Kristine Schlichting, Ph.D., is Chief Psychologist and Director of Hopewell Health Solutions. The innovative, multi-disciplinary psychology group practice is working to improve the quality of life for its clients and the community through service, excellence, and innovation.
Hopewell Health Solutions is participating in the 2017 reSET Impact Accelerator, which is designed for entrepreneurs in the early stages of business development.
INNOVATION DESTINATION HARTFORD: Tell us about Hopewell Health Solutions. Why did you decide to found a company?
KRISTINE SCHLICHTING: First of all, I am a scientist of change in the business of people. It has taken many paths and years of frustration to come to a place where I can begin to see my vision for helping people develop health and wellness come to fruition.
Prior to starting Hopewell Health Solutions (HHS), I had worked in schools, hospitals, and community health settings. I was extremely discouraged by the ineffectiveness and confines of the current model for practicing psychology. With this in mind, I started developing a more positive, healthier, effective model of psychotherapy that resulted in better outcomes for clients. Every day for three years, I worked on developing a model for my private practice that I would later brand as i-therapy.™
IDH: When did you launch the startup?
KS: I first opened my private practice in 2013 in a small rented office space in South Glastonbury, CT. I was a single practicing psychologist working with clients doing individual counseling and groups.
HHS was so popular that every few months I would need to hire more psychologists and therapists to help me with the demand. The level of innovation and effectiveness of the i-therapy method has resulted in a tenfold increase in the practice within the last three years.
In 2015, I bought a six-bedroom house for the practice. Currently, I have nine clinical staff and I am looking to hire two more in the next month. In addition to office psychotherapy, we also offer corporate consultation and trainings and psychological assessment.
IDH: What types of challenges do you face as a startup?
KS: There are several problems within the current model, which I have been on a mission to solve. The customer problem is multi-faceted:
- People don’t have time to go the therapist’s office and wait for an appointment; they need real-time help
- As insurance has changed so dramatically and people are paying huge deductibles, therapy is very costly
- The ability to facilitate an online program could break down the stigma of mental health treatment and provide life-saving education and booster sessions to people who may not otherwise seek out the help.
In addition, I am looking to solve therapists’ problems. A major problem for the therapists is that most people want appointments after 5:00 p.m. and many therapists don’t want to work very late. This leaves limited availability at all times. If we go a hybrid (in-office/online) model, the session can be shortened to 10-15 minutes via phone and groups and support could be available online so we can treat many people within that needed time frame.
IDH: How is your company evolving since you first started?
KS: The next phase of our development is to provide an online platform where people can have access to our services via the web. We are developing an online model from which people can learn the same life-changing principles, solutions, and treatment that was previously only available in the office.
The site will have webinars, master classes, groups, and online coaching. All the services will be available at people’s fingertips, making our services more convenient, practical, and affordable. Our mission is to elevate and expand the practice of psychological coaching and provide a positive impact globally.
Currently within our office setting, we offer individual, group, and family counseling, executive coaching, corporate/organizational consultation and training, and a master class series. Within the next six months, we will start offering some online services and testing out the model.
We have embedded therapists at Pratt and Whitney and local medical offices. We are collaborating with Yellowbrick.me, which is an online parenting platform. A big part of our mission is to make our methods and transformative tools of change much more accessible and user-friendly.
IDH: What makes your company innovative?
KS: I think most things about HHS are innovative. My favorite question is: Why? My least favorite answer is: Because that is the way it has always been done.
So everything I develop is based out of turning things on their head. I play with ideas like a Rubik’s Cube. Innovation and experimentation are essential for growth. I also have people on my team who are more rational and linear-thinkers and they balance out the process.
Our branded i-therapy method is completely innovative. It flies in the face of traditional talk psychotherapy. The i-therapy method is based on recent developments in neuroscience. Brain-based i-therapy at HHS is active, dynamic, and collaborative; this therapy requires discipline, practice, and collaboration.
i-Therapy is an effective, short-term treatment that is strength-based and goal-oriented. In addition, all of our master classes are based on taking the principles of neuroscience, psychology, and coaching for immediate rollout and application, which is an entirely different approach. I am always looking for the most effective, action-packed, and entertaining methods to bring our content front and center for maximum impact.
IDH: Describe the ways your company is making a social impact.
KS: We are on the frontlines of helping people develop strength and empowerment in their lives. HHS is a team of expert problem-solvers. We use strategic and scientific methods to guide people to develop health and wellness in their lives. We have very successfully done this on an individual scale and elevated many people. We will take the same tools to change people on a larger, more accessible scale.
IDH: How have Connecticut’s startup resources help to shape your business? Why are you participating in the reSET accelerator?
KS: reSET has been an amazing resource for developing my second business. I have never taken a business class in my life, so my first business was built on gut instincts alone.
reSET has not only provided me a model to grow my business, but most importantly, it has provided the mentoring and networks I really need. It really levels the playing field for someone who has great ideas, drive, and ambition but lacks the connections. I encourage anyone who is serious about developing their business to join a cohort there.
IDH: Tell us one or two things we don’t know about what it’s like to be an entrepreneur.
KS: Being an entrepreneur and developing a startup is a lot like having a baby. The beginning stages of developing a business remind me so much of having an infant: the diaper changes, the feeding schedules, and the constant pivot points. It is a 24-hour job with constant and ever-changing needs.
In addition, the process of developing a business is incredibly satisfying, challenging, and overwhelming. I feel that women are especially poised to be great nurturers and we will see many more women enter the entrepreneurial world in the next few years. I always tell people I have two human children and a third child, which is my company.
IDH: Where do you see your company one year from now?
KS: HHS will have an online platform with several branded programs including the Mindful Mindset (M2), Brain Training/Optimization (BTO), and Connected Communication (C2).
We will have customized online psychological coaching services complete with assessments and profiles that will match the coach with the client. In addition, we are developing collaborations with universities, corporations, and medical offices to assist them in creating healthy, dynamic, and profitable systems.
Interested in learning more about Yellowbrick.me?
- Read our interview with Co-Founder Matt Connell: Social Impact Startup Is Building an Online Community
Learn about 2017 reSET Impact Accelerator participants:
- Impact Mart — Social Entrepreneurship Startup with a Mission to Solve Global Issues
- Kulture Magazine — Social Impact Startup Fosters Innovative Youth Kulture
- Supply InSight, Inc. — Social Impact Startup Provides RFID Solutions
- WEWOOL — Social Impact Startup with a Mission to Help the Homeless