Humans are so diverse. Despite what the mainstream media would like us to think, we all have different:
- Bodies and sizes
- Political Views
- Core beliefs
- And more
So when it comes to communicating about the diversity that is welcomed at your practice on your therapist website, what’s the best way to do it? How can a therapist website make it known that diversity is welcome?
What Happens On A Website Where Diversity Is Not Welcomed?
Here are a few questions that visitors may have when they arrive on a therapist website that doesn’t welcome diversity:
- Will this therapist understand the parts of my experience that are related to my identity, culture, or experiences?
- Can this therapist believe what I’m telling them?
- Is it possible that this therapist could hurt me like everyone else?
- Does this therapist have experience helping people that look like me? Or who come from my culture or beliefs?
- Will I be burdened with the task of having to educate and explain my identity, culture, or experiences?
The thing is, from speaking to many therapists, it isn’t that they don’t welcome diversity into their practices, it’s that they don’t know how to make their websites welcome diversity.
But this post will outline the how-to on welcoming diversity. With some adjustments to images, copy, and even services, you can make it known that you welcome diverse people and stop this line of questioning from even forming in a website visitor’s mind.
Use Images That Include or Relate To The Diversity You Serve
Unless your services are only are available to young, slender, able-bodied, white, cis, hetero people, your website’s images should portray the actual diversity you serve.
It can be challenging to find images that are not of this “norm”. These types of people are the “default” people that constitute a large majority of what’s available on stock photo websites.
Although normative, solely using these images on your website will make diverse clients feel unwelcome, unseen, and like “this isn’t for me.”
This is especially true for minority groups who face widespread discrimination. These groups are often invisible: with our stories untold, our likenesses unseen in media and advertising, and our identities reduced into harmful tropes.
To make diverse people feel welcome, you have to take the time to see them. You have to make diversity visible instead of invisible.
The best way to make someone visible, is to make them literally visible with images of people like them and things that they can relate to that reflect something about their lives, like symbols or spaces that hold meaning to them.
To get diversity into your photos, think about things like including:
- Black, brown, and Asian people
- Couples who present as gay and lesbian
- Trans or gender-nonconforming people
- People engaged in religious practices or wearing religion-related clothing or accessories
- Fat people (doing things other than eating salad or stepping on a scale, please)
- People who are differently abled like amputees or those in wheelchairs
- Old and elderly people
- People who are activists, or people expressing political or family values
- Environments and symbols that hold meaning to the group you would like to welcome, for example rainbow flags for LGBTQIA+ or a tranquil prayer space for Muslims.
And there are so many more types of diversity that can be in your images too. These are just a few ideas. The idea is to create a website that is like looking in the mirror for your best fit client. If they don’t see themselves in the mirror, then they won’t feel like they belong there, and they will question if your service is for them at all.
It’s like your website is foreshadowing the journey ahead. If I’m a website visitor and I don’t see myself on your website, how can I envision myself in your office? Or doing that deep, vulnerable work with you? Or understand that you help people that look like me?
Using images that reflect the diversity welcome in your practice helps diverse website visitors know you are there to help them.
What You Write Matters Too
Images are by far the best way to welcome diversity on your website, but copy matters too. Here are two ideas for using words to communicate that you welcome diversity.
1. Use The “I welcome diversity including…” Prompt (Please steal this for your website)
The best way to welcome diversity in your copy, be completely obvious and spell it out. Even if you feel “oh it’s obvious that I work with other POC because I am one” or “oh I disclose that I am trans on my about page so obviously trans people will reach out” – don’t think so fast.
There is something very validating about reading that you, your identity, your experience, your culture, are welcome. Make your welcoming of diversity beyond obvious. Here’s the easiest and most straightforward way to do it, start with this prompt:
“I welcome diversity including…”
And then make a list of who you include. Here’s an example of a pretty inclusive one:
“I welcome diversity including all body sizes, abilities, races, sexualities, genders, religions and political values.”
To see this prompt idea in action, check out the Empathysites Connected Demo. At the bottom of the home page, next to a photo of my fictitious therapist Alex, they welcome diversity using this prompt. There is no confusion or questions about it.
2. Create Dedicated Specialization Pages For Them
In addition to listing out who you can help, you can also consider creating dedicated specialization pages for them.
Creating an entire page gives you the space to really see and validate a particular group. On the page, you can speak to who the service is for, what they are struggling with, and how your service can help.
Here are some ideas of how a specializations pages a therapist could have:
- Therapy for Activists
- LGBTQIA+ Therapy
- Conservative Family Values Therapy
- Non-Monogamous Relationship Counseling
- Feminist Therapy
- Therapy for Muslims
- Veteran Therapy Group
In some cases the specialization page will speak to an identity in other cases, a culture, religion, experience, or core belief.
There are so many great ways that you can speak directly to the best fit client that you wish to attract and in this case, it can also be a method for welcoming diversity into your practice via your therapist website.
Welcoming Diversity Helps More People Heal
So often our mental health struggles feel isolating. We feel all alone in our anxiety, our eating disorder, our traumatic memories.
But when a therapist puts themselves really out there, it can help us feel less alone. We feel seen, and heard, and welcomed. The validation alone is enough to move from, “I’m not ok” to, “I’m hopeful that I can be”
Knowing that there is help out there, even if you are not the “norm”, is a huge piece of feeling hopeful. But it is a step that is often hindered by the invisibility of diversity even on therapist websites.
Help with healing is out there for all. So let’s communicate that. It is such a gift when therapists are open about who they help so those that seek the help can find their best fit.
The answer to, “Is this for me?” should be, “Yes, this is for you!” Through images, and copy as well, you can confirm and welcome diversity with open arms through your website to your front door.
I’d love to hear from you. Do you welcome diversity into your practice? And if so, do your website’s images and copy reflect that? Or is it something you are now inspired to improve? Reach out anytime and let me know. Would love to hear about your thinking on this.