WHAT THE CONVENTIONAL THERAPY BUSINESS MODEL GETS WRONG

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WHAT THE CONVENTIONAL THERAPY BUSINESS MODEL GETS WRONG

The textbook image of therapist-client relationship is one that we’re all probably familiar with. Week after week, the client sits on a couch, explains his or her problems, and the bespectacled therapist silently takes notes and asks rhetorical questions every now and again. Breakthroughs, if they come at all, take months, if not years. The invoices pile up while any progress is made only incrementally.

As a therapist with three decades of experience, I’ve become known for my ability to create fast, lasting change “in the room.” Whether it’s someone who’s been obese their entire life, can barely leave the house due to crippling depression or anxiety, or is deathly afraid of flying on an airplane, my therapy method is able to cure these things fundamentally and forever—without the need for repetitive weekly or monthly visits. I’ve got a lot of attention for my methods because they’re so different from mainstream therapy. In fact, I’ve been called the “therapists’ therapist” many times, because I so often get sent clients that other practitioners simply can’t cure.

Though I’ve spent much of my career as a therapy outlier, I’m sensing that my method is becoming more and more relevant. Why is that? I believe it’s down to the fact that the conventional therapy model is becoming increasingly old school for so many reasons. Like it or not, we live in a time where everyone’s attention spans, availability and free time are decreasing swiftly. People have more information at their fingertips than ever before and thus they are less inclined to spend week after week visiting a therapist’s office to try and sort out their problems and seek information. They want the kind of results they get when searching for an answer online—instant. Furthermore, people’s willingness to spend money on endless sessions to see only slow and steady results is swiftly declining.

So what is it about my method that’s different? The most common question that therapists ask—“How do you feel?”—is one I never ask. If clients knew exactly how they felt and why, they probably wouldn’t be sitting in my chair. Instead, I try and find the root of their habits of thought (which, in turn, become habits of action) to figure out why they’ve gotten into a habit or pattern they cannot seem to break. This almost always takes the client further and deeper into their history than they were prepared to go in a first session, but it almost always works. Once you identify the habit of thought, you can remedy the action and never return to it.

While the conventional model has been a boon for therapist’s lines over the years—in 2012, £172m was spent on all other forms of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in Britain—the reality is it doesn’t necessarily serve the client’s best interests. And once you’re the type of therapist that can effect change in one session, you will have a steady stream of new clients anyway. As I always say, there is no better advertisement than a happy, successful client telling their friends and family about you.

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