Question about getting clients to pay fees.

Answered by Calvin D. Banyan, MA, CI, BCH

Question:

I'm having a terrible time with getting people to pay my fees. The trouble is I'm relatively new at this. If anyone has a problem, especially something I have not dealt with, then I just about drag them in for therapy. So after a while some people will not want to keep paying & they know I want to do the case--so they complain about the continual fee. I lower the fee or set up a time payment for the lesser fee & some people take advantage of the situation. This is all my fault--so I want to know how you have handled this particular situation? I also run into a lot of blue collar folks in a lot of pain & I want to work with them but they don't really have the money to do continual therapy.

Answer:

I think that you have answered your own question quite well. Your clients are picking up on how much you want to help them. You appear to them to be overly invested in the process that needs to be more equally shared by the two of you. When you are so highly invested (you want the experience and want to help them), it reduces your client's need to invest (pay your fees) while in the process.

When I first began doing hypnotherapy professionally, meaning to make a living out of it by getting paid by clients, I only charged $65 per session. I had only professional relationships with my clients, meaning that my clients were people whom I did not know personally, and they only knew me as their therapist. If you know your clients outside of doing therapy work with them, it is called a "dual relationship" and such relationships always interferes with doing good work and with getting paid for your services.

My clients always pay in advance, for each session. I take cash, checks and credit cards. I have rarely set up payment plans. Therapy is something that I do not do with friends. We have three Hypnotherapists at Banyan Hypnosis Center For Training & Services, Inc. so it is easy to refer them to another therapist. So, I recommend that if someone you know needs your services, send them to someone else.

Let your potential client know about how many sessions to expect right from the start. When someone comes to my office they expect to see me for 3 to 5 sessions on average and will pay $99 to $125 per session. You need to set up the proper mental expectancy from the start.