakness. To move forward would require them to challenge this stigma. They would need education from you about why this belief is false so they can shift their thinking.
- They grew up in a home where money was scarce. Today, they are financially secure, but the old stories of their childhood play on repeat – reminding them there is never enough money. To move forward, they may require your support in healing their old wounds and having a new narrative around money. In fact, paying full fee for your services could even be a component of this healing process.
Hmmmm, kinda sounds like it has nothing to do with money.
You ready for the mindset shift?
I believe, deep down, your clients are <<<dying>>> to invest in themselves.
They are just waiting for someone to give them permission to be BIG and bold and *believe* in themselves.
Paying for your life-changing services can be an outlet for that. (And yes, your services ARE life-changing. Don’t forget that.)
Had you just put your discomfort aside and got curious, you might have a full fee client in your office. right. now.
When you deny clients the opportunity to unpack some of their money concerns, you’re turning clients away that might have been willing to pay you.
What if the next time a client brought up money concerns, you didn’t jump to a solution?
What if, instead, you held the unshakable belief that this person is waiting for permission to show up for themselves?
And they need YOU to help with the next step?
How would that change the way you handle money conversations in the future?
You might say, “Well, what if they truly can’t afford to pay?“
There is no way to know unless you get more information.
A simple “Can you say more about that?” will provide the details to help you assess if their barrier to paying for your services is rooted in true financial lack or the need for a mindset shift.
And if you ask more questions, and there is a true financial barrier, you can confidently make referrals to other resources or providers.
Here’s what to do next time
Get yourself in the right MINDSET to have money conversations with clients.
This mantra can help. Feel free to adapt it and make it your own.
I believe to my core that my clients are desperately wanting to show up and *invest* in themselves and their healing. By holding space for money conversations and charging my full fee, I am giving them an opportunity to do just that.
By being an open, compassionate container for my client’s money fears, I can allow them to work through what is truly underneath. I will honor their fears without judgment, while also naming what might be happening beneath the surface for them.
I don’t have to solve someone else’s money worries. If a prospective client is not able or willing to pay my full fee, I can confidently refer them to another provider, knowing that my decision to hold my money boundaries is in the best interest of ensuring the sustainability of myself and business.
If I choose to offer sliding scale, it will be from a place that is rooted in both business values and strategic business planning. I will only offer sliding scale when I know it will not compromise the sustainability of myself and my business. I will not offer a sliding scale rate to a client if I am coming from a feeling of scarcity or lack, nor if it might bring resentment down the road.