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How and When Do You Refer Clients to Mental Health Professionals?

By Martha Lasley  August 1, 2012

Of course there are many other people we might refer our clients to - career counselors, financial planners, or health care providers.

But if you're unsure WHEN to refer clients to a therapist, check out this article:


As for how to make a referral, the language is very personal and connected to the moment. I'll share a few ways I have talked to clients about therapy:

  • Many people benefit from both coaching and therapy - this sounds like an issue that a therapist could help you with.
  • I hear you that you aren't making progress on your goals, so I'm wondering if there's a deeper block than coaching is able to address. Perhaps therapy would help you explore this more deeply.
  • I'm not a therapist, but this behavior is beyond my area of expertise. Have you considered 12-step or working with a therapist?
  • You mentioned that you might have PTSD. I'm trained as a coach to focus on the present and the future. But I'm happy to refer you to a therapist to help you heal the past. Does that interest you?

I would like to hear what language you use to make referrals.


About the author:

Martha Lasley resizedMartha Lasley is a founder of Coaching for Transformation, an accredited coach training program and ChangeMakers, a year-long facilitation training program. She creates results-oriented programs that inspire, motivate, and transform. “I surround myself with people who take risks and look for new ways of doing things; we explore both the solid ground and the edges of transformation.”

Martha is a certified trainer in Nonviolent Communication and is a professional member of the Indian Society for Applied Behavioral Science. She has written three books: Courageous Visions; Facilitating with Heart; and Coaching for Transformation.


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