Today we dive into the world of online therapy with Haesue Jo, a licensed marriage and family therapist, as well as the clinical support lead for Betterhelp.com. We discuss how Betterhelp.com was started, as well as what the client experience is like from the initial assessment through meeting with a licensed counselor. We tackle the pros and cons of online therapy, talk about financial aid, where online therapy is heading in the future, and we hear a couple of funny stories that can happen when people are doing therapy from the comfort of their own homes.
Betterhelp.com is the world’s leading provider of online therapy. Their mission is to make professional counseling accessible, affordable, and convenient, so anyone who struggles with life’s challenges can get help, anytime, anywhere. Head to http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch for 10% off your first month of services.
Below is the machine-generated audio transcription of the entire episode (so please understand there may be many errors, and difficult to read bits and pieces, but much of the content will be easy to understand) from http://audioburst.blubrry.com
Exploring the World of Online Therapy w/Betterhelp.com’s Haesue Jo, LMFT Clinical Support Lead
00:00:00 – 00:05:38
Coming up on today’s episode of the virtual couch we’re going to dive into the world of online therapy with hesse joe a fellow licensed marriage and family therapist as well as the clinical support lead for better so help dot com. What’s that experience like for the client or the pros possibly the cons and is there a place for dog air filters for the client or therapist that and much more coming up on the virtual catch judge moore email feedback before we get to the show and this one is so good. This is my favorite. I know we’re not supposed to have favorites. Each every email is very important me just like all of my kids but you’re gonna like this one. A lot says tony and i did get permission from the <hes>. The author of the cemil tony therapy is like a bathroom in the middle of a long run. They already have me right there. I’ve got plenty of stories about bathrooms in the middle of the long run <hes> but the person goes on to say just <hes> just wait till you know you’re making a difference in my life my wife i introduced me to your podcast gassed a year so during a rough period of time for both of us discussing episodes is broken the ice for so much needed conversations between us which i’m so grateful for. I really am back to the email. That alone has been amazing. I’m using better help. Thanks to you. I live in a small town. Let me just say that would be better. Help dot com slash virtual couch. Please please go there. If you’re going to take a look at better dot accomplished go to better help dot com slash virtual couch. It really helps the podcast but he says i’m using better help thanks to you. I live in a small town. Councillor options are slim plus. I never saw myself as somebody who needed therapy. I came close a few times a setting appointments but i always backed out better help dot com slash virtual couches so easy before you can have a second thought they have. You matched up. I love that because the that process is very easy. Better help dot com. The buried entry is so low. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and no it’s going to make a difference in my life now to explain my crude analogy. My wife and i are training for a marathon. During the long run we were catching up and i was telling her about my experience with better help a few miles later. We were passing bathroom. I tried to tell myself. I get tough it out and they didn’t wanna stop and break my rhythm boy. I’ve been there one of these days. I’m going to tell the story about why hold astravo record in the town of davis during a one particular one mile stretch of a half marathon the has to do with exactly this concept but it’ll be a very vulnerable story for me back to the email but i tried to tell myself tough it out and didn’t want to stop and break my rhythm. I told myself i was tougher than that but i stopped after iran faster felt better and was glad i stop therapy is the same i was telling myself. I wasn’t that guy and i could tough it. Get tough it out. Now that i’m going. I feel better and it’s worth the brief. Pause on life. Keep up the good work so thank you for that email again. These are coming in pretty regularly. We now and i’m grateful for that. So please go to better help dot com slash virtual couch and <hes> just know that <hes> that better health dot com over five hundred thousand people have already signed signed up done this before you as well. They’re going to better help dot com slash virtual couch getting the help. They need the help that they didn’t know they need as we learned about in this email today. There’s a broad range of expertise not so the counselor network that might not be available in local areas. It’s available for clients world wide you can log into your account anytime and send a message to your therapist at timely and thoughtful responses. You can schedule weekly video or sessions. You won’t have to sit in an uncomfortable waiting room even though my waiting room it’s very nice. I will admit that but but some some art or your you might you don’t wanna run into somebody a you know but better help we’ll assess your needs match with your own license professional therapist and you can often start communicating in less than twenty four hours and they also have scholarships so if you you are struggling financially but you really want that help <hes> better help dot com slash virtual couch go through their sign up and you will find out that there are a lot of options options for you on better help dot com slash virtual couch even if you are struggling financially and <hes> and i actually have coming up later this week i have one of the a <hes> a kind of a big deal at better dot com and they’re coming on to talk about the whole experience of better health and i’m really excited for you to hear that interview i it’s it’s a little the advertising but man we get into the nuts and bolts of how it works and signing up for accounts and the way that therapists work and all that so come really excited to share that interview coming up later this week. There’s a special offer for virtual listeners. You get ten percent off your first month that better help dot com slash virtual couch. So what are you waiting for. Go sign up today. Hey everybody thank you for tuning into episode one hundred fifty one five oh virtual couch. I’m your host tony over banking licence merge. They’re certified coach writer speaker husband bother forumeers on runner and green halfback online pornography recovery program that is helping the people like you reclaimed their lies harmful pornography if you’ve ever said that’s it. This is the last time i am looking at anything like that. What yourself to check out the path back. Find out what hundreds and hundreds of people just like you discovered that pornography can be something that you put behind doing a pass trust me that can be done any healthy coupling strength base hold the same way over to halfback recovery dot com short e book that describes by common mistakes that people make when trying to overcome pornography again that is pat that recovery dot com and please take a second and visit the virtual couch on instagram that is at virtual couching and you cannot find a virtual couch page facebook and there’s always the antonio licensed marriage family therapist on there <hes> that pages well last but not least stopped by tonio dot com and sign up there to find out more about a lot a lot of really exciting programs things books all all this stuff to this coming very very soon and if you leave a review on the apple podcast app on spotify or the google play store just leave it and shoot me an email at contac- back at tonio dot com with your mailing address and let me know if you’re interested in virtual couch magnet boring virtual caps thicker and i will send it on your way all right.
00:05:39 – 00:10:15
Hey i can’t wait. Let’s get to the show okay before we get to today’s interview you. I have been dying to share this with you and i like this. This will set the stage for today’s interview. Stay with me here for a minute. So wanna read you an email exchange that occurred not too long ago in in my office so long ago i transitioned away from paper notes and i take notes now on my ipad with my apple pencil and my ipad received texts and i promise you my my clients who listen that. I’m a pro. I am present. I am dialed in in session his barely distraction but if one comes in as a matter of fact i have possibly become too good not focusing missing on my texts coming in on my ipad because i’m getting more and more behind on my tax. That’s a whole other story but on this particular day it was a morning i had someone in front of me and they’re sharing pretty heavy the story and i’m being there and being present being a therapist and i get the following text exchange now. Let me be clear. Everything has been approved for sharing with <hes> with the couple that what i’m about to share about with that set of course not identifying who these centers of these texts are but <hes> but you’ll see you’ll see here goes so here’s the first text from the husband good morning. Thank you girl. I love you so much. Have an awesome day. You are getting so much done a proud of you and <hes> so i see this come through and i barely pay attention. I honestly barely painted. This is just the texts coming through at this point no big deal although i did think for a second like why did i get that but your brain’s kinda focused in the moment so the white replies pretty quickly. Thank you sweetie. I’m going slow but it’s getting donnie love you so much to thank you for all you do to help me. <hes> are too tired tonight to and then there’s a little playful emoji. I’m not really sure exactly what it is and then the wife immediately follows up with the words snuggle question mark with the same emoji it now. I’m not gonna lie now. I’m semi paying attention because i’m starting to think that these folks definitely don’t know they are replying to a group text that we had about scheduling issues from a week or two earlier the husband then replies right away i would love to and <hes> there was a very nice happy heart faced kissy-faced emoji love emojis the wife then immediately replies with yes with a bunch of as and a bunch of s.’s and then it too has love emojis and kissy-faced emojis. Oh jeez and then the next pick comes through. The husband sends a pitcher and here’s where things get real. I’m a little worried that the pick may start flying and i don’t know what these picks are going to be and i think i know this couple well enough that they probably sending those kind of picks but still i really don’t wanna see something that will cause me to look at them the same again but then the pig comes through and it’s an animated gif or i’ve i’ve heard some of the people call them gifts but to give and it is a cartoon cat cradling another cartoon cat and the cartoon male cat is kissing all over the cartoon female cat and then here’s where the fun on starts. It wasn’t very long after where then the next text from the wife says oh dot my dot gov dot tony several several exclamation points then then husband oops sorry tony and the wife with the best line ever probably the big reason why reading this today the line says she says proof that therapy is working so yes folks syrupy does indeed work and while this was not exactly online therapy it is in fact that is the topic today online therapy so i thought that was a nice segue so recently you might’ve heard a lot or noticed a lot better comments on my podcast and quite frankly on a lot of different podcasts and that’s because better dot com working people are flocking to better help dot com and please. He’s i hope whenever you hear better health dot com you think better health dot com slash virtual couch because if you want to go check it out. Please click are injured. Better help dot com slash virtual couch because you will get ten percent off your first month of their services but again. This service is working and when i first brought better help dot com slash virtual couch on as an advertiser. They had some talking talking points that they said you could use in your ads so far. I’ve only used as a couple of times because in the less than the two months that i’m having them on as an advertiser have received several emails from my own virtual catch listeners talking talking about the difference the better health dot com slash virtual couch has made in their lives and i’ve shared those at the beginning of some of these episodes probably heard one today matter of fact. I think one today is hilarious. It’s about comparing comparing comparing therapy to a bathroom during a race so skip through it. I would really go back and listen. It really is a good email so while this might be this is is going to appear to be an extended ad and i’m aware that’s what it may appear to be. I promise you it’s not <hes> remember the difference in me. Talking about better help dot com ritual couch over. I think other podcasts is that i am a real licensed marriage family therapist and i have been overwhelmed literally by the amazing wonderful touching heartbreaking in harper heels on a daily basis and we’re talking multiple tails on a daily basis from people who’ve simply become aware of mental health issues or challenges in their marriage.
00:10:16 – 00:15:15
They’ve learned about new skills whether it’s emotionally focused therapy or acceptance and commitment therapy therapy a lot of people who have learned about things gas lighting or even personality disorders like narcissism. We’ve talked about borderline personality disorder. I continued to get emails from people who have <hes> <hes> the something struck them from the episode or from the migraines episode or any of the the guest that had talked about anxiety depression so i get a lot out of those emails simply from people who are listening virtual couch so i’m so grateful for those but i also then it kinda sometimes breaks my heart because as a lotta those talk about they say do i know therapist in and it’s somewhere in state or anywhere that i’m not really familiar with the therapy there and so i typically will try to try to reply back can say man i unfortunately i don’t know anybody in that area but you know really get on look it. <hes> it’s hard because a lot of people don’t even online reviews for therapists because they’re still a bit of a stigma sigma there so so. I think that <hes> better health dot com slash virtual couches is doing a wonderful job just helping people who don’t feel right for going going to a therapist. I mean if it’s if they don’t want to go to a therapist and person or so if that’s you if you’re struggling to go to the therapist or if you live out in the boonies or overseas or you have a schedule or life that causes you you too have challenges finding the time to go if as a challenge if i’m babysitting or if your work schedules hardy worried about bumping into somebody in the waiting room or anything that stops you from seeking help then i want to encourage you to try better health dot com slash virtual couch and so i wanted to get somebody from better help dot com onto simply talk about the site the process so if that is something that you’re still unsure are of whether or not you’re up for reaching out to somebody online or even going to better help dot com slash virtual couch then i hope that this will help and if you’re even curious about the world of online therapy <hes> the i interviewed has sue joe she’s a fellow licensed marriage and family therapist and she has also the clinical support lead for better health dot com and she was wonderful. She was fantastic. She covered so many things is that i think a lot of people have asked me about both in session and through email about what the online process could be like for therapy so quickly we had a few audio difficulties so this is one of the first episode that i’ve ever really spent time editing and first of all let me say i’m so fascinated by a lot of people talk about these satisfying videos or satisfying spying sounds or even do a podcast on them so i know that that is a thing as a matter of fact over the weekend <hes> heading down to do little paddle boarding on a lake that is nearby and to have the family family unit there. I’ve got my daughter’s boyfriend again. Another shout out the and he’s watching the turkey be cut at a sandwich shop and you said man that is satisfying and i sit. They’re watching them like i said one of these big slices for the kitchen. We can just like turkey l. but anyway i digress so watching satisfying videos so boy editing the video video editing audio editing audio is really was fine so i tried to jump into the file and get rid of anything that was inaudible and then i tried to match sessions together for continuity but i say that because if you hear anything that isn’t just one hundred percent smooth like a little change in pitcher a little bit of a hitch or that sort of thing just probably somewhere that i had to try and edit and and that <hes> you know we didn’t really add any content. We try to make things get rid of anything that was kind of hard to hear and i think i think flows all right so with that said. Let me get to the interview with better better help. Dot coms has sued joe. Thank you so much for joining me on the virtual couch metal. Thanks so much for having me yeah yeah so i i i have just so many questions about the whole concept behind better help dot com on my therapy but before i even go there. Tell me what about you. What’s your background. You are a fellow blue therapist. I believe right yes actually feral fellow licensed marriage and family therapist <hes> here in california. I have been practicing for as america. County sheriff is for five years but i’ve been working in the field of mental health for over ten an hour later. What else you wanna know but i’m kind of an open book. I need someone to turn the pages. Turn them. I can do that so what do you do. You have a area of expertise or specialty. I think probably when you speak to a lot of therapists. You may find that what they intended to make their specialty sheltie did not end up being that way you fall into various things whatever it is like to think that i specialize in working with folks that are struggling with symptoms ends of executive. <hes> having issues with family relationships have found is that a lot of my real life in <unk> has helped and come up in my own practice so i have found that i do work a lot with other asian american individuals who’ve had issues navigating life because of multi generational and multi cultural implications and the struggles and challenges within their family relationships in their outlooks perspective of the world. I wouldn’t say that i have any one clinical focus. I try very hard to work work with anybody that comes to me to find that there is some strong reason that we may not be a good fit for each other that something that will discuss but i do try to be very open to all kinds kinds of different people coming to see somebody to get some additional support judge it and then you said you worked in the mental.
00:15:15 – 00:20:08
Health field for ten years and therapy for five is that what else did you do in the field fuel side worked with kids the spectrum and their family than doing various behavioral coaching type things within the school setting and day treatment it facilities. I’ve also worked at research labs so studying the efficacy of various therapy modalities various individuals diagnosed with business that so i just kind of dipped my toes into all kinds of different places to see yeah. What did you find out in the i love. I haven’t done a lot of research. I love turn i. I like to think i’m a nice evidence-based guy so any i don’t know what you learn in that field as far as research in different modalities or something that that you found interesting you didn’t know before opinion the research space for me personally was is both interesting but also limiting because when you’re in these places where they’re looking for participants the controlled group you’re getting kind of specific types of people that volunteer their time to do something like this in so i found that it wasn’t always reflective why didn’t feel like it could be reflective of the general population actually being part of a minority group myself i always felt while i was working in these race or sloughs while he in all the participants coming in from a particular kind of demographic it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to take the findings from this study and say this is how human nature is when to so many different cultural implications for people also working in the research space. I think it’s a great option for those that are very much in to analyze data which i am not amount of very numbers focused person. Statistics is not really my forte or cup of tea but working in research is really interesting because it’s really hard i think to quantify or standardized the behavior and the nature of the psyche of so many different people we want to be able to generalize all these things and say like well if you have this sickness than this is the kind of medicine in that you will need a as you probably already know. That’s not always the case with somebody struggling with a mental or emotional issue yeah so so compare yeah right right right. There’s so much value and things that we can learn from the research space found. That wasn’t really something for me. I i had a client this morning who was saying we were talking about mindfulness and watching his thoughts and he was saying that he feels like watching his thoughts is the same thing as telling somebody to just act normal you know that there if fifties walk you ought to think about the thoughts that he will be watching and maybe he’ll think different thoughts just like so. I’m wondering i’m kind of wondering if that was then what you’re saying. You saw some in research research so if somebody’s coming in to volunteer than i don’t know if they’re the person that is willing to come in and volunteer is that is that a whole different <hes> maybe experiencing right out the wild. I guess i mean i was working at a research lab at a large university and along pins for the study are actually students in an underground college. Reprogram requirement boss to participate in these studies. That’s a way for candidates an professors themselves to even have enough participants to make this study worth looking into because you can’t five participants. How valid are your results swagger to get the numbers up. You’re gonna have different ways and creative ways to get more people but if it’s all psychology undergrad students that were required to do this. I think that is already going to have some kind of effect on the outcome of anything. You have students there that don’t want to be there. They’re just doing it. In order to get great for us might also have students where when rid studying is not really a challenge or issue this person in the first place new like you said the kinds of people that are volunteering their time to do something like this are going to be. Maybe inherently really different than those that don’t volunteer those that are really struggling with something in an isolated way and you know the other thing is like you’re gathering information on people in a very controlled environment whether that’s an office strategically placed in some university buildings or you’re like you said you’re not really experiencing able in the wild very very very specific setting value to be had like what you’re saying the creative ways to i mean if they also get a drawstring bag in you know in a cookie then maybe there’s there is coming for the cookie bag right. It’s not that bad. This is perfect segue. Even maybe into the ’cause i know with better health dot com so you guys have a library of data or materials or handouts or so is most of that things that you guys have compiled on your own or are. They things that you do you gather from outside sources slick think you may be referring to our library of worksheet. Yes yeah exactly billable far counters to a us with their clients and all of the worksheets worksheet content is all generally sourced from other research.
00:20:08 – 00:25:02
We do partner with a company called therapist first aid and they build a lot of that content and we take the content and turn it into interactive worksheets that can be used within our platform. Their state has their own tv of people dedicated hits research and development making sure that these worksheets are based in evidence based work so they’re not just making worksheets up out of nowhere. They’re not pulling information about this guy. <hes> they’re looking at existing literature research and meta data to make provide hopefully content that is helpful beneficial for clients counters to us where they have like. It’s one of those things whereas the therapist when i was kind of looking at the the library of those whenever i think to myself man i got up my handout game. You know that i’m thinking right. These are good so all right. Do you mind if we kinda jump into the better health dot com story i mean i really am curious. I wanna hear how you got there. I wanna hear anything that you’re you can talk out of how it got started. I mean i i don’t know the whole story so i only have bits and pieces of the story as well. Okay better hope was founded in twenty thirteen by alon john who is our president and co founded by a colleague that he had been working west named. Danny made you believe his story is available somewhere online. I don’t wanna get any of it wrong so really briefly he had his own experiences in life and he wanted to find a counselor because he was struggling for something and he ran into a lot of the road walks walks in challenges that i think many people face when looking for someone to work with the gotta be on your insurance panel all they got have the right schedule to align with yours being in a busy professional. Sometimes it’s very difficult if this private practices office hours are about the same time that you’re in office as well. I think he just thinking about all these barrier logistical barriers that get in the way for people to engage in therapeutic relationship with someone and i think he’s always kinda worked in this entrepreneurial business spacewalk ace whether that’s tech or not i believe the idea came to him in a personal time looking for hope and having a hard time finding it why not make it easier for people to do that i and so i think that’s where the idea came from the rest of history right. That’s that’s how we ended up where we are now. It’s been good. I mean i so and of course in the beginning of the podcast yes. I’m sure i’ve got my partnership with better health dot com as a as a advertising partner in in even the i’m getting <hes> reviews and emails of saying that people people had gone to therapy before there was kind of a safe way to their toe in the water thoroughly positive is so how did you how did you land there. Why many therapists your piss <unk> new therapists i started in public sector ran out of school and i have been working in social services for quite some time and it is work that i really really really loves and miss sometimes now but at a certain point you know i just i personally felt bogged down by a lot of red tape. There’s a lot of bureaucracy involved in <hes> ensuring that people that need help get it. I felt like there’s a lot of barriers to access. Whether that’s a financial barrier or transportation issue you were heating social services your wish a lot of communities of people that are in lower socioeconomic status so even getting to the therapeutic office may take them. I mean it’s a journey to get on the bus and to make her there on time and wanted to are traveling burger far fifty minute session a lot of individuals in these these communities as well as working two or three jobs in it’s just not realistic to think that they can take time out of their day to talk to somebody when really big need that new distantly they also need to put food table and pay for rent and figure out how to provide for themselves in life. I’m so there’s like a million reasons that i was starting to feel a little burned out and a little a bit bogged down by the systems that went comes to public sector mental health <hes> and i wasn’t actively looking to change my career ria or anything like that. I knew i wanted to stay in this world and just so happens. I happen to see something online and i went for the position. I applied for something like this a very very different quite honestly when i lied. I had no idea what i was getting myself into. Can i just saw that. This was a space that i could use my skills my background in my education and it was not tied to the county chancery. So what do you do on a day-to-day basis. I do not do so. I’ve been here about our hope for a smidge over two years. Now are two years in a few months and one of the most exciting things is that i don’t ever really know exactly what’s what today is going to look like that’s kind of an everyday thing <hes> uh-huh but on the daily <hes> a lot of what i do is very counselor facing as well as subscriber facing so the individuals that are signing up for better help our internally referred to hear a subscribers.
00:25:02 – 00:30:03
They are the counselors clients so they’re not our clients rightly counselors clients. I do everything from answering email tickets. You you know people have concerns about how to address some kind of clinical issue through the online format to select like looking like consultation with answers who to have really done this before and talking about discussing exploring ways with them how they can translate their offline skills into this new app <hes> i’m also monitoring monitoring logs in terms of councillors bring up concerns about whether somebody is appropriate for the online format or not there are situations in which online counseling may not the best option for someone sort of work with the counselors in order to help them figure out how to get their clients into appropriate services if this is not the place placed from what are some examples of when that might happen shore. If someone is actively in crisis they may want to seek out a higher level of care whether that looks like something more like an intensive outpatient or inpatient unit. If someone is experiencing active psychosis features of delusion asian hallucination. I think can be quite difficult to do something like reality testing when you’re just tax. Do somebody sure they’re very situations in which someone may <unk> benefit or require an in person evaluation like full mental status exam and there are limitations by doing this through your computer your phone where a counselor would not have access to some of the things they would observe about you. <hes> i think a tricky one is eating disorders because i think there are a lot of individuals that suffer from symptoms symptoms of having some kind of disordered eating getting a lot of great help on this farm out depending on what the situation is for you as an individual. You may want to consider something different because it could be recommended that you have a coordinated carotene which would require a physician daily visits to somewhere dietitian like monitoring. Bring your physiological symptoms here so when you have some situation that is co occurring with. I think a physical illness. That’s really hard for someone to monitor senator when they’re not with you or to observe at least to provide notes to somebody else or whatever it is. I do think you know there’s all these things that were scared of. There’s liability risk involved in doing anything like this but i think there’s a lot of risk involved in being a therapist in the first place so while i think that there are things that might be difficult to manage online. I mean i also think and believe that there are other counselors that can probably handle it just fine and that’s another thing that makes us so exciting is that there’s a lot of uncertainties in a lot of space to explore in terms of a potential for growth potential for what kind of benefit this could be two people. All that may not have access otherwise yeah. I like the way you’re saying though it so if it does feel though somebody if you’re the first stop for somebody who’s never even been to therapy and you feel like it would still be best for them to meet in person. You’re gonna say that you’re not trained to keep somebody <hes> on the hook right absolutely yes. We wanna make sure sure that people are getting appropriate. Services for whatever that is so we do encourage the counselor to be mindful that this could be someone’s very first interaction with a licensed professional rational so no matter what the outcome is going to be. I think it’s important for all of us on the platform to provide that warm therapeutic experience for arson <unk> maybe using better as stepping stone to something else or may not and so our <unk> don’t think is to keep as many people on the platform. I’m as possible i think it’s to provide access to also provide psycho education to folks that have never been exposed to any of this stuff. You mentioned it’s like i think he said something about better. Hope is providing like easy way for someone to get their foot in the door. I think when you look at the off line therapy world’s in all cases still marginalize. Certain communities of people go into therapy for a lot of folks is still a privilege right. It’s either <hes> accessible to you. If you have a lot of money to spend or it’s accessible to you if you have government subsidized health insurance and even then there’s a lot of limitations tonight in what you can do with it and then everybody in between kinda left to their own devices to it use the internet or some kind of their search mechanism to find some private practice office somewhere and then even then it can be very scary to drive to an office space in like walk into place in the expected to pour out your heart and seoul your deepest darkest secrets that sin someone that you’ve never met before and having been a client myself in therapy it barren streak like being put on the spot on and i think i’ve witnessed with my clients on this platform. A lot of the other people that use this as clients is risk. You have some time to kind of regulate yourself.
00:30:03 – 00:35:03
When you’re behind your screen a lot of folks out there that are going to counseling for the very first time may not even know all these concepts of emotion regulation or deep breathing even kind of gives i think people space and time to exercise that stuff in the safety of their own home in the privacy of wherever they are with a solid internet connection so what so you mentioned you see clients as well on the platform yes so i do always carry a pretty small case load <hes> just because most of my day is very much devoted to supporting the other counselors on this platform. Nobody do keep small case load in order to a big functions are to make sure i’m up to date with feature changes the technology itself like i helped test out features when it comes to like let’s say we’re going to update some piece of how to initiate a phone session as how their serum office can help test that stuff before we roll it out to the other counselors first and then this pragmatic reason the other reason iowa execute slowed still like being therapist united still connecting with people people that way bringing my education and training to it in that space also and i’ve just i’ve witnessed such powerful outcomes of my clients through n._s. That initially it was actually really skeptical about so. It’s been very rewarding in that way as well when do you might you might so you so you you weren’t you weren’t there in management. You also then see clients through there so you can you kind of take somebody through. I know people are gonna listen to this that are there may be starting to get interested in the chicken out better help dot com. What is that process like. I mean you kind of just walk us through that. Uh sure <unk> i from the client perspective if you’re going to hear more about the counselor perspective when we talk about that to clients yeah okay sure yeah as a client one can be signing up for exploring different avenues to provide this for example as like a benefit package through your employer or as a benefit package through your best student the health insurance on your university <unk>. These are some of the ways that people come to us within where i am former said direct consumer company meaning anybody can sign up for this by going to our website walk walk me through that experience when a client is <hes> just just logging onto better help dot com slash virtual couch and then what happens right they’re going through and they’re going to be doing some kind of intake questionnaire and we call it the funnel it’s gonna feel like a fun experience to answer question by question and we’re kind of gathering information in terms of a snapshot the last couple of weeks asking questions like things about like what you’re sleeping. Patterns are like has there been any changes in your level of time being thrown off now. I’m so distracted everyone around me and so sorry that’s okay. No i love the i love. The vulnerability has sued that we were having the difficulties in so you went out of your soundproof box but <hes> committed to the interview nonetheless or you in the middle of like a cube farm that kind of thing yes that’s exact- exact- exactly right on so plants are filling out an intake questionnaire and were asking questions about the last few weeks together information about where they currently are rosso asking them in terms of symptoms because we try to use that when it comes to matching them with a counselor that has experience in these things so if someone says that they’re experiencing were suffering from symptoms of zaidi. We’re going to match them with a counselor that has experience working with individuals suffering from symptoms of anxiety. If someone is saying that they would prefer to work with a male counselor will try to match them to counter to the best of our ability so we’re asking all these questions not just about symptoms but things that they’re looking for in a counter themselves. I think a lot of fair pencil sending in will think about your training and your education and how you do not have to be the same person as your client. Mulata folks are looking for someone that they are perceiving to have firsthand knowledge of their life experience so while therapists may no. You don’t have to be the same person as your client. A lot of clients chance are signing up looking for someone that has a similar background or life so into no i love i will say that i just released my second of a two part episode today on my podcast about out my pretty open about <hes> a._d. In inattentive type and i feel like net has been <hes> that has been a good experience for people to know that that is it’s something that i can understand while away i yeah i mean i think if you look at like you know various things that exist in the world of substance abuse or substance use we have a lot of peer coaches or peer support in worlds like that because a lot of people that are going through that find that they can get a lot of support and help from someone that’s experienced it themselves olds so i think you do find that. A lot of drug and alcohol counselor are folks that suffered from that themselves nor are even recovery now so it’s i think it’s kind of like a similar moore sentiment of feeling that clients signing up for counseling.
00:35:03 – 00:40:01
They’re looking for someone that’s been through it also and while you may not get counter. That’s been through exactly the same as you have. We are here to try to facilitate matching based on that as best as possible which in a lot of settings is just not an option <hes> if you’ve worked in various places like you know public sector hospitals clinics agencies sometimes changing counselors is not an option to you at all and so that’s one of the things that better hope does try to make it much easier to do which is to find a counselor that appeals to work with versus. This is the only option that you get you. I’m always i always say that. <hes> remember in grad school hearing something about some data said that the connection with the therapist is is more important than the modality us. Am i making that up or by like <hes> is that urban legend or do you know is that true. I learned the same thing in grad school and i think it it just speaks to the humanity of what we do and the human nature of connecting with someone i think i remember hearing about or reading these meta studies also oh that regardless of what the approach you’re using or intervention whatever it is you. Don’t trust your counselor feel comfortable with them. It’s going to be really hard to engage in the process basis anyway so yeah start and i remember i remember training. Somebody went overboard with that and the therapists saying so we have a bond. I mean i could sit there and yell at you all all day and you’ll and you’ll be amazing. I think he missed the point but i mean but i like what you’re saying. Though match somebody up at <hes> that once you have that assessment when i really like about even even just the talking points on the ads that reader people are going to hear someone get back to them within twenty four hours. That’s generally the case yes. The counselors are responding to messages within twenty four to forty eight ish hours <hes> but you know the council on this platform are independent providers and we’re providing the technology in the venue for them to connect with their clients and manage their own practice and so in general the counselors do respond in this timeframe but if you’re looking for a more immediate response or real time conversation this is where now oh you can schedule a live session and live sessions can be done through video phone or even a chat so it’s like instant messaging that you would do back and forth with your counselor and so what we have found is that this messaging in between those messages where you can expect to get a response within twenty four to forty eight hours that’s to supplement the live sessions and so we’ll come on folks that are not utilizing license still find a lot of benefit to connecting with a therapist and being able to talk to them this way but live sessions are still very much part of what we do here and that’s a bit more reflective of what you will find offline right when i love that because i mean maybe this is my own transference but you know i can. It can be hard to get back to somebody when you’re <hes> you have a full practice. Maybe you have a waiting list and they don’t know that and so do you. Do you find that especially. I’m kind of intrigued rigged by the instant message that kind of a session. Do you have ended it. Tells is that a younger. Is that the kids these days. That are kinda doing that or is that just lay <unk> out that that neatly or is that just some people prefer to to interact that way. I mean it’s across the board. I think a lot of people would make the assumption that it’s the younger folks. That would prefer to do this chatting session but it’s really all ages that we’re seeing on wanting to engage in this way like i said you know emotional. Regulation is something that i think think a lot of people grow up never learn how to do or an everyman hearing the concept of just when you’re in heightened state being able to tune into your senses and do do the right things to help your heart rate. Go down to help. Stop the perspiration to help. Stop those things that make you feel like you’re on the spot. I think a lot of people that have difficulties will that may opt for text based sessions because now they have opportunities to really think about their responses into process with the counselor is saying versus kind of freaking out in the chair when they’re sitting in front of this person. That’s expecting acting on to say something right now. Okay i have to ask this. Maybe i am glad i set this up with a little bit of the <hes> a._d._d. Like thoughts but do you have a therapist. Assu signing up i mean is it pretty important for them to be honest about their typing skills. I mean you know if you have a two finger. Hunt and peck typer probably not the most effective for those back and forth right right so you know typing words per minute is not something that we’re assessing during the counselor vetting process but we are definitely asking for writing samples from the counselors clear written communication skills is very important good okay that we may have applicants that have really strong resumes a rich history in terms of their kirk <unk> a or whatever it is but if they’re writing sample is just full of typos grammatical issues that make incoherent and you can’t understand it. They’re probably not going when i get to join this platform because it’s such a text heavy environment so that is one of the things that we are looking at when counselors are applying to join platform. I love it now. That’s good to know that it really is so man. I could jump back and forth to their experience in the council. Are they the client experience but so with that client experience you find before i forget this one. I love of on the ad talks about that.
00:40:01 – 00:45:30
You also have financial aid available. Yes we were sure i think i think i just mentioned not too long ago. That cost financial status whatever it is. This is often a barrier for people to seek out mental health services especially when you’re in survival mode just trying to get through life calling not going to prioritize retired spending any of that money that you need for life’s necessities now. Go sit and talk about your problems with somebody that we don’t want cost to be the only barrier to somebody so if somebody were having a hard time paying for the subscription costs that we have here which we do structure to be quite affordable than they are always welcomed for financial aid. We just want to try to make it so that you can still get services. If you’re not a millionaire i love it i do and then so the when the person’s locked on then i mean if they don’t feel a connection then with their therapist <hes> pretty easy process. I mean i do feel like that. In the private sector that can be it can be intimidating for a client they have to be like the <unk> in the office or the therapist so absolutely and you know the changing of counselor process is i think hard from every angle from every perspective whether your client where the you’re the counselor the counselor that you’re being switched on the counter. That’s being fired whatever it is. It’s easy anywhere. I think in offline practice if someone really really doesn’t like their therapist but they have a hard time being direct about that or even bringing it up they may just might just never come back to. Let’s one way to easily nip that in the take care of it quote quote here better hope we also understand that you know people signing up to start learning how to be vulnerable with somebody else. They wanna do that with someone that feels good to work with and so if they find that they’re working with someone and it doesn’t feel like a good fit for them for what reason <hes> they are able to change counselors quite easily easily from their account settings and can do that on their own cooking a few buttons we have various options in terms of allowing people to choose counselors or if they opt for us is to choose them for them. We do that based on the information was gathered about you and the information was gathered from the counselors about bare areas of expertise and so we have a few different ways to help somebody radio if they want if they’re exploring the idea of changing counselors. Do you guys do couples. I didn’t even think about the couple’s therapy so we yes we’d have some affiliate sites that are basically better help but in a different skin rate <hes> so one of those sister affiliated sites is called regain and so regained the u._s. is the u._r._l. For that website in so couples can sign up for couples counseling each individual would have their own unique log in so their own email and password and then they when they log again. It’s a joint account to they’re in the same messaging page with their partner in the counselor some others three people involved in this thing. Is we do couple’s counseling. We’re not quite setup or built for family therapy. We have these accounts for the couple’s. We also have another site called teen counseling dot com and this is for when it’s a little bit more like family therapy but still there’s only to log in so it’s not like you can have your brother your sister your mom your dad your grandma and grandpa all in that same account but if you are a teen struggling with something <hes> you can get signed up with your parent or guardian and it’s a similar process but now you have space to be talking to your counselor online as well. That’s nice that is do you find. Do you have <hes> any you have internal data of how people typically stay or defined that they stay longer online therapy versus in out in the wild or so that data definitely exists. I don’t have that data off the top of my head but my anecdotal observations for my day to day now. I’m working here. It’s across the board again right. Is we have clients that sign up for a week to and it could be that they’re just dealing with an adjustment issue may need someone to process or help them make a decision about something that’s kind of immediate in their lives but we also have clients science that have been on the platform since we came to be twenty fifteen so i do think that there are counselors that are doing a lot of longer terms like dynamic approaches with their clients relationship based on that kind of stuff but you know i think a lot of modern clients of today are educating themselves coming in looking specifically for things like d._b._t. Or seton c._t. Short term solution focused approaches and so whatever you’re looking for you’re probably going to be able to find it and if you can’t we’re gonna help you. Try to look for other options for yourself. Let me ask you real quick and i don’t know about this so i could be asking silly question but the you do you have i. I believe i was reading online training. Is that for therapists or is that for clients are there workshops or heading down a path that is they have something called group in ours available. Not a group are essentially like psycho. Educational groups oops so it’s not a processing group. It’s not group therapy but it is a psycho educational groups that is being led by one of the counselors on the platform and they are specific civic topics scheduled for the week is always available at the beginning of the week for other cancers can participate in these things if they would like to as well but of course the focused in targeted group rupaul participants would be the clients that are using the service so we have topics ranging from like how to be a <unk> better parent to managing ninety or dating and relationships and it’s awesome yeah and i think right now each of these can hold a capacity of one hundred folks breath.
00:45:30 – 00:50:04
I think most of them there’s the ability for the participants to chat in type with each other so to my understanding a lot of the counters that are facilitating. These groups may pose who’s a question and then people can kind of talk about their own experiences or their answer to that particular question and the value that i see that and i’m sure others may echo this too is just having a sense of community. You know it’s one thing for your counselor. Who’s this one on one connection with youtube. Normalize situation for you experience in vivo all these other people that have said that they’ve experienced the same exact thing or something powerful to that yeah. I have to tell you that’s a b._b. Again completely open here when i was talking working with <hes> with my rep jeff about coming on board is <hes> advertising on my podcast he had mentioned those and i was like okay. He’s areas check him out. He’s asking me to put one of these on and i’m thinking oh you know i might be able to do that. He’s like no no no tony. We got like forty five hundred therapists like we’re we’re good humble. I got you is is that the numbers right now <unk>. How many therapists are on there how many how many clients akash now. I wish i had prepared better numbers here. I think we do have four one thousand active counselors that are part of the platform. When it comes to active subscribers these clients. I do know that it’s like multiple. Dozens of thousands presents a number of top of my head right now. It’s great <hes> i think i had heard i heard in some other pitch business pitch that was done before the over. Three million. People have signed signed up to at least check this out to see what it’s about. It’s terms of how many people are actively using it today. Nothing gets somewhere near arc of some several dozen seven thousand and then okay before i let you go to i’d ask if you have any any funny stories around online therapy counseling anything anything yeah sure. We try to make it so that access access accessibility. That’s like a huge thing to me and so amazing about this. The people don’t have to now take time out of their scheduled to commute to an office to be away from whatever it is that life has doing and so now what we’re finding is most clients clients are doing their sessions either from their home or from their work as long as you just have your on a private secure space with a solid internet connection having said that there’s a lot of folks out there that have small kids or whatever it is some of the funny things here and maybe even hear about or counters will talk about is that the client is getting into something and and then you know you hear the kids screaming in the background mom but you know that’s that’s real life to me. I think that’s funny. It’s endearing. It’s just shows that our clients are human men and sometimes you don’t get all the chances and opportunity to have sixty minutes a week in bear beer private space rather. We really are meeting our clients where they are. You’re in real life yeah yeah. That’s something if other fun things like. I don’t wanna get too much into the detail of people that use the service you know i think people can use their imaginations to know if you have this intersection of the internet and kind of the nature of social media which is just like kind of putting yourself <unk> out there through the anonymity of the screen coupling that with mental health and you’re going to have some very interesting situations that come up. I think some people or even more inclined to get really candid really fast. That’s what i’ve noticed with. Some of my clients on this online platform is people really get into things that they may have never brought brought up in my office because there’s like these human features of being ashamed of something or embarrassed or feeling like they’re gonna get judged even by their therapist in so when somebody’s typing it out someone that they’re not looking at or feeling the heat of there is that people just get really really upfront honest much faster something that i’ve experienced experienced in really enjoyed. I think in this space yeah you get clients that may never have wanted to set foot into tune office for a variety of reasons. I think you know something. I learned in grad school is that therapists ultimately for a lot of people are seen as people positions in positions of authority or oh power so that kind of affects the kind of folks that are inclined to look for this kind of support now. We have clients signing up that many of the council is on the platform have said i’ve been practiced for thirty years. I have never experienced some of the people that i’ve gotten the pleasure of working with here and i know i’m very scattered right now and that’s kind of reflective of the nature of the things that happened on this platform is just all over the place.
00:50:06 – 00:52:20
I’ll let you go. I really appreciate your time. I just thought of something. This is a a business idea. I’m a bit of an entrepreneur. You guys can have this. Have you thought about better health dot com filters. You’ve got the you’ve got the little deer face or you get a little puppy dog. I so you got would make people feel more comfortable in this day and age the right. I think that’s really funny that you bring. That up actually reminds me of a funny story. I can’t remember now what the context was. I think there was a situation in which a user reached out to us and said the counselor had done something or click something on their phone and a photo was i sent and the counselor had some kind of dog filter them serious when they when they got the little dog knows maybe something. I like that all right joe. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me. Today i would love to have you back on down the road and just talk about more left to you start from the cubicle already. You don’t run into snafus again one for all right. Thanks so much we’ll talk to you soon all right bye-bye the here’s one of the things that i really liked about the the oxford recording platform and tells me tony report a natural and this always kinda reminds me of the what did we learn today part of any kids tv episodes of the seventies or the eighties so only pleaded learn something about the world of online therapy and if you are interested in checking out better help dot com please go to better health dot com slash virtual couch because you’ll get ten percent off your first month’s service and it does help a little bit with covering the cost of reporting impetus in the past and please remember the virtual couches not placement for professional counseling and i will be forever grateful if you unless there’s something that you heard today that you like if you could share the show with a friend who you think might benefit from today’s topic and on that note <hes> if you do like the show please take a quick moment to subscribe describe rate review the show wherever you listen to podcasts really does help more people find the podcast. Go free to contact me at contact dot com questions or topic. Do you think would make a good podcast. Speak to your group company organization or congregations about any of the topics that you have heard on the show with that said i will see you next time on the virtual couch.