No More Awkward Run-Ins With Clients

Today we are going to teach you how to manage run-ins with clients outside of the office.

You probably DREAD the thought of seeing a client outside of the office.

Is it going to be awkward?

Should you hide in hopes that they didn’t see you?

Hiding from the client is definitely NOT what you should be doing.

These run-ins can be awkward, but we are going to give you tools on how to make them more manageable. Once you put these practices into place you should be feeling a lot less uncomfortable about the thought of running into a client in public.

Run-Ins With Clients

1. Set A Policy For Run-Ins With Clients

Think about your boundaries and level of comfort here. Create a plan for when you do, in an off chance, see a client in public.

Make sure you have that written down and even include it in your clients’ intake forms.

2. Discuss Policy

To start, reference the document you had printed off. Let them know it is possible you two will run into each other in public. Then guide them through the next couple of steps so they feel comfortable with the situation.

Run-Ins With Clients

3. Clients Lead

Above all, you should never start the conversation when you see a client outside the office.

This will always be the responsibility of the client. If they do acknowledge you they may introduce you as an old colleague or friend from school. Likewise, follow their lead, and don’t be offended by what they choose to do here. 

4. Confidentiality

Next, be sure that you are following all guidelines when it comes to this. It is best if you keep your therapeutic sessions to the office. There is a strong possibility that some clients may not tell the ones in their lives that they are seeking therapy.

Respect your clients’ wishes on that.

5. Have Boundaries When Run-Ins With Clients Happen

Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with having some chit chat when you run into a client. This could even be healthy. Just remember to keep the conversation light.

Remember, you want to keep all therapeutic conversations in the office. If they are pushing it, feel free to set a stern boundary by flat out saying you will talk about it next time you see them.

6. Document Run-Ins With Clients

Ordinarily, having a paper trail of everything is always a fail-safe just to be sure that you are keeping yourself legally sound. We strongly encourage you to do this every time you run into a client outside of the office, so if any questions arise, you will have everything written down in the file.

7. Revisit later

The next time you see the client, ask what the experience was like for them. This could bring up some topics that you can use for their healing.

With these tips, you should be able to handle a run in without a thought now. The first couple of times it happens, don’t panic! Think about the policy you have in place and start to practice it.

Check out this blog we posted on finding your niche in private practice.

Leave us comments on how much this video helped with seeing your clients outside of the office.

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