Throughout this guide you will see suggestions on how to engage and manage clients. These are only recommendations based off experience on this site. All therapeutic decisions related to your clients are entirely up to your discretion. You are free to use our recommendations or not.
When you first login we recommend you click on My Account > Account. If you are reading this guide then you have already done so. Start by clicking on Edit Profile and make sure that all of your information is correct. Whatever Nickname you choose is what the client will see for your name. Next we recommend that you open your profile page and make sure it all looks correct. If you experience any issues please visit the contact form and let us know.
Next click on Booking Schedule. This is where you will set your normal business hours for live sessions. You can set the standard hours and days of the week at the top of the page. Below you can select blackout dates and times to make sure clients cannot schedule live sessions when you have other obligations. Live sessions are 25 minutes long and scheduling is done in half hour blocks.
When you login to your account on the website you should automatically be in the “Potential” folder. You will only see potential clients that are determined to be a good fit for you. For example, if you are female and the client has indicated they want to work only with a male, you will not see them.
You will be able to see the answers they provided to the questionnaire. This allows you to scroll through and make a determination if they are a good fit for you or not. If you feel they are, click “Accept”. Their message room will open and an automatic welcome message will be sent to them. Sometimes a client will mention a specific concern in their responses to the questionnaire. Should that be the case we recommend that you immediately follow up the automatic message with a brief personal message discussing their concern.
Most of the clients you meet on eTherapyPro will be facing anxiety, depression, or a relationship challenge. The platform works very well for these situations and most others. It is not a good fit for addiction recovery or those experiencing suicidal thoughts.
If you have a client who says they want to use the platform for addiction recovery we recommend that you discuss their status. We feel that our platform is a good companion to a recovery program but does not work well as a program itself because we aren’t able to offer local support. Some clients are attending local meetings and using our platform for accountability and support. This works well. We recommend that you encourage them to participate in a local recovery program instead of or in addition to our platform.
During the registration process we make it clear to those suffering from suicidal thoughts that our platform is unable to offer them adequate support. We discourage them from registering and offer them resources. Sometimes they will still complete registration. If a client informs you that they are suicidal we recommend that you follow your standard assessment protocol. Some people will say they have had thoughts in the past but not at present. Others will say they think of it presently. In those cases we ask that you offer to help connect them with a local resource including emergency services if appropriate. Once you are able to connect them with local resources their treatment should not be continued through this platform.
We offer a 3-day trial to new potential clients. We ask counselors to consider this 3-day period as a free consultation. We recommend that you prepare template messages for the first three days. These messages are typically more in the nature of assessment and intake but should include reference to their situation and specific questions. We recommend that you send at least 2 messages a day during the free trial.
We filter out potential clients who are more serious. Any client who registers will receive an initial message but they will not be able to respond unless they put in a credit card number and agree to start a subscription automatically at the end of the trial. If they cancel during the trial period they will not be billed. Sometimes clients will ask you how to cancel. We make it very easy. They can cancel right from their account section and they do not have to call. It’s automatic and it takes effect immediately. Once they cancel their trial period is over.
Many clients start the free trial with unrealistic expectations so it is important to establish healthy parameters from the start. One of your first messages to your client should include expectations on message frequency and your working days/hours.
Some clients sign up for the free trial with the expectation that they will get enough help to solve their problem within the time frame of the trial. This is an unrealistic expectation for themselves and for the counselor. It illustrates their lack of understanding of the therapeutic process and it is an opportunity to explain more to them about the commitment this requires. Again, think of the free trial as an initial consultation or intake. This is the time to learn the basics and background of your client’s case and also to explain your best working practices. It is expected that at some point during the free trial you will make sure your client reads and agrees to your informed consent which complies with the rules of your state of licensure.
Occasionally a client will inform you that they only intend to remain for the free trial. We encourage you to advise them that we offer a free trial for people who are seeking counseling and would like to know if online counseling is a good fit for them. The trial is not intended to be a complete solution to their challenge. We encourage you to work with them on realistic goals and time frames for treatment in accordance with your best judgement and experience.
It may make sense to develop some scripted messages for the exchanges during the free trial. It’s helpful if one of your first messages let’s your client know your working hours and how often they can expect to hear from you. One of your early messages may consist of general questions concerning background on the individual and the challenges they face. We recommend letting your client know at the start that you are gathering information with the intent of helping them form a treatment plan by the end of the trial. Whether you choose to create scripted / template messages or not it is important to make sure that every message you send is personalized to your client. We suggest you don’t merely copy and paste a scripted message without first confirming it applies to the specific client and without specific personalized content for them.
Each client does get a free 10 minute live session during the trial week. Not all of them take advantage of this. It is a great way to “meet” your clients. Counselors who use scripted messages with personalized content typically spend less than 30 min on each trialing client during the 3 day trial.
When clients are a good fit for our platform we offer them a 3-day trial period. We have found there are a few key elements that help convert these prospective clients into actual ones. We highly recommend you encourage your clients to schedule their free 10 minute live session. It is very good at resolving many common doubts and establishing a relationship of trust. It only lasts for 10 minutes so it really is for an introduction and very limited discussion. The live session does automatically end at 10 minutes so be sure to let your client know this. More info on live sessions below.
We also recommend that you take advantage of our audio and video messages. You are able to send audio and video messages to your clients and they can send them to you as well. They are limited in how many they may send in a day but you are not. Sending an audio or video messages to your clients in the first day is a great way to build trust. Many clients are skeptical of online therapy at first and this lets them know you are real and gives them more of a sense of contact. Many counselors use audio and video messages exclusively because they feel they are more time effective and personal.
We recommend that you put together a treatment plan by the end of the trial period. This would start with informing them at the beginning that you are gathering information on their needs and goals with the intent of putting together a plan by the end of the free trial. This helps give them a vision right from the start and engages them in the process. Some clients (few) will prefer a more conversational approach and will not like the structure of a treatment plan. Be sure to look out for that.
Work backwards from the treatment plan. What information and understanding do you need in order to develop a plan? Consider that and then determine what questions and direction you will need to take from the beginning of the trial to acquire it. This has 2 advantages. 1. This means that much of your information during the trial period will be scripted. If you are working with most of your clients to put together a treatment plan that means you can develop a streamlined approach to the trial that only takes a minimal amount of your time. 2. During the trial week clients like frequent contact. Shorter more frequent contact is better at converting clients than lengthy messages so try to break your intake messages and treatment plan out into 2-3 messages a day.
We recommend that you set realistic expectations with your clients during their trial. There is more information on that below. It is important to maintain frequent contact and it’s best not to leave a client waiting too long for a response. We recommend establishing working hours that are good for you and sharing those with your clients. This should include days off. We recommend exchanging 1-2 messages with them at least 5 days a week. Again, shorter more frequent contact is preferred in most cases.
Clients are usually pretty understanding of your time and accepting of the frequency you can write. Sometimes you will have clients that write a lot of information in their messages and you may feel tempted to respond to all their points. That is of course up to you. Our research has shown and we recommend that you pick out the main points from lengthy messages and try to focus on those. With online counseling it is helpful to establish some main areas of focus in your treatment plan and try to remain relevant to those as much as possible.
There are 3 different status indicators for clients. They are T, A, and I. T is for trialing, A for active, and I for Inactive. You won’t see I often. If a client has sent a message and then they cancel they will remain with an A status until their subscription period ends. However, if a client sends a message and they are no longer in a subscription period (for example, they send a message then cancel their free trial) they will show with an I status.
Active clients are those who have completed their free trial and who are paying for an active subscription.
When you are logged in you will see the following folder tabs:
Potential | Inbox | Drafts | Schedule
The Potential folder is where you will see information for clients who have filled out our questionnaire. If they are in your potential folder they may be a good fit for you. Please look through their responses to the questionnaire and “Accept” only the ones you feel are within your expertise. You can accept clients using the App but you will not be able to see their responses to the questionnaire. We recommend you only do this after you are comfortable and have a reasonable expectation that you can work well with the majority of those who register. If you start to work with a client and believe you are not a good fit for their needs we recommend you discuss this with them. They do have the option to switch counselors.
The Inbox is where you will see messages from mostly Trialing and Active clients. If you have an active client who hasn’t written for a few days they will reappear in your Inbox. This is to remind you to reach out to them. We recommend sending a quick message if you haven’t heard from them just to let them know you are thinking of them and ready to continue therapy.
Sometimes you will find that you need more time to finish a message. For this reason we have provided the option of saving drafts. When you do save a draft the message will then be stored in your drafts folder. You cannot as yet save drafts from the mobile App but you do have access to all functions from your mobile browser.
Occasionally the inbox will become overloaded. We are addressing this issue with an entirely new build coming out soon. In the meantime, if you see an error when you load your inbox that indicates you have no new messages try going to Account and clicking the “Reset” button. Then load your inbox again and your messages should appear.
If you mouse over My Account in the upper right hand of the website you will see the Account option. There you will find the tools you need to make changes to your account details. You can set a new password, change your email address, change your profile pic, change the content of your profile page, etc. You can set up your working hours and more.
Our live sessions are not included with our messaging plans. Clients are able to purchase them ala carte and they can schedule sessions based on the working hours you have set in your Account section. All live sessions must be scheduled 48 hours in advance so you will not be surprised last minute. Your clients can schedule and use live sessions even if they do not have a monthly subscription.
Live sessions can be voice only or video. The window defaults to video but you can turn that off if you like. It’s best to discuss preferences with your client prior to the first live session. The sessions are 25 minutes long and end automatically at the end of that time.
You cannot do live sessions from the mobile app. To start a session you must be on the website but you can do it from a mobile browser on your phone. Go to your Schedule tab and click on your client’s name just before the appointment time. This will take you direct to their message room. Under their profile pick click on Session and follow the prompts. Wait for them to join you.
Whereas the trial period is only 3 days we ask our counselors to treat this time as an intake or free consultation. It is very easy to script out template intake and screening messages to fill up 3 days worth of trial so that it doesn’t take up much time. It’s also important during this time to go over your consent forms and discus a treatment plan.
Once a client has completed the trail period and they have started to engage in regular therapy the counselors are compensated at a rate of $30 / week. In order to earn compensation there merely needs to be at least one message exchange during the week. A message exchange consists of 1 message received from your client and 1 message sent by you. The length of these messages does not matter. Provided that your clients sends a message and receives a reply compensation is earned. This can work in any order. If you send a message and they reply or if they send a message and you reply. As long as 1 exchange occurs during the week the $30 is earned.
Unfortunately sometimes a client will make a complaint against a counselor or request a refund due to counselor service. In these instances eTherapyPro reserves the right to adjust counselor payments based upon the circumstances. Counselors will be advised on the very rare occasions this is the case. If a client makes a complaint or requests a refund based on dissatisfaction with the platform, eTherapyPro will not penalize the counselor. Typically you will see client payments pending on a delay. This is where refund requests or disputes will be seen.
How much a counselor can earn is really up to how much time and effort they put into the process. The idea is to convert trialing clients into active clients (provided the platform is a good fit) and to keep active clients engaged in therapy as long as the treatment is viable (up to your professional discretion).
It takes a few to build up a body of active clients but then it is relatively easy to maintain. For example, an experienced online counselor can easily manage 40 active clients in a 4 hour work day. If each of those clients does a message exchange in a week that counselor will earn $4,800 for the month. If the counselor wants to work a full 8 hour day or more they can easily make more than $10,000 a month.