Apart from bringing relief to people who have psychological problems, another reason anybody will want to venture into psychotherapy is to make a profit. And like any other business, technological advancements have necessitated that psychotherapists must buckle up.
The reason for this is not far-fetched. Advancements in technology have indeed made the world a global village, and these have enhanced stiff competition in the business landscape.
As a result of this tough competition, 20% of small businesses don’t make it past their first year, 30% fold up in their second year, 50% go into extinction by their fifth, and 70% hardly exist beyond their tenth.
Traditional psychotherapy was basically an in-office thing. Patients were required to book strict appointments for sessions with their therapists.
There have been cases where patients were not able to meet up with these appointments for no fault of theirs. Such instances could lead to frustrations, stress, and worsening of already delicate situations.
If you fail to deploy innovative ways to ensure that your clients get the requisite therapy as and when due, there is every possibility that they will seek better attention from your competitors.
The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the way we conduct businesses and the new normal is a time to re-strategize in order to still be relevant in any niche you may belong to. With changes like teleworking and social distancing, you need to come up with out-of-the-box ideas.
The following four strategies will enable you to effectively meet up with the challenges you must face as a result of the drastic changes that advancement in technology and the new normal have foisted on the business world.
Speaking over the phone
The telephone system is by any standard a technological innovation, but can’t be said to be relatively new. However, advancements in the telephone system have made it very relevant to the psychotherapy business.
Depending on the size of your business, you may require enough space to handle some of your therapeutic sessions, and won’t want to be bogged down with unnecessary hardware that will occupy space. The traditional telephone has always been a very good means of communicating with your clients but, you must put into consideration the cost of purchasing the necessary hardware, and also that of maintenance.
Cloud-hosted PBX phone systems have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. With the changes we expect in the new normal, it has become very expedient that you leverage a robust phone system, to stay relevant in the psychotherapy business.
Cloud-hosted PBX phone systems come with all the features and tools you need, without having to install or maintain any equipment. You have all the functionality of a digital system moved into a virtual space, eliminating the need for hardware and other equipment, hence, saving you the money for installation and maintenance.
They are also easier to use since they can provide all the functions of a digital PBX platform and even more than that without the need for that your clunky, expensive equipment.
The traditional face-to-face therapy revolves around clients receiving in-person counseling from the service. This, however, has its shortcomings. But with the advancement in technology, you can send and receive messages through email in a matter of minutes.
Your service provider can get across to you through your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, anywhere and at any time. A lot of people have researched the effectiveness of using the online medium as a means of counseling clients.
One such type of research is published by JMIR Publications and was carried out by researchers from the University of California – Berkeley, University of California – San Francisco, and the San Francisco General Hospital. The study concluded that “users of BetterHelp experienced significantly reduced depression symptom severity after engaging with the platform.”
BetterHelp, however, cautions that while online service may have similar benefits with traditional face-to-face therapy, it’s not capable of substituting for it in every case. It’s important for you to note that your provider won’t be able to make any official diagnosis, to fulfill any court order, or prescribe medication.
Nothing satisfies a client more than getting attention in real-time and 24/7. While your counselor may not be able to live chat with you around the clock, the integration of chatbots into psychotherapy has been able to solve this problem.
AI chatbots have come a long way in addressing the pain points of customers in real-time. They are also able to do so in many languages. It’s very soothing to have your problems addressed, and solutions proffered in your language.
You feel completely at home and more willing to openly discuss your problems. Chatbots can give around the clock services because they don’t have the failings of humans.
It’s also possible to have chatbots, direct clients, to a live therapist when it becomes absolutely necessary.
Online counseling has its advantages but sometimes, there is the need to have at least a glimpse of your clients, and maybe oversee some exercises they have to carry out. You may want to ascertain that they are doing their exercises correctly.
For this, you require a live video conference that serves as a visual connection between you and your client. It’s even possible to have sessions with more than one person, despite the fact, that you are residing in separate locations.
You can use video conferencing for the purposes of transmitting static images and text between two locations in its simple form. For sophisticated purposes, you can use it for the transmission of full-motion video images and high-quality audio between multiple locations.
The absolute requirement for both the counselor and the client are devices that can connect to the Internet and having a reliable Internet connection. It’s also important for you to take all necessary safety precautions to ensure that your clients’ data do not fall into the wrong hands.