Sunday, October 31, 2021

Mental Health Therapy Session Gift Vouchers – An Ethical Gift For A Friend Or Relative

This is a sample. To prevent fraud, the real thing looks a bit different
Do you want to pay for a friend's therapy sessions? Or perhaps for your sibling or parent?

Paying for someone else's sessions is a kind gesture, but there are some ethical considerations. Thankfully, I've figured out a fix for this a few days ago, so no worries! See the end of this post ??

But first, let me explain why paying for someone else's session is an issue.

First, people who go in for therapy knowing that someone else is paying for it, often feel guilty. "I should be woman/man/adult/successful enough to pay my own way."

And because of this, they want to rush. "Can you fix me in one session, because I don't want to burden my friend/employer." But therapy works best when everyone is calm and thoughtful. Rushing tends to lead to poor results.

Second, getting help with mental health issues is a very personal matter. As personal as debts or having surgery for your private parts. And when someone else is paying, they know when you have a session.

With considerate givers, they pay and ask no questions. Even so, the person knows that they know, and it's uncomfortable. Maybe they feel pressure to report back. And that's uncomfortable because therapy is really, really private.

With less considerate givers, they say 'helpful' things like, "I just paid for your session. How's it going? You seem so much better!" While it's well meant, it rams home the knowledge that private matters are not very private, and that is uncomfortable.

In the past I have asked people to gift money to those they want to sponsor. But this week I had a brainwave and came up with an elegant solution: gift cards!

I'm selling gift cards for clients in Malaysia (RM100) and clients who are not in Malaysia (US$35). You may buy as many or few as you like, and hand them to whoever you like. They can use them when they like and nobody is the wiser.

And to make sure that it stays totally secret when or if these cards are used, the buyer gets no feedback. Just like when you give someone a book token, the bookshop doesn't tell you if it's redeemed or not, I will never tell which gift cards have been used.

Let me know what you think? And contact me if you want to gift mental health to a friend or family member.

NOTE: If you are buying for someone residing in Malaysia, you buy the Ringgit Card. If you are buying for someone residing outside of Malaysia, it's the US$ card. No exceptions. 

I do this because people earning Ringgit in a developing nation get a tiny break. You can read about my rates and my ethics on that in this post here

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

I'm reviewing my rates for therapy - but don't worry, I'm sticking to RM100/US$35 per hour


It’s that time of year when I think about my practice, which includes reviewing my professional fees. I charge just RM100 per hour for clients in Malaysia and US$35 per hour for overseas clients. That’s about 50% to 70% less than the average rate. I’m not putting it up this year, and I’ll explain why in a minute.

First though, you might wonder why therapy is so expensive. Basically, it’s because you can’t take on clients until you’ve done Bachelor and Masters Degrees. The minimum is 7 years training and that costs a bomb.

Also, the work is really intensive. For example, I spent 6 hours yesterday talking to people recovering from incest, sexual abuse, workplace bullying, cheating, and plain depression and anxiety. At the end of that, I was wiped. Because it’s intensive, I have to limit the hours I take on. If I do too much, I’ll burn out.

So why am I not following the trend and upping my fees to RM150 which is the basic low rate or to RM350 which I can also swing if I stick to CEOs and the assorted affluent people?

Because I’m a twit 😊

Seriously, it’s mostly because of ethics. I believe that the people who need help most tend to be the ones at the bottom of the pay scale. As for that pay scale, here are some facts from The Malaysian Department of Statistics

In 2020, the mean salary for men in Malaysia was RM2,093
In 2020, the mean salary for women in Malaysia was RM2,019

In 2019, the mean salary for men in Malaysia was RM2,477
In 2019, the mean salary for women in Malaysia was RM2,370

So between 2019 and 2020, men lost 15.5% in income and women lost 14.8%.

With the pandemic on top of this, I expect that 2021 is going to suck, too.

What I could do is means-test, meaning I ask people what they earn and charge according to a sliding scale.

I know this is a common practice but I find it horrendous for two reasons. First, people’s pay is very private. Actually much more private than sex. Second, although it’s not sensible, people do link self-worth to salary. So asking for a discounted price on the basis of low earnings may shame them.

I absolutely will not put my clients into a position where they have to share personal information that may also make them uncomfortable in order to get help.

As I can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution, I choose to maintain my charges for another year. As the price of living is going up, I will work a little harder, but know that this is the more ethical approach. <- like I said, I’m a twit 😊 but I do try and do things Right.

In a practical spirit, I may also see about getting a bit of sponsorship going in 2022 for my poorer clients. That may be tricky because it means dealing with a lot of ethical issues, but it may be worth checking out.UPDATE: I figured out how to fix this: GIFT CARDS!

Anyway, that’s the thought for today. I’m off to edit my new book and tomorrow I have a think about my website.

If you know anyone looking for mental health support, send them my way? 
Note Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay