We talked to Julie Clayden this week about her practice, Talk Swansea. The physical offices are in Neath, Swansea, but for now, she’s practising online. When you can only see your clients online, it doesn’t matter where you are unless you’re in a different timezone.
There’s a “Roadmap out of Lockdown” promised by the UK government, but there are still some trying months ahead. Combined with the past year of restrictions and hardships, it’s essential to realise how crucial adaptations and new working methods are for business owners.
About Talk Swansea and Julie Clayden
Julie found her passion for people and their stories in 2014, and she hasn’t looked back. Initially qualifying from the University of Worcester and continuing her professional development with the University of Wales, she is registered with the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy).
“CPD or training never stops. This industry is ever-evolving, and there is always something else to learn.”Julie Clayden MBACP
Julie’s practice caters to couples, individuals, and fully inclusive and welcoming of all people from the LGBTQI+ community, both individually and couples.
For couple’s counselling, she provides a safe place for couples to share intimate and stressful issues, which can be difficult to resolve from within the relationship. At the same time, Julie also provides individual therapy for everything from anxiety and depression to sexuality and gender issues.
An essential aspect of Julie’s therapy process is ensuring the compatibility between client and therapist.
“Study after study shows that successful therapy depends on the quality of the relationship between the therapist and the client. You’re much better off seeing a graduate student you connect with than a 40-year veteran and author with whom you don’t feel understood.”Julie Clayden MBACP
For her clients’ convenience, she highlights the availability of easy online booking on the home page. There’s also a large “Book Online Now” button at the top of the home page, so there’s no wondering how to do it.
Julie’s clients have many wonderful things to say about her and how she works with them towards positive outcomes. When more people feel the need to talk and find the support they need, having a therapist with good recommendations takes some of the fear away from seeking therapy.
“It took me nearly a year to get the courage to go and talk to a counsellor; it feels so silly looking back now after meeting Julie. I have been seeing her for over six months, and it’s the best thing I’ve done. Everything makes so much more sense.”EC, Morriston, Swansea
On choosing a booking system for Talk Swansea
What makes someone decide to implement a scheduling system, how they search for them, and what makes then choose the one that works best for them is essential to us. What works for one business is useless to another, so finding out what works best id critical to our continued development. What made SimplyBook.me the best option for Talk Swansea?
Q – Why did you decide to start using a booking system?
A – To reduce admin and be more flexible for my clients. In particular, the frontline staff dealing with the COVID situation as many of them are shift workers. Both they and I need an efficient, easy-to-use system, which people have come to recognise and expect when booking online.
Q – Have you used any other booking system before SimplyBook.me?
A – I tried some industry databases that try to do everything, but they were chunky and rigid.
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 – Only initially. There are still a few bits I’d like to tweak, but its working really well as it is.
Q – Did you use our live chat and if so, did you find them helpful?
A – Yes, I used it all the time. Live Chat and the customer support team are fantastic and quick to respond.
Q – How did you find SimplyBook.me to use?
A – I found it a little overwhelming at first. I have no concerns about asking anything, even if it doesn’t exist yet, as the system is continually evolving.
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 – 95% use the online system, I rarely converse with new clients they automatically book and pay online.
Q – Do you also accept bookings via Facebook, Instagram and Google?
A – No, I don’t use any of these features yet.
On the best (and worst) parts of the booking system
Q – What do you like best about the system?
A – I love the flexibility and support available.
Q – What do you dislike about the system?
A – It’s not something that I dislike, but what would be handy is an option to choose how many employees/service providers exactly, and then that number automatically reduces the possible features you need to access. There are so many options (which is excellent), but many aren’t necessary for a single service provider, which is essentially the case for private counselling practices.
Q – Did SimplyBook.me meet your expectations?
A – The system more than met my expectations. It really is excellent.
Q – Would you recommend the system to your friends?
A – Absolutely.
On Mental Health Therapy and the Changing Situation
Now, more than ever, mental health is getting the attention and care it deserves. 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.
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 additional support?
A – The pandemic’s impact on mental health is massive, and we won’t get an accurate picture for several years. The restrictions and health anxiety caused by the pandemic, on top of usual issues, has been a real strain.
Q – Assuming life ever returns to normal, will you continue to offer online video support to clients who prefer it?
A – Yes, I will continue to offer online sessions as an option, even when we get a chance to get back to face to face.
Q – Which online calling platform do you use to support your online clients? Why does that work best for you?
A – Whereby or Zoom. I have Whereby as a back up to Zoom as it is a browser platform best used on Chrome. Having a back-up allows every chance of connecting with my clients on any device.
Julie Clayden has been using the SimplyBook.me system to schedule Talk Swansea online appointments and manage her timetable since July 2020. Julie has only been in private practice for 10 months – a difficult time for anyone to set up a business – so she can’t really compare what the therapy business was like in Swansea before.
From the positive feedback Julie has received from both her individual and couples clients, she should have no problems maintaining her clients. , and we hope that SimplyBook.me can grow with her business and continue to meet the requirements of Talk Swansea.