CounSol.com is a patient management system (PMS) designed for counselors, psychologists, and behavioral health practices that earned 3.5 out of 5 stars in our independent review. With CounSol.com, practices can manage their client caseloads, schedule appointments, handle billing, and more. CounSol.com can be a one-stop-shop for virtually every aspect of running a behavioral health practice. CounSol.com costs $49.95 – $69.95 depending on which subscription is chosen.
Rating of Counsol.com’s EHR
I have dedicated a great deal of time and attention to each EHR platform that I review. My goal is to help you make decisions that will guide your practice into helping as many people as possible while avoiding as many administrative hiccups as possible. I’ve spent countless hours using some of the best EHRs available, and also some of the worst. Throughout my time in private practice and community mental healthcare, I’ve learned what differentiates a great EHR from all the rest. After carefully reviewing and extensively testing the Counsol.com platform over a 2 week period, I found that it is an adequate, yet flawed piece of software. Counsol.com excels in allowing practices to fully customize almost every aspect of the software. As such, it performed well in client forms and intake management, as well as treatment planning and notetaking. Counsol.com also demonstrates excellence in customer service. In contrast, Counsol.com is marred by design flaws and usability issues, so it performed poorly in the categories of both fit and finish, and calendar and scheduling.
Pros & Cons of CounSol.com
CounSol.com offers a great set of features at an affordable cost. It is a very customizable suite of tools that would scale well with a growing practice. Outstanding customer service is one of the hallmarks of CounSol.com’s brand, and is much appreciated, as there are a few design problems and bugs that can cause problems with a practice’s use of CounSol.com. It earned a spot on our list of the best mental health EHRs. CounSol.com received an award for the best EHR for psychiatrists.
How to Sign Up for CounSol.com
It is easy and straightforward to sign up for CounSol.com, but there are a few extra steps that other platforms don’t require. To sign up for the free trial, navigate to the CounSol website, and select “Try Us Free.” You will then be able to enter your practice’s information and select your ongoing subscription plan. No credit card is required to access the trial.
After this, all prospective users will receive a welcome email from a personal account manager requesting your license number or any other credentialing information you might have. CounSol vets all of its customers to ensure that they are qualified to work with clients using its platform. My account manager did present the caveat that if I didn’t have a license number, I could explain the nature of my practice and they would continue to activate my account.
CounSol has no mobile or desktop apps; their platform is entirely cloud-based, so no downloads are required.
What is CounSol.com?
CounSol.com is a behavioral health patient management system (PMS) that offers a variety of features for providers. It is designed to be an all-in-one platform that can support all facets of running a mental health practice.
CounSol.com is well-suited to practices of all sizes, with a robust suite of tools that could support anything from a single provider with a handful of clients up to a practice of 5 providers.
The subscription to CounSol.com can be customized by the practice to suit its needs. Practices that exclusively conduct sessions in person are not required to pay for a telehealth platform, and insurance billing services are also optional. This offers a greater degree of flexibility in CounSol’s pricing, so practices are only paying for what they need. Because of this, pricing can vary drastically depending on the services required.
CounSol.com is one of our favorite EHRs. In our review of the best mental health EHRs, we gave it the award for best EHR for psychiatrists.
CounSol.com Key Features
CounSol.com includes features for client management, insurance billing, collecting client payments, practice and staff management, scheduling, and forms. Other features include a client portal and a custom telehealth platform. While CounSol.com does not offer any desktop or mobile apps, its cloud-based platform is reliable and includes a very functional mobile version.
Overall, the design of this platform feels very outdated. As we discussed in our TherapyNotes review, TherapyNotes offers much of the functionality of CounSol, but with a much more approachable design.
Client Management in CounSol.com has a great deal of customization. Practitioners can modify many important aspects of a client’s demographics, such as custom identifier codes, diagnosis codes, and custom tags. CounSol.com also supports adding client photos, as well as uploading photo IDs.
A welcomed feature that CounSol.com includes is the ability to bulk import and export an entire list of clients. There are no apparent caps or limits to this, and the process is relatively straightforward, as long as the data is entered via a .CSV file type which can be created in programs like Excel or Google Sheets. Similarly, an entire list of clients and their demographics can be exported as a .CSV file for any data manipulation needs.
CounSol.com supports a variety of options for running reports on client data and has a unique dashboard view that allows practitioners to organize clients by active, inactive, and custom label. CounSol.com will automatically present client birthdays to you, so the practice can send out birthday well-wishes directly to clients. CounSol.com can also group clients together by relation, in the event that a practice provides couples’ or family services.
Searching for clients is very intuitive in CounSol.com, as a practitioner is able to apply search filters such as session dates, diagnosis codes, and form due dates, among others. Practitioners can also securely message clients directly from the PMS, which also allows the practitioner to send attachments. The messaging system allows for securing internal messaging between clinicians and staff.
With the intuitive nature of CounSol’s client management system, I can see how a large organization or a practice with a large number of active or inactive clients could easily manage volumes of clients at a time with limited difficulty. Due to this, CounSol.com has earned a score of 4 out of 5 stars for the “Client Management” category of our scoring criteria.
Client Forms & Intake
One weak point of CounSol.com is a lack of existing and pre-generated client forms. There are none that can be used with CounSol.com directly out of the box; however, creating new forms is pretty simple.
If a practice needs to add new forms, the process for adding them is well-executed and allows the practice a huge degree of customization. My CounSol account manager also offered to add any forms I might need if I were to send him forms in a Word document format. If a practice already had a library of forms that were in this format, I imagine they could be uploaded and set to work very quickly.
In the event that a practice needs to customize its own forms from scratch, this process comes at the cost of time and effort. While there is a huge amount of customization available and it is relatively painless to add one or two forms, setting up a whole host of forms from scratch would be tedious and time-consuming.
In terms of customization, practices can use CounSol’s form creation feature as much as needed. The feature allows practices to create any form imaginable from terms and conditions, down to intake forms. All aspects of the form can be changed to suit the need, and can be set to be required of all clients, certain clients, or none at all; similarly, rules can be set to require certain forms to be completed at regular intervals.
For instance, a client may need to complete a consent to release information, or a terms of service agreement every year – CounSol.com allows you to set rules that remind you to obtain this exactly when you need to. It even allows clients and practitioners to sign the forms digitally, or print them out and sign paper copies.
Combined with CounSol’s client portal system, I can see how practices would be able to manage client intake and paperwork very efficiently. Welcome packets and ongoing paperwork can be sent directly to a client’s portal to fill out and sign before ever setting foot into an office or telehealth session.
Similar to client demographic management, customization of paperwork and form organization is extremely robust and allows the practice a great deal of freedom in managing client documentation and running reports on it.
It is clear that CounSol.com thoughtfully designed the architecture for client intake and paperwork to be as flexible as possible. Different practices have different needs for client intake, and virtually every aspect can be tweaked and tuned to suit each practice and each client. I am very impressed with the degree of functionality that CounSol.com offers practitioners. Because of this, we are giving this section of CounSol’s platform a score of 4 out of 5 stars in the “Client Intake & Forms” category of our scoring criteria.
Just like the rest of CounSol.com, the user interface for the calendar system looks dated on the surface, but offers modern functionality. Calendar views are highly customizable, but readability is lacking when viewing provider calendars. Adding new sessions has a few hiccups in the process, and adding availability is idiosyncratic, but once you get a handle on how it operates, it should work smoothly. The platform allows you to individual or group sessions across multiple office locations.
CounSol.com takes a slightly different approach to documenting availability than some other PMS platforms like TherapyNotes. Rather than inputting blackout periods or blocking off unavailable times, practitioners input the times that they are available for appointments, with the added ability to allow for flexible scheduling times.
One standout feature in CounSol’s calendar system is the ability to set calendar rules for different session types. For instance, intake appointments can be set to be longer than therapy sessions. Each session type can also allow for a break period after each session to be automatically accounted for on the schedule.
One minor usability issue I ran into during my time with CounSol’s calendar system was a hiccup in which I was attempting to enter a client session from that client’s demographics page. I wanted to schedule a telehealth video session but hadn’t entered an email address for the client. The system would not allow me to schedule without a documented email address, this required me to navigate back to the demographics page to enter this manually.
It is also worth noting that the CounSol.com calendar system does not account for differences in time zones. When scheduling a telehealth session for a client in Pacific time for a practice located in Eastern, the system did notify the client via email that the session was scheduled for Eastern time, however, when the client logs into the client portal, there is no note at all that clarifies the time zone of the session – it simply notes the time in Eastern.
All-in-all, CounSol’s calendar system is certainly not the best that I’ve tested. When compared to offerings like TheraNest and TherapyNotes, CounSol’s calendar system just doesn’t function as intuitively. While there are some useful automations and features, there are a few fundamental usability issues. The calendar suffers from some readability issues, as well as the above issues I ran into. This is certainly not an exhaustive list of complaints, as the use of the calendar was marked by a series of minor inconveniences – ultimately, however, the calendar is usable and works on a basic level. Due to the issues we faced in our testing, CounSol’s calendar system has earned it a score of 2.5 out of 5 stars in the “Calendar & Scheduling” category of our scoring criteria.
Treatment Planning & Notes
Once you have a feel for navigating CounSol’s quirks, treatment planning, and note-taking are pretty straightforward. Both treatment plans and progress notes are built into the system and contain most of what a practice would need directly out of the box. While there are a considerable number of options to customize within treatment plans and notes, there is no option to upload your own version from scratch.
While this may be a setback for some practices with a large library of pre-made templates, with the amount of customization and features offered with CounSol’s notetaking system, I wouldn’t expect it to be a problem for most.
Navigating to enter a note or treatment plan can be a bit confusing at first, but once you know the pathway, it is simple. Both forms include risk assessments, as well as options for entering WHODAS assessment scores, or other diagnostics. Most of the progress note system consists of free-writing boxes, but there are a good number of multi-click selectors for things like interventions to make note-taking relatively streamlined.
Progress notes do not automatically populate information from a treatment plan, so there is a bit of repetitive documentation. When entering follow-up treatment plans, it is possible to copy information from a previous version, but the flow for this is not nearly as intuitive as it could be.
Overall, the notetaking system for CounSol is a bit lackluster compared to the simplicity of something like TherapyNotes. While it allows for quite a bit of customization, it feels like CounSol sacrifices a bit in terms of usability. Because of this, we are giving CounSol.com’s platform a score of 3 out of 5 stars in the “Treatment Planning & Notetaking” category of our scoring criteria.
Premium add-on: Wiley Treatment Planners
For an additional $20 monthly, CounSol allows the integration of Wiley Treatment planners to provide more customization to treatment plans. Information on setting this up is a bit obscure and would likely require discussion with a practice’s account manager.
Premium Add-On: ePrescriptions
If your practice prescribes medication, there are two options for supporting electronic prescriptions through CounSol.com. Uncontrolled substances can be prescribed for an additional $50 per prescriber, but if your practice offers prescription of controlled substances, the ability to prescribe these will cost $60 per prescriber.
Depending on the subscription plan chosen, CounSol.com can come with its own proprietary telehealth platform. This platform is integrated with the client portal and can allow clients to schedule their own appointments based on practitioner availability.
The telehealth platform is pretty basic but does have an integrated text chat feature, and automatically runs connection tests prior to connecting the call. I was disappointed to see that the platform does not support any screen-sharing functionality, as I tend to rely on this often in telehealth sessions.
CounSol’s telehealth platform does not offer as many features as some other options like Doxy.me, but it is nice to have a solution that integrates with the existing client portal and calendar system without any extra plugins or work to set up. CounSol’s telehealth system is easy to use and intuitive for both the client and the practitioner. As long as everyone has basic computer literacy, I wouldn’t foresee any major problems with using CounSol.com as a telehealth solution. Due to the lack of premium features and the dated appearance of this service, CounSol.com has received a score of 2.5 out of 5 stars in the “Telehealth” category of our scoring criteria.
Depending on the subscription plan that you select, you can elect to allow electronic or paper insurance billing for your practice. CounSol.com contracts through a third-party clearinghouse to complete insurance claims, and there are no per-claim fees. However, a flat monthly fee will be charged if a practice works with a certain subset of insurance payers such as Medicare and Medicaid.
As with a lot of other aspects of CounSol.com, setting up insurance billing requires a bit of input from your practice’s account manager and is not easily accomplished through self-service. This is a bit frustrating, as it requires additional emails sent and time spent waiting on solutions. Because of this, CounSol.com has received a score of 3 out of 5 stars in the “Insurance Billing” category of our scoring criteria.
Client Payment Methods, Collection, & Processing
Collecting payments from clients can be done via two routes in CounSol.com. First, you can elect to set up credit card processing online through CounSol’s partner company. This method costs a fee of 2.85%, plus $0.25 per transaction. CounSol.com claims its partner is completely secure and trustworthy. Practices can also elect to receive payments through Square, which is slightly more expensive at 2.90%, plus $0.30 per transaction.
Regardless of the method a practice may choose to receive payment through, invoicing is handled directly from the PMS. A client’s information can be input directly into the system, or a client can enter payment information directly in the client portal. Invoices can then be printed and mailed directly to the client or can be sent through the client portal.
At this point, there are no integrations in CounSol.com for handling payments through routes like PayPal or Venmo. Of course, a practice can always accept payment externally and then input the data from these transactions manually into the PMS. Due to its strong functionality, we are awarding CounSol.com a score of 4 out of 5 stars in the “Client Payment Methods, Collection, & Processing” category of our scoring criteria.
Practice Management & Reports
CounSol.com offers a wide variety of reports from client demographics and birthdays to in-depth accounting and invoice information. Almost anything can be reported on and exported for all your data analysis needs.
Regardless of whether you are operating a group or solo practice, there are a good amount of reports built into CounSol.com. The system breaks each report section into its own group, with reports specific to clients, sessions, and billing. There are options for viewing patients with missing paperwork, no upcoming sessions, session length, and insurance billing status, just to name a few.
Depending on the subscription plan, CounSol.com supports group practices. Each new practitioner adds a degree of cost, and non-clinical staff can also be added. The PMS allows for a practice administrator to dole out responsibilities and rules for the entire practice. Client caseloads can be split and managed easily. I liked the inclusion of an internal messaging system, so a practice doesn’t have to rely on email, and can internally message all from one platform. Supervision can be set up, however, this feature has to be enabled by an account manager.
Solo practices are much more straightforward to manage in CounSol.com and are available at a significantly lower price. All of the reports that are available would be invaluable to a solo practice, as there may not be any administrative staff to help manage this. Features like insurance billing and collecting payments seem simple enough that a single provider would be able to manage these without hiring additional staff.
Ultimately, CounSol’s practice management and reporting features are impressive and have earned it a score of 4.5 out of 5 stars in the “Practice Management & Reporting” category of our scoring criteria.
Customer Service & Training
The area where CounSol.com truly shines is its personalized customer service. Each practice is assigned an “account manager” which is a dedicated customer service representative for each practice. This is a nice touch, as it allows practices to have more personalized care without going through the process of contacting a new rep every time an issue comes up.
Practice account managers can help practices with just about anything needed. From entering custom forms to customize HTML and CSS to match an existing website, it seems like CounSol’s customer service is willing to do just about anything to help get a practice’s PMS customized to its liking. This white-glove style service comes at no extra cost to the practice, as it is included in the base price.
In terms of self-service support and training, CounSol.com has a very in-depth user guide that should help a practice answer most questions without having to reach out to customer service. In my time working with CounSol.com, any request that I sent to customer service was met with a swift reply within the day. Due to the personalized service, CounSol has earned a score of 5 out of 5 stars in the “Customer Service & Training” category of our scoring criteria.
How Much Does CounSol Cost?
CounSol.com has four price tiers ranging from $49.95 – $69.96 monthly. The base price supports one practitioner, and each additional practitioner that is added to a practice is an extra $45 monthly. Non-clinical staff can be added at no cost.
CounSol.com Subscription Plans
CounSol’s “Standard” price of $49.95 monthly includes the following features:
- Unlimited clients
- Unlimited in-person session scheduling
- Access to basic PMS functionality
- Personal account manager
CounSol’s “Standard Plus” price of $59.95 monthly includes the following features:
- All of the “Standard” tier features
- Unlimited no-fee electronic insurance billing
CounSol’s “Premium” price of $64.95 monthly includes the following features:
- All of the “Standard” tier features
- Unlimited live chat and video telehealth sessions
CounSol’s “Premium Plus” price of $69.95 monthly includes the following features:
- All of the “Standard” tier features
- Unlimited live chat and video telehealth sessions
- Unlimited no-fee electronic insurance billing
CounSol.com Add-Ons & Other Fees
For an additional fee, CounSol.com offers these premium features:
- Credit card processing – 2.85%, plus $0.25 per transaction
- Square credit card processing – 2.90%, plus $0.30 per transaction
- Wiley Treatment Planners – $20 monthly per user
- ePrescribing non-controlled substances – $50 monthly per user
- ePrescribing controlled substances – $60 monthly per user
- ePrescribing agent – $25 monthly
Who is CounSol.com Right For?
While CounSol.com does look dated, it packs a great deal of functionality under the hood. The platform would be ideal for solo, growing, or telehealth practices and practices that want a lot of customization. All of this earned Counsol.com a place on our list of the best mental health EHRs.
For a solo practice, especially a brand new one, CounSol.com would be an attractive solution. The system is easy to set up with a fair amount of features available from the start. The most important benefit to a solo practice is the level of support that is available from CounSol’s customer service. If you get overwhelmed by CounSol.com, there is a dedicated agent waiting to coach you through whatever problems you might encounter.
Once it is up and running, and everyone is familiar with its idiosyncrasies, CounSol.com would scale well with a growing practice. The wide array of reports that are available and the level of customization that is offered would allow a growing practice to thrive with minimal issues.
Since CounSol.com has two pricing tiers with a telehealth platform bundled in, CounSol.com would be a good solution for practices that want to offer remote services. Aside from video, CounSol.com also offers live chat sessions, which is a unique feature that isn’t very common. Telehealth providers should be wary that CounSol.com is not ideal for clients in multiple time zones or sessions that require a lot of screen sharing.
Practices That Want a lot of Customization
CounSol.com offers a huge degree of customization in just about every feature it offers. CounSol.com would allow a practice to modify both the functional aspects of its PMS, as well as integrating the look of the platform to match an existing brand.
Who May Want an Alternative to CounSol.com?
While CounSol.com offers a great platform for many types of practices, there are some usability issues that will make it unsuitable for some. Practices with clients in different timezones, those that care about the aesthetics of a platform, those with more than five practitioners, and those needing a more out of the box solution will need an alternative.
Practices with Clients in Different Timezones
Practices that offer telehealth services often have clients spread across a wide area. Managing clients in this situation would be difficult with CounSol.com, as it has no support for automatically notifying clients of time zone differences. This could translate into a significant headache for the client and the practitioner if it isn’t addressed.
Practices That Care a Great Deal About How a PMS Looks
Most people would say CounSol.com doesn’t look very nice by current design standards. Its design is dated and could be a bit jarring for people that are more acquainted with modern aesthetics. Even the way the user experience flows is a bit outdated in terms of design, but this is certainly a secondary issue to most practices.
Practices With More Than Five Practitioners
CounSol.com will not accept existing practices with more than five practitioners. However, it is noted that some practices have started small with CounSol.com and have grown well beyond this limit.
Practices That Want an Out-of-the-Box Solution
CounSol.com is incredibly customizable, but this comes with some degree of sacrifice in terms of out-of-the-box usability. Getting the basics set up is pretty straightforward, but areas like adding custom forms are likely to be very time-consuming.
What Users Are Saying About CounSol.com
Across multiple user review aggregate sites, CounSol.com tends to garner high praise. It is important to look at a variety of user review sites to get a full picture of what is being said about CounSol.com. When we look at a few of our trusted sources, we can see a few trends that stand out for what users say about CounSol.com.
Excellent Customer Service
Several users pointed out that CounSol’s customer service is very responsive, easy to access, and helpful. When asked about what sets CounSol.com apart from other options, their representative said CounSol’s customer service is its biggest draw. In my experience working with CounSol.com, any request I had was responded to quickly. I found that having a dedicated account manager was helpful.
Many users noted that CounSol.com is easy to learn and can be implemented quickly – especially for practices with relatively simple needs.
Users praise the number of features that are included in the CounSol.com PMS for a relatively low cost of entry.
No-Fee Insurance Claims
Electronic insurance claims are included and have no fees in most cases. This is a huge boon to practices that bill insurance frequently, as the cost of transactions can quickly stack up.
Dated User Interface
Users seem to agree that CounSol.com looks very dated. While it is functional, it seems like a redesign from an aesthetics standpoint is direly needed.
Clunky User Experience
Aside from the visuals of the system, many users criticized CounSol’s user experience and navigation. Certain features can be confusing to access and difficult to implement due to design flaws.
Calendar is Difficult to Use
A common complaint among CounSol.com users touches on the usability of the calendar and scheduling system. The CounSol calendar suffers from readability issues and can be difficult to manage at times. Some users report difficulty in scheduling and modifying appointments.
No Pre-Made Forms and Custom Forms are Difficult to Add
A glaring problem with CounSol is its complete lack of pre-made forms aside from treatment plans and notes. Users are forced to add their own forms which is a time-consuming and arduous process.
Telehealth Platform is Buggy
Several users noted that CounSol’s telehealth platform can suffer from audio and video problems. Some state that the platform requires clients to use Chrome for a browser which can sometimes cause problems.
CounSol.com VS SimplePractice
SimplePractice offers many of the same features of CounSol.com but in a much more refined and modern way. SimplePractice boasts a remarkably simple user interface and doesn’t have some of the odd bugs and idiosyncrasies of CounSol.com. However, if you are willing to look past design flaws, CounSol.com is the cheaper option.
A few differences worth noting between CounSol.com and SimplePractice:
- SimplePractice is more well-known in the behavioral health world.
- SimplePractice costs more and has fewer features at lower price points compared to CounSol.
- SimplePractice is more intuitive and offers a better design overall.
CounSol.com VS TherapyNotes
CounSol.com and TherapyNotes are rather similar, however, TherapyNotes offers a simpler solution with more out-of-the-box ease of use, whereas CounSol offers more robust customization with a steeper learning curve.
A few differences to consider between CounSol.com and TherapyNotes:
- TherapyNotes is easier to use and has a simpler, more refined design.
- CounSol.com has more hands-on customer service, whereas TherapyNotes offers more self-service options.
- CounSol.com is more customizable but is not as polished as TherapyNotes.
History of CounSol.com
According to a company representative, CounSol.com was founded in 2011, and is headquartered in Orlando, Florida. Since its inception, the company has dedicated itself to consistently updating its platform based on user feedback.
According to CounSol’s FAQ, the name CounSol stands for “Counseling Solutions.” CounSol.com has been featured in Counseling Today. As well, CounSol.com is partnered with Wiley Treatment Planners and the Telehealth Certification institute.1
How Do I Cancel My CounSol.com Subscription?
CounSol.com does not allow users to cancel their subscriptions via self-service. To cancel your subscription, simply reach out to your account manager, or visit CounSol’s contact center for other ways of contacting customer support.
Does CounSol.com Offer Refunds?
No. According to CounSol’s representative, the company does not offer refunds.
Is CounSol.com HIPAA-Compliant?
Is CounSol.com Cloud-Based?
Yes. CounSol.com is a cloud-based platform that allows practitioners to access it from wherever they are. No apps are required to be downloaded. This is a great advantage, as work can be done from where practitioners are located, but it does require a constant internet connection.
Does CounSol.com Have a Client Portal?
Yes. CounSol.com offers a very versatile client portal that allows clients to schedule sessions, send messages, and pay for services. The client portal can also be customized to fit the aesthetics of any brand.
CounSol.com Final Verdict
When I first started testing CounSol.com, I was not expecting to be impressed. One quick look at the user interface gives the impression of an outdated platform, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that CounSol.com packs in a lot of functionality for a very reasonable price.
CounSol.com offers great hands-on customer service and a PMS that is fully featured. The free trial allows full access to the suite of tools with no credit card required, so there is little risk in trying the service out.
I was disappointed by a few bugs and glitches, as well as general design flaws that pop up in CounSol.com from time to time, but I believe the good does outweigh the bad with this PMS, which is why we have chosen to award it a score of 3.5 out of 5 stars in our independent review.
You should consider signing up for CounSol’s free trial if you:
- Want a simple solution that can scale as your practice grows
- Value high-quality customer service
- Don’t care about the aesthetics of a PMS and can look past a few design flaws
- Are willing to spend a lot of time entering custom forms
You should consider looking for an alternative to CounSol.com if you:
- Want a PMS with a modern design
- Are a practice with more than 5 practitioners
- Want the ability to upload custom forms easily
- Have telehealth clients in multiple time zones
For Further Reading
If you’d like to learn more about other EHR systems currently available, check out some of our other reviews: