A couple of years ago, I wrote about some smaller therapist directories who were trying to take on Psychology Today’s directory. Now, there’s a new therapist directory with the scale — and the killer feature — to challenge PT’s dominance.
Being on Psychology Today’s therapist directory is considered something of a necessary evil among many of the therapists I know. The PT magazine has a storied history of problems with diversity and inclusion. The directory itself feels dated and cumbersome. (I’m not currently listed there. I have been in the past.) But because it’s well-optimized for search traffic, it generates more referrals than smaller directories tend to.
Many of those smaller directories have great sorting functions and serve specific audiences very well. But they all have faced a pretty low ceiling, as they struggle to build a therapist database and a large-enough traffic stream to make the directory worthwhile on both sides. Even those directories that let therapists list themselves for free have struggled for search ranking and profitability.
Finally, though, there’s a therapist directory with enough scale to change the landscape. SimplePractice, which has more than 100,000 providers as subscribers, has launched Monarch. Not only does Monarch start off with far more scale than most smaller directories have, it also has game-changing features driven by its integration with SimplePractice subscribers’ existing practice management accounts.
The biggest game-changer? Prospective clients can see real-time therapist availability and book appointments instantly. The combination of features and scale makes Monarch unique in the landscape.
The biggest directory problem, solved
On Psychology Today, prospective clients often need to take a scattershot approach to find a therapist. This creates headaches for therapists and clients alike. Since most clinicians are full, don’t accept your particular insurance, or simply don’t call back, clients must call or email several therapists with initial inquiries. Then they engage in a back-and-forth with whoever responds first. Therapists either have to constantly monitor their email and voicemail, or they have to deal with many contacts that don’t become clients.
On Monarch, if the therapist enables schedule visibility and immediate booking (both are optional), clients can request a specific appointment time that the clinician has available. Everyone avoids that inefficient back-and-forth. Clients can get an actual appointment on the books easily and quickly. And therapists don’t have as many voicemails to return from people who have already booked with someone else.
It’s a game-changer in a directory of its size. And it’s rightfully getting attention: A recent partnership with Olympian Alexi Pappas led to fawning coverage in Shape magazine and elsewhere. It’s the modernization of a therapist marketing channel that has desperately needed it.
[Disclosure: I serve as the Education Director for SimplePractice Learning, and have been a SimplePractice customer since before entering my current role there. I am not involved in Monarch and wrote this on my own time.]