Therapists tend to be the last group to jump on the techy bandwagon. I DRUG my feet for two years because I couldn’t fathom switching from a paper calendar to an electronic system. Most of the resistance came from fear: fear of something new, making a mistaking, taking the time to learn… change.

After much flailing, when the switch finally happened life became SO much easier. The extra time that came from incorporating a minimal use of technology at work left room for more self-care, better focus, improved client experience AND saving our beloved trees (we need those for O2).

If you are looking to explore the addition of technology into your practice, here is what I suggest:

1. Online EHR (Electronic Health Record)

Your EHR provides you will many features that you can automate. Main Features include; calendar, client information storage, client notes, customizable informed consent documents, and online storage of all documents. It is also possible to bill insurance through these systems and take payments automatically from clients with saved payment information they consent to.

Are EHR systems HIPAA compliant and safe? Absolutely. Having all your files in an EHR will give you an additional “door” that client information is securely locked behind. Here is an article about EHR safety if you are interested. My favorite EHR is Simple Practice.

2. Online Marketing

Sales and marketing are only yucky words for the car salesman that talks buyers into vehicles they can’t afford. You are a helper and clients need to be able to find you! How many resources are you exhausting trying to get new clients or agonizing over it? Google Ads is a fantastic marketing tool for therapists that is ethical and easy to use. It is automated and YOU control your budget and the flow of new clients. Doing online marketing will save you a ton of time at the fraction of the cost. In 2019 this is the best way to meet your practice goals fast.

3. E-Courses

All of that experience stored in your brain could be working for you while you see clients. I love e-courses for a couple of reasons; the passive income and clients love it too- courses are easy for them to access. You can make an e-course for the themes you see popping up in your practice. This gives clients and potential clients access to your knowledge in their own home. What better way to help and continuously build relationships than that? E-courses are also an excellent way to become an expert on something in your community.

4. Website

Still printing out brochures? Knocking on doors? All of that paper costs money and trees. A well put together, UP TO DATE, website shows you are down with the times and gives visibility to your community without having to be standing right there. It is the virtual doorway into your practice. Most people looking for a counselor are finding them online. Oh the feeling you get from a call with a person on the line saying, “I just knew you could help me when I read over your site.”

Start small. If you are like me and you boycott all things techy in your practice, just try one thing that you think may fit your personality. I’ve found after trying one thing it becomes easier to try yet another. I promise, after you get a couple new techs set up in your practice and get used to them you will save a ton of time AND trees. Your clients will be happy too.

By Kristen Craren St. Louis Area Counseling Professional

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