Is There a “Trend” in Therapy?

  • One question which has occurred to me lately and, indeed, has been the subject of numerous discussions and much debate between colleagues
    and I is; Does Therapy “Trend” in much the same way as Social Media?

    I’m not talking about the therapy itself of course, but the presenting complaint that individuals are seeking the assistance of a therapist for.  Just lately, I’ve had a good number of “anxieties” (using the term very loosely).  A little while ago 3 out of 5 enquiries where about Weight Loss, before that I had a glut of phobias and so on.  So yes, I believe it does trend just as well as if you put a hash tag in front of the word on Twitter!  But why?

    “Why?” seems to be the question that is baffling many of us in this profession as there seems to be no rhyme or reason behind it.  The fact I am having a plethora of anxiety type issue presented to me at the moment does not mean that a colleague a few miles down the road is seeing the same thing.  They might be seeing a number of phobias coming through their door for example.  So geography would seem to have little to do with it, although I grant you, I’m sure it will have some sort of influence.  The way we market ourselves, in particular our websites, does have a major influence I believe.  My specialty, for example, is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Psychological Trauma.  So it stands to reason that many of my clients would present with this issue as they’ll feel more comfortable with someone specializing in this area in much the same way as a broken bone would be seen by an orthopedic surgeon and not someone specializing in neurology.  But right now, I have more “anxieties” of a general nature than PTSD, so just how much influence this has is anyone’s guess.  Perhaps people with some form of anxiety particularly like the pinky-purple colour scheme of my website.  I don’t know.  You tell me.

    There are other environmental factors to consider of course.  The wider media might have run some sort of documentary or “piece” on a particular complaint.  Stop Smoking Days, usually in March, one might reason, would see an increase of this sort of enquiry.  The good old New Year’s Resolution would also logically see a rise in enquiries for things like Weight Management and Smoking Cessation.  Even the weather, one might think, might see a rise in depressive type complaints considering the awful Summer we seem to be having.  So can I pin a trend to these environmental factors?  Short answer, NO!  At least I can’t.  That’s despite marketing myself carefully with whatever is going on in the wider environment.  For example, at the time of the last “No Smoking Day”, despite having blogged and marketed ad nauseum on the subject I saw no rise in enquiries of this nature yet my steady stream of phobias kept coming through apace.

    Perhaps this is one of those conundrums that we should lay at the door of the market research analysts and see what they make of it.  Any marketers up for the challenge?

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