Working with Your New Client

For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.

~ Anonymous

Although this course addresses the more spiritual aspects of the human life path, maintaining a professional approach is still a good idea. I've found in my practice that this opens the opportunity for spiritual awareness and development to people who would otherwise not be comfortable visiting shamans or psychics, for instance.

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Your initial contact with a potential client will likely be a call during which you can get a good sense of who this client is and what they would like to achieve. Take this opportunity to clarify how you work, identify your fees, and discuss any other details that are beneficial to share.

Furthermore, this is your opportunity to shine. This initial contact is where you'll both decide whether you are a good fit to work together. While this is an ideal time to demonstrate your expertise and ability, you also want to be sensitive to the individual who is calling.

  • Do they seem motivated to do the work? Is someone else insisting they get help or are they enthusiastic?
  • Are their issues within the scope of your practice? Are they better suited to see a medical doctor or psychiatrist?
  • Do they ask questions that are inappropriate or alarming? I once spoke with a man who wanted help with sexual dysfunction (OK), who went on to ask if I included role-playing in my techniques (Not OK).
  • Listen for their tone of voice, the way they pose questions, and the general energy you sense from your potential client.
  • It's in your best interest not to be so enthusiastic about getting a client that you overlook your intuition and common sense when onboarding a new client.

Take payment while they are on the phone with you, and then set up their appointment. Doing so will measure their commitment to the healing journey. If your caller isn't ready to pay, then perhaps they aren't prepared to commit to doing the work. Taking payment in advance has three benefits: 

  1. It reduces no-shows.
  2. It eliminates that awkward moment after the session when you have to ask for payment.
  3. It requires no billing if they then say they forgot their checkbook or don't have a credit card handy.

Having a clear boundary around fees and payments is a professional way to reduce stress and simplify your business.

First Steps

Once you've established that you and the potential client are a good fit to work together, have an organized enrollment process in place. You will save time and effort.

If you are a registered or licensed practitioner, please follow the guidelines required by your specific location or governing board. The following pertains to hypnotherapists in the State of Washington. You can modify this process according to your local regulations.

Create a file on your computer with all the forms your clients will fill out. Consider emailing all documents to clients when they set up their appointment, including directions to your office or Zoom link. This strategy gives your clients time to complete the forms without taking up valuable session time and allows them to contemplate their objectives and options for the session. They will also have copies of the documents to refer to later if needed.

Samples of these forms are included elsewhere in this module and contain the legal language required for work in the State of Washington. Again, you are encouraged to check with your individual governing bodies and your attorney to ensure that documents are current with laws.

On the Intake Form, you'll request the client's basic information and offer a list of optional topics that may be addressed in a session, including the transpersonal techniques that you are learning in this course. Your client may come in for a "normal" issue such as weight loss or relationship troubles and discover that the resolution may include past life or spiritual exploration. Or, they may come for a Sacred Journey and find they also want to address blocks to prosperity or anger issues.

The Disclosure Form is a requirement in many locations. This document informs your client of your background and education, specialties, policies, and a statement outlining the confidentiality policy required by law. Client and practitioner signatures are required and the document remains in the client's file.

In many locations, clients must receive a Department of Health document outlining client rights.

First Session

Look over the forms and have a short conversation. Some clients want to talk for a while, either because they want to have someone listen to them or they are accustomed to 'talk therapy.' I inform my clients that I only need the basics and that most of the details will come out as they become relevant during the session. I want to be respectful of the client's time and ensure that we use the session time to the best advantage.

This short conversation is also an opportunity to build rapport and trust with your client. You want them to become accustomed to the environment and you. In your discussion, you could include a short explanation of what to expect during the session, so your client's mind is more at ease. Alternatively, consider sending a welcome letter with the intake forms explaining what to expect.

While looking over the Intake Form and your client's list of objectives, discuss their overall objectives for working together and then ask them to state their goals for this particular session. That way, you'll have an idea of the bigger picture, where the sessions are heading in general, along with what your client will consider satisfying for their initial step in that direction.

If your client has several different items of concern, ask them to put them in order of importance. While we know most issues are related and affect each other, knowing the order of preference will give you a place to start.

Once you are satisfied with this conversation and the stated goals, you can ask your client to get comfortable, turn on music if you are using any, and begin your induction.

Please note that a recorded Mentor Series workshop focusing specifically on the Gestalt Intake Interview is available in my Teachable school. This specialty training will undoubtedly elevate the effectiveness of the conversation you have with your client during the first session.