The Therapist’s Guide to 2021: How to Meet Increasing Demand and Propel Practice Growth
This past year has been filled with trauma and challenge. There is an unprecedented increase in the number of people experiencing mental illness and psychological strain. The need for therapists is considerable. But how can you serve more clients without working longer hours or burning out?
With great challenge comes great opportunity. In our pandemic era, the opportunity presents itself in an unusual way; as a necessary switch in thinking and practice protocol. If you are open to a new paradigm, it is ready to be embraced.
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These six strategies will allow you to implement changes that matter. They’ll let you serve more clients, support our society, and help you to flourish in a healthy, sustainable way…
1. Shorten sessions with long-term clients
A number of our clients have told us that they routinely schedule 60-minute appointments. As with any practice, it’s good to check in on-occasion and evaluate the necessity.
For long-term clients, a move to 45 or even 30-minute sessions might work as effectively as a longer consultation. This will free up time to consult with additional clients.
2. Consider expanding your technique repertoire or the expectations of your clients
Suggest that your clients become active in their therapy outside of your walls, virtual or not. Encourage them to keep a journal, consider each session and take notes, jot down recurring thoughts, and prepare for each session.
Also, think about the techniques you tend to favor…
Are there options that can be delivered in a shorter time frame, at least for certain ailments? Try them.
Are there common problems that could be addressed in a video or via a digital course? Create it and then direct clients to the resource, when needed.
What are other ways that you could add to your toolbox or contribute to your clients? Can you find or create a practical resource that can be shared whenever needed, so you don’t have to repeat yourself time and again?
3. Offer — or increase the number of — group sessions
Do you have a segment of clients for whom group sessions would work well? Maybe a subset exists who face the same issue? Or maybe our COVID landscape and its associated isolation has exacerbated problems that may be soothed with communal interaction, even via Zoom?
Writing on the American Psychological Association site, Martyn Whittingham, PhD, and Jennifer Martin, PhD, note, “Research shows that group therapy is as effective, and in some cases, can be more effective, than individual therapy.”
In this article, the authors share advice on conducting group therapy using telehealth. We recommend the read. If it feels right, try it.
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4. Use and recommend tech solutions like digital workbooks, chatbots, and mobile apps
While you might be comfortable with face-to-face sessions, growing technology has brought essential gains.
Tech options provide clients with a way to practice mindfulness, access tools for mental wellness, calm anxiety, depression, stress, and low mood, customize a suicide safety plan, manage the drive to self-harm, and improve sleep quality and quantity.
You can also find recovery stories to share with your clients. These journeys can offer light to their darkness.
The Counseling Center’s phone apps and screenings resources are wonderful examples of those you can share. You can see their list here.
Send these resources out in your email newsletters. Post them on your website. Share them on your social media accounts. Add them to an autoresponder series, an automated sequence of emails you send to a list.
Other than providing helpful support tools, they give you a reason to reach out and check-in. Thoughtfulness is powerful in terms of building rapport.
5. Stop wasting time on administrative tasks
Do you do your own screening, scheduling, email management, social media marketing, bookkeeping? Have you ever asked yourself why? Is it the best use of your time?
You are the one with the tailored skillset to deliver client care. However, others can tend to the non-specialized (often mundane) parts of running a practice. The right virtual assistant will revolutionize your life!
Once you free yourself from menial work, you will benefit in five ways:
- You’ll have time to consult with more clients and increase your income
- The added profits will pay for the outsourced administration and raise your bottom line
- You will lessen your stress and overwhelm and reduce your risk of burn out
- You’ll free up time to learn new techniques and develop better systems
- You can, simply, relax!
List the non-clinical tasks you perform. Yes, now… Plus, carry a pad and pen with you over the course of a week so you can jot down the jobs you do outside of caring for your clients.
Now, it’s time to take action…
Some companies specialize in virtual assistant services for mental health providers. This is our recommendation.
There are practice management tools that enhance automation, systems, scheduling, record keeping, and more. They streamline processes and reduce the need for human involvement, your involvement. Again, some providers concentrate solely on offering services for therapists just like you. This is our recommendation.
6. Stop wasting time with a DIY website
It is sufficiently exhausting caring for clients and running a practice. But add in the maintenance of a website, and you might soon turn grey.
As a primary source of internet traffic and new clients, an optimized website should not be overlooked. The lack of a professional site in our modern-day is unprofessional. To your potential clients, it also reeks of incompetence. Yes, people do judge a book by its cover… And digital absence or a lack of wow factor acts as a big red cross.
However, setting your site up correctly, ensuring it attracts visitors, that your plugins are up-to-date, that your site is lightning fast, that search engine optimization (SEO) is completed regularly, that it remains compliant, that your email and web addresses remain functional, and that it looks beautiful… It’s a time vortex that leads down the rabbit hole.
And again, it’s a chore you don’t need to do.
At Brighter Vision, we solely work with therapists. Websites are our expertise. So, let us do what we do best: delivering and maintaining a professional, high-quality, client-attracting website for you. Then you can focus on what you do best: caring for your clients.
From what our clients and the research tells us, we expect that the increased demand for therapists will continue for an extended period. People desperately need your expertise. And they need it now. Placing them on a waitlist when time matters isn’t ideal. With the proper steps, it’s also unnecessary.
Implementing shorter sessions, expanding your technique repertoire or the expectations of your clients, adding group sessions, relinquishing administrative tasks, and passing the website buck over to us will give you the additional time you need to meet the increased demand and propel your practice growth, without overwhelm and burn out. We believe that’s win-win-win.
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