Working as a therapist involves many challenges, including attracting new clients, maintaining patient records, and keeping up with legal requirements and training. The variety of responsibilities can certainly be overwhelming, but help & guidance is available.
Thanks to a wide range of online resources these days, you can find ways to save time and get more done with less effort, allowing you to focus more on the care of your patients and less on the tiresome paperwork.
Below is a comprehensive guide to online resources for helping you thrive as a therapist or a psychiatrist. We hope it makes your day-to-day a little easier!
1. Join an Online Community Dedicated to Therapists
Facebook and Reddit are full of online groups dedicated to therapists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals.
To search for relevant Facebook Groups, click on the “Groups” section of the menu from your Facebook dashboard. The upper left menu should include a search bar for searching for groups using specific keywords, such as “San Francisco Therapists” or “Chicago Psychiatrists.”
You may need to try a few different keywords to find a suitable group. After finding a group that you want to join, click on the “Join Group” button from the group’s page.
Reddit has many subreddits for therapists and psychiatrists, including the “Therapists” subreddit at https://reddit.com/r/therapists. Other subreddits for therapists include options dedicated to talk therapy, psychotherapy, and specific mental health disorders, such as borderline personality disorder.
Joining one of these groups gives you a space where you can ask questions and share your thoughts on your profession. Talking with other therapists or psychiatrists may also help you through some of the more challenging days (since they get exactly what you are faced with daily). Using these groups helps you to remember that you’re not alone. Many other people experience the same issues.
2. Join One of the Innovative Online Therapy Platforms
Joining an online therapy platform may open the doors to a revenue stream and segment of the population you aren’t currently servicing. The pandemic forced so many people to spend more time indoors, which led to an increase in demand for remote therapy. Some of the top online therapy platforms include:
Online therapy platforms can help increase your caseload and income but may not work well for everyone. Before choosing a platform, review its services to determine which is the best fit for you. Each platform has unique features and options that may work better for your current situation.
For example, some platforms offer video, phone, and text-based therapy, while others only offer text-based therapy. Some platforms also work with insurance, while others do not. The payment schedules and compensation policies also vary. So it’s good to look at what each offers so you pick the best option for you personally.
Even though most people have returned to in-person therapy visits, many actually still prefer to have their therapy session remotely for multiple reasons. Therefore it’s always a good option to offer your patients the choice, to ensure they are getting the most comfortable care for them.
3. Save Time with Practice Management Software
If you don’t already use practice management software, you stand to save a significant amount of time and energy. A few of the highest-rated practice management platforms include:
The typical practice management system (PMS) can cover all administrative tasks associated with running a modern health practice, such as: Generating invoices, Preregistering patients, Maintaining patient records, Scheduling appointments & Generating custom reports.
Using PMS makes it easier to complete administrative tasks, which is obviously so useful for therapists and psychiatrists who work independently. If you have a full-fledged practice with office staff, it can also help your team get more work done faster.
Practice management software also reduces errors and generally keeps you more organized. However, these systems also can tend to come with relatively large price tags. To choose the right software, pay attention to the pricing plans, hardware requirements, and service model. Some platforms are offered through the cloud, while others are available for installation on desktop computers or mobile apps.
4. Schedule Appointments with Online Scheduling Software
Some practice management solutions include online scheduling, while others integrate with third-party platforms. You may decide to skip using a PMS but still want to save time when it comes to scheduling. Using online scheduling software can help with these situations.
Acuity Scheduling is a top recommendation for those that want to test scheduling software for free. The platform offers a free version and a paid version. The paid version is HIPAA-compliant. Both versions integrate with your existing website.
Calendly is another top pick for therapists wanting free scheduling software. You can set up a free account and sync it with your Google account. Appointment times and dates can appear in your Google Calendar, which may work well for those who frequently use Google products.
If you do not want to mess around with free accounts and simply want HIPAA-compliant scheduling, try Yellow Schedule. This platform has an easy-to-use interface. You & your clients can easily make appointments, request changes to appointment times, cancel appointments, and a bunch more.
5. Create a Custom Website with WordPress or Wix
Having an attractive website is a massively beneficial tool for all types of businesses, including therapists and psychiatrists. Websites are one of the main sources for new patients, as many people start their search for therapists online.
When someone searches for a “therapist near me,” they are likely to make an appointment with one of the top three results in their area. If you want to make that list, you need an SEO-optimized website.
WordPress and Wix offer the most user-friendly interfaces for building a professional-looking website from scratch. You do not need any technical experience to create a website with a custom domain name. Both platforms include website builders with templates and drag-and-drop editing. Within a few hours, you can have a basic website up and running featuring your name and contact information.
Wix provides the most straightforward solution, as you do not have to purchase separate website hosting. If you choose WordPress, you need to find a suitable hosting plan, such as an affordable shared hosting plan from BlueHost. Instead of building a website on your own, you also have the option of hiring professional web designers.
Brighter Vision is an online marketing platform built specifically for therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists. It includes access to custom website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and more.
6. Attract More Patients with Targeted Online Marketing
After creating a website, use online marketing resources to attract more visitors. As with website design, you can find platforms dedicated to online marketing for therapists. For example, PatientPop offers an all-in-one marketing solution for therapists, with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, website creation, SEO, and more.
If you prefer to handle the marketing on your own, you should consider using the following resources: Google Analytics, MailChimp or Sendgrid, Moz, Semrush.
Use Google Analytics to monitor website traffic. You can use website analytics to determine which sources provide the most traffic. For example, you may find that most of your traffic comes from social media posts or organic web searches. These details help you determine where to devote more of your marketing efforts.
MailChimp & Sendgrid are some of the top email marketing platforms. You can use these platforms to help retain patients and send reminders of upcoming appointments. They also can track the history of each email recipient, making it easier to keep tabs on your interactions with patients.
Moz is an online marketing platform with a variety of free and paid tools. You can use the free tools for competitive research, link-building research, and other SEO tasks. Moz also has a marketing blog and guides with all the information that you need to start marketing your website.
Semrush is another online marketing platform and one of the most popular alternatives to Moz. A paid subscription to Semrush includes access to 20 SEO tools for growing your online presence and attracting more visitors.
7. Print Custom Business Cards and Materials
Sometimes we underestimate the amount of times someone will ask for “your card” and we simply don’t have any to give! You may be missing out on gaining new clients if you don’t have professional business cards to hand out. Even if the person you gave it to doesn’t use your services, they may give your card to someone else who will.
Most custom business card packages are inexpensive and super easy to order. Custom sets of cards are a small investment that can go a long way toward promoting a professional image. There’s a large variety of business card products available, including business card stickers, QR code business cards, and magnetic cards.
Along with business cards, you can create a wide assortment of promotional material, including pamphlets. If you have a practice, you can leave informative pamphlets in the lobby of your offices as well. Vistaprint, MOO & Zazzle all are great options to check out to personalize.
Personalized pens and magnets are also cool promotional tools that you can distribute for inexpensive advertising. You can pass them out to patients, family members, and anyone you meet. You never know where they may end up.
8. Download Therapy Worksheets and Templates
The internet is full of downloadable content, including therapy worksheets and templates that you can use with your patients. Using downloadable content saves time while offering access to the latest therapy techniques and practices. Most of the content is created by other therapists and psychiatrists, ensuring that you receive access to evidence-based material.
Here are some of the best websites for downloadable therapy worksheets and templates:
Therapist Aid is one of the largest websites containing therapy worksheets, activities, and guides. You can access a lot of the content for free. However, a paid membership to Therapist Aid allows you to customize the worksheets and use interactive therapy tools.
Psychology Tools is another website with resources and tools for mental health professionals. The website has over 400 worksheets, templates, and audio resources. You can download a limited amount of content for free or sign up for a paid plan to unlock more content.
Positive Psychology includes blog articles written or edited by psychologists and other mental health professionals who hold a Ph.D. Many of the blogs include therapy exercises, techniques, or worksheets that you can use in your practice.
9. Catch Up on the Latest Research and Breakthroughs
Keeping up with the latest research and techniques is an important part of your job. You need to ensure that you are aware of any developments that may lead to better care. Here are a few of the top sources for new developments in the world of mental healthcare:
- The American Psychological Association (APA)
- The American Counseling Association (ACA)
- JAMA Network (Psychiatry)
- Science Daily
- American Journal of Psychiatry
- Psych Central
Several of these websites offer more than just articles on the latest research. You can also find helpful resources and links. For example, the American Psychological Association (APA) website includes a job search tool.
The APA and ACA are two of the biggest nonprofit organizations designed to support mental health professionals. Both websites include useful resources and training materials. The JAMA Network and Science Daily are good sources for new publications related to mental health topics. These sites frequently post summaries of the latest research and studies.
The American Journal of Psychiatry and Psych Central include a mixture of research publications and blogs. The blogs offer useful insight into different therapy techniques and practices when dealing with various mental health disorders.
10. Create a Memorable Vanity Phone Number
A vanity number can help you stand out from other therapists and leave a lasting impression on potential clients. It is also easier for people to remember compared to a set of digits, as most vanity numbers include a phrase or word.
Displaying a vanity number on your website & business cards can help definitely create a more professional image. It’s just one of the many phone features available for modern business voice customers. Along with a vanity number, your practice can benefit from call forwarding, hours of operation, custom greetings, live call transfer, and a ton of other useful features.
So now you have a variety of resources that can help simplify various aspects of working as a therapist or psychiatrist. You can save time and avoid mistakes using online platforms, scheduling systems, and practice management software. You may also grow your brand and attract new patients using a custom website and online marketing.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to use all the resources discussed to enjoy a successful career in the mental health profession. Start with just one or two of the solutions listed above to see how they can take some of the stress out of your work life and help you stay more organized!
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.