All Things Private Practice Podcast for Therapists

Episode 93: Breaking Down Billing Barriers: Insurance Reimbursement That Supports Therapists & Clients [featuring Christine Li]

Show Notes

It sometimes seems like insurance companies are out to stick it to therapists with low payments or to their clients with high fees and confusing issues with superbills.

Superbills were supposed to be the way for clients to see their therapists of choice and get out-of-network care, but the reality is that it can sometimes be messy and complicated.

Thankfully, there are companies out there who are putting in the work to ensure that therapists get paid their FULL rates and clients get reimbursed.

In this episode, I talk with Christine Li, founder and CEO of Mentaya, about making out-of-network care actually affordable and doable.

If you are a therapist or a client who wants to do out-of-network care without worrying about the issues around insurance coverage and payments, then this episode is for you.

Top 3 reasons to listen to the entire episode:

  1. Understand what out-of-network benefits are actually available and how they can be used for therapy.
  2. Identify ways to improve accessibility for care and connect with clients.
  3. Learn how superbills can be used to ensure that therapists are paid and clients can afford therapy.

Therapists can utilize out-of-network insurance benefits to help both themselves and their clients. By understanding the reimbursement process and creating user-friendly websites, therapists can attract more clients, get paid their full fees, and make mental health care more accessible.

More about Christine:

Christine is the founder and CEO of Mentaya – a company that helps private practice therapists collect their full cash rate by taking advantage of out-of-network (OON) benefits. Mentaya instantly calculates clients’ benefits and automatically files OON claims to help your clients get reimbursed (70% on average!).

Christine is a strong advocate for mental health and left her job as a Google Product Manager to start Mentaya.

Try out Mentaya FOR FREE – therapists get 30 days free of our benefits checker! Use Promo code: PATRICK

Go to to check out this offer.


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The Receptionist for iPad:

I would also like to thank The Receptionist for iPad for sponsoring this episode.

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PATRICK CASALE: Hey there, everyone, you are listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I'm your host, Patrick Casale, joined today by the founder of Mentaya, Christine Li. She is out in San Francisco, and used to be working in the Google tech space, and developed some really cool software to help mental health professionals and mental health business owners. 

And today, we are going to talk about entrepreneurialship, we are going to talk about how to use technology and social media to really optimize your practices and your businesses, and whatever the hell else comes up. So, Christine, thanks for coming on.

CHRISTINE LI: Thanks so much, Patrick. I'm excited to be here.

PATRICK CASALE: So, we met on Friday because we were just doing a quick talk about some opportunities next year and I was really interested in your story. You mentioned you used to work for Google and you worked in tech, and you found yourself being really pulled towards the mental health space. And because a lot of our listeners are in the mental health space, I'd say the majority, as entrepreneurs, I'd love to hear a little bit about your background and your story.

CHRISTINE LI: Yeah, that's a great question. So, I grew up in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, I went to high school with a lot of mental health issues. And so, I learned at a young age the importance that mental health would have on people's lives. And so, I think that made a really big impact on my life. 

Just academic and career-wise, I was always a huge math nerd. And so, I ended up studying computer science at Princeton. And we had what's called a senior thesis requirement at my school, and I actually did mine on the intersection of using computer science to try to work with therapists and private practice to improve patient outcomes and psychotherapy. And so, I've been interested in mental health for a while.

I ended up joining Google as a product manager and did that for several years, at a really good time, I think. I'm sure you've, you know, watched some of the movies about Google and things like that. But everyone was really warm and welcoming. And I think it was a great place to start my career and build up a lot of skill sets. 

But I think, ultimately, when COVID hit, I started thinking more on, reflecting on, you know, how do I actually want to spend my time? I want to work on something that I really care about. I've considered becoming a therapist at some point. And I think that's something that I still am potentially interested in later on. But I wanted to first see if there was anything I could do to leverage the, you know, skill set that I've built up at Google to make a difference in the mental health care space. And specifically, because I had talked to a lot of therapists back in college, when I was doing my senior thesis, I really care about making mental health care more accessible. 

But one thing that is really important to me is to take the provider and therapist side into account, and make sure that we are getting therapists compensated fairly, and not making mental health care accessible at the expense of therapists, but instead empowering them to get paid really well so that we encourage more mental health professionals into this space and kind of create a win-win solution on both sides. And so, that's sort of how I got into the idea of Mentaya around using out-of-network benefits to help therapists still make their full fee and get more private pay clients by helping their clients actually save money on therapy.

PATRICK CASALE: I love that and sounds like a cool way to journey into the space, and I think a lot of us are drawn to the mental health space because we've had our own mental health challenges at some point in time. And I think a lot of therapists are in the therapist profession because of that. And we see a lot of like-minded humans enter the mental health space as therapists, and then, become private practice owners, and then, entrepreneurs. A lot of therapists will say, "I'm not an entrepreneur, I'm just a small business owner." It's like, "Well, you created your own business you're kind of an entrepreneur."

But I do think that the profession, culturally, really struggles with the mentality around making money, supporting themselves. And I think a lot of our profession is honestly built on feeling like I have to give it all away, like my payment is almost the work that I do, and the growth that my clients have. 

And in theory, like, that's lovely. And that makes for like a great fucking Hallmark movie. But ultimately, in reality, you cannot pay your bills that way. And we know that because of COVID, and life stress, and just the state of the world, that the increasing number of therapists who are feeling too burnt out to continue to practice continues to go up. And that is sad to me because it's such an important profession. But just like teachers who feel too burnt out to continue to show up to their classrooms, or any other profession who feels underappreciated, underpaid, like I have to do more with less, that's therapists in a nutshell. 

And we are kind of conditioned from grad school on to believe like, you don't get into this field to make money, that's unethical, it's greedy, you're doing things that like exploit your clients. And we can go down a long, long list, but in reality, you can certainly-

CHRISTINE LI: I don't know how to respond to that. 

PATRICK CASALE: You can make really good money and you can support your clients. And both can be true.

CHRISTINE LI: Yeah, I think that's something that I was pretty surprised by when I started working in this space because, from my perspective, I'm thinking, like, I've been to therapy before, it's been super helpful for me, personally. And I've been surprised to hear, I guess, first of all, how little therapists are getting paid, if they, you know, work with insurance companies or just in general. 

And I think, secondly, almost the guilt that was felt. I kind of assumed that it was more of a, you know, this system was annoying, and like, this sucks, but it's been surprising to hear how therapists almost feel guilty for wanting to get paid more and wanting to get paid enough to sustain, you know, their lifestyle, especially, in a lot of areas. I'm from San Francisco, and so, in this area, the cost of living is really high. And it sounds like a lot of money, you know, your private pay, you're charging like $200 a session, 250. But as I dug into the space further, you know, all these things that I didn't realize, student loans, you have to pay for supervision, the whole process of becoming a therapist, running your own business, and all the business expenses that come with it, that I think a lot of clients don't really see, they just think, "Oh, wow, this was kind of, you know, a lot of money." 

And the reason behind that is because, you know, therapists don't seem to get paid super well by insurance versus you go to any other, you know, your PCP, or gynecologist, or whatever it is, insurance pays for a big chunk of it. And so, that's what I think there's a disconnect between how clients view of, "Oh, wow, it's kind of expensive." Versus the reality of, ultimately, the therapist isn't actually taking as much home in terms of the total amount of money as people think. So, that's something I thought was really interesting to find out. 

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, you make a lot of good points. And yeah, the system is annoying, and it does suck to deal with. Like, that's definitely a factor. But there's just a lot of guilt and shame embedded in the culture when it comes to talking about money in mental health spaces. 

And I get it. Like, as a mental health professional, you have a lot of responsibility, and there's a lot of power dynamic there that is, unfortunately, inequitable. And people are struggling when they come to you. So, you feel this almost like responsibility to have to give more of yourself away because you're holding space for all of these people, and you're absorbing constantly, and it's just the nature of the business where it's like, well, this is something that you do, and it's a passion project, and passion kind of drives the career path. 

And that's fine. Again, like it's good to be passionate about the work that you do. But it is also a like bullet train towards burnout because you're not taking care of your own needs if you're subsidizing everybody else's. 

And I've had so many people on this podcast who started out with that mentality who've grown into different spaces. And the reality is there's so many ways to create accessibility and equitable care that don't simply exist in the therapy room, and that could be like podcasting, that could be workbooks, that can be donating money to charities in your area. Like, there are so many ways to balance the scales for those of you who really struggle with the mentality that you deserve to be paid well because I know we live in a capitalist society, and I know it's unfair. But if you are operating a small business, and you are taking fee for payment, you are a business owner. And I just see so many people try so hard to like, flex as many rates as possible, work more hours, work more hours to accommodate, and then, all of a sudden, you've recreated your agency job environment, and you're really miserable. And you're like, "I'm going to go back to bartending because this is fucking terrible." 

And it just doesn't have to be that way. And I think that it's nice to know that there are platforms that exist that allow for not only the client to save money in the therapeutic process but for the therapist to get paid well because if both of those things can exist, then you can have more therapists in the space, healthier therapists in the space, therapists who actually believe that they can take a vacation, who can afford to take a vacation, who can afford to buy a home. Like, there are so many things that our profession limits us from doing, but honestly, we stand in our own way a lot of the time. 

And all of these self-limiting beliefs that exists really start to grow on themselves. And then, it becomes this almost like, internal war that happens in the profession where it's like private pay versus insurance, and like you're being equitable, you're not, you're being greedy, you're not, and like all of the shit. 

And in reality, it's like, y'all, you can get paid, you can be successful, you can pay off your student loan debt without being stressed all the time, and your clients can feel less stressed too because you can show up with your needs met. And I think that we often lose sight of that, like, if we're constantly giving away more of ourselves than we're taking in it's really challenging to see 20 to 25 people a week and keep it all together.

CHRISTINE LI: Yeah, this is something I've been thinking about a lot. And that was, you know, obviously, a core part of why I started Mentaya. And I think that I understand why, you know, someone would feel guilty about, obviously, if there's someone in need, if they can't afford your services, like you want to help, and I think this profession seems to attract people who are naturally very empathetic and want to help others. 

But at the same time, I think it's important to think about the fact that, sure, maybe in the short term you're helping these people, but if you're burning out or more people are leaving the profession because it isn't sustainable that's not good for anyone. And so, that's something that I care a lot about, just helping make sure that the space is sustainable because everyone really, I think, my personal belief is everyone benefits from therapy, no matter what your situation is, whether you're actively dealing with something really bad, or almost no, I wouldn't say preventative, but just I think having the space to reflect on things regularly is super helpful. And so, the more we can help make sure that therapists are healthy and happy and being supported, I think, that's only going to help, you know, that translate to their work with clients as well.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I would agree 100%. And the healthier the therapist, the healthier the community because there's a ripple effect that happens in therapy, you know? You can be working with someone who then goes and stops generational trauma from recurring or continuing, you can help with the addiction community, and you can help with a significantly severe depressed community. Like, there's so many things therapy offers. And I believe we all should participate in therapy to some degree or another. I've been in therapy in and out my entire life, you know? And I've gone through phases where like, I could legitimately only afford my copay and phases now where I feel really lucky and fortunate to be able to pay my therapist out of pocket. 

And I remember she messaged me last year as we're going into 2023, and, you know, I think her rates were like, 175 last year, for Western North Carolina. I'd say it's high, but like, not out of the range of possibilities. And I have two successful businesses, I feel fortunate for that. She messaged me, was like, "Hey, I want to give you 90-days-notice that I'm raising my rates from 175 to 185." And I was like, "Okay, like, it's fine, do it today if you want. Like, I'm more than happy to pay you because like, you deserve it."

Like, she's so good and there's so much training that has gone on like behind the scenes and I think that I just understand the investment too. And I think that it's so easy to almost lose sight over how important these relationships are. 

And you mentioned, you know, going to your PCP or your gynecologist and using your insurance and they pay a significant percentage, we lose sight over the fact that a lot of insurance companies don't even pay for mental health benefits. Like, they don't even cover anything. And if they do, it's at a full, high deductible, and the client is paying out of pocket anyway. I'd rather just scrap the insurance piece because, honestly if we have all these plans that do nothing for you, what is really the point of maintaining them?

CHRISTINE LI: Yeah, that's actually interesting that you bring that up because I think that is a perception so many people have with insurance. And what I found out actually, and sort of what Mentaya helps is people don't realize that they have out-of-network benefits. I think it's over 50% of people with insurance plans of either PPO plans, or even if it's a high deductible plan, they have what's called out-of-network benefits, where if you meet as a client, if you meet you're out of network deductible, which is frequently a combination of mental health and other medical needs, and so, it's usually joined, not always, but usually. 

And let's say your out-of-network deductible is $1,000, you're like, "Wow, that's a lot to me. Like, I might as well pay cash." But what people don't realize is you can be paying cash, you know, the 175 or 200 per session, you meet your deductible in like five or so sessions, and then, you can actually start getting reimbursed anywhere from, you know, 50 to 80%, depends on your specifics, the insurance, but up to 80%, we've even seen something as high as 90% of your money back. So, the therapist is still getting paid their full fee but as a client, you're actually able to bring your costs essentially closer down to a copay even without a network, even if your therapist is out of network and does not take insurance, which I don't think most people know about. 

And I know that a lot of therapists are like, "You know, I can give you a superbill, you have to call your insurance, I don't really understand." Or, "I don't really know how to deal with this, but yeah, you can figure it out yourself." Which I totally understand because as a therapist you are running your own business, you have so many things to take care of. The last thing you want to do is like, "Hey, I'm happy to call insurance companies for you and spend an hour on the phone on hold, etc."

And so, then the onus is put on the clients, but the clients think about the average person who's going to therapy, you're not going to be like, "Oh, yeah, let me go call my insurance company, be put on hold and like, try to get my money back." It's really confusing for most people.

PATRICK CASALE: It's designed to be confusing, that's the thing-


PATRICK CASALE: …that people don't understand. Like, what you're highlighting is like, if most people have out-of-network benefits, but they don't know this or don't even know what out-of-network benefits mean it's because it's designed to be a system that really isn't helpful for you. So, if you have to go through a million hoops to figure that out, why would I go through all the trouble or energy to do so?

CHRISTINE LI: Exactly. And I think most people's perception, I've talked to a lot of my friends about this who are in therapy, and they're like, "I can get money back?" Like, "Oh, I tried it. Like, I think I submitted a superbill, but then insurance said that there's some issue, and then, I called them, I didn't understand it, and then I gave up on it. Because I was like this is not worth the hassle."

Because I think people, one, don't know how much they can get back, so they assume like, "Oh, there's no way insurance is going to reimburse it." And like they've tried it maybe, and then, insurance rejected because, of course, as an average consumer, like you have no idea how any of this works, you don't know how to fight for your rights, and you just kind of accept the fact that, you know, they're going to reject it because some code thing was wrong. 

And so, that's something that we basically help take care of at Mentaya, and people love it because as a therapist you're shielded from dealing with insurance. And as an end consumer client, you're just like going to therapy, these claims are getting automatically submitted, you're just getting money back, you have no idea how but you're just like, "Great, I just got a check in the mail or just got a direct deposit into my bank account." 

And people who are going through this process are saving thousands of dollars per year on therapy. And people who are not, are potentially losing out on those thousands of dollars, or they just stopped therapy because they're like, "This is getting too expensive, I can't afford it." And so, either way, you cut it, it's something that is just this almost missed opportunity that people don't realize that they have.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, there's a lot of these missed opportunities in the mental health space that a lot of people don't realize exists, whether they can make your clinical practice easier, or your day-to-day easier as the client, or you know, just allowing for both of you to be winning in this situation. Like, I get to continue to see my therapist, I get to get reimbursed, they get paid, everyone's winning here. 

The only people who really aren't winning are the insurance companies and who the hell cares about that? Like, if anyone's going to subsidize therapy, it should be the companies that are making billions of dollars every year off of selling shitty insurance plans. So, like, I'm all about that. But in reality, it's just a matter of the lack of knowledge, time, understanding, right? Like, you mentioned it, most people who are running their own business, especially, solo practitioners do not have the time or the desire to get on the phone with the insurance company more than they have to. And then to say, "Okay, where did the superbills get sent? How do we submit them? Do they need to be signed, you know, digitally, or actually manually? "Like, all of the questions that need to be answered. 

And then, like you mentioned, putting it on the client, and the client who doesn't have any understanding of the clinical medical billing world is not going to navigate that stress-free. And that, in turn, is just going to lead to missed opportunities for conversion for the therapist. And it's also going to lead to missed opportunities for the client to receive good quality care. And ultimately, what happens is, like you said, client decides I can no longer do this, therapist says, "Hey, you figure it out, I'm not going to deal with it." And then, it just becomes a mess. And ultimately, like, what I see in my Facebook group, a lot of the time about superbills, so much so that I had to make a like 30-point post about out-of-network reimbursements superbills is like the lack of understanding of what a superbill even is, where it goes, how it's coded? Like, all the things. 

So, this process is designed to be confusing, it is not designed to be efficient and easy. And even myself, as a person who owns a group practice, who sees a therapist who doesn't take insurance, who submits my own superbills, they make it very challenging. Like, they'll send a letter back without the payment and just be like, "Apply it to deductible." I have to call, I don't even have a deductible, where's this money going? And it's always like, you're going from one department to another to another to another. And at the end of the day, you're just like, "Yep, I'm not doing this anymore. I give up."

CHRISTINE LI: Totally. And I think to your, first of all, that is not an uncommon experience that you described, that's almost everyone's experience that I've talked to, at least out of my friends that I've chatted with about this. But to your earlier point about, you know, obviously, especially, solo practitioners are like, I don't have time to deal with this stuff. I think it's something… I mean, that's why there are services like ours that help with this. 

And I think something that I've noticed, and is really interesting is that a lot of therapists are really focused on, "I need to get, you know, other therapist's directories, I need to get my name out there, I need to get referrals for clients." 

And so, if you think about sort of a marketing funnel, the first step is top of funnel, you want to get as many people to go to your profile or learn about you as possible. So, that's sort of a top-of-funnel. But then, the next step is let's say you get you know, 1000 visits to your website every month, all these people are interested in potentially working with you. And it's like, how do you actually convert those people? Because it doesn't matter how many people you get on your website to go hear about you, if they see your website, or if they see, "I don't take insurance." Or like, whatever superbill stuff, and they're like, "I don't really understand this, I'm not sure." It doesn't really matter how well you do that part, you have to be able to actually convert the clients. And so, that's one thing, for example, that we have an instant benefits calculator where you can put it on your website. 

And in lieu of calling insurance companies for your client being like, "I'll do this for you." You can just be like, "Use this automated service and check what your out-of-network benefits are." And people are surprised. We've gotten so many emails from clients being like, "I had no idea I have these benefits. Like, this is awesome. Thank you so much for this." 

And so, then you're converting clients that you otherwise may not be converting or clients who might be on the fence about it. And then, when it comes to actually, okay, great, I have these out-of-network benefits, how do I actually use them? I mean, sending them a superbill is one option, if they can figure it out. They're like, "Oh, I'm able to figure it out." Whatnot. 

But another option is to use a service like Mentaya where we take care of submitting a claim, if it gets denied for whatever reason, we take care of all of that. Otherwise, it's on your client to do and they might not do it. They might not understand how to do it, they might forget to submit it, and then, it's too late. They might have a superbill rejected, and they go back to you, and they're like, "Hey, insurance's asking for some code." And you're like, "What does that mean?" Now, all of a sudden, you're involved. 

And so, to your point, insurance companies definitely make it difficult, and even all the different superbill templates, like different insurance companies have different requirements. And then, now, you have to adjust your superbill to meet those requirements. And the whole process is really complicated. So, I understand why people currently aren't really doing it. But that's sort of what we want to do to help in this space, to make sure that you're getting paid your fee still up every session, that your clients are getting reimbursed so that they can, you know, continue to reinvest the money into therapy for as long as they need. 

PATRICK CASALE: I love that. And for the clinicians who are getting their full fee, you can then reinvest that money into your marketing, into your, if you want to hire an admin support, if you want to work on donating money to charitable causes in your area. Like, that's the way that you can start to really create more accessibility to you as well. So, I think, again, it's a win-win. 

But something you mentioned that is really important, well, two things, my brain is diverging in different directions. One is the superbill thing. Like, when you say different templates, different insurance companies want different things, I have so many therapists who are like, "I'm just not doing it. Like, I'm not dealing with the insurance, I'm not doing superbills." That is a barrier to treatment if you're unwilling to provide superbills. 

So, I think that because of the complication, and the confusion, and how convoluted a process it is for people to just say, "I'm not doing it." That's not an answer. Like, that does not help the client and that's not helping you. Because ultimately, what's going to happen is a client's going to find a therapist who is willing to send out that template. 

And the number two thing is like the funnel system that you mentioned, when we're talking about marketing, or any business strategy in terms of how to retain and attract clients, we're talking about like, really easy barriers to treatment and conversion here. And that goes with not just like having something like the calculator built in and embedded to easily access so that the client can immediately see and then say, "Oh, I can call this person because like, I can get this sorted out for myself." But there are other barriers to treatment that are so simple like having calls to action on your website, like having good ways for clients to contact you. I audit so many websites, and I'm like, how would I contact you if I wanted to become a client? I don't see a form, I don't see a button, I don't see a call button. Like, it's like, "Oh, yeah, it's down at the bottom, under the footer, under my address."

I'm like, "What the fuck?" Like, most people spend three to five seconds before they decide if I want to read more or contact. So, like, accessibility, making it easier, removing the barriers for people to contact you and start treatment. Super, super important. And I think a lot of that stuff also gets overlooked and we can use technology to our advantages here.

CHRISTINE LI: Yeah, that is a really good point. I mean, I've looked for my own therapist before and I'm like, "Oh, gosh." I have to go find their email somewhere on their website because they don't have a contact form where there's no, sometimes they're missing like the Schedule Now button. And I love that because I'm like, great, I'll just schedule it now instead of like a back and forth and they email me maybe. I mean, I might like not see the email for a few days. And then, I might just [INDISCERNIBLE 00:27:13] because like it takes too long to get back versus this instant, just let me book a call now, let me see my benefits now, especially, in this day and age, it's 2023, people want things instantly. 

And oh, this even gets to the point of I think it's really important to have a website as a therapist, just a online presence because the first thing I do when I find someone whether it's on, you know, Psychology Today, TherapyDen, any of these directories, first thing I do is I like Google them, and I'm like, what does their website say? What does it look like? And I think that's something that almost feels like a bare minimum to have nowadays because it just makes you so much more competitive than people who don't have a website, then you're like, "I don't really know anything about them. Like, I don't know if I'm really going to reach out." So, that's something that I think is really important as well.

PATRICK CASALE: That's really important. I mean, I think in this day and age of psychotherapy, when we're talking about so many people going virtual, when we're talking so many people moving and working across state lines, like a website is a glimpse. It's like your online real estate, essentially. Like, it gives a good understanding of who you are as a person and a clinician. And it's also a reputability thing. 

And I could have a whole podcast episode, and I have about therapists websites and the struggles that I see, but I think at least having a website is so crucial because you need a landing page for people to go to, you need a place for people to be directed. And if you're just simply relying on like Psych Today, there's like a 360-character limitation. You're not going to get everything out on that page. 

And then, I'll see therapists who are like, "I work with kids, adults, teens, ages six to 90, and these issues, and this issue, and this issue." And it's like, okay, we need a website. Like, we need services pages, we need easy contact forms, we need buttons that people can click on their phones to call you or text you. Like, it's really important. And it just reduces the barriers. And it also just allows for more bookings to come in. And it's just a simple fix that is so easily navigated. 

But again, and I've talked about this a lot on this podcast, I would estimate that 99% of mental health professionals do not have any sort of business training or expertise. So, a lot of this is flying blind and a lot of this is just trying to figure it out as you go because you're stressed and you're overwhelmed, and you're like, "I don't know how to deal with the insurance. I don't even know how to get a contract loaded, I don't know how to build a website. Like, I don't know what a HIPAA-compliant phone means." Like, all of the things.

So, if you really want to focus on helping people and just show going up for your clients and taking care of them and yourself, reducing barriers, increasing accessibility through just easy fixes, and utilizing platforms like Christine is talking about because ultimately, it is going to make your life so much easier. And it is also going to make your clients' lives easier. And that for me feels like a win-win all around.

CHRISTINE LI: Completely. And I think you've mentioned, you've basically laid it out, just barriers and friction, and something that I've actually learned in my time as a product manager at Google, convert, like, you have to track kind of conversions at every step. I'm not saying you have to set up this whole thing to track everything. But every added friction is going to make a huge difference. I don't remember the exact stats, but it's something crazy. Like, every piece of friction you add, like, everything you add there's a 50% additional chance that someone trends or just doesn't complete the thing, whether it's, you don't have a website, you know, some percentage of people are just not going to want to see you, you have a website, you know, but your rate seems a little higher then that's going to just immediately turn off most people versus having whether it's an instant benefits calculator or something instead of having to call you, instead of having to, you know, fill out a form, and then, you get back to them over email, like being able to book something immediately, even with superbill. Like being able to just say like, you don't have to really do anything for it, you know, Mentaya or whatever has got it for you, that also helps. 

So, at every point, just think about all the pieces of friction that it takes to get someone to sign up for therapy. They have to first, you know, get to the point where they tell themselves, "Okay, I should like find a therapist." They have to actually be able find you. Once they find you, they have to feel like you're a good fit, the array is a good fit. And then once they start, they have to feel like it's worth the amount that they're paying. And so, all these are just the different points of friction in which people can potentially turn off. So, that's something to just think about as well.

PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely. I agree. 100%. That includes Google My Business accounts being linked to your web domains, that includes like having clickable buttons, that includes making sure all the links work, that includes making… Like, I just think about each additional hoop, like you're mentioning, like being an additional reason to say I'm not going to call you, or I'm not going to contact you, or I'm just not going to start therapy because this is too freaking hard for me to navigate. The easier you can make it for your clients to access you, the more likely you're going to get these calls, you're going to get these inquiries, you're going to get these requests. 

We changed our verbiage on our website to say like because we work with a lot of young adults, and who the hell likes calling people these days. So, like, we have clickable buttons everywhere that say call or text today to start your therapy journey. And like, it's amazing how many text messages we receive on a daily basis from people who are like, "Hey, I want to set up my consultation." And then we get into like, you know how to start deciding if it's a good fit, but like, it's just another way to reduce a barrier. 

And that's what we're trying to do here is just reduce barriers, ensure that therapists get paid well, ensure that clients are taken care of. This is how everyone wins. And I think this is really important. 

So, Christine, congrats on what you've created and what you continue to kind of develop over time. It's obviously a passion project. It's obviously something near and dear to your heart. I like meeting people who are doing things like this for the therapists community who are actually invested in the therapist community because you do get a lot of tech companies who do not give a shit about the client outcomes or the therapist outcomes. So, it is really nice to see and it's a breath of fresh air. So, congratulations on that.

CHRISTINE LI: Thank you so much, Patrick. It was great coming on this podcast and talking to everyone about this. So, thank you.

PATRICK CASALE: You're welcome. And please tell the audience where they can find more of what you've got going on.

CHRISTINE LI: Yeah, so you can learn more at It's M-E-N-T-A-Y-A. So, think like mental, mental health, Mentaya. And we actually have a promo code for all of the listeners, if you just type in Patrick, when you sign up. You can try our platform out for free, you can try out our instant benefits calculator, and our claim submission tool. I would encourage everyone to at least just try it out, see if it's useful for your practice. And then, if it is you can continue using it. If it's not, it's risk-free. So…

PATRICK CASALE: All of that information will be in the show notes that you all have easy access to Mentaya. And remember if you use promo code Patrick, you get a free 30-day trial. This way you can just figure out if this is going to increase your client calls, your private pay caseload, and just make both of your lives easier. 

So, thanks again for coming on and making the time, Christine. It was really good to meet you and looking forward to airing this episode in a few weeks. 

CHRISTINE LI: All right, thank you.

PATRICK CASALE: And to everyone listening to the All Things Private Practice Podcast, new episodes are out every single Friday on all major platforms and YouTube. Like, download, subscribe, and share. Doubt yourself, do it anyway. See you next week.


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