JournalOwl TouchPoint – The Schedule Free Way to Online Therapy

  Friday, July 9, 2021
Contributed by Emily Ruiz, MA

After the global pandemic, everyone has felt a level of Zoom fatigue. Classes, meetings, and social gatherings were all on Zoom for hours at a time. It would almost feel like Groundhog day because each morning while staying in pajamas or at least the bottoms, people would open up their computers to see themselves with faint remembrance and then “connect” with others. While initially fun and exciting as the new video-chat service, it soon became the bane of everyone’s existence. 

We understand how Zoom affects its users, and that is why at JournalOwl, we believe that one size does not fit all. We believe in an innovative and eclectic manner of coaching through the utilization of journaling and timed video messages. You are still connecting with the client, but it is not always instantaneous, unlike if you were in a Zoom call or real-time. 

JournalOwl uses a system called Touchpoint. If we had to describe Touchpoint in one word, it would be a connection. Touchpoint connects you to your niche population through the clients expressing their needs. Without Touchpoint, you had to wait for individuals to call you, and it could be a nerve-wracking time as you begin to worry about personal and business finances if you have a private practice. 

Touchpoint is a coach’s non-stop shop by instantly connecting with motivated clients, niche populations, and those who want to be helped. It also provides those individuals who are home-bound a way of reaching out to someone who can help. It is a great way to increase your caseload and help you do more of what you love to do; help people.

Differences from Zoom

In Standford News, they examined why people were having Zoom fatigue and were able to pinpoint four main reasons. First, close-up eye contact is a lot. It is uncomfortable, and usually, you are not a foot away from someone when you are talking to them; it typically makes people feel a little awkward. This is why, if you think of it without context, it seems pretty obvious why you wouldn’t want to be that close to someone, but in Zoom or other video conferencing apps, you have a barrier through the computer screen. 

In addition to the staring competition, we are not used to seeing ourselves that long. You begin to hyper-fixate on your physical traits. You start to wonder if your one eye was always that much bigger than the other. It reinforces negative self-worth, and sometimes people will not come off as candidly because the reflection makes them more aware of what they are saying and how they say it. There is not a lot of movement other than your face when on a zoom call. If your calls were initially 45 minutes but could last much, much longer, you would begin to ache and become sore. Being stuck in one position for an extended amount of time is harmful to your physical health (back pain) and mental productivity because you begin to feel stuck in a never-ending loop. It is a sedentary lifestyle that, for many, becomes the dominant manner for communication in 2020.

You do not get reactions in real-time; for instance, if a client is nervous about a particular topic, you will not be able to see them picking skin from their hands or other behaviors that might indicate self-harming. Zoom and other video conferencing apps can glitch to the point that a person’s face is frozen or the words are lagged, which creates a dead stop in an initial point that the client wanted to discuss. 

Anderson and Looi (2020) continue describing Zoom fatigue by classifying it as the chronic zoom syndrome. They described chronic Zoom syndrome as having symptoms like spending a minimum of six hours a day on video conferencing. They included having eye strain or fatigue, not wearing business professional or general out in public wear, weight gain, distractibility from the window or family members, including pets, diurnal rhythm change (similar to the circadian rhythm but during the day), and memory loss. Being on zoom for hours on end is not healthy. It lowers self-worth and increases disorders such as depression and attention deficit disorder. COVID-19 created a stress response for over a year, and valuable time was lost.

Time is an essential factor when counseling, and as the age-old saying goes, quality beats quantity. At JournalOwl, you are creating a concise way of communicating with your client through live and pre-recorded videos from your toolbox. Through the utilization of journaling and videos, your client will be able to heal through our eclectic method. In addition, Touchpoint is helping coaches like you help more people and experience less burn out. It is essential not to utilize one system, or you will begin to have Zoom fatigue.

JournalOwl Touchpoint

Instead of relying on Zoom or other video conferencing to create monotonous video calls, JournalOwl provides the therapist/coach/counselor with the option of going “schedule free” with JournalOwl TouchPoint. It means that you have the freedom to create your own schedule or assist when you have some free time. JournalOwl can be a great resource in creating a side-hustle from a group or private practice because you can help people after hours. If you are a night-owl, you can help people even at 2 AM because that is when your circadian rhythm is at the highest frequency. 

In JournalOwl’s schedule-free option, you are not tied down to a one-on-one meeting with a client or a group setting in real-time because our system allows you to respond in 48 hours to your client. You can create a work and life balance that you have always wanted but felt like it was impossible to have. As an example, we will talk about a client who you might see in the JournalOwl practice.

Linda, our example client, is a working mom who has two children, Daisy and George. She is currently going through school and feels performance anxiety as a mother because she is judging herself for not spending enough time with the kids. The performance anxiety had stemmed from her stay-at-home mom when she was growing up. Her husband is helpful, but Linda is putting all of the burdens of the home on her own shoulders.

She signs up for JournalOwl because she fondly remembers her diary that she kept when she was in high school and how it helped her. After searching through her state, Wisconsin, Linda finds you and sees that you specialize in anxiety and depression. She reads a little about you, like your hobbies, education, and thinks that you would be an excellent match for one another.

After reaching out, Linda sends a secure video message that is HIPPA compliant. She introduces herself on video, and she talks about some of her concerns, lifestyle, and all the important things for a first meeting. Linda may talk about her family dynamic or even something as simple as her hobbies. You can create an introductory guide for what questions you would like your patient to answer.

In the introductory video, you might even ask her what she believes would help her anxiety because most of the time, we know the answer all along; it can be challenging to be aware of it. Linda will continue to journal every day, but she enjoys having a clinical perspective so that she can have a more thoughtful analysis.

Since Jane is working, has children, and is in school, she chooses a more cost-effective approach instead of regular counseling of $100 per session since her insurance does not provide the best coverage for her situation. With JournalOwl Touchpoints, Linda only pays $199 a month, including three “touches” or direct lines of communication with you. Not only is she building her writing skills, but she is also meeting with a licensed individual who wants nothing more than to help her achieve solace.

Once you receive Linda’s introductory video, you have time to really analyze the video provided. You rewatch the video to see any subtle cues in her behavior, what she is saying, what she isn’t saying, and any inflection on the words chosen. You will begin to have a grasp of her personality and some of her struggles by just one introductory video. You then send her a secure audio or video file back, at the latest two days later.

After receiving your first touch, Linda begins to journal about a topic that you assigned, like what makes her feel like a failure or what are some aspects of her parenting style that she believes are successful? Maybe even create a creative journal prompt like when her kids are grown up; what characteristics will they use to describe her, and why did they use those defining traits?

Once a week has passed, Linda has been able to process the information you provided during the video. She has worked on the journal prompt and has written in her journal every week. Linda sends a progress video about utilizing some of the information and different insights she discovered through your journal prompts. Maybe this time, she has decided to do a secure audio exchange instead of a video because she doesn’t feel the prettiest because she was working in the yard the entire day. Some patients prefer the secure audio file of Touchpoints because clients with body dysmorphia or general self-consciousness because they don’t like looking at themselves. If they are still in a remote office, they could have Zoom fatigue and want an escape from staring at themselves for another hour. Linda can use the secure audio file, and as a coach, you can make an agreement with clients that they can use audio files whenever they would please or if you analyze with body language, tell them they can do an audio file one of the three touchpoints.

Linda realizes that she wants a one-on-one session with you because her anxiety and depression have been really hard recently, and she needs assistance. You are then able to create to LivePoint, which is related to Touchpoint, where you set your own per session rate that could be $50, $70, or even $100. You and Linda agree to establish a session pay of $70, and you get to see each other in live time. Compared to seeing each other once a week, Linda only pays $269 compared to $400 without ever meeting you!

After a great session together, you give Linda sage advice and provide her with more journal prompts. You have topics that consist of some of the issues you discussed during LivePoint, like defining and describing her relationship to her children and husband. If one stressor would be taken away, how would her life be any different? The combination of journaling, TouchPoint, and LivePoint helps clients get more information through a multimethod approach, and you can see the results in real-time. Linda has a wealth of information at her fingers, and you are able to help Linda while ensuring neither of you gets burnt out in the process.

You continue the coaching relationship for months on end because of Linda’s own personal drive and being able to journal. You continue to feel more freedom in your schedule and have more tangible proof that your technique is working. To help be proactive, you create videos addressing aspects common within your niche market, like battling perfectionism, how to increase your self-esteem, or understanding family systems. You have been able to create a work and life balance to spend more time with your family, begin the building blocks of your private practice, or be able to do the things you enjoy.

JournalOwl Difference

 If you are wondering how you can find your very own Linda, JournalOwl utilizes a matching algorithm to connect you with your niche market. When creating your profile, you will add some of the details you would like for your clientele. This makes it so you aren’t paired up with clients that you wouldn’t be able to support and help keep you focused. In addition, you can connect with the clients you already have helped thus far. To help your pre-existing clients, you can invite them to JournalOwl for a new way of seeing therapy. Not only is it a more cost-effective way for them if they are financially struggling but also you can begin to breathe a bit more unified way of counseling your clients. 

The clients that work with JournalOwl are the ones who genuinely want help instead of saying they want help and not changing their actions whatsoever. JournalOwl’s basis is to create a level of mindfulness and understanding through the art of journaling and introspection. In group and private practices, there could be clients who are forced to attend sessions, but with JournalOwl, all clients are here because they want to, not because they have to. (Is that right, Matt?)

Clients are more inspired to put in the work because JournalOwl takes a stressor off of their life while they receive quality care; financial freedom. As said in the Linda example, it all depends on insurance’s capabilities regarding the client paying the deductible. JournalOwl TouchPoint is a fee of $199 for a month. If your niche market is Millenials or Gen Z clients, this would be a great affordable option for them and getting the help they need. In a recent study, they discovered suicide was the second leading cause of death in individuals aged 20 to 24. Before 2020, 18% of millennials are not insured due to financial limitations. In 2020, due to massive job lay-offs, 28% of millennials lost health insurance, with more than half the American population being uninsured. 

JournalOwl understands that mental health must be a priority for those in need due to the global pandemic and other stressors such as financial strain and pre-existing conditions such as anxiety and depression. Through an inexpensive option, JournalOwl is creating an unheard-of “a win-win situation.” Both parties benefit as clients receive help for a much lower cost than regular therapy, and coaches are able to have a more work and life balance while gaining more clientele for their growing private practice. 

 JournalOwl creates easy access to functionality with TouchPoint. Their schedule-free option provides you as a coach creative freedom to take the time to analyze client’s video files, research some theories regarding their cases but, most importantly, bring you back to when you really enjoyed being a counselor. It gives you the time to refresh and spend time doing what you love so that you will not burn out in the future. A burn out doesn’t just hurt you, and it hurts your clients as well. In the end, it is much better to get the time you need and deserve versus pushing yourself when you can no longer provide adequate care. Let JournalOwl, take some of the stress and help you get back to what you love; helping people.

About Emily Ruiz, MA

Emily Ruiz is a contributor of JournalOwl with a passion for spreading mental health awareness. She believes that mental health topics are instrumental in creating change. She enjoys writing about PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other arrays of topics by adding an emotional feel to her writing.

Before joining the JournalOwl team, Emily received her Masters in Communication with a focus in healthcare advocacy at East Carolina University in North Carolina. She has assisted organizations teaching social skills to children who are autistic and ADHD and teaching mindfulness to teenagers with BPD and who are high-risk self-harm and suicide. Emily created a training module for a non-profit equestrian therapy, Difference instead of Disability, for her independent study during her master’s program.

Emily and her husband are North Carolina natives who enjoy traveling, exploring, and general shenanigans with one another. They foster and rescue animals in their free time. She enjoys riding horses, theatre, and reading.

Health Disclaimer

JournalOwl is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, medication, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptoms or conditions. JournalOwl is not authorized to make recommendations about medication or serve as a substitute for professional advice. You should never disregard professional psychological or medical advice, or delay in seeking treatment, based on anything you read on JournalOwl’s website or platform.

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