“Why Charge for HeadCheck?”

ImageI’ve told many friends about HeadCheck. They have a variety of reactions:

  • Oh my God. If only my ____ (aunt, dad, friend, boss, etc.) had one of those before ____ (the accident, the illness, the stressor) happened, everything would be different.
  • Dude. This is huge. 
  • Why has no one thought of this before?
  • Great idea (laugh)! Maybe I need one of those (laugh)!

All great responses with implications worthy of their own post. But here’s the comment I want to discuss here, the one I hear from my business savvy friends:

  • Why don’t you offer it for free, tell everyone they need therapy, and keep them as clients?

I know they mean well, but this one stings. This misses the whole point of HeadCheck.

It’s no secret, my primary career is psychotherapy. I spend most of my work week as a therapist in private practice, I write a blog about therapy, hell, I founded National Psychotherapy Day. I may be one of the world’s biggest evangelists for psychotherapy as a profession. I love therapy and believe in good therapy 100%. But HeadCheck isn’t therapy, nor is it a way to drum up therapy business for myself.

HeadCheck is about mainstreaming mental health awareness. Not just mental illness awareness (a worthy cause led by these guys), but mental health awareness. We’d like everyone to take their mental health as seriously as they take their physical, dental, financial, occupational, and all other forms of health.

We’d like “Check Between Your Ears Every Two Years” to become a rule of thumb like “change your oil every 3 months or 3000 miles” or “spend two month’s salary on an engagement ring” or “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We want to change our attitudes, and therefore our culture regarding mental health issues. Restaurants now report calories on their menus to promote physical health awareness because our culture is acutely concerned with issues surrounding our bodies. But we’re still in the dark ages when it comes to the care and wellbeing of our brains, emotions, and relationships.

We charge for a HeadCheck because it is a stand-alone mental health service, not a loss-leader to get more therapy clients. We’re not offering free tests on the street in order to convert you. We charge a fair rate (about 10% of a full assessment battery) that pays for our time, materials, experience, opinions, and a written report. We don’t recommend therapy to everyone who takes a HeadCheck, just those who have an emotional or relational issue that could benefit from therapy. And even then, we’ll give several referrals that may not include one of us. We’re thrilled when we give a HeadCheck and find that person is WNL on all 50 dimensions. Good to go. See you in two years.

We charge because what we offer is worth it. HeadCheck isn’t bait, it’s the real thing.

The Quest for WNL

wnlOur one-hour experience measures over 40 dimensions of mental health, from life satisfaction to psychosis and many points in between. Those sixty intense minutes have two goals – spot areas of concern and set a point of comparison for future measures. Find red flags and set baselines. Not thrilling, but incredibly important.

This isn’t a Mensa entrance exam or a Jeopardy qualifier. Success for HeadCheck is ruling out problems, not proclaiming your superiority. You know that relief when your dentist says “no cavities, see you in six months”? Or your MD’s office calls to say your blood work is normal? That’s what we’re shooting for here. Everything checks out. Keep up the good work. Have a lollipop.

In a field flooded with acronyms, we’re aiming for a big one: WNL – Within Normal Limits. No major problems, no need for treatment. You’re still unique and vulnerable to occasional discomfort and hardship, as is common for every “normal” person, but there isn’t  a major obstacle that causes distress for you or those around you.

WNL is what we like to see, but if we find some yellow or red flags we’ll guide you to the help you need. We’re well-connected and respected in the San Gabriel Valley, so finding good help shouldn’t be a problem. Life is better WNL. We’ll help you get there.