Ethics can be a headache, I get it, but as a therapist, I’m fed up of hearing others are ‘incentivising’ reviews. I’m sure it will be made illegal in the future.
But why is it frustrating me so much? Why am I saying I don’t want you to review me?
Well, I believe It’s unethical to ask a person to review your business when you’re GIVING THEM a discount or payment as they a) may feel under pressure or perhaps even more importantly b) be subject to bias from being ‘technically’ in your debt. This makes your reviews ropey at best.
Other businesses (and therefore people) can see this as clear as day.
Incentivised reviews (those with gifts or discounted rates off services or goods) are leading the online consumer down a dangerous rabbit hole, that may well be unvetted, untested, lousy or just plain bog standard not-suitable-for-you services or goods after all.
Therapists have to take this a step further however, as my peers will know, as we are bound by certain rules and expectations, such as we should not encourage our clients to put their name forwards as this may also break confidentiality if they are not ready for it to be known that they have accessed some kind of therapy. We look like billy nobody online, meanwhile many of us are seeing 20-30 clients a week, full time, every day, 100’s a year, getting the precise results in real-time that clients are searching painfully through these ‘reviews’ trying to find online.
There may on rare occasions be a client who is So unbelievably bowled over by what you have done with them (always a wonderful feeling for both involved) that they not only tell everyone they know how amazing you are, but they may go ahead and review you as they’re really happy, but equally sometimes some of the best therapy we can achieve, actually occasionally involves confronting our clients for their highest awareness, forcing a process of strong feelings that come up to the surface that are provoked by the therapist and even anger and defensiveness can explode into the session.
All of the above can be the gateway to a real breakthrough for that individual, it’s so unique, as we are all so unique. It will build true confidence, assertiveness and acceptance that the therapist and client are together helping them to find their voice and understand more of what they’ve perhaps been keeping inside, perhaps squashed under the ‘everything is ok, I’m fine’ banner.
Sometimes that leads clients to end the therapy – it can be upsetting or distressing to suddenly ‘feel’ everything as it is, the goal sometimes in an interesting way being reached – however it’s important for both the client and therapist to talk about and understand what has taken place and most importantly… why. Both parties should learn and reflect on this further to continue to make progress separately after this point, if not together, bringing it into cohesion and comfort for the client.
Reviews are kinda difficult therefore for therapists as sometimes, if we do our job properly, we will provoke and ‘ruffle’ up our clients. Of course, this is all a part of caring about them and wanting to be a mirror for what they may be processing that they cannot let out or hear from anywhere else. It would make for some interesting reviews however, and the truth is, ethically speaking, it is an ongoing relationship and like any relationship, will go through it’s honeymoon period, through the conflict and hopefully out the other side to long term happiness. But that’s not always how it goes as we are only human and are all fascinatingly different and have different reactions, memories and beliefs even from similar backgrounds.
I will continue to only have a few reviews and hope people can do a lot of research on who people rate by word of mouth.
It worries me awfully that those out there with 15-500 reviews look better and more productive, but I question as a practitioner, what their true goal is? The client accessing a busy therapist, who is working with clients and believes in their total right to privacy and tailors it entirely to them or a friendly (albeit manipulative?), nodding yes head, that skips the difficult stuff and leads a few sessions nicely into a good review? I guess, ethically speaking, the jury is still out.
What do you think? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Let me know!