Authenticity Over Approval

A Therapist’s Journey in Website Design

Designing and building a website from scratch is daunting, especially if you lack design expertise and struggle to decide on its content. Constantly browsing other therapist websites for inspiration left me feeling unsettled, unsure and uneasy.

 

The Temptation to Conform

I found myself succumbing to the temptation to conform to their standards rather than trusting my own instincts. I doubted my ability to create something unique and compelling, fearing that straying from the beaten path would lead to failure.

Upon reflection, I realised this unease stems from a lack of authenticity. My attempts to emulate or take inspiration from other sites’ designs and take advice from sites on the subject only led to a departure from my genuine self. Despite the well-meaning advice from these sites, they cannot fully capture your unique voice and perspective. It’s natural to seek guidance from others, but ultimately, my website should reflect my own values, expertise, and personality. Only embracing my authenticity will lead to a website that truly resonates with my audience and aligns with my professional identity.

 

Authenticity Matters

As a therapist, I’ve discovered that designing a website is not just about showcasing my services; it’s about creating a digital space that reflects my values, resonates with potential clients, and fosters genuine connection. Yet, in this process, I’ve found myself grappling with a unique set of challenges – balancing authenticity with the desire to attract clients.

In the pursuit of authenticity, I’ve found myself wrestling with the fear of putting some potential clients off. Yet, through this journey of website design, I’ve come to understand that embracing authenticity requires a measure of professional courage – the willingness to be disliked by some in order to connect deeply with those who resonate with my genuine self.

Initially, I hesitated to fully express my authentic voice on my website, fearing that it might alienate certain clients or lead to disapproval from my peers. (Something I used to struggle with in my practice too.) I worried about being perceived as too unconventional or controversial, and I played it safe, sticking to generic language and imagery that lacked the personal touch I longed to convey.

However, as I delved deeper into the process and myself, I realized that by censoring myself and conforming to perceived expectations, I was doing a disservice not only to myself but also to potential clients seeking a therapist who resonated with their unique needs and values. It took a significant amount of introspection and self-reflection to find the courage to be disliked – to embrace the possibility that not everyone would approve.

 

Beyond Self-Expression

I’ve come to understand over the years that authenticity is not just about self-expression; it’s also about building trust and rapport with others. By showcasing my genuine passion for helping others and sharing my therapeutic approach, I can attract clients who resonate with my values and feel comfortable reaching out for my support.

At times, I still grapple with feelings of unease, wondering if I am betraying my commitment to authenticity by engaging in ‘marketing tactics’. Using that term makes me feel a little yucky.  Yet, I have come to realize that attracting clients who value my services allows me to continue doing what I love and make a positive impact in the lives of others. It’s a delicate balance between authenticity, doing what I love and client acquisition, but one that is essential for building a successful therapy practice.

Moving Forward

Now, I am learning to embrace the evolution of my website as a reflection of my growth as a therapist and as a person. Just as therapy is a journey of self-discovery and growth, so too is the process of designing a website. Well, for me anyway. Each iteration reflects not only my skills and expertise but also my evolving understanding of myself and my clients’ needs.

Ultimately, designing my website has taught me a valuable lesson – that authenticity is not just about self-expression, but also about building genuine connections with others. By embracing both my passion for therapy and my desire to attract clients, I can create a digital space that resonates with potential clients and fosters meaningful therapeutic relationships.

I’ve discovered that authenticity is a magnet for genuine connection. By infusing my website with my true voice, values, and therapeutic approach, I now attract clients who resonate deeply with my authentic expression. Yes, some potential clients may have been put off by my candidness or unconventional style, but those who did connect felt a profound sense of trust and rapport from the outset.

Moreover, I realised that the fear of being disliked is often rooted in the desire for universal approval, a futile pursuit that stifles individuality and authenticity. Instead of seeking validation from everyone, I learned to focus on building meaningful connections with those who embraced and appreciated my genuine self.

It’s taught me a powerful lesson – that professional courage is essential for authenticity. By finding the courage to be disliked, I opened myself up to deeper connections and more fulfilling therapeutic relationships. My website became a reflection not only of my professional services but also of my commitment to honesty, transparency, and genuine connection.

 

And Finally …

So, how does my design journey relate to you or life in general? Struggling with the authenticity of my website mirrors a broader challenge many face in life: the quest for authenticity and the courage to embrace it. Just as I have grappled with presenting my true self online, individuals (I include myself here) often find themselves navigating societal expectations, external pressures, and the influence of others in their personal journeys. It takes courage to confront these external influences and instead listen to the voice within, to authentically express one’s values, beliefs, and passions. Embracing authenticity demands vulnerability, as it means showing up as your genuine self, unapologetically and risking scorn and judgement. Yet, it’s through this courage to be true to oneself that meaningful connections are forged, and a fulfilling life is lived.

My cats Maz n Moosh

By Jules

When I’m not busy with clients, keeping up with the latest therapy techniques  or writing blog posts, you can usually find me avoiding housework by cuddling with my cats, diving into audiobooks, or taking leisurely walks outdoors . Ideally towards a pub for a nice cold pint or a Mocha.

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