What do you value most about your work as a therapist? Chances are, it’s not paperwork, billing, scheduling, and other administrative duties. We therapists are passionate about helping our clients, but administrative tasks? Decidedly less inspiring.

According to a recent Belongly survey, the average therapist spends 20 percent of the workweek doing administrative work. In a 40-hour week, that’s equivalent to 8 hours! Imagine what you could do with those hours if they weren’t consumed by administrative drudgery.

Excess admin time isn’t just annoying and time-consuming. The hours and energy consumed by these tasks detract from patient care. Some therapists are forced to shorten session times so that they can write notes, answer new patient inquiries, and submit claims. Others designate certain hours of the week for paperwork and billing. Either way, more admin time means fewer clinical hours available, which can lead to longer waitlists.

There is a better way to handle the administrative side of being a therapist, and it doesn’t necessitate hiring full-time help. The tools outlined in this post can help you automate tasks and improve efficiency, benefitting you, your practice, and your patients.

Practice Management Systems

Practice management systems are programs that help therapists manage various aspects of their practice, such as scheduling, documentation, billing and invoicing, and data analytics. These systems not only save time but also can improve quality of care by providing insights into treatment progress. Some even assist with marketing, helping new therapists to grow their caseloads.

Systems vary in terms of features, customizability, and price points. Here are the pros and cons of some of the most common practice management systems:



  • Highly flexible and customizable
  • A comprehensive library of forms and other useful documents
  • More marketing features than some other systems– for example, a professional website and online directory


  • Complicated price structure
  • Expensive
  • Privacy concerns (the company collects aggregated, anonymized client data but maintains HIPAA compliance)
  • Better suited for large practices

Bottom line: Best for the therapist or group practice who doesn’t mind paying extra for premium features.



  • Pricing is based on caseload, making it ideal for smaller practices or therapists who are just starting out
  • Customer service includes 1:1 support
  • Offers useful additional content like client resources and business guides


  • Forms and templates are limited and difficult to customize
  • Billing systems are outdated and unintuitive

Bottom line: Best for therapists with small caseloads who already outsource billing.



  • Created by therapists
  • Pricing based on caseload
  • Doesn’t restrict features
  • Automated insurance claims
  • More affordable than many alternatives


  • Not as customizable as other platforms
  • Telehealth requires an extra fee

Bottom line: Best for therapists looking for a lot of features at an affordable price.


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As mental health professionals, we know how challenging it can be to find high-quality referrals from trusted sources. Today, other websites are charging monthly fees to deliver high-volume, low-quality referrals and it feels like a race to the bottom. And what to do when clients are seeking therapy that you can’t serve? What about the long waitlists that leave clients in need of mental health services, while they sit in limbo with no immediate answer?

Introducing Belongly Referrals. The fastest growing, HIPAA-compliant, therapist-to-therapist referral network for mental health professionals. 

Care They Need



  • Highly customizable, allows you to maintain brand consistency by matching forms with your website, logo, and other marketing materials
  • Comes with a personal account manager for 1:1 support
  • Excellent customer service
  • Includes client journal feature


  • Some features cost extra (e.g., integration with Wiley Treatment Planners)
  • No pre-generated forms– everything must be customized
  • The calendar isn’t flexible across time zones
  • Limited to 5 practitioners

Bottom line: For tech novices who enjoy hands-on support.


Billing mistakes can lead to delayed reimbursement and unhappy clients, ultimately affecting your reputation and bottom line. These billing systems can help you save time, improve insurance compliance, and reduce claim submission errors:

Office Ally


  • Lots of features– e.g., eligibility checks, documentation, scheduling
  • Free and paid versions


  • Some applications are not as integrated as they could be
  • Some features cost extra– e.g., appointment reminders
  • Server congestion is a concern
  • No mobile app

Bottom Line: For therapists who are looking for a low-cost claims clearinghouse and don’t require mobile compatibility.

Apex EDI


  • Integrates seamlessly with Theranest, since both systems are owned by Therapybrands.com.
  • 95% payer acceptance rate
  • 60-day money-back guarantee


  • Less reliable for complicated claims
  • Reviews of customer service are mixed

Bottom Line: For Theranest users and therapists with straightforward claims.


Hate writing progress notes? There are now AI-based tools that record and/or summarize sessions for you, saving countless hours, improving insurance compliance, and allowing you to focus on clients instead of note-taking.



  • Easy to use
  • Integrates with other EHRs
  • Select from a library of default templates or build your own
  • Data analytics to help improve client outcomes


  • Limits you to a certain number of notes per month based on the plan you select
  • More expensive than other options

Bottom Line: For therapists who don’t mind paying extra for the ability to record and analyze sessions.

Behavioral Health Notes


  • Created by a team of clinical psychologists, tech experts, and healthcare professionals
  • Free trial with no credit card required
  • Annual or monthly plans are available
  • Includes client worksheets and a treatment plan library


  • Limited to 80 notes per month
  • No option for dictation or session recording– therapists must input session details and shorthand notes

Bottom Line: For part-time therapists with patients who prefer not to be recorded. 

Auto Notes


  • More affordable than other plans
  • Unlimited progress notes
  • Does not store any patient information


  • Treatment plans are limited to one per month unless you purchase the Pro plan
  • No option for recording sessions

Bottom Line: For therapists looking for a low-cost dictation service to cut down on documentation time.


Administrative tasks are one of the top contributors to therapist burnout. The above tools can help save you time and frustration, freeing you to focus on patient care, self-care, and a more sustainable work-life balance. Still unsure which time-saving tech tools are right for you? Start a conversation thread on Belongly to find out which tools your colleagues are using to reclaim admin time and improve patient outcomes!

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About the Author: Belongly
The community for mental health professionals. A free, secure space for mental health professionals to collaborate with and meet new colleagues, support each other through referrals and stay connected to a trusted network of peers.

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