How do you keep track of your CE hours? Are you interested in opportunities to continue your education as a therapist? Which online therapist-based communities are out there that you can be a part of?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about how to launch an app and track CE Hours with Lani Chin.
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Meet Lani Chin
Lani Chin, Psy.D. is a Clinical Psychologist based out of Monterey, CA. In addition to her private practice, Lani teaches Master’s students and is a volunteer otter wrangler at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Lani is excited to introduce CE Hub which is an app that helps mental health professionals store their continuing education certificates and track their credits earned toward licensure.
Use promo code ‘joe’ for 25% off a one-year or two-year CE Hub subscription.
In This Podcast
- Creating an App
- Helping therapists to connect with each other
- Lani’s advice to private practitioners
Creating an App
Like any new venture, creating an App has significant ups and downs. In the beginning, creating an App for Lani Chin was centered around learning about the backend.
$5 a month or $49 a year for full functionality of the App, $69 for a two-year subscription
Use promo code ‘joe’ for 25% off a one-year or two-year CE Hub subscription.
What makes a good app? How can you make it user-friendly?
Getting to know the more intricate and technological side of the process was the most difficult.
On the other hand, one of the ups was, working with close friends to find the version that best-suited everyone’s wants and needs.
It has been a lot of pulling on my social network which has been interesting amidst the pandemic because we can’t really see each other all that much anyway, so this has been cool to have as a central project. I get to check in with people to ask what they think. (Lani Chin)
Helping therapists to connect with each other
Apps are brilliant connectors
They can be used to meet people, foster connections, and build a sense of community. With this App, therapists can connect through the commonality of continuing their education.
I want to integrate some sort of social aspect of continuing education, so maybe a way for therapists to connect with each other about different ideas in what they want to see in terms of continuing [their] education. (Lani Chin)
This social aspect will also help therapists to share their work and information on solving social justice issues, and create a space where new information and work can easily be shared and integrated into courses.
Lani’s advice to private practitioners
Continuing education can be something that is engaging and interesting. Apps like CE Hub can help therapists to share essential courses, information, and connect with fellow counselors who share their interests, encouraging one another to keep learning.
Books mentioned in this episode:
Useful Links mentioned in this episode:
- Thursday Is The New Friday
- Use promo code ‘joe’ for 25% off a one-year or two-year CE Hub subscription
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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Well, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I am Joe Sanok, your host and welcome, welcome, welcome. It’s mid-September. Look at that. We got through it. So I don’t know what the ‘it’ is, maybe the launch of the school year, or like kids going to school, summer. Whatever the ‘it’ is in your life, you got through it. Well done. I’m proud you. Well today, I’m really excited about the guest that I have, but it’s interesting, we’re talking about this new app that Lani has started. It’s so interesting to think about, I remember when I got audited by NBCC. There was this time where I was working at the community college and I had changed my address. I would change it with the US Postal Service, changed it within NBCC and they sent my annual renewal. It must have been like a separate system or something, because I was getting NBCC stuff sent to my house in Traverse City, but they sent the annual renewal statement that I had to pay to my old Kalamazoo address, like two dresses prior.
So basically when I had paid last year for two years or whatever. So then it expired and you get an automatic audit of your CE at that point. I was so mad. So I pulled out, luckily I had this binder, but I had this binder and I kid you not, it was like 200 pages that I faxed to them. I was just like, if you’re going to be stupid, like this, I’m going to fax you all of this.” So I worked at the college and used the college fax machine, which was one of those gigantic copiers to fax out 200 pages of the CE stuff and within like a week they just reinstated. I’m sure they looked at it and were like, “This is ridiculous.” So I sent them PowerPoint slides, I sent them just everything and just that whole keeping track of CE stuff just gets me going.
So I’m so excited that you’re going to get to meet my friend Lani today. So let me just tell you a little bit about Lani. So Lani Chin is a Psy.D., is a Clinical Psychologist based out of Monterey, California. In addition to her private practice, Lani teaches master students and is a volunteer Otter Wrangler at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. How cool is that? Lani is excited to introduce CE Hub, which is an app that helps mental health professionals store their continuing ed certificates and track their credits earned towards licensure. Lani, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I’m so excited that you’re here.
[LANI CHIN] Hi Joe. Thank you for having me.
[JOE] Yes, I mean, for so long, I’ve known this thing was going on. We’ve been working together on this app and the launch and I’ve had to stay quiet about it and no longer. I can share it with the world.
[LANI] Proclaim it from the mountaintops.
[JOE] Yes, yes. The Lani has arrived. So Lani, let’s just start with when people build apps, sometimes they build apps that are like fun or interesting, but you have chosen a very practical app, one that’s very needed, but like why a CE app? Like what’s the backstory here?
[LANI] Well, the app can also be pretty interesting and fun. So it’s not just practical because it can be fun to be kind of organized. So just thinking of my own experience of having to collect continuing education certificates and go through the whole process of renewing my licensure every couple years, since I’m in California, it’s never been really something that I looked forward to. I don’t think I’m alone in that and I thought, well, why does it have to be something that people just dread every couple of years? I wanted it to be something better. So for myself how this came about was back in 2018, I was living in Los Angeles with my partner. We had just bought a house and one day I met her for coffee. We’d been in our house for maybe about a month. So while we were having coffee, we were talking about the house, enjoying these nice lattes and we finished and I got home and when I got up to the house, I knew notice the door was a jar, which was really weird.
So I knew that I had definitely locked it when I left. Things were kind of messy in the house. Things were just, we had just gotten there. So there were boxes everywhere and when I walked into the house, I realized things were just really disheveled. Also I notice that my dog was missing and mind you, she’s an eight pound Chihuahua. She’s teeny tiny. So we were burglarized, she had gotten out and we had spent the day pretty much looking for her and thankfully we found her. So of all the interesting things that they took in the burglary, the most difficult was they took the jewelry that was from my grandma, but they also took my Apple computer, of course, and they left the Dell computer. The old Dell computer was probably maybe 20 pounds. It was this big honking computer and I’m sure they found it and said, “Forget it. We’re not even going to put in the work to carry that big thing.” Interesting, the weirdest thing that they took was a pair of tweezers. I don’t know what they’re doing with the tweezers. I know that really helped me to keep my eyebrows on point so hopefully someone out there is really enjoying those tweezers.
[JOE] Like these are high tweezers we got here.
[LANI] So of course on my nice Apple computer, I had saved all of my continuing education certificates that I had saved over the last two years. I had them already organized in a nice folder on my desktop and I had no idea what classes I had taken. I didn’t know where I took them, I didn’t know what I had taken because I like to diversify my continuing education. So it really could have been anywhere in the last two years nd lots of things that happened in the last two years. So on top of having to deal with everything else, with the break in and the move and all of that, I had to scramble when it was time to renew my license and look from the certificates.
So fast forward, six months later after the burglary, my partner and I decided to leave LA, we were tired. LA is a tiring place and we ended up in Monterey and one day I was walking my dog and I was just kind of thinking about stuff and I thought to myself, what if those certificates were on an app? That would’ve been really easy if I had an app that was tracking them for me, I was storing it on the app and the data just existed somewhere other than my hard drive. So that then launched my journey into thinking about what it would be, what would it would look like to have an app and just kind of talking to my peers too. Listening to your story from the intro today, thinking about that and I also had a peer who had shared with me that he had thought that he did all of his continuing education credits. He sent everything to the board and then the board actually kicked them back to him and said, “You’re actually one short.” So he was hit with that feeling of dread when he realized he had miscounted and he was off. So the board is just doing their job, but what a difficult, irritating process, frustrating process to be in?
[JOE] Yes. Well, so when you decided to do an app, tell us about just how that world works. Because I think a lot of people may have ideas of how creating an app works, but like take us behind the scenes as to how you went from just an idea while you’re on a walk in Monterey to actually now having an app that you’re launching.
[LANI] So interestingly, this does tie into how I ended up at the aquarium being a part-time auto Wrangler. I didn’t know what I was doing the first day I walked in. So I was bombarded by lots of facts about Marine mammals. I spent a long time studying psychology. I spent zero time learning about Marine mammals. So I was kind of thrust into this environment of really knowing nothing from how to handle an Otter, and these are all wild otters so you don’t ever want to touch them, how to give them food and it’s just a whole world of, I don’t know what the heck’s going on, but hopefully I know what enough to not get bit. So similarly with the app, thankfully, no one’s bitten me so far. But I had the idea and I thought, why don’t I just run it by the people that are my peers?
So thankfully I have a pretty good group of clinicians that I’m close with and I just asked them, “How do you store these certificates and how do you make sure that you’re on track for renewing your license?” And most people said, “Oh, I don’t, I just kind of throw them, I leave the certificates in my email address or I print them out and they’re somewhere in my phone cabinet, but I don’t really know where.” Most people said, “I have no idea how many I’ve done. I know that I am going to renew my license soon, but I don’t know how many credits I’ve done.” So I thought with the app, just getting their experiences and I thought for my own experience of actually not having my computer anymore and losing all the certificates that kind of catapulted me further into, let me further just explore what it’s going to be like if I were to make an app to help support people.
So I interviewed a few people that make apps and I just went with the company that I thought sounded the best. And that has just been a whole other journey. in my private practice, I’ve had a website. I know the general process of making a website, but making an app is completely different. It’s a lot of tech and you have to understand what the user flow is going to be like going through the app. So it has been just a lot of asking people what they think and that’s what I looped you in, Joe. I wanted to hear what you thought and just getting a lot of feedback by mental health providers and people that would theoretically be using the app.
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[JOE] Now, for someone that’s thinking about wanting to start an app, what were some of the frustrating parts of it? And maybe what are some of the things that for you were easier than you thought?
[LANI] I would say what’s been difficult is just trying to wrap my head around how apps work. So I use the regular apps on my phone, like the calendar, or let’s say the calculator, so things that I’ve totally taken for granted. I have no idea how my bank made the app that it did. I’ve just always logged on. So now be on the other side, knowing the technical aspects of what it takes to make an app that has been incredibly eye-opening. It started as frustrating. I felt like it was my first day as an auto Wrangler. I didn’t know what the heck was, what’s up and what’s down, but slowly but surely I just tried to chip away and try to understand how these things work and how I want them to look and how I want to better support mental health providers.
Things that were easier, I would say people have been very generous with their feedback. I have a core group of friends who I have sent countless logos, color schemes, fonts, just random questions and they’ve been very, very patient with me. I’m incredibly lucky but it has been a lot of polling my social network, which has been interesting amidst the pandemic because we can’t really see each other that much anyway. So this has been kind of cool to have a central project that I get to check in with people to ask them what they think.
[JOE] Yes, it’s so cool. It’s fun to learn a new skill and to kind of understand a world behind the scenes just a little bit more. And just even having to think through, if someone clicks here, where do they go and like, wow, man, I didn’t even think that level of detail to understand everything. And even as you and I have talked for like, is this a dropdown, s this a multi-select, is it a single select? Just to think about all the different kind of variations to make it the most simple, but then to also make it functional, like you want it to have a lot of robust functionality, but you don’t necessarily want it to be super difficult to understand too. So finding that balance is really interesting.
[JOE] So walk us through the app. So what’s the user experience like, what do they get with the basic app, and kind of how can it address some of those pains we talked about?
[LANI] So first, everyone can download the app for free and once you download, you have to create an account. So you enter your email address and you tell the app what your profession is, how many units you need for licensure, and if you have any kind of special requirements for licensure. So as a California psychologist, I have to do a certain number of units in suicide prevention. I also have to do some live units, some live credits. So you can tell the app, everything, all the specifics that you need for your license renewal. So once you hop on, you give it all the information, you can upload the certificates directly onto the app. So let’s say if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic, you were at a conference and you got the certificate and you had it in your hands, you could take a picture of it and upload that into the app.
And then you can also set the parameters on the app of what was the title of the course? How many units was it? What was the date of it? The app will match that information with what you’ve inputted to the requirements that you told it that you needed to meet for that licensure period, and that it will make a pie chart to show how far along you’ve gotten. So what I think is really cool about kind of keeping your own goals in terms of what kind of continuing education credits you want to earn the app will allow to say, I want to earn, let’s say 10 credits in EMDR training for this licensure period, or let’s say 20 in couples therapy. So whatever boards you are working under, they don’t really care about the details of things like EMDR couples therapy. They’re more interested in suicide prevention or let’s say addiction or things like that. So you can kind of set your own personal goals within the app and the app will keep track of how far along you are in meeting those goals. And then it’ll of course count the number of credits you’ve earned. So you don’t have the issue that my colleague had in miscounting.
[JOE] Oh, I’m just so excited about this. So I know you had a lot of test users use it. What kind of feedback are you hearing from people?
[LANI] So they like the simplicity of it, and it seems like it’s pretty easy to put in the information and they love that they can see the visual graph of how far along they’ve gotten. And just the peace of mind of knowing the app is taking care of the certificates. I describe it as like a virtual filing cabinet. It’s up there, you don’t have to think about it and you can go on with all the other stuff in your private practice or whether you’re at an agency job or community mental health or in a hospital. So this is one part of maintaining your license that you won’t have to worry about any more.
[JOE] I know that when you’re launching an app, typically you want to kind of have the most simple and then later on kind of add additional things to it. What kind of things are you brainstorming? Even if you haven’t fully committed to, like, we’re definitely doing this, but like what’s next for the app that you see coming out eventually?
[LANI] So something along the lines of helping therapists to connect with each other, through the commonality of continuing education. I know for myself being in private practice during the pandemic, I felt really alone, I felt really overwhelmed and all I wanted to know was there are that there were other therapists out there that were also struggling with the same thing. So I want to somehow integrate some sort of maybe social aspect of continuing education so maybe a way for therapists to connect with each other about different ideas in what they want to see in terms of continuing education. And also personally, I am invested in social justice issues. So I want to help CE providers with just an interest in social justice as well, to get their courses in front of as many mental health professionals as possible. So those are my two wishes for what I hope to see the app contribute to. I also want to make it easy for people to find continuing education courses. So at some point hopefully I can start to partner with the providers of the continuing education courses and they can make it easy for people to upload their certificates onto the app.
[JOE] Awesome. I think that one thing that I don’t think we’ve even talked about in consulting is if I was a supervisor and needed to kind of oversee my team, if there was a way to just see where the whole team was at with their CEs that would make it way easier to have a quick snapshot too. So add that to the list too.
[LANI] Yes, absolutely.
[JOE] Sort of like a team dashboard or something like that. Well as this rolls out, I’m sure just like anything you’ll see things that you like and things that you want to change and improvements, and it’s so cool to just see this process and to know that it’s kind of opening up into the world. Lani, the last question that I always ask is if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want ’em to know?
[LANI] I’d want people to know that continuing education can be something that’s engaging and interesting, and hopefully CE Hub can help mental health providers get into that mindset where they’re excited to engage in continuing education and they want to do their courses and they want to be involved in that process.
[JOE] Awesome. And if people want to get CE Hub, what’s the best way for them to get it?
[LANI] So it’s going to be available on the app store. It is available on the app store starting today. So you can just search for it on the app store. And like I said, it’s free for everyone to download. To get the full functionality, it’s $5 a month or $49 a year and $69 for two years if you want to buy a two year subscription. And for your listeners, if they use the promo code, Joe, they’ll get 25% off either subscription, either the one year or the two year subscription.
[JOE] Wow, that’s awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast. We’ll put all of that in the show notes.
[LANI] Great. Thank you, Joe.
[JOE] Well, go take some action, go get organized, get those CEs all into the app, CE Hub. It’s been so fun to work with Lani on this app and to share it with you and to see the feedback that people have been giving around using it. It’s so fun to kind of do things behind the scenes with people and then take it to kind of announce them to the universe. So CE Hub, go check that out.
Also this episode is being sponsored by Thursday is the New Friday. Thursday is the New Friday is my book coming out October 5th. So if you head on over to Amazon or your favorite bookstore, you can pre-order that there. If you get five of them, you get access to our digital conference this year. If you get 10 of them, I’m doing a six-week masterclass all around the book and you’re going to be with other top achievers that bought 10 books or more. So it’s going to be a great way to network with other therapists. I did this with John Lee Dumas, when he had the Common Path to Uncommon Success. I did the bulk book buy, got to join the master class and it was amazing. The people I met from there were just top influencers that were doing incredible things. I just fast forwarded so much of my career.
So the same thing, when you have the right people in the room, it’s so much easier. So make sure you go do that bulk book buy of 10 books so that you can be a part of it. Then you’re just going to go over to thursdayisthenewfriday.com and that’s where you’re going to submit you receipt. I almost said your retreat. I guess Killin’It Camp is on my mind because some things are shifting with that and with COVID. So we’re sending out an email tomorrow at the time of this recording. So hope you are doing well in your world and have an amazing day. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.