CASE STUDY: How a therapist started an online practice part time and went full time a year later by outsourcing the tech side of their business.

Are you ready to leave your group practice but feel overwhelmed by the nuts and bolts of running a private practice? Dr. Jamie Howard, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, was in the same boat. After years of working as a therapist in many capacities, she had a specific desire to serve veterans and their family members, but no time or brain space to learn the back-end of running a practice and business. By delegating the technical side of her practice, she was able to start a private practice part time which became her full time gig a year later. 

Her story proves that hard work, long term thinking, and taking the time to start right can pave the way for a thriving, money-making private practice (both online and in an office).

How we met

Jamie was concerned with long term growth from the get-go. She was not looking for a fast and easy way to start an online private practice. She was looking for the best way to start an online private practice that could shift and grow to support her dreams of having a brick-and-mortar practice.

Being a proud military wife, joyful mother of two, and working full time, made finding a resource, or system, that Jamie could outsource the back-end of her practice a priority. While the desire to start a private practice and fulfill her calling was bursting in her heart, there was not enough time in a her day to learn the tech side of things. She also knew that her plans to one day offer group coaching, as well as open a brick-and-mortar building, would require a scalable system.

Instead of bootstrapping her practice (getting by with all the free resources), Jamie was out to start right. So, she worked full time and kept a lookout for the right program to help her get her practice off the ground. When her friend, Dr. Amber Lyda, connected her with iTherapy, three features stood out to her:

  1. Customizable packages
  2. High quality support for both the therapist and their clients
  3. HIPAA compliant video features for group sessions

The price was also right. When Jamie did the cost breakdown, this is what she said, “If you think about it, starting a business with an overhead of less than $200 a month is almost unimaginable. And if I do one family session a month, I cover the entire cost!”.

Because Jamie felt confident that iTherapy would support her as she served clients and as her business grew, becoming an iTherapy provider was a no-brainer. She joined in late 2018. By January 2019, she officially opened for business!

The solid + scalable system we built together

Jamie said, “iTherapy made starting a practice so easy. So many things you sign up for send you a welcome email with links to all the stuff you now have access to. Not iTherapy. They hold your hand every step of the way. They even host live videos walking you through everything so that you feel well trained and confident navigating the systems needed to run your business efficiently.”

Even now, with a growing practice, Jamie says that she calls with problems and questions and gets a quick response. Because iTherapy goes above and beyond to provide tech support to both her and her clients, she’s able to spend more time and energy marketing her practice and serving more clients. 

For example, when Jamie stepped out of her day job to pursue her private practice full time, she also brought on a student therapist. That’s when Jamie worked with iTherapy to upgrade her package so that she could create a student profile. This feature allows Jamie to set student rates, assign projects, limit access (to protect sensitive information and stay HIPAA compliant), and review notes. She said, “Even though it was a crazy time, iTherapy made the transition seamless for my student therapist and kept me looking professional.” iTherapy made it possible to expand Jamie’s capacity to serve clients during what could have been a very stressful time.

Recently, Jamie opened a brick-and-mortar facility, and guess what? All the systems Jamie used for her online practice are the same systems she’s using for her brick-and-mortar practice. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves…

The results

Let’s recap Jamie’s timeline:

  • 2018 – working full time, joined iTherapy, getting all the pieces together
  • January 2019 – started her online private practice part time 
  • January 2020 – left full time job working about 20 hours a week
  • June 2020 (at the time of writing and recording) – a full caseload of clients, opened a brick-and-mortar practice, added an Intern to her team

In two years, Jamie was able to start an online practice, leave her full time job, and open a brick-and-mortar practice as well. I think we can all agree that that’s incredible growth! But get this, Jamie said, “I’m able to manage everything just fine within iTherapy.” 

Even with all this tremendous growth, Jamie has been able to stay sane and organized using the same support system she started with. She hasn’t had to put anything on hold as she moved all her data from a free system to a more elaborate system that allowed her to have additional practitioners. All that said, she didn’t even skip a beat during COVID-19.

Your turn

If you’re looking for a system, or program, to help you handle the back-end of your practice, take Jamie’s advice (which is the advice she followed for herself): “Know where you want to go. Then, find something that can get you from where you are now to where you want to be.” 

If what you need is a solid and scalable system that is HIPAA compliant and grants you access to a hands-on support team, schedule a call here to see that we’ve got all the pieces you’re looking for.  

Who’s ready to outsource the tech side of their practice so that they can focus on marketing and serving more clients?

Some of our
CASE STUDY: How a therapist started an online practice part time and went full time a year later by outsourcing the tech side of their business. Counselors

CASE STUDY: How one therapist increased her salary by 150% starting an online practice

If you’re a therapist who feels unfulfilled by your job and are looking to take a leap into having your own practice, you will love the story of our client Dr. Carol O’Saben. After working more than 25 years in university counseling centers, Carol decided to start a private practice. Less than a year later, she was fully booked. Now, about two years later, Carol is making 150% of her previous salary while working fewer hours, taking more vacations, and feeling fulfilled by her work!

Carol’s story proves that it’s possible to create a fulfilling life, both emotionally and financially, for yourself through starting a private practice and prioritizing your personal values.

How we met

After working for more than 25 years in university counseling centers, Carol found herself clocking 50+ hour weeks filled mostly by paperwork and very little client contact. Driven by her value to work to live and not live to work, Carol began exploring the possibility of having her own private practice. As she was crunching numbers for a brick-and-mortar practice, she began researching what it would take to have an online practice. 

The overhead of a brick-and-mortar practice was staggering, not to mention that Carol lived in a very small town and wondered if she would be able to find enough clients to stay in business. Having an online practice would allow Carol to serve clients from across the state and not just in her small town. 

As Carol decided owning and operating an online practice was the route she wanted to take, she kept three things at the forefront of her mind:

  • Start strong, even if it means growing slow.
  • Talk about what you do and network.
  • Build a life that supports your values.

Starting strong meant researching thoroughly and getting certifications that would make her feel confident about serving clients online. This led her to iTherapy in October of 2017.

The launching pad Carol and iTherapy made together

When Carol first heard about iTherapy’s pricing, she thought, “Ah! That’s a lot per month for a tool suite to operate my business online!!”. Yet, when she realized the monthly cost of working with iTherapy could be covered by one session each month, she was ready to jump in. 

Carol started with the smallest package iTherapy offers: client management platform and secure video platform. That’s all she needed to get started, so that’s all she got. This allowed her to keep track of all her client information, schedule appointments, file their payment/insurance information, as well as confidently hold appointments knowing her telehealth appointments were HIPPA compliant. 

The first month that Carol worked with iTherapy consisted mostly of training and getting familiar with each platform. Starting slow, but strong. During this time, Carol was also able to network and grow her connections. 

By the end of February 2018, she had 8-10 clients per week. That’s when Carol called iTherapy and upgraded to the second packaged, which included secure email, phone, and fax services. This allowed her to communicate with her clients, receive invoices, send emails and faxes, without worrying about whether or not she was remaining compliant. 

Before she was twelve months into having her private practice, she needed a website. Who did Carol call? iTherapy. While iTherapy does not build websites, they are connected with a company who does and got the ball rolling. Carol had a beautiful and functional website in no time!

iTherapy’s unique ability to scale allowed Carol to start where she was and upgrade as her practice grew. Everytime she was ready for more, she had a point of contact at iTherapy that she was able to call and discuss what the best package would be for her and her business. 

The Results

Today, Carol works 4 days a week. She starts her work day between 10 and 11am instead of 430 when she works in university counseling centers. For a few days a week, she’ll work into the evening in order to serve her professional clients when they get off of work. She schedules her clients 15-30 min between sessions so that she can take a few minutes to walk her dogs, do some yoga on her back deck, or respond to email and phone calls.

In September, she was able to take a whole month off for a two week vacation and to recover from a hip replacement. She took another two weeks off in December for the second hip. Both times, her income did not suffer. 

See how Carol’s work is supporting the lifestyle she wants to live?

Not too long ago, when her client management platform had glitches, she called iTherapy and explained the problem. iTherapy got on the phone with the client management software to troubleshoot and discounted Carol’s subscription for the month for the hassle. Together, they were able to resolve the issue by end of week!

Instead of spending valuable time on hold with the client management software, trying to understand technical lingo and solve html problems, Carol was able to leave that up to iTherapy (who does understand technical lingo and html), serve her clients, and enjoy her life. 

Carol now calls iTherapy her personal administrative team. Working with iTherapy allowed her to start strong and build a life that supports her values.

Your turn

If you’re on a mission to feel fulfilled, both emotionally and financially by the work you’re doing, online therapy might be the right answer for you. Just keep in mind the steps Carol took:

  • Know that you can make a living, but be patient. Let the business grow.
  • Talk about what you do and connect with others in your community.
  • Know your values and build a life that supports them. 

If your values include less admin, more client calls, and more free time, iTherapy would be happy to help you simplify the back-end of your business. Reach out here for more info!

Who’s ready to have a fulfilling life, both emotionally and financially, by starting an online practice and prioritizing personal values?

 

Are you ready to re-open?

Anyone else ready for things to return to normal – or as normal as possible?

If I had five hands they would all be in the air right now!

While I have enjoyed the slower pace of things and less packed restaurants as they’re gradually re-opening (FL resident writing) I’m ready for rhythms, and parties, and concerts, and being able to see my clients face-to-face.

Restaurants will gradually increase their capacity. 

Stores will continue to reopen.

Concerts will reschedule.

Party invitations will be sent once again.

But the question we can’t get away from is: What does it look like to reopen our practices in a way that makes our clients feel physically safe?

As clinicians we spend a lot of time creating an emotionally safe space, which includes communicating that they are physically safe, but in the midst of Covid-19 physical safety is taking a new spin.

Here are four things we recommend (and that clinicians we work closely with are working on) to prepare the practice for a smooth and successful reopening:

Set up your digital forms

You know how you hand clients papers to fill out when they come in and a pen to fill out the paper with. Don’t forget the clipboard the paper is attached to. That’s a lot of things people are touching and should be sanitized after use.

Skip all that by setting up your digital forms. This does a couple of things:

  1. Each person can use their own device. Your clients can use their own device to fill out the form and you can use your own device to review the information they provide. 
  2. Less things to sanitize. If emailing the form isn’t your “cup of tea”, having your client fill out the form on your computer still reduces the amount of things you need to sanitize and provides for the clinician to review the forms on their own devices instead of endlessly shuffling and filing papers.
  3. Fewer people have contact. When you use digital forms not only are you cutting down on the amount of things you have to sanitize but you’re also reducing the amount of people who have to come in contact with the papers because you aren’t having to pass the papers or file them for safe keeping.

If you’re like “YES, I need to set up digital forms, but don’t know where to start” schedule a call with us. Making your practice as simple as possible is why we exist! We’re happy to answer your questions and even get you set up with a completely digital system if that’s what you want.

Set up SMS Texting 

Have you noticed how many restaurants and stores have taken this time to renovate or repaint during this time? Being out of routine and having fewer sessions isn’t exactly ideal, but we can capitalize on this time by updating our systems and automating as much as possible. 

Aside from implementing a system for digital forms we highly recommend setting up SMS Texting via a secure platform. This way you can notify your clients about their upcoming session without ever having to pick up a phone to call them. 

If you’ve ever used scheduling software for social media SMS Texting functions a lot like that. It auto texts your prewritten and scheduled texts. You can also enable features that allow your clients to confirm, cancel, or reschedule their appointments as needed.

Masks

This is where making your clients feel physically safe comes in. Lots of people are making masks these days. Most people own masks by now, too. And you can have disposable masks prepared for your clients as they walk in. 

SMS Texting could be super handy to quickly and automatically remind your clients to bring masks for their sessions (can you tell we’re huge fans of the SMS Texting?!).

Personally wearing a mask during sessions or at least asking a client if that would make them feel more comfortable, is highly recommended. So, find yourself a mask you don’t hate wearing!

Barrier

We’ve seen these applied in a few fashions. Simply by creating significant space between where you are sitting in your clients is sitting either by moving chairs further apart or turning a coffee table long ways. Plexi glass whether hanging from the ceiling, a trifold, or a stand is a great (and our favorite) option. It could also remove the need to wear masks which would make talking much easier and less awkward.

When you and your client are not concerned about getting each other sick it will allow for more open conversation and rapport.

This is a challenging season. Not only have our lives been rocked with closures and precautions such as masks and stay-at-home mandates but they continue to be rocked as we’re working towards a new normal without promoting another peak. With compassion, intention, and alertness we can navigate these transitions in a way that moves us forward and empowers us to provide premium care for clients.

If you have any questions or want help setting up digital forms and SMS Texting please feel free to reach out or schedule a call with us. We’re here for you!

3 reasons you should start online therapy as a side hustle in 2020

Have you ever wished for a simple and easy way to help more people through therapy?

Are you looking for a simple and easy way to get the ball rolling as a newly licensed clinician?

Do you need an additional stream of income that doesn’t require you to learn a whole new craft?

That’s what starting online therapy as a side hustle has been to countless therapists before you.

Here are three reasons we recommend starting online therapy as a side hustle if you’re looking for a simple way to expand your reach, get your feet wet, and find new clients:

If you’re worried about the ethical side of online therapy check out this post!

Time

You know how kids often start out wearing life vests in the water? It’s so they (and their parents) don’t have to worry about drowning. They can enjoy the water without having to fully commit wondering if they’re gonna go under because they’re not a strong enough swimmer yet.

Whether you’ve had an in-person practice for some time and are wanting the flexibility that online therapy offers or you’re ready to start signing your own clients, starting online therapy as a side hustle is like a life vest. It allows you to have a gradual transition into providing therapy without having to jump in with two feet and wondering if you’ll survive.

Starting online therapy as a side hustle buys you time to grow slowly. 

Having a brick-and-mortar practice is extremely expensive. Online therapy bridges this gap buying you time to grow slowly. You can work your day job and sign a few clients until you feel confident about the online thing and are sure you have what it takes to replace your full time income. 

Overhead

Have you ever had to decide between taking a trip to Mexico or England? 

Your pro and con lists might go a little bit like this:

Pro List for Mexico: Stay in super fancy resorts, take all the excursions, have a couple hundred bucks left in the bank when I get home.

Pro list for England: Afternoon tea every day, visit Scotland, bragging rights, take selfies with Uncle Ben.

Con list for Mexico: Could be “sketch” in some places.

Con list for England: Have no money left in the bank when I get home.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to Mexico – all those fancy extras and not having to worry about money!! BRING IT.

Having an online practice is like taking the trip to Mexico because your overhead is SO much less. A smaller overhead means you don’t have to make as much money to stay viable each month and if you do make a LOT of money, you get to keep it, instead of keeping up with all your brick-and-mortar costs.

An online therapy practice allows you to have a REAL practice just like you had a REAL vacation to Mexico – it just doesn’t break the bank. 

If you are ready to take the leap into online therapy, we’d love to help! Our providers have called us “the one-stop shop for all online therapy practice needs”. Schedule a call here to get your practice up and going!

Growth

Have you ever thrown a party and told your friends (the ones you originally invited) that they could bring their friends?

All of the sudden you had like a mega party, right?!

Online therapy is similar to that in the way it extends your reach to help others. 

When your friends brought their friends they brought some people who weren’t in your network. When you provide therapy online you’re able to help people who aren’t in your usual network; people who might not feel comfortable in an office setting, are not willing to make the trek to an office, or just don’t have the flexibility of time/schedule to show up to a specific place. 

Wola! Helping people through online therapy just extended your reach.

Whether you have an in-person practice, are just starting out as a therapist, or are a seasoned and established therapist, every once in a while it’s hard to find clients. Offering online therapy as a side hustle has the potential to significantly increase your ability to help people and make more money without working harder.

If you have any questions or are just looking to the final piece – a compliant way to run your practice online – reach out. You can respond in the comments or schedule time to talk with one of our experts HERE.

The Ultimate Resource Library for Therapists

Ever hit a wall in your practice and thought, “If only I had someone with a little bit of experience in this particular area I would feel a lot better about myself right now?”.     

If you’re a private practice or online therapist peer groups can be great for this.

If you’re a traditional therapist you probably work at a group practice and have access to someone who can answer your question or at least point you in the right direction.

But what about when you just don’t want to wait or the person you would ask isn’t available?

Ili River Walter, PhD, LMFT – as well as a consultant, supervisor, professor, and wellness warrior for mental health professionals – has created a resource library with over 18,000 eager subscribers. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

As a licensed marriage and family therapist, Ili started her own private practice in 2011. Before too long she began looking into becoming a group practice. Then her daughter was born. It was then that she knew she couldn’t commit more hours away from her. So, her online therapy journey began.

While running her online practice and writing her dissertation she kept asking herself, “What can I do while I’m writing my dissertation to keep my skills strong, but also see if what I know is helpful for others?”. 

That’s when familytherapybasics.com was born.

A few months later, when her very first pin on pinterest went viral, Ili knew she had created something special that was indeed helpful for others.

For the last three years she has continued to pour immense time and energy into creating checklists, templates, and guides for therapists in all walks of their journey.

Here’s a sneak peak into the six most downloaded resources in her library (and the links to get your hands on them, too):

THE FIRST SESSION CHECKLIST

If you want to be sure you’re nailing your first session, asking all the right questions, making your client feel comfortable, and providing premium care this six-page checklist just became your new best friend!

The first session checklist covers the five essential components of a successful first session. It is best suited for individuals who are new to therapy or are just starting a solo or group practice and want a consistent structure for sessions within their practice. 

Get access to this resource and the ENTIRE library HERE.

CASE SUMMARY TEMPLATE

Whether you’re a new or seasoned therapist, writing a case summary can feel daunting. That’s why The Case Summary Template was created. Not quite “drag and drop” but a far cry away from staring at a blank page for hours, this three page template walks therapists through writing a case study for academic, documentation, and supervision purposes. 

This is also a good resource for professors and supervisors who are teaching students how to write case studies.

For a quick how-to and to grab the template for yourself click HERE. 

SUPERVISEE ONBOARDING CHECKLIST (specifically for supervisors)

If you’re a therapist who serves as a supervisor either within an agency or your own practice, this checklist will be your lifesaver. It’s designed to keep you on track and to make sure you don’t forget a thing while mentoring a therapist.

Learn more or download the checklist HERE.

CHILDREN AND FAMILY THERAPY SERIES

NOTE: While not a downloadable pdf, this is an invaluable resource and one of the most viewed pages on the Family Therapy Basics website, so we didn’t want to not include it. 

The Children + Family Therapy Series is a three part series that covers six general guidelines for working with families from a systemic perspective. You will learn how to engage every member of the family, stay mindful of their triggers, and support childrens’ voices through therapy.

Read it all here: 

Part 1 

Part 2

Part 3

SYSTEMIC CONVERSATIONS ABOUT A CHILD’S DIAGNOSIS CHECKLIST

How do you help a family walk with their child(ren) through a diagnosis? What words do you use? What do you focus on? This three page checklist covers an integrative approach to speaking with families and provides therapists with guidelines on how to talk to the family whether the child is present or just the parents. 

It’s easy for therapists to get stuck using the terminology of the diagnosis to refer to an actual experience, but it’s very important that therapists assess, address, and deepen how the diagnosis is a unique experience for both the child and the parent. This checklist will help you do just that!

Get the checklist and a brief overview of systemic conversations with children HERE.

HOW TO ETHICALLY OFFER COACHING AS A LICENSED A CLINICIAN

If you’ve ever wondered how to integrate state laws and rules, stay aware of business issues, consider dual relationships, and have an ethical perspective on training and creating a coaching niche this is the check list for you! 

The ethical coaching checklist includes 13 tips on how to move in the direction of offering coaching in your business and walks therapists through necessary tasks to get there.

Read the blog post and get your own copy of the checklist HERE.

If you’re like, “Mmmmm nice resources! But can I have a real person?” listen up!

Ili Rivera Walter has more stuff to offer. What?!

  1. Refreshed Therapist Network is an online business and personal growth community for psychotherapists. Founded by Ili in 2017, it’s purpose is to offer therapists a place to grow their business in a way that fits with their values. Learn more or join the network HERE.
  2. City Couples is an online therapy practice specializing in couple therapy. This is where you can find Ili spending her clinician hours. You heard that right. On top of providing top-of-the-line resources to clinicians, she’s on the front-lines serving couples! You can learn more or schedule a session with Ili HERE.
  3. When Ili isn’t running her network, serving clients, or writing for her resource library she’s a Graduate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Nyack College.

 

How to treat chronically suicidal patients effectively in-person or online

“I don’t see treating a chronically suicidal person online as significantly different than in person because, either way, if there’s an issue you’re going to call crisis intervention.”

That’s what Belinda Barnett PhD and Clinical Psychologist with over 18 years of experience said in response to my question about what challenges or concerns a clinician might face with online therapy opposed to in-person therapy when serving chronically suicidal patients.

Turns out, the real question isn’t whether or not online therapy is a successful and safe option to provide care for chronically suicidal patients. 

But rather: Are your methods effective and are you capable of handling the stress and building yourself a structure of support so that you can care for yourself and your clients

It was evident throughout our conversation that Belinda’s heart is for her clients to not only manage risk but also to develop lasting systems to support themselves and see their own value.

Over the last 18 years her clients have had successful and measurable results. If you’re wondering whether or not your approach to serving chronically suicidal patients is effective, settle in because there are a few traditional approaches that Belinda has observed to be harmful and she’s here to share the alternative. 

Here are three specific approaches that Belinda believes have directly contributed to her clients’ success in not only managing risk, but creating the tool-belt necessary to thrive with mental and emotional freedom.

Knee-jerk Reactions

An understandable reaction when a client confides that they have had suicidal thoughts, have a plan in place, or are practicing self-injury is to immediately send them to the hospital.

This is harmful in a few ways. 

First of all, if this is always your first response as a therapist your client will be less likely to confide in you when they’re struggling with these thoughts. 

Secondly, the hospital is no longer a place where people go to get better over the long term. It’s a sterile building with lots of other sick people who are there to get stabilized medicated and returned home as soon as possible. 

Thirdly, if your client has been struggling with this for any length of time they probably have been to this exact hospital or ER more than once. It’s not uncommon for medical professionals to get frustrated seeing the same patient over and over again for the same condition. 

NOTE: This is not to slight medical professionals – this is a very understandable reaction. They work hard, serve us well, and we need them, especially in crisis circumstances. At work they are often stressed caring for a lot of individuals. 

Instead of immediately sending a client to the hospital when they share a suicidal thought take it seriously, but also take your client seriously by assessing their likelihood to actually act out and consider the following:

  • How long have you been working with the client?
  • Have you seen them implement the lessons you have assigned them?
  • What is their ability to keep a commitment to you?

I once negotiated with a client I had been working with for sometime to not do anything for 24 hours until they saw for an appointment the next day. At that point in the conversation I told my client, “I’m gonna trust you not to do THIS. You have to trust me that I’m doing what’s best for you. But I’m also trusting that if you start to struggle again before I see you you will call me. Does that make sense?”

“Individuals aren’t used to clinicians putting their trust in them.” Belinda stated. 

But trust is imperative to their healing. If they can’t learn to trust others and reach out when they’re struggling, how are they ever going to create a community of support for themselves? And if they do not experience trust in them how are they ever going to learn to trust themselves?

This section is not an invitation to take a suicidal comment less seriously. It is, however and invitation to take your client seriously, believe in them, and make the best decision for your client on their way to healing.

Self-Injury 

The idea that people self-injure for attention is traditional and often accepted, but more often it isn’t true. No one wakes up thinking “The way I’m going to live an adult life is by cutting myself.” 

While on the surface self-injury looks manipulative it’s truly an attempt at solving a problem. 

Cutting, or any form of self-harm for that matter, is a way an individual has learned to cope with their reality. It often serves as a neutralizer or a way to feel emotions. If someone is feeling dull or lifeless pain can make them feel alive again. If they could choose a different way they would.

Instead of feeling frustrated by your client’s seemingly attention-grabbing behavior you have help them three ways:

  1. Help your clients identify and name their emotions. Remember, self-injury often serves as a neutralizer or way to feel emotion, so if you’re able to help your client verbalize and put a name to their feeling, they will be one step away from inflicting physical injury as a form of resolution and personal-understanding. 
  2. Help your client learn to manage that emotion instead of letting it get out of control in their mind.
  3. Help your client develop skills to deal with the problem that generates the severe emotion.

Marsha Linehan says something along the lines of, “To work with borderline people you have to really like them.” Borderline individuals tend not to be likeable people a lot of the time. 

If you are unable to see through their drama to where their pain is coming from this is probably not the best clientele for you to be serving. Anger and blaming clients for their behavior is often very harmful and representative of a fundamental misunderstanding, but can prevent your clients from making the changes they need to in order to live a life of mental and emotional freedom.

Parental Role

It’s not uncommon for psychiatrists to approach their work with their clients from a very parental role. When the client doesn’t do it they feel like the client is being resistant. Keep in mind for one reason or another the client came to you for help. So, maybe they’re being resistant, but maybe this is really hard and they need someone with knowledge to come alongside, support them, and guide them in creating lasting systems for success. 

Instead of taking on the parental role in your work with your clients approach it like a partnership and communicate that. Belinda says something like this, “I have the book knowledge, but you have the YOU knowledge and our job is to bring knowledge together and create a better life for you. If we keep at this you are gonna make mistakes and I’m gonna make mistakes. What I’m asking for you to do is communicate with me and tell me when I make mistakes.” 

Again, you’re leveraging the influence of trust to build relationships with your clients and inspire them toward personal responsibility. A lot of chronically suicidal patients have been from clinician to clinician to clinician, this partnership approach starts you out on a different foot.

In Closing

I can’t summarize this post any better than Belinda herself, so I’ll just leave her closing thoughts from our interview with you!

“This work is never easy and even with 18+ years of experience I am far from an expert. I’m far from feeling like I have a handle on how to do all this. 

“While this work does get less difficult, it’s always scary. It’s never comfortable to hang up the phone when someone has called you, told you they were struggling, and you were able to convince them not to do anything until they get to your clinic the next day. It’s stressful.

“I don’t work with more than 3-4 clients struggling like this because that’s my limit. If you choose to work with this clientele you need to know your limits. And you need a support system for yourself.” 

If you’re wanting to serve chronically suicidal patients or improve your ability to serve them, reach out to Belinda HERE. She’s creating a course with specific strategies to serve your clients in a way that helps them manage risk but also develop a lasting structure to live with mental and emotional freedom.

If you’re wanting to provide online support that is HIPAA compliant to your clients schedule a call with us HERE.

 

How to get your face-to-face clients to switch to online/video

  Three Things You Can Do During COVID-19If you’ve ever thought, “How do I help my clients understand the safety and functionality of online therapy?” this is the post for you.

Whether you’ve been offering teletherapy alongside your in-person practice or you’re ready to shift your business online this post will unpack the necessities of making a safe and smooth transition.

We’ll walk you through three different scenarios (of made up clients) and how to navigate the concerns and legal matters with sincerity and clarity. We’ve also included a section specific to serving your clients during COVID-19 (which is in full swing at the time of publishing this post).

Communicate your availability

What if Betsy, a stay-at-home mom, is specifically looking for a therapist to provide care online?

She hops on your website or even visits your office for an initial visit to see if you’re a fit. Her heart sinks a little bit as she scans your website and waiting room but finds no indication that you provide care via online video calls. Your initial session goes well. Woohoo! Unfortunately, she walks out of the office not as your client, but on the hunt for someone who does offer online sessions so that she can care for herself while honoring her commitment to her children. 

But, here’s the kicker: You actually DO provide online therapy. 

But she didn’t ask so she never knew.

Don’t let that happen to you or any other “Bestys” by making sure you’ve done these five things:

ONE: Print a poster that states you provide online therapy and pin it up in your office.

TWO: Make it evident on your website. Evident, as in, on the first screen of your website so they don’t have to scroll anywhere to find out!

THREE: Talk about it in a social media post, blog post, or youtube channel.

FOUR: Direct communication. Email newsletter, make sure your clients are aware that online therapy is an option to them at any time whether they’re traveling or sick or just want to switch entirely. If someone asks to reschedule or cancel, make sure they know there is an online option.

FIVE: Tell your referral base that you can take online clients.

Here’s a video by our Chief Technology and Marketing Officer who goes into this in a little more depth.

Help your clients understand teletherapy

Crystal is a high level executive who is ready to uplevel her personal life by working through childhood trauma. The only problem is she’s constantly on the move with her company. While she’s interested in online support she hasn’t made the leap for three years because more than anything she wants to feel safe while diving into the deep hurts of her past. 

While Crystal has spent the last three years on the fence about whether or not she can trust online therapy she’s suffered a string of unsuccessful relationships in every area of her life. 

So, what will it take for Crystal to finally take the leap into online therapy? 

Understanding it.

And that’s something you can provide in two ways:

ONE: Explain how online therapy works. Some therapists, like Jamie of Mission Ready Counseling, provide a separate informed consent. They include information about the platform Secure Video that is used and HIPAA-Secure as well as some info ensuring them that you are in a private space whenever conducting a session.

TWO: Tell them how they can create a safe atmosphere for the session as well (ie, make sure you’re in a safe space with no distractions, be sure your internet connection is strong enough to stream netflix, wear pants). 

Protect yourself

Steve is on a mission to reclaim his sanity and zest for life for the first time in 2 years since his wife’s passing. As a single father with a full-time job, time isn’t the only thing he’s short on (the reason he’s only considering online therapy). His budget is tight, too. The only way he will be able to work with a therapist is if  they accept insurance.  

In order to serve individuals like Steve you need to be sure of three things (aside from being approved/certified to provide care in their state):

ONE: Make sure your insurance covers online therapy. Be clear on whether or not you have to be at a physical office location in order to hold online sessions as well!  

TWO: Clarify what your malpractice covers and that it follows the therapist wherever they are located (home or office).

THREE: Make sure your online video platform (and all means of communication…email, phone, text) is secure and HIPAA compliant. If you’re not sure, schedule a free call with us.

As related to COVID-19

Since this post is being written and shared during the COVID-19 Pandemic we wanted to point out a three things you can be aware of and intentional to address ASAP:

ONE: Mental health will suffer incredibly during this time as a result of anxiety and low interaction with others. This is your time to shine and be there for people! Be 110% sure your method for providing online therapy is secure and HIPAA compliant!

TWO: If you haven’t already, notify all your clients that you are available for online sessions. It’s genuinely in their best interest to continue having care during this time than rescheduling their session until after this craziness ends.

NOTE: This would be a good time to offer a special package of 3-4 sessions dealing with anxiety at a lower rate and invite your current clients to share the opportunity with anyone they know who might want some extra support.

THREE: Talk about online therapy on any social platform you already occupy.

If you have questions on how to have a secure and HIPAA compliant online therapy practice be sure to reach out. We’ve helped over a hundred therapists build a successful online practice or transition to supporting their clients through telehealth. We have what it takes to help you, too!

The History + Current Leaders of iTherapy

Have you ever turned down an invitation to a party because you thought you wouldn’t know anyone there besides the host (or whoever it was that invited you)?

Yeah, me too!

That’s awkward. You’re trying to be social and fit in, but you just don’t fit in so you teeter-totter between being a wallflower and awkwardly intruding on a conversation.

Yep, definitely awkward.

We don’t want you to feel that way around here.

Whether you’ve already arrived at the party, by becoming an iTherapy provider, and are trying to figure out the best way to insert yourself in a conversation (note: emailing us or joining our facebook group is a great way to start) or you’re still deciding whether or not you’ll fit in as a iTherapy provider we would like to introduce ourselves!

We have three fearless leaders spear-heading things around here: Carol Pulley, Forrest Pulley, and Nick Fuller. For introductions you’ll find a jazzed up professional bio followed by their personal answers to three questions.

So, without further ado, may I introduce to you…

Carol Pulley

Carol is a  Practicing Licensed Psychological Associate. After a successful 20-year career in the corporate world, she returned to school to pursue her dream of becoming a counselor. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Business Management from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and a Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Appalachian State University. She has been providing services to individuals, couples, families and groups since 2007 with her own private practice helping them to meets likfes challenges and continue on their personal journies..

When she finally embarked on fulfilling her dream of becoming a counselor she waded through the multifaceted challenges of starting your own practice which only multiplied with the opportunity to practice virtually thanks to online technology.

Through navigating her own challenges of establishing a credible practice and meeting other clinicians who were struggling to make sense of the same challenges the vision of iTherapy was born.

Today, Carol plays a leading role not only as a Co-Founder, but as the therapists’ voice, offering perspective and input from a real-time clinician, as iTherapy grows and continues to explore bigger and better ways to serve clinicians.

What role do you play in iTherapy?

I am the clinical director and work to provide the iTherapy team a clinicians perspective when considering new strategies and tools that will continue to help our providers meet their professional goals. I am always on the look out for services that can streamline the administrative portion of our jobs to allow more time for a healthy work life balance.

What is your favorite part about how iTherapy serves its customers?

As a practicing psychologist myself, I love when I hear other therapists become excited about all of the services and support provided through iTherapy. I enjoy hearing how iTherapy has given them the support they need to successfully grow their practice ! I love to hear clinicians stories of how iTherapy services have helped them to create a healthy work/life balance.

What are you doing when you’re not working on iTherapy?

I have a group practice providing psychological testing and therapy. When I am not working, I  enjoy exercising, yoga, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Forrest Pulley

With 40+ years of experience as a small business owner, a business professor at a private college, and an AT&T executive and having visited all 50 states and more than 50 countries I think it’s safe to summarize Forrest Pulley’s life in two words: Business + Travel.

During a 25-year career with AT&T, he held a variety of positions in operations, sales, research and development and administration. Following his career at AT&T, Forrest worked in the small business environment as a Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer in the insurance and mental health fields. Forrest then became a faculty member and, subsequently Division Chair of the Business Administration Program at Lees-McRae College. His responsibilities included the overall leadership of the Department as well as teaching courses in marketing, leadership, small business development and entrepreneurship.

As his wife and Co-Founder navigated the ins-and-outs of establishing her own private practice and encountered other clinicians struggling with the same loop-holes Forrest joined his business-savvy brain and experience with Carol’s vision and iTherapy was born.

What role do you play in iTherapy?
Co-Founder
Responsible for New Provider contacts, Customer Service and Financial

What is your favorite part about how iTherapy serves its customers?
Interaction with providers from all over the United States.
Our focus on helping clinicians and practices be successful.That, as a small to mid-sized company, we are able to truly put our clinicians “first”.
What are you doing when you’re not working on iTherapy?
TravelAnything outdoors.

Nick Fuller

Nick finds incredible passion and purpose in his technical expertise to the iTherapy team.

With over 10 years of programming experience, he’s developed a broad skill set. Initially Nick’s technical experience was centered around video game development, but since 2012 Nick has shifted his focus to website and business development. Nick was instrumental in writing one of his first projects, Mommy Market, and growing it to over 10,000 users within its first year.

Later websites and database driven web applications include a charity fundraising application for a professional athlete, internal employee benefit communications sites for multiple fortune 100 companies, and a content delivery system for a SaaS company that serviced major international insurance companies.

Nick’s innovative, but technical and strategic mind allows him to not only provide all the technical support for iTherapy but also cast vision and manage all marketing efforts in iTherapy. He’s always looking for new ways to up-level this company and serve providers with more efficiency without losing the personal touch so near and dear the heart of iTherapy. 

What role do you play in iTherapy?

I head up the technical team at iTherapy and handle all of our marketing.

What is your favorite part about how iTherapy serves its customers?

Besides our commitment to exemplary customer service, I love that we’re a one stop shop for everything a therapist needs for their private practice. If one of our providers needs something, they need only ask. If we can’t help them directly, we’ll at minimum point them in the right direction.

I think that level of service is invaluable as providers navigate the complicated world of starting and growing their own private practice.

What are you doing when you’re not working on iTherapy?

Possibly working on our sister business, Shire Digital Solutions, which specializes in custom website development and search engine optimization. If I’m not working at all, I love spending time with my (soon to be) wife and our kiddo Braden. And, when the weather’s good I like to spend time at the beach or on a Stand Up Paddleboard.

Hopefully, you feel like you’re part of the party now, if you’re already a iTherapy provider and if not we hope our intros convince you that iTherapy is the place for you to navigate the ins-and-outs of establishing your practice and growing it because, we’re people helping people. We’re real live humans on the other end of this screen here to answer your questions, walk you through confusing programs, and help you build a business that lets you care for clients, yourself, and your family!

Schedule a call here to get started! And be sure to check out all of our glowing reviews on our Reviews page, too.

How to make your private practice paperless.

Imagine a world where you don’t have to…

…email a document, that your client then prints, fills out, signs, scans and finally emails back to you (which you then have to print and file).

…decipher illegible handwriting and decode someone’s answer to your intake questionnaire (hoping and praying you didn’t translate wrong).

…print and file a million pieces of paper alphabetically and then spend time sorting through them when you need important information.

Sounds like a “Yes please, can I have that…like…yesterday?” world, don’t you think?

This paperless private practice is made possible by three features on our Secure Email Platform that all our providers have access, too.

(Wait! You’re sold already? Sweet! Click this link to schedule a free demo and get yourself set up with all the things you need to have a paperless private practice).

CUSTOMIZABLE FORMS

Who hates getting to a Dr office and spending twenty minutes filling out all those forms?

Me, I do (hate it, that is)!

But my new dentist sent me all the paperwork via email when I scheduled the appointment so that when I could fill everything out and send it back to them before I arrived.

It was the next best thing to magic. And even though that dentist is in VA and I now live in FL, I haven’t switched. Ridiculous, I know. But I make the trek (also, my family lives there, so I have a reason to be in VA besides the dentist).

Point being, the dentist office made it so easy to be a client, I keep being a client. I WANT to be their client.

You can give that same experience to your clients, by having customized forms that you can send your clients BEFORE their session with you.

Whether you need a:

  • Referral Form
  • Client Intake Form
  • Experience Survey
  • Symptom Questionnaire
  • Release of Information Form

You can create one specific to the needs of your practice. Get all the information you need and none that you don’t while creating an incredibly user-friendly experience for your clients!

SIGNATURE FEATURE

Now, some of those forms you send need a signature, am I right?

  • The Release of Information forms you need so that you can get information from other counselors or doctors.
  • The forms that allow you to discuss personal matters with your clients such as questionnaires.

Our secure email platform allows our providers to not only create customized forms but take e-signatures so no one has to email, the print, sign, scan, email back, then print, and finally file.

SECURE EMAIL

The two previously mentioned features wouldn’t be of much service if you didn’t have a HIPAA compliant method to communicate with your clients.

And that’s where our Secure Email Platform really comes through for our Providers. 

They’ve created an easy-to-use way to email your clients, schedule sessions, discuss things related to their session, as well as deliver and receive completed forms.

And just like that, we showed you how the world that you imagined at the beginning of this post can be yours.

Becoming a paperless private practice helps you not only eliminate illegible handwriting, excruciating back-and-forth printing-signing-scanning, and filing a ton of papers, but it can also help you increase client contracts and retention.

Find out how you can get this magic working on the behalf of your private practice by scheduling a free demo with us.

 

The go-to course for private practice’s wanting to build credibility, boost visibility, + book more clients.

How many times have you been like, “I’m gonna start an online private practice” but never did because tackling the Website Beast was just too overwhelming?

We get it. Whether…

…you didn’t know how to build a website (what is coding and html anyways?)

…hiring someone to build one was just way, too expensive

…or you straight up didn’t know where to begin

Here are the first five things you should be considering (if you’re more of a video person feel free to hop over to youtube and watch this six minute video instead):

WEBSITE BUILDER

Basically, where are you going to build and host your website? 

  • WordPress. 
  • Wix. 
  • Squarespace.

These are all examples of programs that allow you to build and display websites.

We recommend squarespace because it’s easy to use and relatively inexpensive. They have what is called a drag-and-drop feature that allows you to find formats you like, drop them into your website and then customize the individual pieces of that format such as images, text, and color.

Also *shameless plug*, we created a step-by-step course that walks you through everything you need to know to build an aesthetically pleasing website that’s efficient and engaging.

BRANDING (aka. create specific visuals that make you stand out)

How will people visually recognize who you are and what you do?

In a world saturated with messaging you need to stand out, not just with epic words, degrees and experience, but with visuals as well.

This includes everything from front, to colors, to logos, to the types of images you use to communicate the feelings you want your ideal clients to associate with you.

If done right, branding can become one of your most powerful connectors to other people. Let’s take Apple for example. If I was to show you a picture of a minimalist apple you would immediately think “Apple”, which would lead you on a thought trail of iPods, laptops, iPhones, and iWatches.

Powerful, right?!

Here’s how it benefits you… 

Let’s pretend you’re a therapist who specializes in anxiety. You have a little image of a flower blooming in the middle of a storm and are always sharing ways to overcome and deal with anxiety. One day someone who follows you see their friend post about struggling with anxiety and immediately she thinks of you and sends this friend you contact information.

Boom, a connection was made and a new client most likely signed.

If you don’t want to tackle branding on your own be sure to check out __________ course which includes a whole entire module with Shire Digital’s art director on how to craft the most powerful branding for your own private practice.

COPYWRITING (aka. write words that draw your audience in and help them understand who you are and what you do so that they are willing to trust you with their story and their cash) 

Whether you hire a designer or build your own website you will have to come up with the words for your website.

*Someone HEEELLLPPPP*

Feels a little overwhelming and like, “where do I start?” and “what do people even want to read?”, right?!

Giving you the whole run down would take like 5 whole blog posts, so I’ll tell you the 3 most important things:

  1. The first thing people need to see is who you are, what you do, and who you help. This needs to be bold, simple, and as short as possible.
  2. Include an invitation for readers to schedule an appointment with you and a very visible button for them to click and actually do it!
  3. When you talk about you and what you do, make sure it all relates to how you can help them. Don’t use space talking about how impressive you are. Got it?! (Here’s a good starter post on this.)

In ______ course the CEO and founder of Shire Digital goes over his exact blueprint for crafting compelling messaging captures your audience’s attention and helps them understand who you are and what you do so that they are willing to trust you with their story and their cash (he even made you a whole workbook to go with it).

SEO HACKS (aka. improve your probability of coming up with people search for therapists) 

Just because you have a website with incredible visuals and captivating messaging doesn’t mean your website will show up when people search for a therapist. 

That requires search engine optimization (aka SEO).

Either hire a website builder who understands and leverages SEO or study super hard so that you can have the best chances at getting seen and booked through online searches.

Or, just sign up for this course that includes SEO hacks and ot get the most for your time and buck!

Websites are huge (in so many ways than one).

Obviously, they’re a huge project.

Huge for your visibility.

Huge for your credibility.

And huge for booking more clients.

If you’re comfortable on facebook and can write an email you can build your own website with this course!

If DIY isn’t your thing, the Shire Digital team and whip you up and converting and visible website you’ll be proud of in a flash.

Bottom line: don’t postpone your private practice another day, just because tackling a website feels overwhelming!

 

Ethical Considerations you DON’T want to Ignore

Is the only thing between you and finally starting your online private practice all the ethical considerations? 

First of all, you’re not the only one.

And secondly, this can be the day you tackle your ethical considerations and start that practice!

Since launching the Ethical Considerations of Online Counseling Course over a year ago Jessica Bullock has helped many therapists move from the fear of getting sued from starting an unethical practice to stepping into their online private practice with confidence and ethical procedures in place.

Jessica has a hybrid practice, meaning she sees clients face-to-face as well as online. When she began exploring what it would look like to add online sessions to her practice anxiety kept her from growing. 

 

  • What if she missed something? 
  • What if she wrote something wrong?
  • What if she got sued because of something she didn’t even know?

 

After weeks of a stressful schedule, face-to-face clients, and four kids to keep up with she finally decided to deal with her anxiety by researching all the ins and outs of starting an ethical practice.

After successfully (and ethically) adding online sessions to her practice Jessica put together “Ethical Considerations of Online Counseling Course” to help other therapists overcome their fear, understand the ethics of online therapy, and start serving clients online with confidence!

If you have all the pieces you need to start your practice, but keep getting stuck on whether or not you have all the ethical considerations figured out, here’s three things Jessica recommends getting clear on first:

What can you do in YOUR state?

Online therapy is a relatively new addition to the field of counseling. While it’s powerful many states are still figuring out their regulations regarding online therapy because it’s so new. Instead of being intimidated, educate yourself. Being able to serve clients online not only provides you with incredible freedom, but allows you to reach people who might otherwise not receive support.

According to Jessica, here are some key points you should know the answers to:

  • Know the state or country you’re practicing from.
  • Know the policies and procedures for practicing therapy online in YOUR state.
  • Understand the difference between client and provider.
  • KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AS A PROVIDER.

What should be included in an Informed Consent?

You’ve probably already asked yourself this question before. But today, we want you to do more than just wonder and hyperventilate because you don’t know, or worse procrastinate.

Make a list of everything you THINK should be included. Then research. I know, we already said it in this post, but doing your own homework is key to feeling confident about starting an ethical practice. 

Here’s some thoughts Jessica recommended you consider when putting together you informed consent:

  • How to show up for your session? (ie, must be fully dressed)
  • How are you going to accept payment?
  • Is it okay to keep credit card info?

In the “Ethical Considerations of Online Counseling Course” provides an Informed Consent Template and walks you through hers so you can create the best one for you and your clients.

What should you do in the case of an emergency?   

Suicide prevention is a heavy topic and a reality in our line of work. But it’s not the moment to throw in the towel and abandon helping people, it’s a moment to get educated and make a plan. Just because online therapy is, in many ways, a new field with uncharted territory doesn’t make it impassable.

Here’s a few questions from Jessica to get you started in putting together an emergency/suicide prevention plan:

  • What are questions you can ask to help your clients?
  • How will you respond in the moment?
  • What is your preventive procedure?

Don’t put off providing online therapy to help others just because your brain goes crazy with all the ethical jargon. There’s people who need the help you provide.

So, do your research. And if research still feels like too much or just too ambiguous checkout Jessica’s course. Not only does it come with an Informed Consent Template, but also a facebook group and Q&As where you can get Jessica’s expert input on your scariest ethical questions. 

Check out what people are saying about iTherapy on our Reviews page.

Fill your schedule and bank account with these 5 things

When the ball drops on New Years Eve my heart always does one of two things: bursts through the treetops (figurative, or course) with excitement for a new beginning or plummets to new depths.

When my heart drops it’s because last year didn’t go so well and I can’t imagine having to come up with ways to reverse that in the coming year. Like, I tried last year, how am I gonna try better this year.

Ya feel me?

Whether your heart burst through the treetops with excitement about new beginnings or you don’t know where to begin to do better this year, we’ve got 5 areas you should be investing time and energy into this year if you want to see your practice grow.

Ready?

OUTSOURCE

What is it that you’re not good at? What makes your head spin when it comes to running your practice?

Hire someone to do that.

“But that’s expensive. I’m not even earning what I need too!” you’re probably saying.

I hear you. But what if you took the five hours it takes you to do all your admin stuff and meet spent those two hours on growing your network (or something you like to do) – something that improves your bottom line?

More often than not, when you outsource, you’re able to pay someone between $10-$15/hr to do a task that would take you two or three times as long as them. Pay the fifteen bucks.

NETWORK

If you’re running an online private practice this one might sound CRAZY, but our Peer Group Leader, Carol O’Saben, said meeting face-to-face with local therapists was the key ingredient to fully booking her practice in less than 12 months.

You can read about it HERE.

SIMPLIFY

You do a lot of things to run your practice. The last thing you need is another thing to do, like opening yet another tab on your computer so that you can log client notes.

Let’s not forget the three other tabs you have open for scheduling, your HIPAA secure video service, and another tab so that you can email them and stay compliant!

There’s a way to run your online private practice without opening a million tabs.

It’s called being an iTherapy provider.

Our clients LOVE it. They actually said it was like, “It’s all here. My entire online office in one place!”.

How great would that be? Get yourself a demo HERE.

MAXIMIZE YOUR PROFILE

Potential clients decide whether or not they will hire you off of two things:

  1. Referrals
  2. Virtual Impression (whether that’s a website or Psychology today profile)

If there’s only one thing you take away from this blog post, let it be to read THIS POST, apply all the tips, and build yourself a grand-slam virtual impression.

COMMUNITY

Look, the work you’re doing is hard, whether or not you’re in a physical practice with co-workers or working from home.

If you’re here for the long run you need people who understand the struggle and desire you carry for what you do. You need people who can encourage you and share advice.

So, go find a peer-to-peer group where you will be heard and encouraged.

If you don’t know where to start, this blog post has some really great points!

The New Year is an exciting time to start over or just set new goals and aim for new records.

But if there’s one important thing in all the new beginnings and goal setting, the most important part is shooting for things that matter to you and your bottom line.

If you feel burnt out, outsource and find your people.

If you’re ready to take your private practice to the next level, simplify and network.

So what are you gonna do? Drop your goals in the comments!

 

How to write a guest blog post that actually gets featured!

Want to expand your audience, build your credibility, and touch more lives with the work you do?

Sharing audiences through guest blogging is a great way to do all that.

Here’s the catch.

Have you ever spent hours crafting this epic blog post and blog after blog doesn’t feature it worse yet, they don’t even respond?

It’s a real thing.

It’s even happened to us.

But through some research and hard work we got featured on ProPsychCentral. 

So, we’re dropping in today to give the behind the scenes strategy we used to get more eyes on our website, boost our credibility, and touch more lives with the work we’re doing.

Why?

Because they’re steps you can use, too!

CHOOSE THE BLOG YOUR WANT TO GET FEATURED ON

Do this before you write.

Seriously!

Most hopeful-guest-bloggers write an incredible post and then try to find a blog to share it. But a successful blogger doesn’t want just any old blog post that gives you a boost. They want something that’s good for their audience.

So choose 2-3 blogs that are read by your demographic and then study it.

STUDY THE BLOG

When you’re studying the blog you want to get featured on you’re looking for ways to can, a) add to the blogs value and b) stand out to their readers.

Here are the questions you need to be able to answer with your research:

  • What topics do they usually post on? 
  • What have they not covered recently that would be valuable to their readers?
  • What is the style of the blog (personality-driven, professional, fun, academia)?

Now, it’s time to choose a topic.

CHOOSING A TOPIC

Now that you’ve chosen the blog you want to get featured on, studied it to identify how you can add value and fit into the vibe they’ve already got going on, brainstorm 3-5 blog post topics that include:

  • Your area of expertise
  • Adding value to the blogs’ audience
  • A topic not recently or frequently covered on the blog

By making sure your blog topic includes the three things mentioned you can accomplish the following: grow your audience and boost your credibility while adding to the blog’s value and audience. 

SUBMITTING THE BLOG POST/PITCH

Before we spill our top-secret strategies to making your blog post something bloggers want to share with their audience with the way you submit/pitch submission guidelines for the specific blog you chose trump anything we’re about to share.

Guidelines can be frustrating to follow, but they can also be your ticket to getting featured.

So, if you can add the following to their guidelines, AWESOME! If not you have our permission to disregard:

  • Make the subject line of your email super engaging but clear.

EXAMPLE – This was the subject for our blog post titled 7 things online therapists wish they had known before their first online session: If only therapists had known THIS before their first ONLINE session.

This created curiosity and urgency. What should therapists have known? What do I need to make sure my audience knows about this?!

If the submission guidelines as you to send the post to a generic (hello@) email address include GUEST POST before your subject line.

  • In the first paragraph of your email write 1-3 short sentences about what you appreciate about the blog or what stands out to you by it.
  • Express that you would love to give back because the blog has added to you and give them easy access links to your post.
  • Close the email with a quick “thank you” for the work they’re doing and invitation for them to reach out to you for anything they need to make sharing the blog post as easy as possible.

Now, you wait for a response…

WHAT TO DO IF THEY DON’T FEATURE YOUR BLOG POST

If you haven’t heard back from them by the time they said they would notify you (ie, a month) resend the email with a quick, “Hey just wanted to make sure you got this”.

We all get busy. And it’s easy for an email to get buried in an inbox or even opened and forgotten about.

If you don’t hear back from then that second time you don’t have to go through the whole blog post and all your time away.

Here’s some ways to repurpose all your time and energy:

  • Tweak the blog post to fit your own audience and share it on your own blog.
  • If you don’t have a blog, break down the pieces of your post into social media content.
  • Research another similar blog, use all your same points, but position the post to serve the other blog.
  • Write another post for the original blog you researched. Why? Because you already did the research and brainstormed topics. 

If it helps you feel any better, the first post we submitted to ProPsychCentral didn’t get posted until we sent a second post (the second one didn’t get shared, but what if we hadn’t sent the second post? Totally worth it, in our opinion).

There you have it. The ins and outs of writing a guest blog post that actually gets featured.

That being said, the submission guidelines for our blog are super simple (but they do include being one of our providers). Schedule yourself a free demo to see if we can simplify the business side of your practice and get easy access to being featured on our blog!

What makes a good Psychology Today profile?

If you were looking for a therapist what would you want to see on their profile? What would you look for in a good Psychology Today profile?

(Chances are you’re a therapist yourself if you’re reading this post. So there might be some more technical things you’re looking for including years of experience, but consider these questions?)Good Psychology Today Profile - five tips to make your Psychology Today profile a credibility-building session-scheduling tool for your business

  • Do you want to know about a therapist’s experience or how a therapist’s experience qualifies them to help through your challenges?
  • Are you more likely to trust (read: hire) a therapist who includes a photo of themselves or without?
  • Are you interested in a therapist who specializes in ALL THINGS or a few (including the area you want support)?

Before we dig into the five things you need to nail on your good Psychology Today profile if you want to turn curious searches into paying sessions here’s my number one tip:

Get on Psychology Today and do these five things:

  1. Scroll through the initial list they give you without clicking on any of the profiles for all the details. 
  2. When you see a profile that jumps out to you, ask yourself: Why does this profile jump out to me? 
  3. After you’ve scrolled through at least 12 intro profiles go back and click on profiles that stood out.
  4. Read them and ask yourself: What makes me want to book an appointment with them? What makes me NOT want to book an appointment with them? What would I do differently to make myself want to hire them (or at least schedule an initial appointment)?
  5. Now, outline your own Psychology Today profile using all the things that you liked about the profiles you noted and review the following points in this post to make sure you have a credibility-building session-scheduling profile!

If you want to go do all that before you read on, feel free. I will still be here and the following information will even mean more to you.

Finished with your own research? Awesome! 

Let’s dig in:

IMAGE

Back to the question I asked at the beginning of this post: Are you more likely to trust (read: hire) a therapist who includes a photo of themselves or without?

Photos build connection.

Connection has the possibility to become trust. 

That’s why the photo you use matters. 

When I was doing the research challenge I gave you in the opening of this post, I stumbled across a grainy duck-face photo of a therapist. Guess how likely I am to fork over $50-$200 for a therapy session with them?

Not!

You are a professional. 

You have personality. 

You dedicate to care for your clients and their challenges with empathy and excellence.

That’s what your headshot needs to communicate.

So, hire a photographer or convince a friend to snap a photo of you that can captures your professionalism, personality, and commitment to excellence.

HEADER

This will include your name, your credentials, and first few words of your description displayed in the intro list.

When you’re scrolling on facebook or instagram which videos do you watch and which posts do you click on so that you can read the whole caption?

The ones that…

…surprises you (because you want to know the ending or what’s really going on there)

…makes you laugh (because we all love laughing and want to laugh more)

…or touches something deep within you (because it makes you feel seen and understood). 

Right?

Those are the same reasons people will click your profile (mostly the latter though).

Here’s how to implement this practically:

  • Your name
  • After your name list your credentials
  • In the opening of your descriptions make a statement that will resonate with someone you want to work with (ie, “Life should be about happiness.” “Sometimes we just need someone we can confide in.” “You deserve to live a life free from physical challenges.”).

Statements like these touch something deep within a reader making them feel seen and understood which also increases the probability that they will read your whole profile and schedule a session.

Good Psychology Today Profile - Statements that touch something deep within a reader make them feel seen and understood which increases the probability that they will read your whole profile and schedule a session.

DESCRIPTION

Making readers feel seen and understood doesn’t end with your opening statement.

Think about this… 

Do you want to know about a therapist’s experience or do you want to know how a therapist’s experience qualifies them to help you through your challenges?

But you do need to talk about your experience and qualifications because that’s what gives you credibility and reason for someone to hire instead of a certified life coach. 

Right?

That’s where this saying comes in really handy: We don’t really care how much you know until we know how much you care. 

The easiest way to do this is 1) share your personal struggle that brought you to where you are and how it inspired you to become a therapist so that you could help others, or 2) mention how you helped other clients walk in victory by using your skills and qualifications.

Do you see how, in both suggestions you mentioned your experience and qualifications, but those weren’t the main point – helping people was the point?

SPECIALTIES

Helping people is what you do. That’s what all therapists do, so now is the moment you set yourself apart.

Instead of saying you specialize in EVERYTHING list the 3-5 things you have had the most success helping clients navigate or want to help new clients navigate.

This builds a culture of safety I-can-trust-you from the beginning and increases your likelihood to be hired sooner rather than later by someone who clicks on your profile and wants support in the area you specialize in.

Otherwise, you run the risk of not having anyone choose you, because you’re helping everyone and they’re looking for someone who will help THEM.

CALL TO ACTION

Someone read your profile and you specialize in the support they’re looking for.

Wahoo!

Now what?!

Now, they want to know whether or not you are a good fit for them and their needs.

So, tell them how they can find that out by:

  1. Scheduling an initial session with you and give this a shot.
  2. Learning more about you, before scheduling an initial session with you.

I recommend a two part call to action: 

PART 1: Ready to schedule an initial session to see how I can support you? call/email me 555-555-5555 

PART 2: Or get to know me a little bit better by checking out THIS. This can be a blog (see blogging tips on The Best Way for a Therapist to Get Their Blog Read), website (see easy website tricks on  The Easiest Website Building Course), or another profile where you are listed.

Now it’s our turn for a call to action: At iTherapy we go out of our way to make running your online private practice as simple as possible. One of those features comes with your very own profile. You can even link to it on your Psychology Today profile for added credibility! 

See if iTherapy is a good fit for you and your business HERE.

How to run an online private practice without opening a million tabs on your computer.

How many tabs do you normally have open on your computer when you’re working on your practice?

I just counted as I’m writing this and I have 12 tabs open.

But it’s legit, right?

 

There’s the…  

…HIPAA compliant video tab

…Electronic Health Records tab

…payment processing tab

…secure email tab

…preferred scheduling tab

Okay, I’ll stop there. You get the idea!

But what if you could have ALL those tabs (necessary to run your online private practice) in ONE place? Better yet, on ONE website customized to your needs?

Pretty great, right?!

Turns out, there is such a thing.

Rebecca Kushins described it as her “entire online office”:

“It feels like it is all here. 

My entire office, online, in one place.” 

You can get access to it here or read the rest of the post to get a more detailed run-down of everything it includes…

DASHBOARD

It’s your one-page office desk and filing cabinets.

Here you’ll find easy access to all your secure video sessions, client notes and records, as well as your secure phone and email services.

You don’t have to type in a million urls so that you can actually provide service to your clients. All you have to do is type in ONE url, sign in, and BOOM you have access everything you need to provide HIPAA compliant support.

RESOURCES

Consider this the bookshelves you might have in your office. 

The place you could find books on how to be a better practitioner and business owner. As well as worksheets for your clients to fill out between sessions to help them stay on track and provide you with valuable feedback for their next session. Don’t forget the stack of legal consent forms.

We have a link for all this in myPractice as well.

Under Resources you can find a list of blog posts written by our team on how to build a thriving practice.

If you scroll further you’ll find worksheets and self-tests also created by our tech-savvy and therapist-friendly team to make your practice simpler. You can use them in your marketing to attract new clients, but also send them in link through your secure email platform so your clients have a way to track their progress and stay accountable to any at-home work you might give them.

A bit further you’ll find training videos on each of the online platforms you use to run your online private practice taught by Heather Summy. This allows you to learn the platforms at your pace or un-stump yourself if you have a question outside of business hours.

Finally, there’s our most used consent documents so that you don’t have to be constantly reinventing the wheel and tracking down a lawyer to make sure you included and worded everything correctly!

PEERS

Welcome to your “virtual colleagues down the hall”.

While you can’t congregate around the infamous water cooler between sessions, you can join our Peer Consultation Group (we are starting a new one soon! Check back again or contact providersupport@itherapy.com) where practitioners are finding empathetic support and genuine answers to their afraid-to-ask questions.

If you need a boost of inspiration on how to guide your clients or an idea for what to write for the blog you REALLY want to get featured in, there is a list of blog posts written by iTherapy practitioners (we’d love to feature one of your posts there as well).

Got a pressing question? You can hop into our private Facebook group here too and ask your question.

PARTNER SERVICES

You know how you might ask one of your colleagues what yoga studio they might recommend for someone who wants to decrease stress in their life?!

When you run your own online practice you ask things like…

 

…who should I hire to be my virtual assistant?

…who can help me create systems for my practice and find more clients?

…who is the best person to build me a website?

 

And you’ll find the answers to all those questions in one place, too. Not only that, but all these partners have discounted rates for iTherapy providers and understand the ins-and-outs of running a compliant practice.

So, how does trading twelve tabs for one tab sound to you now?!

If you’re ready to have your own online office in one place on the world wide web, snag yourself a demo here. Be sure to check out all of our glowing reviews on our Reviews page, too!

P.S. There’s no better time than now!

Take the tech-glitch stress out of running your online private practice in one step.

You’re doing this crazy online private practice thing…

 

…stepping out on a limb.

…doing something uncomfortable.

…venturing into the unknown.

 

And you’re doing it alone.

 

There’s not gonna be a staff person to back you up with your admin work. 

You’re stressed out of your mind trying to jump through all the legal and professional hoops required to make this work! 

And when you run into a problem it’s all yours; there’s not a coworker down the hall, who you can troubleshoot with or vent to.

 

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easy-going person who could…

 

…back you up when you started to drown in admin work?

…guide you through all those legal and professional hoops?

…and troubleshoot your workflow with you when you get stuck?

 

Yeah it would!

 

So, let me introduce you to Heather Summy.

iTherapy’s tech trainer and professional answer-finder.

Before joining iTherapy Heather trained administration, transcriptionist, and radiology personnel on how to use their software, input client notes, and process patient information.

When she was introduced to Forrest and the iTherapy team she fell in love with their unofficial motto:

 

We don’t train you and dump you.

We train you and we’re here for you.

 

Since joining the team in 2016, Heather has been helping therapists who are starting their private online practices to launch confidently with the comfort of knowing that they have personalized back up whenever they need it.

Heather said, “It’s our [the iTherapy team] aim to take the scary out of the tech side of owning a practice so that you [therapists] can concentrate on your clients.” 

If you’re ever on a call with her, you’ll most likely hear her tell you, “You are there for so many other people, the least we can do is be there for you.”

So, how can you get Heather to be your easy-going troubleshooting friend?

 

By becoming an iTherapy provider.

 

That means, you get everything you need to run a compliant online therapy practice in one monthly payment, AND one-on-one personal support in the form of:

 

ADMIN STAFF

To be clear, Heather won’t do your paperwork, but she will walk you through the simplest and most efficient ways to use your EHR and answer any questions you might have about keeping your client notes and communication compliant and organized.

Remember she has a professional background in training administration, transcriptionist, and radiology personnel on how to use their software, input client notes, and process patient information. 

So, if anyone can walk you through the ins-and-outs of tech, Heather is the one you want!

 

EASY-GOING

Heather is known for her thorough yet relaxed manner. iTherapy providers appreciate Heather’s laid-back conversational tone. While Heather creates a comfortable environment for discussion, she’s also very attentive to details and will go out of her way to find the answers to any question presented to her or direct therapists to the best place to find a credible answer.

There’s a lot of peace of mind knowing you’re communicating with someone who isn’t wrapped up in the same stress you are, but will be extremely thorough in providing exceptional support.

 

TROUBLESHOOTING

Ever sat down to knock out paperwork, or hop on a client and the tech just won’t work with you?!

Heather helps with that, too.

Typically this comes in the form of a personal email answering your question or hopping on a video chat where you can share screens and get live coaching to answer your questions, troubleshoot your dilemma, and create an effective workflow!

All in Heather’s easy-going and experienced paced. 

I don’t think there’s a better way to wrap up this post but by sharing with you what Heather told me about why she loves her job so much:

“I’m excited for therapists when they embark on something that’s uncomfortable, but they’re doing it anyway. It makes me so proud that I get to be a part of their journey…next step…endeavor.”

This is your journey.

And Heather is willing to not only take it with you, but help you navigate it with confidence and efficiency.

So, what are you waiting for?!

Sign up for a Demo (with Heather) to see if iTherapy is the peace-of-mind you’ve been looking for. Check out all of our glowing reviews on our Reviews page, too!

4 common legal mistakes and how to avoid them when setting up your online therapy practice

Are you ready to…?

…get out of a 50 hour work week 

…say “so long” to a 10 hours of commute time every week.

 

And start…

…practicing what you preach (you know, like self care).

…and savoring your life?

 

Like, really, are you?!

Then why haven’t you?!

 

Let me guess…

Because everytime you think about starting your own online practice your mind immediately jumps to all the legalities. That’s when your stomach drops and  you begin to breathe a little faster (in the hyperventilating way).

Your mind spins with:

  1. Am I allowed to practice outside of my state?
  2. What should I include in my consent paperwork?
  3. If my client goes into crisis and they’re in another state how do I care for them?
  4. Does liability insurance even cover telehealth?

These are real questions.

But the good news is there are real answers!

Answers from Amber Lyda, an online therapist who now helps therapist set up their own ethical and legal online practice.

Here’s how she introduced herself, I started my online practice to get out of 50 hour work weeks, 10 hour a week commutes, and into a live worth savoring. 

“Today, I work fewer hours, make more of an impact than ever before AND make more income.  

“Building a practice online has changed my life.

“Now I also teach other therapists how they can live a fuller life, while still getting to do the work they love.”

These are the answers she gave me to pass along to you…

AM I ALLOWED TO PRACTICE OUTSIDE OF MY STATE?

Each state has different rules about providing and receiving online therapy. So the best answer we can give you here is: check your state guidelines and your board certification.  Do you want a short-cut…this is updated each year but recently they moved to an app. Here’s the most recent non-app version! 

You can also review this blog post for a more detailed considerations when providing telehealth between states.

WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY CONSENT PAPERWORK?

In general, most states will require clear and detailed lists of the risks and benefits of the services you provide so that potential clients are fully aware of what working with you entails.

But once again, each state has their own guidelines for what should be included in consent paperwork, so we strongly recommend that you check with your state for specifics.

Would an Informed Consent Template be a “lifesaver”?!

Grab the one Amber Lyda personally uses and her students rave about HERE.

IF MY CLIENT GOES INTO CRISIS AND I’M IN ANOTHER STATE, HOW DO I CARE FOR THEM?

Good question!

The five steps Amber recommends are:

  1. Create detailed and specific policies and procedures for how you will handle a crisis situation so that you can respond effectively instead of react.
  2. Look up the inpatient crisis stabilization units in your client’s county and be sure to print out the involuntary hospitalization procedures for the area so you are prepared ahead of time.
  3. File the inpatient crisis stabilization unit’s address so that you know where to direct your client or their loved one should a crisis situation occur.
  4. When you’re getting all the paperwork signed, request 2 emergency contact numbers and a release of information allowing you to contact them for support as a pre-intervention to hospitalization or to facility hospitalization if necessary.
  5. Each state has detailed criteria for times when you are permitted or required to breach confidentiality.  Print those relevant to your client’s location to have handy.

Did a question just pop into your mind that’s not listed in this blog post?! Chances are Amber has answered it and you can find the answer on her podcast.

DOES MY LIABILITY INSURANCE COVER TELEHEALTH?

Each liability insurance is different. So be sure to review your own insurance.

However, most allow you to check a box that indicates you provide telehealth and are opting to be covered for that as well. In that case, make sure you check the box!

IN CONCLUSION

I want to share with you what Amber told me she most wanted someone in your shoes to know:

“Having your own online therapy practice is DOABLE.

The QUESTIONS you think are impossible, aren’t.

You can even make this far-fetched-hope of yours a reality WITHOUT a course.

COMMUNITY is actually what you need.

Find a group of people who are doing what you’re doing, 

so you don’t feel like you’re having to MAKE STUFF UP on your own.”

If that resonates with you and you’re ready to find a community, check out Amber’s.

If that resonates with you, but you’re ready for the community AND a course Amber has just the thing for you, too: 8 step-by-step weeks to set up your own ethical and legal online therapy practice.

 

 

 

 

 

How successful online practitioners are finding peer-to-peer support and community (without returning to in-office practices)

Imagine with me…

…You’re an online therapist (okay, that may not have required a lot of imagination, but stay with me).

You wake up on an ordinary Tuesday morning. Ordinary in every way except that the power is out, your router is down, and you have a full schedule of clients today.

 

Not just any clients…

…paying clients.

…online clients, meaning you need internet (*ahem router AND power).

…clients who are relying on you to give them hope and direction as they journey through tough season of life or endeavor to make peace with traumatic circumstances.

 

Your showing up matters.

 

It matters to you.

It matters to them.

And it matters to your paycheck.

 

How are you going to…

…communicate with your clients that you can’t make it to their session?

…let your clients know how important they are to you, but today just isn’t going to work and it is NOT your fault?

…reschedule all of those appointments?

 

Let me guess, this is the kind of moment you would step down the hall and ask a coworker how they handled this situation…

But you’re not an in-office therapist with coworkers down the hall.

You’re an online therapist, who does meaningful work from her home.

And while a coworker would sure be nice right now, they’re not right down the hall.

Well, you’re right, they’re not right down the hall, but I can tell you where to find them…

 

Interested?

 

PEER CONSULTATION GROUP

A Peer Consultation Group is a gathering of licensed providers who come together to discuss cases and practice management issues. For the purpose of this post it is NOT supervision. As each member of the group is a licensed professional, it is where providers can come together in a safe and confidential setting to discuss concerns about their practice (This group begins early November).

 

Here’s five things we recommend looking for when choosing a Peer Consultation Group.

 

DIVERSITY

When you’re coming together in a peer environment to contribute to one another’s practices diversity is key. A group a 10 you’s is most likely going to generate a lot of the same questions and answers. But you’re joining the group, not only for the community, but also growth and support. 

Look for diversity in these three areas: 

  1. Experience
  2. Training
  3. Expertise

ONLINE PRACTITIONERS

I have a friend who is a freelance writer. While she has had incredible success working online and serving online businesses she rarely works with brick-and-mortar businesses because the needs and understanding are so different.

Similarly, providing therapy online is different than providing therapy in an office. If you’re looking for support and I-get-what-you’re-going-through community you need a peer group of online practitioners.

FREQUENCY OF MEETING

There’s two questions you want to consider here:

  • What can my schedule handle?

Showing up for a peer consultation group means you have a place to feel understood and ask questions, but it also means you’re showing up to provide that same space and confidence to the other members.

Is there room in your schedule and personal capacity for a monthly ninety minute call…two monthly one-hour calls?

  • What kind of support do I need?

If you feel stranded and lost when it comes to the business side of your practice you might want weekly support to remind you that you’re not alone and to have a safe place to ask all your business questions.

If you have a full client load you might want to meet monthly…get support, contribute to others’ practices, ask that off-the-wall question that threw you for a loop last week!

KNOW THE PURPOSE OF THE GROUP (aka. How is the group run?) 

Some groups are focused on the facilitators expertise which gives the group a more educational feel where you are learning and being mentored.

Other groups have a facilitator who inquires of the members and guides the discussions in a way that directly meets the needs and answers the questions of the members present. 

AMOUNT OF TIME AND SIZE

If the purpose of a peer consultation group is to provide a safe place to discuss challenges and concerns you need to know who you’re talking to.

You need to get to know each other enough to feel safe so that you can feel free to be vulnerable and open up and ask for help with a case or issue. 

Carol O-Saben, who has successfully facilitated peer consultation groups (this one to be exact) recommends a group of about 10 people. 

“A group of this size,” she says, “allows monthly one-hours call to be both constructive and productive while providing enough time for members to get to know each other.”

CONCLUSION

All that to say, you don’t have to be an online therapist who wakes up on an ordinary Tuesday morning with the power off, the router down, and no one to ask “What do I do?”.

Instead, find a Peer Consultation Group that…

…is diverse with experience, expertise, and training.

…made up of online practitioners.

…meets at a frequency that supports your needs.

…is conducted in a manner that benefits you.

…and is big enough to provide varied feedback, but small enough that you can get to know the other members.

If a peer consultation group sounds like something you’re ready to find ASAP we just opened enrollment for our Peer Consultation Group that will start monthly meetings early November. 

Save your seat here (pst, we’re already 50% full, because so many of last sessions members are returning!).

How to get clients while talking about what you love without having to conquer your fear of public speaking.

What if I told you that you could market yourself by answering peoples questions about what you are specialized in as a therapist?

What if I told you that countless other therapists have used this exact same method to market their practice and book more clients. (One even filled her entire caseload!)

What if I told you that while most therapists are scared and uncomfortable about this marketing technique they fall in love with it after some experience because it allows them to help people while marketing themselves and talking about something they know inside-and-out?

Pretty stoked, right?!

Well that’s exactly what I’m going to tell you about. 

Introducing…

REDDIT AMA

Okay, I know that might sound like gibberish to you, so let me give it some clarity for you.

WHAT IS REDDIT?!

REDDIT is one of the top 20 websites on the web. In other words, a LOT of people are using it and seeing what’s there.

What that means for you is, you can be seen by a LOT of people if you use REDDIT, too.

HOW DO I USE REDDIT?

Reddit is most like acollection of online forums. The big opportunity here is one particular “forum” that you can use like a virtual press conference via text.

Here’s 4 starter tips if you’re ready to try it for yourself (or you can skip the hassle and sign up for this FREE course that’s already helping therapists fill their case load.

ONE: INTRODUCE YOURSELF

Lead with your expertise. Instead of saying you’re a therapist, tell them what you specialize in or what you help people overcome so that people know what questions you can answer:

  • I am an ANXIETY SPECIALIST.
  • I HELP PEOPLE overcome perfectionism.

TWO: BE HELPFUL.

Answer questions genuinely. Give practical and specific tips that readers could start implementing immediately.

Instead of being concerned about giving away your work and not being hired because people just can access your information for free believe in the depth and power of your work. The work you do changes lives. Changing lives takes time and work – hard work. 

Your capacity to serve and help someone is so much greater than a useful tip typed in a text field on a forum. When individuals have the opportunity to experience the services you have they are more likely to hire you because they are able to see that you have SO MUCH MORE to offer.

Think of it this way: If someone gave you a taste of ice cream for your very first time, don’t you think you’d be begging for the whole bowl after that first spoonful?! You want more! Don’t let that yummy end!!!

It’s the same with being helpful online.

THREE: LET YOUR PERSONALITY COME THROUGH

This might seem like bad practice as a mental health professional, but sharing a little bit about yourself can help build a connection with your potential clients. People do business with people, particularly people they know, like, and trust! Showing your personality is a great way to build your “know, like, trust” factor. 

Why? 

Because it shows that you are another human on the other side of the screen.

Two ways to show your personality:

  1. Share real life stories. This reveals part of who you are and your background, which often creates common ground.
  2. Share an interesting fact about you. Your introduction is a great place to share some quarky little tidbit. If you’re a huge fan of 80’s hair metal, share that. Love Harry Potter so much you have a deathly hallows tattoo? Cool! Your ideal client might feel more comfortable talking with you knowing you two have that common ground.
  3. Type how you talk. If there’s phrases you often use, unique words like “y’all, wonky, BOOM”, or extra information you would throw in for fun, add it here too! 

FOUR: SHARE RESOURCES

Link to other people’s work. If you know of a book, podcast, or blog post that had lots of good information on a topic someone asked you about point them in that direction.

This proves that you are there to help and not just self promote.

Bottom-line, there’s an incredible platform in the world waiting for you to take advantage of it and grow your business by helping people with the skills you already have.

What are you waiting for?!

Here’s a link to the FREE course to get your started and as always you’re welcome to schedule a free consultation with us to find out other ways to make your practice simple!

How to get your name out there as on online therapist and be found by paying clients!

Here’s three guesses as to why you decided to become an online therapist. Tell me if I’m right…

  1. Reaching people who otherwise wouldn’t receive treatment.
  2. Making a living that gives you time and financial freedom by helping people experience mental and relational freedom.
  3. Giving back to the world because of the powerful impact coaches and counselors have made in your life.

That’s why you set out to be an online therapist, isn’t it?!

But all too often getting your name out there, establishing your presence as a credible practitioner, and building a solid clientele feels like a game of hide and go seek where you’re never found. Am I right?

If so, here’s five questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re doing the right things to be found and get your name out there:

AM I SHOWING UP CLEARLY AND CONSISTENTLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

In order to be seen you need to show up where people are looking. Am I right?

With the internet literally at our fingertips individuals are more and more likely to google therapists and connect with them online. 

Therefore, it’s imperative that you’re showing up ONLINE so that you can be seen and hired.

Make sure you’re utilizing the best strategies to showing up clearly and consistently on social media HERE!

DO I HAVE A WEBSITE THAT COMMUNICATES MY CREDIBILITY AND PERSONALITY WHILE UNMISTAKABLY INVITING VISITORS TO WORK WITH ME?

Not too long ago I looked for a therapist for myself – that’s right, I practice what I preach. I promptly googled the practice my friend recommended. 

When I finally found the website I was disappointed by the vague introduction and long list of credentials that told me little about their ability to crawl into my world and remind me that I was capable of this life thing.

While I was interested in their experience and expertise I wanted to know their credibility in relation to helping me on my life’s journey. Not how far they had come and which school they graduated from.

I wanted to know their process for working with a client, if they prioritized and self-compassionate approach or a solution-driven session, and a little bit of who they were when they weren’t a counselor.

All that to say, make sure your website not only showcases your credibility and expertise, but also your unique approach and personality. At the end of the day a client is hiring a person.

Dig into the details of a client-converting website HERE or schedule a call with SHIRE DIGITAL SOLUTIONS.

AM I MEETING WITH PRACTITIONERS IN MY AREA ON A MONTHLY BASIS?

Okay, I thought this was kinda a crazy tip for online therapists too the first time I heard it. But Carol O’Saben who said:

“I wish I had started my practice sooner. I’m earning the money I need, doing what I love, and running my own schedule, all because I started my own practice.”

Attributed her networking with local therapists to be key in filling her practice in less than 12 months!

Here’s the two goals you should have when networking with local therapists!

AM I SHOWING UP AND OFFERING VALUE TO OTHER PEOPLE’S AUDIENCES?

You might not have an audience right now. But chances are you know someone who has an audience. And someone in their audience is looking for someone who does what you do.

Seek out interviews on podcasts, in facebook groups, or even via writing a guest blog post where you’re able to share your expertise with someone else’s audience and get in front of new people. You might even want to ask local health and wellness facilities if you can host a workshop for their clients.

DO I HAVE A PROFILE SET UP WITH ONLINE COUNSELOR DATABASE?

We’ve talked a lot about showing up online because that’s where people are looking to find therapists. Take this a step further by showing up on counselor databases where individuals are going to actively connect with a therapist who is right for them!

Here’s a few counselor databases to get your journey started:

  • Psychology Today
  • iTherapy
  • Online Counseling
  • Good Therapy

And, yes we shamelessly mentioned ourselves. We exist to provide all the resources to make taking your practice online as simple as possible and that includes your very own therapist profile where you can showcase your expertise and be found by people looking for the support you provide! Schedule a call here to see if we can help you get found by more paying clients.

How to set rates for your private practice.

How do I charge what I’m worth?

How do I set competitive rates for my services?

How can I make my rates affordable, but also make enough money to live?

The questions are real!!!

But good news…

There’s real answers.

Here’s a three step process to get you on your way to setting competitive rates that generate enough cash to live on without feeling like you’re selling yourself short to get a client.

KNOW WHAT PEOPLE ARE CHARGING

In order to have competitive rates you need to know what others in your industry, niche, and location are charging. You can google private practices in your area, inquire during your networking meetings while building your referral list, and scour online directories!

Go the extra mile by being clear on who your audience is so you can consider their projected budget and research the rates of successful therapists who are serving similar individuals.

These are the three questions you want to answer in your search…

  • What are people charging for similar services that you provide?
  • What are people charging in your area?
  • What are people charging who serve the same demographic?

INCLUDE THE HOURS YOU’RE DOING ADMIN WORK

All too often therapists get caught up in the fees they’re charging for the services they’re providing. 

Obviously, that’s the specific hour you’re getting paid for, but in order to have a financially viable practice you need to calculate the admin hours (client notes, following up with clients, getting new clients, networking, talking insurance companies…) that make the one counseling hour possible.

DO THE MATH

When I was a girl my mom taught me this simple trick for scheduling…

Write down everything you want to do in a day. Include eating, cleaning up from meals, getting ready for bed…all the mundane things as well as the scheduled things.

Next to each, write down how much time it would take to complete each task.

Add up all the time.

Assuming you’re up at 6am and in bed around 10pm, you have about 16 hours of time to do things other than sleep. Right?!

If you have more than 16 hours of tasks to do in the day, something (or several somethings) need to go because it’s physically impossible.

That’s what I’m gonna have you do for your practice:

Write down all the tasks you need to do to run your practice excluding session time. This includes admin, phone calls with insurance company, writing client notes, following up on appointments, and networking…

Next to each task write down how much time each takes.

Now you have a list of all your admin tasks and about how much time that will take each day (some therapists set aside one day a week for admin, you can read about it here).

  • How much time do you have left for sessions?
  • How much do you need to make to live on?
  • Based on the hours you have available for sessions how much would you need to charge each session hour to make that income?

IN CONCLUSION

Chances are, you’re an empathetic person. After all, you are a therapist or you most likely wouldn’t be reading this post. So let me give you an inside question, it’s more of an integrity gut-check question, but it’s guided me right more times than I can count:

  • If I get the client at this rate will I feel resentment toward them because I feel like they’re not paying me enough?
  • If I don’t get the client at this rate will I beat myself up for not lowering my prices?

Turns out, even with all the fancy questions, scheduling, and expert advice, there is a sweet spot for rates that no one can find but YOU. And it’s that space between, “regretting that you’re serving them at such a low rate” and “regretting that they didn’t sign because you didn’t lower your rate”.

Find it and own it!

If you want a deep dive into this topic you’ll find lots of great thoughts in this post from Practice of the Practice.

And as always, we’re here to help you make your practice simple. If you have a question or are tired of paying a million different invoices each month hit us up! We’ve got all the resources you need to run your online HIPAA compliant practice in ONE MONTHLY PAYMENT (includes unlimited tech support)!!!

Ultimate Therapist Resource List For Starting Your Online Therapy Practice

“If only I had been given a therapist resource list like this when I was starting my online therapy practice,” I thought to myself as I picked up a warm-from-the-printer piece of paper.

A friend of mine had asked me to meet with her and discuss the starting blocks of a thriving online therapy practice.

Instead of keeping this list between us, I thought I’d share it here, with you (and whomever you choose to share it with!).

Enjoy!

Therapist Resource List

ADMIN: PRIVATE-PAY VS. ACCEPTING INSURANCE

If you’re just starting out as an online therapist we believe you would do well to accept insurance until you develop a reputation and referral base.

Get a quick overview of the pros and cons of private-pay practices and practices that accept insurance in this post: Should I have Private Pay Practice or Accept Insurance?

ADMIN: NO-SHOW POLICY

Chances are you don’t offer free counseling sessions. Why?! Because you know that if your client is financially invested they’re more likely to show up and complete the assignments you give them.  

It boils down to commitment and you want to work with people who are committed.

Guess what?!  So, does your client.  

When you openly agree to the same terms you have asked of your client, they are fully aware of your commitment to their sessions.  You’re not someone just doing their job and checking their session off as money earned.

Start your practice on the right foot by establishing a two-way no-show policy. This policy provides security for both you and your client!

MARKETING: REFERRAL LIST

When a friend of mine, Carol O’Saben, set out to start her own online therapy practice she worried she wouldn’t be able to make enough money to support herself and wondered where she would find clients.

She started by meeting with local therapists to inquire about the insurance they accepted and other resources they used. While meeting with other local therapists, she was also able to build a referral list! Within the next twelve months she had a fully booked calendar of clients.

There’s no reason that can’t be you too!

Carol says that building her referral list was a key ingredient to the success of her practice. So if you’re feeling unsure of how to get your name out there and get clients, start scheduling meet-ups with local therapists!

MARKETING: SELF TESTS

Self tests are a series of questions an individual can answer on their own. With completed self tests, they provide results-based  answers on the topic of the test.

Share these tests on social media and invite your audience to take them and share their results with you. You can offer personalized feedback and support them on their journey of mental and relational health – establishing yourself as an expert.

iTherapy has a list of free self-tests (many of them are interactive!) and an article to help you use them in marketing.

MARKETING: CLEAR AND COMPELLING WEBSITE

An important element to my therapist resource list in filling my schedule was marketing by building a website. When someone is looking for a therapist, one of the first things they do is google therapists in their area or therapists that were recommended to them.

That means your website could be the deciding factor in whether someone becomes your client.

Make sure your website has these TWO indispensable things to make sure curious clicks on your website turn into scheduled appointments.

PERSONAL: SELF CARE

Running your own practice as an online therapist comes with its own set of challenges.

Sure you don’t have to choose between your love for therapy, love for your family, or travel anymore. But it can get lonely.  You’re not only a therapist listening to others and helping them navigate their problems, but you’re a business owner too. 

Here are my five favorite ways to stay engaged and productive while running my own online practice:

  1. SCHEDULE TIME FOR BEHIND THE SCENES TASKS
  2. LEAVE BUMPER ROOM BETWEEN SESSIONS
  3. SPEND TIME WITH LIKEMINDED PEOPLE WHO LISTEN TO YOU
  4. GIVE YOURSELF OFFICE HOURS
  5. SET UP A DESK FOR YOURSELF

ADMIN: HIRING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

Balancing the business-side of a practice AND the counseling-side may not have ever been part of your plan.

The good news is: It doesn’t have to be.

How do I know?!

Recently, my friend was drowning in a schedule jammed with one-on-one sessions, followed by long nights of paperwork. Instead of creating a plan to master the business-side of her private practice, she decided to delegate it by hiring the Mindfulness Cubicle, a Virtual Assistant Agency specializing in serving therapists.

Her joy-drained days transformed into joy-filled hours of counseling sessions (which she already was a master at), creating online courses, and launching group coaching programs.

Dig into the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant here and why we recommend the Mindfulness Cubicle.

ADMIN: ONE-STOP-SHOP

What if I told you there was a company that could provide you with all the resources you needed to own and operate your online therapy practice? All that for ONE monthly payment and provided customer support to navigate tech glitches?!

Not only that, they’re HIPAA compliant!

Well, they exist and I couldn’t survive this therapist-business-owner thing without them! Last, but not least, on my therapist resource list…

INTRODUCING: iTherapy.

And yes, that’s us!

Our clients have called us the “One-Stop-Shop” to owning and operating their therapy practices independently. We’d love to help you do the same!

Schedule a free demo to see if we can help you get your online therapy practice off the ground! Also, check out our Reviews page to see just some of the great feedback we’ve been getting.

Get MORE clients and stop wasting time on social media with these proven facebook marketing strategies!

How would you like to help people who are already looking for your services?

How nice would it be to have a FREE marketing campaign that brought in paying clients to YOUR practice?

How great would it feel to be in a room full of people who appreciate the knowledge you have to share with them?

Because you CAN have it.

It’s at your fingertips – literally. 

I’m talking about FACEBOOK!

Today we’re going to teach you how to leverage facebook for marketing your online therapy practice in a way that improves your credibility and increases the client sessions on your schedule!

  • No more staring at the ceiling wondering where you’re gonna find people who are looking for what you do.
  • No more hiring a marketing team to tell the world about what you do with money you don’t have.
  • No more talking about what you do with a room full of disinterested people.

Sound good?

Let’s get started!

GET CLEAR ON WHO YOU SERVE

Be specific. 

Write it out. 

This doesn’t have to be who you only EVER serve.

It’s a guide for the type of content and invitations to work with you that you will share on social media.

It’s a guide to help you choose the right facebook groups to spend time in.

And a guide to help you create relevant content for your audience to read that will intrigue, inspire, and instruct them.

The sketch should include the following information or you can just swipe the example and fill it out for yourself.

EXAMPLE: Client Sketch

  • Struggling with/need counseling for:
  • General age bracket:
  • Typical income/job:
  • What do they do for fun:
  • What would an average day in their life look like:

CREATE AN OFFER WITH A SPICY TITLE

This one might sound silly, but it has been instrumental in the increasing of sales for MANY industries.

People don’t buy things they buy feelings.

Make your audience feel special and good about what they’re purchasing by giving your counseling package a title and description.

EXAMPLE: Spicy Package

Learning to Walk in the Dark Package

6 one-hours sessions unpacking depression and creating practical strategies for engaging in life.

SHARE EPIC CONTENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA DAILY (include one pitch post a week)

First keyword here: EPIC.

We’re not talking about memes or your favorite infographic by Brene Brown. We’re talking written content that instructs, encourages, inspires, or engages!

Second keyword: DAILY.

Facebook has super tight analytics right now which means very few people in your audience ever see your posts. 

If you want a shot at being noticed, you’ve gotta show up daily!

Pssst, there’s two customizable facebook posts here!

EXAMPLE: Weekly content outline

  • Monday – Value Post. This is where you teach and offer value.
  • Tuesday – Share an inspiring quote. Add a bit about why you love it or ask your audience to share their favorite quote with you in the comments!
  • Wednesday – Pitch. This is a forward invitation to work with you and how to schedule an introductory session.
  • Thursday – Story. Hypothetical client story and a story of your own journey with specific steps to achieving a breakthrough!
  • Friday – Personal post. Talk about something you learned recently or are looking forward to doing!

PICK 3-5 FACEBOOK GROUPS TO POST IN DAILY

This is where you get to have your grateful-for-your-knowledge audience…

Remember that client sketch we started this post with? It comes in REALLY handy right now.

Search facebook groups on the topic your client is struggling with or things they would be interested in learning.

Hang out in those groups for a few days and then post once a day. 

You can use all the same posts you created for your personal or business page, just don’t post the same post in every group on the same day because it looks spammy (speaking from experience, unfortunately).

Switch your pitch posts for questions to generate conversations (most groups don’t allow you to sell).

EXAMPLE: Conversation-generating question for facebook groups

What’s your favorite book on [INSERT APPLICABLE TOPIC]?

HANG OUT IN 3-5 FACEBOOK GROUPS 15-20min DAILY

We’re not talking 15-20min in EACH group a day, just cumulative.

Also, we HIGHLY recommend setting a timer!

So what exactly does “hang out” mean?

I’m glad you asked. Spend your precious 15-20min…

…answering questions

…liking posts

…and giving positive feedback.

This will boost your visibility and credibility because individuals in the group will see you as someone knowledgeable, willing, and able to help which increases the probability of them reaching out when they WANT help!

IN CONCLUSION

There’s a free marketing platform waiting for you to show up with the goodness and value you bring to the world.

These are five proven steps to get your noticed and booked!

Is there a facebook group for therapists that you LOVE hanging out in? Let us know about it in the comments – we’re always looking for more friends too!

P.S. If you’re looking for ways to simplify your practice that’s what we do best! 

Specifically, by providing you with all the HIPAA compliant services you need to run an effective online therapy practice in one easy monthly payment which includes, what has been called, life-saver customer support.

Schedule a call here to learn more!

Launching an Online Private Practice? Consider This..

Seven questions successful online therapists consider before launching their private practices

Launching an online private practice is no small thing, but you are capable and there are people in this world who need the help you offer!

The following are 7 questions successful online therapists consider before launching their private practices with corresponding blog posts. 

  1. WHAT SHOULD MY NO-SHOW POLICY BE?
  2. HOW DOES LICENSING WORK AS AN ONLINE THERAPIST?
  3. HOW AM I GOING TO PROCESS PAYMENTS?
  4. HOW WILL I POTENTIAL CLIENTS FIND ME?
  5. SHOULD I HAVE A PRIVATE-PAY PRACTICE OR ACCEPT INSURANCE?
  6. WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL ONLINE SESSION?
  7. HOW WILL I KEEP TRACK OF MY CLIENT INFORMATION?

1. WHAT SHOULD MY NO-SHOW POLICY BE?

What happens when illness and weather cancel your sessions?

What if your client doesn’t show up for their online session or shoots you an email the day before?!

You need to have a system in place that protects both your clients and yourself when things out of your control happen.

There’s lots of different options, but we’ve seen that a two-way no-show policy be the most effective for three reasons:

  1. Mutual Commitment
  2. Gives you confidence to enforce your policy
  3. Provides you a specific time-frame for re-scheduling

Still not sure a two-way no-show policy is best for your practice?! Check out this post.

2. HOW DOES LICENSING WORK AS AN ONLINE THERAPIST?

This may seem like a no-brainer, however a huge draw to online therapy for therapists is the ability to work remote – staying at home while being able to serve others in the comfort of their own homes – which means you could work with people out-of-state.

After extensive research we discovered what you need to check off your list when providing therapy online to out-of-state clients, overseas clients, and internationally.  We even snuck in a few bonus thoughts at the end!

One thing you don’t want to miss and will apply regardless of where you’re providing therapy: make sure you’re following the guidelines of your licensing board.  In other words, figure out what your licensing board guidelines are FIRST and give them the most weight!

You can read the in-depth version here: Three things Therapists wish they had thought about before providing therapy to out-of-state or international clients.

3. HOW AM I GOING TO PROCESS PAYMENTS?

You deserve to be paid.

At least, that’s what we believe.

But as a therapist running an online practice, we realize getting paid isn’t as simple as receiving a paycheck.

We don’t want you to be caught off guard when choosing an online payment processor, so while we can’t hand you a recipe, we can walk you through the five most important questions to consider when choosing your online payment processor:

  1. What are the fees? Are there any hidden fees?
  2. Who does the processor favor when a claim is filed or refund is requested?
  3. How long does it take for YOU to get the money once the transaction occurs?
  4. How user-friendly is the platform?
  5. Does the platform store credit card information? 

4. HOW WILL I POTENTIAL CLIENTS FIND ME?

If you’re not telling anyone about what you do, does it really matter what you do?!

We believe what you do does matter and we want to see you tell people about it.

There are a LOT of ways to market yourself. Instead of being overwhelmed about how you’re gonna execute all of these we recommend that you choose your favorite technique and use it for three months. 

To get you started here are three of our favorite growth strategies:

5. SHOULD I HAVE A PRIVATE-PAY PRACTICE OR ACCEPT INSURANCE?

Private-pay Practices go the extra mile to find and book clients but have the potential to earn more money, receive payment sooner, and have less administration and follow-up work.

Private-pay practices do not have a natural referral source established in their business from insurance (or doctors who accept insurance sending them clients). From finding their clients, receiving payment, and conducting sessions the fingerprints of the owner of a private-pay practice are on everything.

Practices that choose to accept insurance do extra paperwork, agree to accept the payment amount an insurance company provides. But they also enjoy the credibility that comes with being associated with an insurance company, referral sources, and a wider range of clients (because they are not limited to only the clients that can afford them).

To get a list of pros and cons of each option check out this post: Should I have Private Pay Practice or Accept Insurance?

If building a therapy practice that accepts insurance is the way you want to go, let us know! 

We’ve got credentialing partners to connect you with that will allow you to be approved faster and serve more people (we all know insurance can take FOREVER, let us help you speed it up – at least the getting approved part).

6. WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL ONLINE SESSION?

Hosting an online therapy session freaks a lot of therapists out.  After all, building rapport is really important and you’ve always nurtured it via face-to-face interactions.

Believe it or not, successful video chats and building rapport through online sessions has more to do with preparation than anything else.  In case you’re about to host your first online therapy session or you’re just looking for ways to connect better with your patient via video chats, here are seven ways to set yourself up for success:

  1. Create a therapeutic space
  2. Minimize your face
  3. Wear headphones
  4. Leave some shoulder room
  5. Pre-activity instruction
  6. Strong wifi
  7. Practice beforehand 

7. HOW WILL I KEEP TRACK OF MY CLIENT INFORMATION?

It’s sensitive information other’s have been trusting you with, not to mention complying with HIPAA requirements. 

You need a way to process payments, keep track of client information, to conduct secure communication and host secure video chats for your online sessions.

So, before you go to bed another hour later fretting over the ins and outs of this online practice stuff and staying HIPAA compliant we’d like to invite you to work with us: 

In your first phone call with us, we will walk you through:

  • HIPAA Compliant Online Counseling Platform
  • Online Scheduling Feature
  • Client Management and Notes
  • Secure Communications
  • Client Invoicing and Payment Procession
  • Electronic Insurance Claims Submissions
  • Personalized Form Creation and Storage

We’re here to help you – answer your questions and provide live tech support – as you help others, we just happen to provide all the HIPAA compliant resources you need to run a successful online practice.  

Katesha S. Broadus, LCSW, BC-TMH, said this about providing online counseling for her clients through iTherapy:

“When I found out about iTherapy I was a few days from launching my practice. I cancelled everything and switched to iTherapy, because of their inclusive virtual office package (phone, fax, email), business coaching, and online platform that supported family/group counseling sessions. Without a doubt, iTherapy was a one stop shop for all of my business needs.”

If you have a question we didn’t answer, feel free to leave a comment or book a call with us and get your questions answered LIVE!