Making The Call

Posted on September 20, 2014

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The major chains in the fitness industry have an interesting business model.  To keep their product affordable requires that a reasonable percentage of their customers pay for the service and never use it.  I am always grateful to those who sign up and don’t come.  It keeps my dues down.  I am a bad member.  I show up.

This morning on my way in, I was talking with the guy at the front desk.  Part of his job is to call people whose credit cards have expired and get them to update the information and keep paying their dues.  Since it is early morning when I arrive, he starts by calling people on the east coast where it is later.  We commiserated a little on the difficulties of making telemarketing calls.  When I was a business banker, I had to call on business owners who did not currently do business with me to see if there might be an opportunity to compete for the business.  Part of the challenge is that your initial contact is always going to start as a disruption.  Additionally, if the business owner begins the conversation with, “I am so glad you called.  I need a new bank,” it is a red flag.  Chances are that business is having financial difficulties.  There is a certain amount of truth to the cliché that bankers only want to talk to you when you don’t need them.  That initial call contact can be tricky.  It is hard not to approach it with a certain amount of trepidation.  It is something akin to calling someone who doesn’t know you and asking for a date.

If you have never been to therapy, making that initial contact with the therapist can be hard.  This is particularly the case if you are already feeling anxious or embarrassed about the problem you wanted some help with.  Let me offer a word of encouragement.  First, most of us who got into this line of work did so because we wanted to help people.  We are here for you.  Helping you is not a disruption to us; it is why we do this.  Second, it is the therapist’s job to make therapy a safe place for you.  It is my job to make you feel comfortable and supported in our relationship.  If it is couples therapy, my role is to help you both feel understood.  Third, we are basically unshockable.  As Elvis Costello once sang, “There is no such thing as an original sin.”  It is unlikely that you are going to tell us something we have never heard before.  You can tell it like it really is, and we are here to help you, not judge you.  Fourth, you are not stuck with your therapist.  In the initial session, I tell clients, “You are not my prisoner.  You are only here as long as you find me helpful.”  This is not like purchasing a car where there is no cooling off period.  If you are not comfortable with the therapist you chose, you can always get a new one.  Fifth, the therapist’s mission should be to work his or her way out of a job.  The point of therapy is to help you get a handle on the problem that brought you in and have you on your way.

So if you need some help, give us a call.  We are here to help.

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Posted in: Therapy