Entrepreneurs and COVID-19 - Interview with Alyson Jones of Alyson Jones & Associates (West Vancouver)

Please share a bit about yourself as an entrepreneur and what your business entails - brick and mortar store, online, product, etc..

I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor and have been providing counselling services for well over 20 years. In 2008 I launched Alyson Jones & Associates which is a private counselling centre that provides a wide range of psychological services. I am the Clinical Director of the Center and I oversee a comprehensive team of like-minded Therapists who are committed to counselling as an opportunity for growth. We have a staff of administrators who strive to serve clients by seamlessly providing support. We serve all age groups and provide individual counselling, couples counselling, child and youth counselling and family counselling. We offered online counselling services in order to make mental health counselling more accessible. Our office is located on the North Shore in West Vancouver’s beautiful Dundarave village just one block from Dundarave Beach.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, how did you work with your regular clients and reach out to new ones. What type of marketing worked best for you?

Prior to COVID-19 the majority of our clients came to the office for in person counselling sessions. Our referrals are often from doctors and lawyers and other professionals, but word of mouth from our clients has been one of our greatest sources of referrals. We are proud that we have been leaders in destigmatizing counselling and our clients have been so vocal and supportive of the work we do. In regard to marketing we have used ads on social media and in the papers, but much of our best marketing has come though my media appearances as a mental health expert. I write for different platforms and regularly appear on television so this has helped bring our business a high profile.

On the set of CTV for one of her many guest expert appearances

How has the social isolations required to combat the spread of COVID-19 affected your business? What about this has been hardest for you personally

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our business. Counselling and mental health services were designated as essential services in March of 2020, and we have been providing counselling support to many throughout the pandemic. There have certainly been some challenges as we transitioned from a primarily in person service to a primarily remote business. We had to move all of our therapists, client and staff over to remote platforms and this was a large learning curve for everyone involved.

Although we were offering online counselling beforehand, to move everyone over to remote was a large undertaking. We had to help people become more comfortable with online counselling and make our services even more easy to use. With the combined anxiety caused by COVID-19 and the changes in our service delivery platforms it required a lot of time, energy and creativity to adapt the business to this new reality. 

One of the fabulous videos from Youtube Channel Master Your Health Matters
 with Jacqueline Fowler, BSN MD and Alyson Jones, MA, RCC

Have you found new ways to interact with your customer? Have you developed any new products or services as a way to help your clients through this time, or to fill a new need you see? 

We created broader categories of service in order to better match our remote services. One of our main initiatives was to offer a variety of session times that could give clients more choices and adapt to each clients unique needs. We developed a 15-minute mental health remote check in, as well as 30, 45, 60 and 90-minute sessions that can be easily booked online at https://book.click4time.com/alysonjonesassociates/book/step1

What type of marketing seems to be working best for you in this time of social isolation?

Our marketing has focused primarily on social media channels informing people of the variety of support we are offering, and the variety of session lengths that can be booked. We have been moving away from the traditional model of therapy and adjusting to the communication styles and the needs of the times we are living in.

Left, solo book by Alyson - Right, Collaborative book she has a chapter in. 

Anything you'd like readers to know about you and your business? Any last words of encouragement you'd like to share with everyone?

We are encouraging people to mind their mental health in these unusual times. I co-authored a chapter in the best-selling WOW book called “Mental Health Matters”. The title of our chapter was “Mental Health IS Health”. There is a worldwide health crisis, and with that comes a worldwide mental health crisis. We need to remember that we are being impacted emotionally and psychologically by these unusual times and we need to give ourselves and others permission to be honest about what we are feeling. There will be good days and bad days, but we will get through this. Humans are creative, resilient, and compassionate – and we are all in this together.

Links -

Website - www.alysonjones.ca
Facebook - www.facebook.com/AlysonJonesAssociates/
Instagram - @alysonjonesassociates
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/alyson-jones-13297930/
Youtube Channel -  MasterYourMentalHealth
Twitter - @morealysonjones
Email - alyson@alysonjones.ca
Office Phone - 604-926-6665