Therapist survey: the results are in!

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We’re pleased to reveal the results of our recent technology survey. We were delighted to receive more than 1,000 responses, providing a great insight into how UK therapists are running their practices in today’s technology driven world.
Our responses came from therapists in both the talking and physical sectors. We asked them about their usage and opinions of websites, software, online therapy, and therapy apps. Here’s what we found out…
Websites
Our survey found that most therapists are well aware of the power of website marketing – 73% have a website. And the majority of those who do have a website use it wisely – 82% update it regularly, and 52% know how many referrals they receive through their site. This is crucial if they want to get value for money from their investment. 
Software
The right software can make any business run more smoothly, and be much more profitable, than using pen and paper alone. There’s a wide range of software available including many packages specifically for therapists such as practice management software and digital clinical notes. However, our survey discovered that 75% of therapists currently prefer to stick with what they know, using traditional Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, as well as good old pen and paper, to run their practice.
A quarter of practitioners do take advantage of other options: 13% use accounting software, and 12% use practice management software to run every aspect of their practice. There’s a blog post about different types of software here.
Providing therapy online
Online therapy generally applies to the talking therapies, and is becoming more and more popular with both therapists and their clients. We asked our respondents about their use and understanding of providing therapy online including via email, Skype video, Skype voice and other services.
Our survey revealed that 39% of respondents had not heard of ‘online therapy’. However, the majority of those who had heard of online therapy either already provided it (53%) or were considering adding it to their services (23%).
So, whilst many are reluctant to use different types of software to manage their accounts or client bookings, it seems they are more open to using it when it comes to the therapy itself.
Many therapists, however, were sceptical about the physical barrier that this type of therapy necessarily creates. One respondent commented;
‘It’s a great move forward and necessary especially for younger people, or those with mobility/transport issues but I feel some of the authenticity of the therapeutic relationship may be lost.’ 
There were other concerns raised about online therapy, in particular, the security of using Skype.
‘I am happy doing it with email. Re Skype I am not so sure about, as have been advised that anything done through Skype passes ownership to them, which is a worry if confidentiality is a problem.’
I would consider online therapy if requested and suitable. However, I believe technology brings convenience and opens up a lot of opportunities and access to therapy, but I have some mistrust about its overall security and reliability.’
Some respondents even questioned the demand for online therapy.
‘Online therapy would be great. I have tried this, built a website and advertised, but had not a single reply.’
The Private Practice Hub has published some articles about online therapy – start here.
Therapy Apps
What, exactly, are therapy apps? They’re apps that help clients to carry out exercises or stay engaged between sessions. There are also apps to help therapists run their practice. Not surprisingly, there is tentative take up of therapist apps. Only 4% of respondents currently use them to run their practice.  12% are considering using therapy apps, but 28% had not heard of them.
Of those respondents that use an iPad or other tablet to run their practice, it was interesting to discover that 51% do not use therapy apps and 26% have not heard of them. There’s more information about therapy apps at http://www.privatepracticehub.co.uk/therapy-apps.php.
There were some positive comments about therapy apps amongst those who were familiar with them.
 ‘Apps are a very helpful addition. Plenty of scope for increased engagement in homework tasks, thereby improving therapy effectiveness.’
In summary
This survey has been very helpful in better understanding therapists’ knowledge, usage, and opinions of the technologies discussed. It seems that while there is still an air of caution around technology, many people are interested in using it to maintain and develop their practice. We’ll certainly be using the insights to make sure that we provide the best possible articles and resources in future.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the survey; we really do appreciate your time. One entrant was selected to win a £50 M&S voucher. The lucky winner was Tessa Jones, a family and systemic psychotherapist practising in South Wales.
Geoff Simons, manager of The Private Practice Hub, took the opportunity to personally present Tessa with her voucher when he visited the area.