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Balancing Act: Helping Prevent Burnout in Behavioral Health Offices with Smart Solutions

We’re all juggling a lot: families, bills, work, and health, just to name a few. And many people are just one stressful meeting away from burning out completely. There are many demands on our time, and we all have problems that need to be solved. 

Behavioral health professionals – therapists in particular – are in crisis right now. Not only do they have to deal with all the challenges associated with family, bills, work, and health, but they also carry the weight of their clients’ trauma and stress. 

Therapists are burning out at a higher rate than ever before. In a recent survey of 550 therapists, SimplePractice found that 52 percent had experienced burnout at some point in the previous 12 months, while 29 percent reported feeling burned out at the time of their response. 

If ignored, burnout can have detrimental long-term effects on a person’s overall health since it’s a type of ongoing stress. According to the American Heart Association, chronic stress can cause high blood pressure (among other issues), leading to a greater risk of heart attack or stroke. 

Tantamount to the health concerns that come with burnout are the larger societal implications. If therapists burn out to the point that they begin to leave their profession en masse, our national mental health crisis will become even more difficult to handle. The previously referenced SimplePractice survey reported that 29 percent of the therapists who responded that they were burned out are considering leaving the mental health field altogether. This would create an even greater shortage of therapists at a time when people are already on long lists waiting to be seen.  

Why are Therapists Burned Out?

Therapists choose their careers because they genuinely want to help people, but they may not be prepared for the costs of doing their jobs well. 

Burnout comes from three major issues, according to an article in Positive Psychology:

  • Compassion fatigue
  • Vicarious trauma
  • Increasing workloads

The first two are the natural byproduct of a therapist being an empathetic person who cares about their clients. The third one, however, is because more people than ever are seeking therapy: roughly 41 percent of American adults reported receiving mental health treatment or counseling within the past year.

It’s easy to see how these issues could cause a person to burn out, which leaves them feeling “incompetent, inefficient, ineffective, and [less confident] in themselves,” according to SimplePractice.

And for many therapists, the answer doesn’t lie in a career change. But it’s clear behavioral health professionals need support. 

While we can’t lighten the emotional load that many therapists are carrying, we can present some suggestions for making life easier in other ways that, hopefully, ease the mental load of worrying about tasks that take therapists away from more productive, self-care activities. 

Here is a short guide to implementing smart solutions in a therapy office. 

Smart Solutions to Support Therapists

Smart solutions are what happens when software and hardware come together to automate parts of our lives. For example, more and more households are installing smart thermostats like Google Nest or ecobee. These types of devices – all part of the Internet of Things — connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular, to name a few. They use sensors to “detect changes in the environment, such as temperature, humidity, light, motion, or pressure,” as explained by IBM.

Many people have an Alexa device in their homes, or they ask Siri on their iPhones to help them control their compatible devices. While there have been privacy concerns with some devices, there are many others designed to streamline your office operations in a secure way. 

Smart Furniture

Furniture that has multiple uses is often referred to as smart furniture. For example: sofas that have built-in USB charging ports, recliners with smart speakers, or desks that automatically convert from sitting to standing when it’s time for you to stretch your legs while you input client notes after a session. 

Therapists often sit for long periods of time during the day, so a smart ergonomic chair can ease the burden on your joints and bones. A smart coffee table might be able to charge your devices for you while also keeping some cold beverages for you to offer to clients.  

Security Devices

When your bodily safety is a concern, it’s important to have a security system in place, even if it’s just a security camera placed at the entrance to your office. You have a plethora of choice available to you these days, so think about what features in a security system are most important to you, then find the brand that executes those features best. Most security systems can be armed/disarmed from your laptop or mobile device. 

Here is a guide from PCMag


Smart thermostats have been a staple in helping people save money on their heating and cooling bills. Most of them connect to Wi-Fi so you can control them from your phone or tablet. They also learn your preferences: if you like a warmer temperature inside during summer days, but sleep better when it’s cooler in the house, a smart thermostat will automate these changes for you. 

You can also set a smart thermostat to turn on the air conditioning about an hour before you get to the office so it’s nice and cool when you walk in the door. 


Smart lights connect wirelessly to a smartphone app, allowing you to control when the lights get turned on and off, no matter where you are. You can also set lights to switch off after a certain time, saving you money in case you forget to turn off your office lights when you leave for the day. 

Coffee Machine

Imagine walking into your office to a fresh pot of coffee or a latte. Plenty of machines on the market these days are able to make this dream a reality for you. For example, this one, dubbed “Brad Pitt’s coffee machine,” can make 16 different coffee drinks, all of which you can “order” from your smartphone. 

Client Check-In System

Here’s one simple yet impactful work activity you can take off your plate: walking back and forth from your office to the waiting room to check if your next client has arrived yet. A check-in system like The Receptionist for iPad allows your clients to check in using an iPad placed in your lobby or waiting room. Once they have done so, you’ll be alerted using SMS, email, Slack message, or Microsoft Teams message. 

To learn more, join our next product tour here. 

Finding Support

If you are a therapist, just know there are options for support out there. Many therapists, if not most, have their own therapist. It’s important to prioritize your mental health and ensure you can show up for your clients as your best self. You can’t do that if you’re burned out and suffering. Reach out to your network for support.

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