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Professional Boundaries/Therapeutic Gigs


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Hi penguins and kangaroos!

Regarding gigs which offer any type of counseling (including gigs with titles such as 'listen to you,' etc.), and charge per session . . .

I'm curious to hear about your experiences—as sellers AND buyers.

I am absolutely equally interested to hear from people who have been in the client/buyer role, as well as from those in therapist/seller role.

For example (sellers): Maybe you had a client who ordered one session, which was completed. Then, they kept sending you messages in the fiverr inbox demanding free counseling/advice/answers to never ending questions. I mean, demanding and expecting that you just spend hours messaging back and forth, for as long as they wish, and not charging for your time. You explain what professional boundaries are and why they are so important in a therapeutic setting. And you explain that you must charge for your time--this is how you earn a living.

Their response is along the lines of, ''Please, but you're my friend.''

Professional boundaries, being respectful of your time--these kind of things the client refuses to care about.

The following is from a website: careers in psychology. (I have nothing to do with the website, only mentioned the name in order not to violate copyright.)

***********

As a therapist / life coach /counselor, you won’t accomplish much in the field unless you can be the kind of warm, trusted confidant to your clients and patients that makes them want to open up to you. Naturally, you have to create a safe and familiar place where they can share openly and reveal the things that allow you to know them deeply enough to understand the pathology of what’s troubling them. But doing all of this with an appropriate sense of professionalism actually has a funny way of being more effective than if your client sees you as a friend.


At the end of the day, clients come to you for professional treatment. If they could get that from friends, they wouldn’t be in your office. And they know that as well as you do. So it’s important to keep in mind that your clients are seeking your professional help, which means they expect you to demonstrate professionalism. Maintaining boundaries is a big part of that.

**********

Continuing the example from above, this client now expects you to spend an hour everyday for the next year, counseling him for free--as if your relationship was not a professional one. It comes from this: you're good at what you do, so he wants to keep talking to you. But part of what makes you good at what you do is that you are friendly and create an environment (in the sessions) in which the client/patient feels comfortable. They then want to have a one-sided friendship with you. But it cannot work like that. 

 

🙂 Can't wait to hear your thoughts and experiences—feel free to ramble/type stream of consciousness . . . the real things come out when humans just talk without editing themselves!

I'm writing this post simply because I've always been interested in this, but recently my interest is on a much deeper level:

 It is psychology + human behavior and the dynamics between therapist/patient (therapist/life coach/counselor/one who gives advice or offers to simply listen/etc.):

1) The topic in and of itself.

AND  

2) The nature of this topic in our fiverr setting.

[PS If you'd like to help me out by sharing, but don't want it to be public, private messages are always an option. I keep things shared with me 100% confidential.]

Thanks so much. Hugs, Mae.
 

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Mae, this is an interesting post, and germane to a lot of people on the platform. I am not your target audience for the post, i.e., counseling services, but it happens to the rest of us, too.  I perform voice overs, and it happens frequently that a customer accepts the order, gives me a great review and a juicy tip, then 1, 2, 5 days later says, "Hey, can you change...".  Myself, as I suspect will be the case with most people experienced in the business world base my follow-up to the request on a few factors.  

  1. Is this one of my good customers, i.e., good to work with, repeat and lucrative business, etc.?
  2. Is this person trying to get something for free, or did this fall into the original scope of work?
  3. What is the level of effort required to do the work?
  4. What is the potential return on investment for doing the additional work?

Based on how I answer those, I either knock out a freebie, or send them a quote for the change request.  However, and to your point, there has to be a line in the sand, and I personally am quite good at drawing it, while maintaining a very healthy customer service environment.

So, my soundbyte is, don't do it for free.  This doesn't necessarily mean charge them for everything, but instead pay attention to point 4 above.  Will this 10 minutes of free work today likely lead to a lucrative project down the road?  If you can honestly answer and judge the four questions above, it shouldn't be that difficult to find your happy place with drawing a line. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/25/2022 at 11:53 PM, cs_evans said:

Mae, this is an interesting post, and germane to a lot of people on the platform. I am not your target audience for the post, i.e., counseling services, but it happens to the rest of us, too.  I perform voice overs, and it happens frequently that a customer accepts the order, gives me a great review and a juicy tip, then 1, 2, 5 days later says, "Hey, can you change...".  Myself, as I suspect will be the case with most people experienced in the business world base my follow-up to the request on a few factors.  

  1. Is this one of my good customers, i.e., good to work with, repeat and lucrative business, etc.?
  2. Is this person trying to get something for free, or did this fall into the original scope of work?
  3. What is the level of effort required to do the work?
  4. What is the potential return on investment for doing the additional work?

Based on how I answer those, I either knock out a freebie, or send them a quote for the change request.  However, and to your point, there has to be a line in the sand, and I personally am quite good at drawing it, while maintaining a very healthy customer service environment.

So, my soundbyte is, don't do it for free.  This doesn't necessarily mean charge them for everything, but instead pay attention to point 4 above.  Will this 10 minutes of free work today likely lead to a lucrative project down the road?  If you can honestly answer and judge the four questions above, it shouldn't be that difficult to find your happy place with drawing a line. 

Thank you, cs evans, for your interesting reply. 🙂

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