How a Jane User is Building an Online Mental Health Practice for Men
Meet John Sendim, a registered psychotherapist from Toronto, Canada and is the founder and director of UpLift Therapy for Men. The UpLift team’s mission is to provide a space to help men struggling with mental health challenges and empower them to live fulfilling and meaningful lives, free from the burdens of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
Tell us a little bit about your educational background.
I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, where I initially applied to their cognitive science program. However, due to program changes, I studied philosophy and later focused on Buddhist studies within the religious studies major. While studying, I explored various career paths related to therapy and counselling.
I considered programs like counselling and psychotherapy, as well as spiritual care and psychotherapy. Eventually, I applied to the graduate program at the University of Toronto to become a registered psychotherapist. Where I later received my master’s of pastoral studies, spiritual care & psychotherapy in Buddhist studies.
During my studies, I had the opportunity to complete two internships—one at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health on the forensics unit, where I ran a spiritual care group, and another at North York General Hospital, where I worked with patients and their families. These experiences were so valuable to me and helped me decide that I wanted to pursue a career in helping people in a practice of my own.
What aspects of Buddhism did you connect with?
While in my undergrad, I really connected with the Buddhist message as a way of processing my and my clients experiences. I was intrigued by its emphasis on personal responsibility for change, similar to the therapy process. I learned that mindfulness is just one aspect of Buddhism, but it is often misunderstood in the West. This sparked my interest in helping others.
The defining moment came when my father had a stroke. As I studied Buddhism and its tools for coping, I wrote essays on grief and bereavement from a Buddhist perspective. I became a caregiver for my father and felt a strong desire to assist others facing similar challenges.
During my internships, I provided spiritual care, including prayers for patients of various faith backgrounds. I spent a lot of time in a hospital setting, working with families and patients in palliative care, as well as with people at an addiction centre. I was fortunate enough to provide walk-and-talk sessions in a women’s security unit which was unique and something I really enjoyed and have now brought forward into my own practice.
How have you seen stereotypes impact men reaching out for mental health services?
The common stereotype that I see with men is this notion Men don’t need help or need to go to therapy. “Why talk about our problems… Men don’t cry, don’t get emotional.” Sometimes our own stubbornness, ego, and mindset can keep us stuck in a cycle of pain and suffering when reaching out is an option.
This has motivated me to incorporate those walk-and-talk therapy sessions I offered during my internships. I have found that for men who may find sitting therapy stagnant by taking their sessions outdoors, we can combine exercise, nature therapy, and problem-solving in a more dynamic setting.
I believe there is an opportunity to challenge the stereotypes that men don’t need to seek mental health help by being more vocal about the different ways they can seek mental health care.
How do you think social media affects people’s mental health?
Personally, I’ve found social media beneficial. It allows me to connect with like-minded individuals, collaborate, and share truly helpful resources with my clients. I am one of those therapists that appreciate social media for opening bigger conversations around mental health, specifically around men’s mental health issues. I know that other therapists oppose it for promoting isolation. It’s my opinion that it’s important to be mindful of how we use it and take breaks if needed. Just like any other aspect of life, finding a healthy balance is crucial and that includes social media too.
What services does UpLift Therapy for Men provide?
We offer individual sessions both in-person and online through Jane’s online appointments feature, as well as family and couples counselling. Personally, I offer workshops for new dads that I am passionate about as a father. One of those workshops is called “Silent Tales of Fatherhood” which just took place this summer. This workshop is for new dads to celebrate the unique journey of fatherhood and the reality of raising a child.
We are also planning to hold a part two to one of our previous sessions called “Dad Tales by the Fire”. In this session, we gather outdoors to share stories of being dads around a campfire and creating bonds with other fathers.
Tell us about expanding your practice.
I saw such a demand for the services UpLift offered that I realized I needed additional support and I’ve hired three associates to join me so we can offer even more help. Each of the associates I hired now brings a unique specialization to the UpLift team. One specializes in ADHD and neurodivergent communities, another focuses on anxiety, depression, and attachment trauma, and the third offers spiritual care, grief and bereavement support, trauma therapy, and conflict management.
We have really become a hub for men and couples dealing with various issues like career challenges, relationship dynamics, fatherhood, intimacy, and personal growth.
I’m also excited about starting a podcast that focuses on men’s mental health. It’s still in the works but will be coming out later this year.
How have you seen online appointments impact mental health services?
I think it is a great step forward for therapists and clients. It has removed the need to rent office space, which can be such a large money drain, especially if you’re trying to open your own business. I was lucky that Jane introduced the online telehealth feature at the beginning of 2020.
I’ve seen the main benefit as a convenience for clients. It makes it easier for people to fit a therapy session into their schedule without having to worry about the time and hassle of commuting. The barrier to entry for therapy can be high if you have children that you need to find childcare for, if you rely on public transit, or experience social anxiety. So being able to receive care at home is a great thing.
How did you first hear about Jane?
I started using Jane through my supervisor, who was already using it at the time. They allowed me to create a practitioner profile in their account, and even with limited access, I knew Jane was a great platform because of how easy it was to use.
I went on to work at different places and used various software and programs. Always mentioning how easy Jane was to use. So when it came time for me to decide what software to use for my own practice it was an easy decision.
Jane is a simple tool that meets all my needs. It’s user-friendly for clients since they can access it easily through the web without the need for app downloads or complicated logins.
I needed an all-in-one system and Jane offered that for my mental health practice. Jane has everything I was looking for from online booking, online appointments, calendar syncing, and a billing system that is smooth and straightforward.
What is your favourite Jane feature?
Jane’s reports. Having access to the host of reports Jane creates is crucial for me. I can easily track financials and monitor my associates’ client numbers. It’s especially important for me as I handle credit card transactions. I’m able to use Jane Payments, Jane’s integrated payment solution, to process all my clinic’s payments and that is all automatically recorded in my reports. Pulling these up has been incredibly helpful. I can honestly say that, without Jane, I don’t know how I would manage my work effectively.
What advice would you give new graduates?
Find a practice that resonates with you and learn as much as possible from your mentors. Volunteer for administrative tasks like answering calls and emails, or booking appointments. These experiences will provide you with valuable insights into the backend operations, and will come in handy should you choose to eventually start your own practice.
Do you have any advice for individuals who are starting their own online practice?
Don’t be precious about your first website. Be prepared to make changes. Things like your branding and website can change very quickly to align with your vision. In the beginning, I found myself resetting and starting my website from scratch many times before I was satisfied with my brand.
📣 Jane Team Shoutout: With Jane’s Clinic Sites integration, you can effortlessly craft a website that seamlessly syncs with your Jane online booking site. By syncing a Clinic Sites website with your Jane account, your logo, brand colors, clinic location details, staff members, their services, and their information are automatically carried over. This ensures that your website consistently showcases the latest updates from your clinic.
In the beginning, I didn’t properly track analytics. I lacked the knowledge to set it up. So investing in a program or getting help in this area of your practice is a good idea. The investment has paid off for me. Now, I have access to detailed analytics, including page traffic and the geographic origin of visitors. This helps so much for creating great interactions with new and potential clients.
Also, I recommend Jane for new practices. Jane has allowed me to streamline the booking process, and has saved so much time for clients. Instead of contacting, calling, or emailing, they can simply click and book with their preferred associate based on availability. It’s a hassle-free experience.
UpLift Therapy for Men Website
Download a copy of John’s ultimate New Dad’s Survival Guide to mental health here
Connect with John through Instagram @therapywithjohn and @uplifttherapyformen here
If you’re not already part of the Jane community, welcome! We’re so glad you found us. If you’re in search of Practice Management software to help run your clinic, we’d love for you to meet Jane. Book a demo with one of our lovely support staff, or sign up here!