5 things I love about Upheal and 5 things I still want – Michael Eisen, Clinical Psychologist
July 18, 2023
I don’t just write blog posts about Upheal; I use it. So, speaking as a user (and the intended audience), here are the things that I already love about it, and the things that I’d like to see in the future.
5 things that I love
1. It writes my notes
Well, obviously. That’s the main point of it (at least for now – it’s going to do a lot more). But let me take a moment to reflect on just how great that is. I still experience a moment of sweet relief every time I finish a session, think, Sigh…now I have to do the notes, and then realise that, No, I don’t have to do the notes. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to it.
2. I can skim through the Topics and edit the Notes
As much as I love the Progress Notes, they inevitably don’t come out exactly how I would write them. Which is why I’m so glad of the “Topics” section – an awesomely accurate summary of the session, divided up into handy headings, that reliably captures all the important themes. And I can edit the Progress Note. So, at the end of the working day, I can just skim through the Topics summary, remind myself what happened in the session, and edit the Progress Notes accordingly. I can refine the notes as much or as little as I want, according to how much time I’ve got.
3. There are new session analytics
Notes are all well and good, but what really excites me about Upheal is the potential for it to change therapy. And the process has already started, with handy analytics of your session: you can see where the pauses are, the places the client’s speech is positive or negative, past- or future-oriented, and more. Medical doctors have all sorts of technology to help them figure out what’s going on – X-Rays, ECGs, and so on – whereas all we’ve had until now are questionnaires. Upheal just gave us a stethoscope and, before long, we’ll have an MRI.
4. It's therapist-friendly
None of this would be much use if the platform weren’t easy to use. But…it is! You don’t have to design and send out your own consent form to your client – you can do it with a single click. You don’t even have to cut and paste a link to send it to the client – again, just click and you’re done. At every point, thought has gone into making the whole process as smooth, easy, and satisfying as possible for you and your client. And I confess I love the purple.
5. The team gets it
When I got involved with Upheal, I imagined setting them straight on a few things. I would, I thought, need to tell the team how therapy really works and what the latest research says. I even imagined myself fighting heroically to defend therapists’ priorities from other ones. To my dismay, I found they were way ahead of me: they were already discussing the most exciting developments in the field and were passionate about all the right things. Upheal came out of the CEO’s personal experience of therapy, and it shows: they are serious about helping therapists do the best job they can.
5 things that I want
1. Video recording
I am a fan of Deliberate Practice, which asks therapists: “How can you hope to get better as a therapist if you never see yourself in action?” It challenges you to record your sessions, watch them back, and show them to your supervisor for feedback. It’s just common sense. So, I look forward to the day Upheal lets me do this within the platform. And it needn’t stop there: how about video looping, so that I can isolate a clip from my session and watch it again and again, so that I can practice my skills? I don’t just want Upheal to help me do my work better, day-to-day; I want it to help me improve.
2. Outcome measures
It’s good practice to use questionnaires to get feedback on your performance as a therapist: you need to know whether your clients are feeling better, and also what they think of the sessions. So, I want to do this seamlessly within Upheal. I want clients to complete the questionnaires in as few clicks as possible, and I want the data analysed to tell me how I’m doing with each individual client and in my practice overall. If we want to help therapists do better work, this is an easy win.
3. Upheal for clients
Clients often do best in therapy when they take an active role: they plan what they will discuss in sessions, they do the homework after sessions, and they even take notes in sessions. Why not make this easier, with a client-facing version of Upheal? Imagine if, as a client, you received summaries of every session, along with homework materials and reminders, and prompts to plan your next session. And imagine if you could access it all in one place, with a maximally client-friendly interface, to help you engage fully in your therapy. It would be awesome, and it just might happen.
4. Even better analytics
Upheal’s analytics are great, but they are going to get a lot better. I look forward to the day when the AI can tell me what’s really going on in the session; when it can point, for example, to the subtle signs of clients’ discomfort or disengagement, and flag up connections that I might otherwise miss. I want an AI that’s like the best supervisor I ever had, sitting right there with me in the session, as a second pair of eyes on what I’m doing.
5. Session-to-session links
It’s hard, as a therapist, to hold everything in mind: the themes that emerged in previous sessions, the goals that we set at the start of therapy but have revised since, and even the skills we’ve taught. (It is highly embarrassing to be told by the client, “Er, you’ve already shown me this…). I dream of the day when, in every session, Upheal will show me and let me update the goals, the formulation, and the skills we've been working on.
So, that’s what I already love, and what I’m looking forward to. And if you like the sound of anything I’ve suggested, or have some ideas of your own, you can use this portal to let the team at Upheal know.