April's Therapist Support Network group meeting was a super afternoon and I am so pleased that a total of 16 people decided to forgo the lovely spring sunshine to come along to Colbury Hall in Ashurst Nr. Southampton.
We had a useful discussion about the challenges of getting the benefits of hypnotherapy known to our local GP's and Primary Care Trusts.
It seems that it is down to us as individual hypnotherapists to forge relationships with individuals within the NHS, as and when we can.
There is as yet no national registration body for hypnotherapists with sufficient credibility or the financial backing to conduct the extensive scientific trials that will help to convince the NHS that hypnotherapy is a viable and cost effective treatment for a number of conditions.
One might cynically wonder if the imminent threat of massive public sector financial cuts could be prove useful to hypnotherapists.
Even though NICE does actually recommend hypnotherapy for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and for use as a method of pain management for women during childbirth, its seems that grass roots GPs are unaware of even these uses of hypnotherapy.
We also spoke about the current trend for prescribing Champix drug therapy in NHS Smoking Cessation treatment,that this treatment is now seen as the gold standard for Stop Smoking therapy and the possible effects this might have on the number of clients requiring our services to stop smoking.
The main topic of the afternoon was 'Sales and Marketing' two words that can strike fear and dread in the hearts of therapists everywhere.
However TSN group member Derek Palmer from Creative Plane Hypnotherapy and his colleague Business Development Consultant Romey Ghadially showed us that 5 basic marketing strategies can indeed help us get to where we want to be, assuming of course we know where that is (Strategy 1- Know what clients you are looking for and where you want your business to go).
Strategy 2, build your reputation
Strategy 3, contact prospective clients or intermediaries to build your business. Use a variety of methods to do this, go to networking groups, get the help of friends, former colleagues, use the internet, write articles, give talks and advertise are just some of the methods to get in touch with clients.
Strategy 4 Look after existing clients and contacts, cross refer to colleagues or other practitioners.
Finally Strategy 5 Know what to stop doing; things that are not cost effective or keep you from actively marketing your business.
I'm sure we all found plenty of food for thought in the presentation and we will all now take a good long look at our own marketing practices and move to improve them sooner rather than later, after all we have nothing to lose except unfilled appointments.
Derek and Romey are working on a 1 day workshop 'Marketing for Therapists', I will keep you all up to date with the progress of this workshop.