Why the intake process is so important and how our AI Intake notes can help

Alena Miklasova
Alena Miklasova
April 26, 2023
min read
Why the intake process is so important and how our AI Intake notes can help
Part 1 – The intake process

The intake process consists of both the intake form and the initial intake session and is a hugely important part of the therapeutic process. Yet, therapists have just 45 minutes in which to establish trust with new (sometimes distressed) clients.

There's data gathering, observing non-verbal behavior, and seeking to establish and clarify the client’s intended therapy goals. All this, while also remembering to get everything about the client's history written down. It's a lot. Thankfully, a few things can make this process easier, including our new AI Intake notes.

Intake sessions are a skill

On top of the above, it’s good practice to warn what this first ‘almost-therapy-session’ is really about: data collection and a meet and greet. Session cost, duration, expectations, and client questions are addressed. And if this isn’t done properly, it can be extremely risky for a certain category of clients. If anything goes wrong here, that’s it. It’s their chance to bolt and say, See, therapy really isn’t for me.

If not formally introduced, an intake session can be confused with therapy for a first-time client because they simply don’t know any better and need an added introduction to the very lengthy, boring, demanding process that gathering in-take information can be. Imagine that you come in with severe panic attacks or deep depression. You may simply not withstand the endless questions that an intake process entails, especially if the clinician isn’t grounded and present enough with you throughout.

Free up cognitive resources 

We thought that using AI for the intake notes would be a great way to help therapists save time and mental energy while allowing them to be more present. It’s helpful to hear, in the client’s own words, some of their history, current situation, and therapy goals.

This leaves the therapist with more space for observing things like body language, hygiene, speech cadence, awareness of boundaries, energy, and so on. Now, while an experienced therapist is able to gather notes and use the session to appraise the state of their client-to-be, the truth is that this is demanding and takes up far too much of the therapist’s cognitive load when they could already be connecting.

And to the client, it may feel uncomfortable and even seem like a session that should be costed differently. (“I just sat here for an hour and answered questions and I have to pay for that?”) That’s why using AI for the intake notes is so helpful – the therapist can rely on the AI to be the scribe and can focus on asking the questions, appraising, stabilizing, and building the therapeutic alliance from the get-go. After all, both need to see if the relationship is to be a good fit. 

You can lose clients over a bad intake session

Dipping into the (quite often) traumatic events of a client’s history, and immediately dipping back out to gather yet more data about other topics, can leave one feeling unresolved and triggered.

It is also a lot of effort to go into if either the therapist or client decides that there isn’t enough of a mutual fit for the therapeutic alliance to continue. And let’s face it: it’s not always a fit. Different therapeutic approaches, life experiences, mix of personalities, cultures, ages, gender, and even budget, all contribute to whether there is a therapeutic fit or not.

Not every client is meant for every therapist and vice versa. We should be open about that, and support each other in making referrals so that we serve in the best way for the client and ourselves. Having automated AI intake notes, allows the therapist time to look for important signs earlier and fundamentally means not having to write copious notes at a critical point in the therapeutic relationship, when one could miss moments of eye contact or even bids for connection.

In short, we're excited to save you time and shift your focus to observation and connection-building faster. So go ahead and try our Intake notes in your next Intake session. We'd love to hear what you thought!

To try our AI Intake notes for free, sign up for Upheal.
You'll get extra session minutes when you share Upheal with a colleague.
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Alena Miklasova
Alena Miklasova
Brand Director, Coach, & Therapist-in-Training, Upheal
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