In spite of education on how to help those with mental health issues live their lives in meaningful ways, there’s not always an emphasis on practical tools to use with mental health treatment,
And, the integration of technology in our everyday lives is ubiquitous now. We’re all well aware of the new norms and expectations that now influence our interactions. As licensed therapists, whether you’re an in-person therapist or online therapist, the tricky part is finding how to best adapt your practices to embrace the unique opportunities technology has to offer, while still preserving the essential elements of the tried and true, traditional therapeutic experience. To achieve this balance, you need an effective toolbox with the right tools to build a well-rounded, successful practice. Being well-rounded includes having an online presence and leveraging digital and online resources and platforms.
The relationship between therapist and client is paramount, and no communication service, no matter how advanced, will be of any use to the therapist if it compromises that relationship.
Technology must be, first and foremost, secure and reliable. Then, it must be easy to use and convenient. And, it must be useful. When a service meets all three criteria, it can be very helpful in attracting new clients and maintaining lasting relationships so they can receive the care they need. In-person and online, the goal is to create a safe space for your client in a professional environment that fosters trust and enables growth.
Even if you’re the greatest therapist in the world, there’s always another resource or tool you could use to improve professionally. Here’s a list of great tools and resources for therapists so you can focus on helping your patients achieve their goals for therapy without having to spend time outside of sessions searching for the right materials to use during sessions.
Every good therapist knows that a website is essential for private practice marketing. After all, your marketing efforts only pay off if you provide a place for your potential clients to reach out or learn more, right? Your website acts as a brochure, offering information about who you are as a therapist and how your practice functions. By picking a service or platform that can customize your site and avoiding a “cookie cutter” look, you help reduce the number of mismatched consultations and help increase your chances of being seen by your perfect clients.
Pro Tip: Find a service, such as Brighter Vision, that specializes in website development for mental health professionals and integrates professional search engine optimization (SEO) techniques into your site. These techniques are key and will help your website steadily move upward in Google's search results. Having a well-designed, search-engine-optimized site will make an enormous difference to your practice’s level of success online, both immediately and in the long run. TherapySites also provides website templates specifically for therapists, as well as online marketing tools, so you can build a website for your practice and help it grow. If you have little to no tech experience, you will have zero issues building and launching a site here. Even if you do get stuck, they have a friendly customer care team that can help you through it.
When a therapist engages in an email conversation with a patient, highly sensitive information is exchanged that could be damaging to both parties if intercepted or lost. Yet, email is so convenient and provides so many benefits to both therapist and client, it has become a necessity in many practices. Today, an encrypted and HIPAA-compliant email service is critical to conduct business professionally and keep your practice liability free.
Pro Tip: Find a service, such as Hushmail, that gives therapists the ability to send encrypted, HIPAA-compliant emails to their clients. Look for one that allows encryption even if the client doesn’t also have an encrypted email account. Encryption should also extend to document sharing and web forms, such as Hush™ Secure Forms from Hushmail. This may include documents such as client intake forms (either in the office or online), client homework, or even notes released from a previous phase of care. Crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s with this level of security from the beginning allows the therapist and the client to engage naturally without the fear of a breach of confidentiality.
In a post-pandemic world, this is standard practice. Meet your clients where they’re at, regardless of circumstance. By adding an online video therapy platform (telehealth) to your toolbox, you provide yourself and your clients with an alternative to the in-office session, without sacrificing the non-verbal cues gained through a face-to-face interaction. Beyond salvaging otherwise missed appointments and last-minute cancellations, telehealth will also increase your marketability.
In choosing a telehealth provider, be sure to steer clear of personal consumer-based video platforms used in daily interactions with friends or family and find a platform that’s HIPAA-compliant — this is important for liability and professional standards. The last thing a client wants to think about is whether or not their therapy sessions are truly private. When a client knows the tools a therapist uses ensures their privacy, they can focus on more important matters, such as getting the help they need.
Pro Tip: Find a platform such as thera-LINK that was built specifically for therapists. This will impact the success of your sessions as all aspects of the session will be made to mirror a traditional therapy session. Started by a therapist herself, thera-LINK provides the classic essential practice management features such as scheduling, payment, and notes, but goes further still with details like customizable waiting rooms to truly emphasize the authentic experience.
It is also important that technology does not create barriers to care. Such barriers might include an overly complicated interface that intimidates clients, or a service that doesn’t offer immediate customer care to fix problems should they arise. Just as a therapist might decorate an office and keep it free of clutter so the client is comfortable, technology must also foster a sense of comfort and confidence in the user. Choose companies with specialists in the areas of SEO and HIPAA-compliance, and benefit from their invaluable expertise that will elevate your practice and put your mind at ease. Holly AI Therapist Assistant is a 24/7 scheduling tool that allows therapists to book sessions online, via text, social networks, or by phone. You can then coordinate and confirm therapy appointments, manage cancellations and rescheduling, and deal with payment logistics.
Of course, we’re a little biased, but Advekit really does help you and your clients afford to keep therapy going. Since we work as a liaison between you and insurance carriers, neither you nor the client waits around for reimbursement. You get paid straight away, and get unlimited access to our billing and support teams, no matter where your client is in-patient or out of network.
aAt the end of the day, it’s the tools that will keep your practice relevant in the digital age, but it’s the team behind them that will empower you to keep your focus on the therapy so you can deliver the best care to your clients.
Therapist Aid: If you only have time to look in one place, make it here. This resource library has nearly everything you might be looking for, from worksheets and media to interactives and activities. It’s a one-stop shop that also organizes content by topic, so you can easily search for activities you might need based on what’s coming up for your patients. Worksheets and treatment guides are especially plentiful.
Psychology Today: You’re likely already in the Psychology Today directory, but maybe you haven’t had a chance to read one of the thousands of articles and blogs on their site. If you’re looking for a specific study, essay, or piece of research, you can probably find it here as well – or find examples of where it’s cited. The contributing psychologists and psychiatrists are vetted in advance, making everyone an expert author.
Psychology Tools: More handouts and exercises are available here, as well as ideas based on specific therapies. If you’re looking for new info on positive psychology, or to get into practicing Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), for example, you’ll find resources about that particular form of therapy. The same resource pages apply to problems ranging from disassociation to psychosis, and mechanisms patients use such as avoidance, perfectionism, and schema maintenance.
ADAA Screening Tools: The Anxiety and Depression Association of America is already a fantastic resource (you can sign up for newsletters, publications, webinars, and more focus on anxiety and depression disorders), but their online assessments are next level. These allow patients to answer a series of yes or no questions based on psychiatric disorder scales, covering everything from depression and anxiety to GAD and PTSD. Patients can save the results and bring them in or email them to you, making them an easy way to quickly screen incoming clients.
Psychotherapy.net: A treasure trove of psychology-related videos awaits on this site. Therapists are shown in session and discussing their work directly while also teaching you how to grow as a professional. Additionally, there are a bunch of free continuing education programs and on-demand access to over 300 videos to help build clinical skills.
Living CBT Resources: For therapists focused on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), this website offers a ton of free self-help worksheets you can use during or post-session as client homework. It’s especially great for emailing or printing off worksheets like thought diaries, confidence building, and resilience management.
Confident Counselors: For therapists who work with kids or teens, these resources are likely to help. There are lots of activities, tools, and games for all types of counseling, but many of them are geared toward working with younger patients. Some versions of the games offered are digital for remote sessions, while blogs and other articles help you spur your own ideas to use in your practice.
Pinterest: No, really, hear us out! Pinterest is chock full of mental health tidbits and infographics, as well as pictures, quotes, worksheets, and more. You can create your own professional page if you like as well, with boards and repins of all these wonderful resources, and from there, you can then share that page with clients as an easy all-in-one resource for them. Think of boards as topics they can browse, like “Managing Stress,” “Positive Thinking,” or “Anxiety Busters.” Plus, it’ll double as easy marketing for prospective clients in search of a therapist!
There are many more resources out there, so remember that therapy is a collaborative process. You don’t need to do it alone. Give yourself the right tools and you’ll see your practice, your clients, and your services continue to improve and grow over time.
If you are a mental health professional looking for advice for your practice, whether that be measuring the pros and cons of remote therapy, or want to know the best ideas for termination activities for therapy, contact us today and Advekit can support you so that you know you are running your practice in the best way possible.