Why We Built It: thera-LINK
thera-LINK was created to extend the reach of mental health professionals while creating both flexibility and stability in the delivery of their services.
We believe in the healing power of authentic connections and removing barriers to help you help more. That’s why we made it. And here to add some context to our elevator pitch, we’ve asked CEO and therapist, Carol Park, to take us back to day one and tell us why she and the team braved uncharted waters to create thera-LINK.
Hayley: What motivated you to create thera-LINK?
Carol: Literally the need in my practice to connect with clients from a distance. I work primarily in the treatment of eating disorders and with that, often times, the majority of my client load is made up of high school women. So, time and time again, different clients and I were faced with the disruption of graduation and transition to college. Back in the day, phone was used, but with the ability to see someone face to face (online), it was a much better solution. With college being a prime time for relapse, many clients asked to continue our sessions while they’re away via video calls (Skype) – and we did. Then around 2013, the boards began pointing to HIPAA laws and liability concerns that nixed the popular consumer platforms most of my colleagues and I were using, so I set out to find a solution. When I discovered there were no affordable and compliant video platforms designed for individual private practitioners, I sat down with Heather and Lori and we decided to create the solution rather than sit and wait.
Hayley: What do you like about thera-LINK?
Carol: Of course I am biased, but one of my favorite things about tL is the custom waiting room. I think it is important to set the tone for connection in a therapy session and I think the music and waiting room image helps do so. It was also important to us that we build an easy to use platform and I believe we accomplished that plus more, including the look and feel. thera-LINK also makes my job easier with the ability for client self-scheduling, messaging, and notes all in one.
Hayley: What was the process for taking your practice online?
Carol: I found the process to be organic in nature (aside from building a solution .) For me, my clients were requesting to see me online, especially those transitioning to college, and they asked to Skype. This was before the rules and regulations around telehealth were out and so we Skyped. Once I heard I was not supposed to use Skype, I looked for another solution and then, as I said earlier, we built thera-LINK.
Hayley: How does thera-LINK differ from in-person sessions?
Carol: Personally, I use thera-LINK with my already established clients and since I know them, it is virtually the same (haha, just realized the play on words there). There are occasions where bandwidth is low and the picture is not clear, or internet connection is lost and we have to re-connect, but we always pick right up and keep going. My preference is still in person, but the ability to connect, whether in person or not, is the most important aspect to me.
Hayley: Do you recommend thera-LINK your colleagues or use it in your own practice?
Carol: Yes to both Not everyone is comfortable with online therapy, but I can personally say that the clients that I see online are grateful for the opportunity to continue the work they are doing, when life circumstances make it difficult to meet in person.
Hayley: As a self-employed private practitioner, is the service worth the monthly expense?
Carol: 100% Yes! Not only does it allow me to continue to support my clients, which is of great value to me, but it also allows me to earn revenue that I might have missed.