Apr 26, 2021
Are you ready to go from burnt-out to connected and confident? Kathryn Esquer created a professional organization for the next generation of therapists called the Teletherapist Network. We chat about how her group has evolved during Covid and current concerns about the mental health crisis. We speak about the problem with mobile mental health apps and what you need to know about the open note policy that started on April 21st. Tune in as we talk about the importance of consultation on your private practice journey.
Kathryn Esquer is a Clinical Psychologist and MBA graduate. She currently works in her rural hometown in central Pennsylvania providing outpatient mental health services integrated into primary care. She loved her career, but COVID helped her realize that something was missing from her private practice. The clinical work was rewarding, but she felt professionally isolated and uninspired. She also knew consultation was a critical part of the ethical practice but didn’t know where to find it. So, Kathryn created the Teletherapist Network for modern therapists to crowdsource the knowledge and experiences of other private practice teletherapists so that members can develop their clinical and business skills, all while staying connected to their mission and preventing burnout.
Kathryn didn't want to practice teletherapy alone. That's why she created a premier organization for the next generation of therapists in private practice at Teletherapist Network. It has been really great to have that support throughout Covid from other therapists. Luckily, Kathryn has been able to rely on her newfound peers in a way that she was not able to do remotely at the start of Covid. Kathryn says it's impeccable to hear all different perspectives from around the United States. Plus, there are even international members. So hearing what's going on in India, Australia, or the UK has been fascinating. Connecting across vast distances and time zones has been a humbling experience.
One of the biggest things Kathryn hears is that a lot of us are entirely full and above capacity as private practitioners. Everyone has a massive waitlist. Plus, therapists are having trouble finding referrals of therapists who are not full. While on the other hand, there are therapists that are having difficulty filling their caseload. For Kathryn, she wants to figure out how to reduce the gap. How do we help the clinicians looking for clients and match them to the appropriate referral? We need to figure out how to get the people who are overbooked and overworked less stressed.
At the Teletherapist Network, they have been working on referrals every single day. There needs to be a better system. Kathryn says it’s so important for therapists, psychologists, and counselors to tap into our communities. That way, we can refer to each other and help build each other's practices. A lot of people seeking mental health treatment are falling through the cracks. Sadly, they don't know where to turn. Therapists can't save the world. However, if you can come up with a system or a community to find and give referrals, then it will be a massive help.
The advent of mobile and mental health apps has been a huge pain point. New clinicians or clinicians who have moved states need income but don't have time to wait. Sometimes these clinicians feel their only options are these companies that pay horrendously. However, these companies might be great for clients and connecting them with easily accessible mental health resources. However, they're diluting and bringing down the value of our services. People going into private practice undervaluing what they are worth. Therapists need to realize that their services are worth a lot more than they think.
Any certified EHR system needs to grant access or remove any barriers from the patient to access their health records for their clinical notes. Starting April 21st, you will need to reduce the obstacles for your clients to see their notes. This brings up a whole new dynamic in terms of clinical documentation for mental health. There is utility in a client reading their notes. For instance, they will see what their doctor recommended in case they forget. Therapists should proceed with caution on how we document things and how we communicate with our clients about what's being documented. Ultimately it will help us have greater transparency and accountability in the field. However, it's such a significant shift right now that many people are having a hard time with that.
Kathryn didn't realize how much she was missing until starting the Teletherapist Network. She had no idea what was going on in the world of therapy until she began to hear from other therapists around the country and around the world. Consulting with peers is essential for clinical work. It is the best quality control we have for clinical services. Also, it's great for our energy levels. That way, you don't feel like you are missing something, and you don't have to be checking for resources constantly. It's great for your peace of mind. Lastly, consulting is excellent for your burnout control. It's so helpful to talk to other people about your experiences. We underestimate the power of community in our burnout. Ultimately, consulting is helping us be better people and better clinicians.
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Gordon is the person behind The Practice of Therapy Podcast & Blog. He is also President and Founder of Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC. He is a therapist, consultant, business mentor, trainer, and writer. PLEASE Subscribe to The Practice of Therapy Podcast wherever you listen to it. Follow us on Twitter @therapistlearn, and Pinterest, “Like” us on Facebook.