Preparing Your Private Practice for Coronavirus

Preparing Your Private Practice for Coronavirus

Life as we know it has gotten turned upside down recently. And preparing your private practice for coronavirus is top of mind for most. We are suddenly in our homes, trying to figure out a way to take care of our clients, while also taking care of ourselves and our businesses.

As a therapist, you play an important role in your clients’ lives. They see you as a source of stability and positive reassurance in their lives. They look to you for guidance and advice. The way you handle yourself when Coronavirus comes to your community will help your clients manage their own reactions. If you are calm, prepared, and in control, this will help ease their anxiety tremendously.

In this article we cover:

Four Stages to Prepare Your Business for Coronavirus

Taking Care of of Your Clients

Three Ways to to Minimize the he Impact of Coronavirus on Your Business

Four Stages to Prepare Your Business for Coronavirus


I see preparing for Coronavirus in four stages:

  1. Take care of yourself first. Now that you’ve done as much as you can to make yourself and your loved ones safe. This will ease your mind, and give you peace.
  2. Take care of your business. Your business is your financial security.  You need to know that you’re going to be financially okay. What actions do you need to take to ensure a strong client flow?
  3. Take care of your clients. Who needs your help most right now? Who might be triggered? Who do you need to reach out to? How can you make yourself available to help them, even if you can’t get out to see them face to face.
  4. Take care of your community. How can you be a positive, reassuring voice in the midst of all the chaos around us?

Following these stages will allow you to make sure you’re okay first, and then “serve others from a full cup”.

Taking Care of Your Clients

Here are some ideas about how you can prepare your practice and your clients for Coronavirus:

  • Consider offering telephone or online telehealth services for a few weeks. Depending on the severity of the impact in your community, you may be unable to see clients face-to-face for a period of time. This can have a huge impact on their well-being, as well as have a huge financial impact on you.

    You can avoid this disruption by transitioning to telehealth services for a period of time. If you’re not already set up for telehealth, prepare in advance by:
    • Checking your telehealth laws for your state or country.
    • Providing information to your clients on how you’ll connect with them if you are unable to do in-person sessions.
    • If you are in-network with insurance panels, check for telehealth reimbursement policies.
  • Identify the clients that are most likely to have difficulty processing the impact of the Coronavirus, and initiate conversations with them now. This might include reaching out to former clients to see if they need support with this.
    Clients most likely to need additional support dealing with Coronavirus include those with anxiety, OCD, hypochondriasis, trauma, and borderline personality disorder. You know your clients the best. Take the lead in supporting them over the next weeks or months.
  • Have a clear policy for clients to follow. Let your clients know exactly how you want them to handle different scenarios, and be clear about how you will handle them.Consider including:
    • What they should do if they are sick
    • Conditions under which you will waive your cancellation fees
    • What will happen if YOU are sick
    • How you will connect for online or phone sessions
  • Post practice updates. Where will your clients go to get information about your practice and any closures? Have a clear place for clients to get information about your practice. Social media, email, or your website are all simple ways to disseminate important information to your clients. Choose one and let clients know how you’ll keep them updated.

(RELATED: Need help navigating these uncertain times for your practice? Watch ‘How to Attract Clients in Uncertain Times’.)

  • Take care of your own mental health. If you get overwhelmed and anxious, it’s going to be difficult to help care for your clients. This is the time to take care of yourself, and find someone to talk to you if you need it.
woman meditating

[Tip: Psychotherapists can be highly sensitive people too. Listen here!]

Your clients will need your help as Coronavirus spreads, and by taking time to prepare yourself ahead of time, you’ll be in the best position to offer the help they need.

Three Ways to Minimize the Impact of Coronavirus on Your Business

In order to take care of your clients, it’s important that first YOU feel safe. As a business owner, part of feeling safe is financial security. This means knowing you will continue to be able to pay your bills, take care of your family, and make it through the next few months of uncertainty.

You can’t leave your financial security to chance, hoping it will be okay. Instead, take action TODAY to give yourself peace of mind before you try to help your clients.

So how do you do this exactly? Here are three steps you can take today to protect your business during Coronavirus.

stocks headed down
  1. Decide that your business WILL survive Coronavirus.You can’t read the news without hearing stories of business after business that is in jeopardy from the effects of Coronavirus. This ISN’T you. As a therapist, coach, or healer, your business is essential right now. Your clients need you more now than they ever have before. You are the exact person they need to get them through this crisis.Make a decision right now that your business WILL survive Coronavirus. That you WILL figure it out, whatever it takes. Maybe you’ll have a decrease in new clients, maybe you won’t. No matter what happens, you will make it through. You and your business will be stronger on the other side because of this.Once you make a decision that your business will survive, you move out of fear and worry. You put yourself in a position to get to work. You look for ways to succeed instead of getting mired down in doubt.You may have to remind yourself of your decision over and over again when you start to worry. You can even a simple reminder whenever fear kicks in, “My business will survive Coronavirus and I will be okay.”
  2. Focus on the “give.”  I’m a big believer in “give, give, get” marketing. Here’s how it works: You focus on providing great value to your potential clients, before they begin to work with you. You offer hope, inspiration, resources, tools, and connection through social media, your website, and any other platform you have.People connect with you through this content, see you as a trusted authority, and seek you out to work with. This is the ONLY marketing strategy I ever teach to my clients because it allows you to connect with clients eager to work with you without ever feeling sales-y. This is the time for all of us to be in the “give” stages of “give, give, get” marketing. Focus on how to provide value to your potential clients, especially through social media.  Why social media? Because that’s where we’re all hanging out. If you’ve also got a blog, podcast, or video platform, use that as well. You’ll be helping so many people just by providing this content. There are also those who will see it and know that they need more help. They will be the ones that reach out to you to become clients.
    marketing plan
  3. Adjust your marketing message.Time to toss your marketing message out the window. Yep, you heard me right. Let me explain.If you could see inside your clients’ heads, you would see that 99% of their brain is focused on Coronavirus. In fact, Coronavirus is dominating Google searches. If you are trying to have a different conversation, its likely that they won’t hear you at all.Instead of fighting to get them to listen to what you are saying, you need to join the conversation they are already having.Let’s say you work with couples. Maybe your marketing message has always been “recovering from infidelity”. That’s not a marketing message that’s going to have a big impact on people right now. They’re in survival mode, not recovery mode. A much better message would be “dealing with a difficult relationship in close quarters”.Maybe you’re a parenting coach and your marketing message was “put a stop to temper tantrums”. Chances are that temper tantrums are no longer your client’s biggest problem. What about “keeping your sanity cooped up with a toddler”? Your message needs to speak to the experience your client is having right now so that they hear you, and see you as a trusted authority.

Because your clients need you now more than ever,  I’ve created a short video ‘Attracting Clients in Uncertain Times’. If you’ve been wondering if you should be marketing in this time of uncertainty, this video explains what you should be doing and how you should be marketing right now. Watch it here!