5 Steps to Streamline the Intake Process for New Therapy Clients

Bringing in new therapy clients is an exciting process. It means that your practice is growing and that you get the chance to work with more people. Although getting a new client is great for business, providers are often weighed down by inefficient intake processes. With an ineffective onboarding process, you put yourself at risk of losing that very same client you just brought on. For most providers, their intake process takes up the majority of the first visit. Why is this a problem and how can providers streamline and improve their intake process for new therapy clients?

The Importance of Effective Intake

Intake is extremely important to the client-provider relationship. Due to the fact that it has to be completed before care can be delivered, onboarding usually happens during the first visit. This can push your new therapy client out as fast as they came in.

Fast and effective intake is essential to make sure you execute a good first impression. When a new therapy client is seeking out mental health services, it usually involves a cause or reason. That reason may be as simple as maintaining good mental health or it could be a much more serious reason like depression or other mental health issues.

When a new therapy client is coming in for their first visits, there are often a lot of emotions or experiences they are bringing with them or that they have prepared to talk about.

When intake takes up the entire length of the first visit, it can be extremely discouraging to clients. There needs to be a time in the visit dedicated to their expectations instead of spending every minute onboarding.

The good news is that efficient intake processes exist. In 2021, providers do not have to use the first visit at all to complete intake with their clients.

Common Issues with Onboarding a New Therapy Client


Mentioned before, onboarding a new therapy client takes time. One of the most common issues is that there is a ton of information that needs to be collected in order for you to effectively help the client. This data is necessary and important, but it takes a lot of time to gather.


Traditional intake is not the most efficient way to gather information. It involves clicking through a screen in front of the new therapy client, asking them questions, and typing in that information. It also can involve a client filling out a form by hand and your office transcribing that data into their chart. This slows down the visit and honestly wastes valuable time.

Human Error

With data being transcribed, it passes through multiple windows where errors easily take place. Paper forms can force a therapist to try and decipher poor handwriting, leading to errors in the client’s chart. Accuracy is essential in the client’s chart in order for the therapist to make quality decisions.

Streamlining the Process for New Therapy Clients:

Intake for new therapy clients does not need to be a burden, in fact, it does not have to happen in the office at all. The right intake solution can streamline workflow for your practice to promote accuracy, efficiency, and a better client experience during the first visit.

Pre-Visit Intake

Digital intake exists to simplify the lives of mental health providers bringing on new therapy clients. This tool eliminates the need to do intake in person. It gets rid of the transcription process. It improves efficiency in a provider’s workflow. There are no limits to what this tool can do for you when bringing on new therapy clients. Pre-visit intake enables clients to digitally complete onboarding prior to coming into the office. This ensures that therapists have all the data they need before the first visit so that they can jump right into helping the client.

Sign Them up for Reminders

Digital intake also affords providers the opportunity to sign their new therapy clients up for automated appointment reminders. This will reduce the number of no-show visits you experience by sending your clients a text, email, and phone call reminder. With this tool, you can give your clients plenty of time to reschedule for future appointments and protect your time.

Make it as Painless as Possible:

Make your onboarding process simple enough that the new therapy client does not feel inconvenienced by it. Take the time to explain why it is necessary and important to their care, but also set it up so that it is painless for them to complete. This will ensure that every client fills out the form to the best of their ability.

Quality Client Portal

The key to making all of this happen is to utilize a high-functioning client portal. This will enable your new therapy client to easily login and complete their intake prior to their first visit, but it can also do so much more. With this tool, onboarding data is uploaded directly into the client’s chart, making it readily available for their providers. A new therapy client can also view their treatment plan, pay their bill, and schedule future appointments all in one place. This tool is powerful for client engagement and improving the client experience.

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