This week we have an interview with Sarah Phillips, a licensed clinical social worker with a psychotherapy practice in Denver, Colorado. Sarah was good enough to take some time to answer a few questions about her business and her experience setting up and using her SimplyBook.me booking website.
About Sarah Phillips, LCSW
Sarah’s practice is located in the Capitol Hill district of Denver. However, since the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, all sessions have had to move online to video call support. However, that situation will not last forever, and as soon as the conditions change, she will be back to offering her full, in-person support to her clients
The focus of Sarah’s practice is the emotional health and well-being of individual adults, couples, and family units.
“The essence of my practice extends acceptance, compassion and trust. I offer my clients respect and hopefulness, putting forward a non-judgmental and positive mindset.”Sarah Phillips, LCSW
Like many mental health clinicians, Sarah has her particular areas of interest and skills centred around supporting emotional healing and mental well-being.
In addition to the list of therapeutic specialities on her website, Sarah Phillips is a Certified Daring Way Facilitator and Approved Consultant (CDWF-C), and practices Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR), which can help treat trauma, anxiety and other emotional issues. Sarah also has a therapeutic “assistant” in Aruba, a standard poodle certified through Freedom Service Dogs as a therapy dog after a year of extensive training.
Sarah was also the recipient of the “Most Distinguished Clinician” award from the Colorado Society for Clinical Social Work in 2014. It’s not always how it works, but it’s reassuring when you have an award-winning therapist working with you.
On choosing a booking system
What makes a business choose to implement a booking system, how they find them, and what makes them pick the one they need are crucial. Methods that work for one business won’t work for another.
Q – Why did you decide to start using a booking system?
A – I was tired of spending time going back and forth between voice mail or text trying to arrange appointments with my clients.
Q – Have you used any other booking system before SimplyBook.me?
A – Yes, Snap Appointments.
Q – How did you find SimplyBook.me?
A – I needed to find a HIPAA compliant option, which helped narrow down my internet search. I liked the options offered and the pricing in comparison to other systems in my Web search.
On setting up the system
What’s the point in having a system that’s supposed to save you time and money, if it’s time-consuming and challenging to set up and maintain? We want to help our clients get the most from our system as quickly as possible.
Q – Did you find it difficult to set up?
A – Not at all
Q – Did you use our live chat and if so, did you find them helpful?
A – Yes, a few times, and they are always helpful.
Q – What percentage of your customers use your booking website to book your services? (Or are many of them still calling and planning within the system?)
A – About 75% book online. Some clients prefer to book at the end of the current session for the next meeting time.
Q – Do you also accept bookings via Facebook, Instagram and Google?
A – No, I don’t
On the best (and worst) parts of the booking system
Bill Gates said something about your best learning tools being negative feedback. Well, let’s be fair, no one LOVES negative feedback, but we like to find out what’s working and what’s not; what needs tweaking and what’s perfect just the way it is.
Q – What do you like best about the system?
A – The website! I get many compliments on how nice my booking site looks.
Q – What do you dislike about the system?
A – Some features like classes are not completely intuitive. It can take me some time to figure out all the features.
Q – Did SimplyBook.me meet your expectations?
A – Yes
Q – Would you recommend the system to your friends?
A – Yes
On Mental Health Therapy and the Changing Situation
Now, more than ever, mental health is getting the attention and care it deserves. However, even though people talk about their mental health in mainstream media and have greater access to psychotherapy in general, there is still a stigma attached. I wanted to know if the greater accessibility of online therapy and even hybrid models of on/offline sessions could help people access the mental and emotional support they need. 2020 was a tumultuous year in many ways for everyone, and I also wanted to know if that affected Sarah’s business.
Q – Have you noticed an increase in your client numbers in the past 12 months? And were you expecting it?
A – My practice has been pretty full for a few years, with openings every so often. There are times that I expect things to be busier, and times that I expect a lull.
Q – Do you think that the past year has created an environment where more people need counselling? And would you say more people should ask for the additional help?
A – Yes! COVID-19 has put a lot of emotional burden on people, as well as the unrest in our country on multiple levels. People are experiencing a lot of grief, depression, relationship disappointment, anxiety, and other complaints. I would love to see more people reach out for support/therapy. I think it can be a very supportive and safe environment to explore these stressors.
Q – Assuming life ever returns to normal, will you continue to offer online video support to clients who prefer it?
A – I imagine I will offer a hybrid of both in-person and online therapy.
Q – Which online calling platform do you use to support your online clients? Why does that work best for you?
A – Zoom, they offer a HIPAA compliant version, I’ve used it in the past and found it easy to get my clients connected.
Q – Do you think more people would seek the therapy they need if online sessions became more normalised?
A – There are several newer companies offering telephone or video therapy (or perhaps they are advertising more now), and I’ve heard mixed reviews about this in my very small circle. I love the idea that they are making therapy very accessible to many people. So, yes, I think that this could increase the number of people seeking support. I also know that I have clients that can’t wait to be back in my office meeting face to face.
Sarah Phillips has been using the SimplyBook.me system for 3 years to arrange online appointments and manage her schedule. She’s already said that she has a pretty full timetable, so using an automated system has helped her maximise her time with clients, without the pain point of manually booking sessions. As mental health care is subject to HIPAA laws, a compliant system is essential to her business. We hope SimplyBook.me continues to meet and exceed Sarah’s requirements.