If you’ve ever thought, “How do I help my clients understand the safety and functionality of online therapy?” this is the post for you.
Whether you’ve been offering teletherapy alongside your in-person practice or you’re ready to shift your business online this post will unpack the necessities of making a safe and smooth transition.
We’ll walk you through three different scenarios (of made up clients) and how to navigate the concerns and legal matters with sincerity and clarity. We’ve also included a section specific to serving your clients during COVID-19 (which is in full swing at the time of publishing this post).
Communicate your availability
What if Betsy, a stay-at-home mom, is specifically looking for a therapist to provide care online?
She hops on your website or even visits your office for an initial visit to see if you’re a fit. Her heart sinks a little bit as she scans your website and waiting room but finds no indication that you provide care via online video calls. Your initial session goes well. Woohoo! Unfortunately, she walks out of the office not as your client, but on the hunt for someone who does offer online sessions so that she can care for herself while honoring her commitment to her children.
But, here’s the kicker: You actually DO provide online therapy.
But she didn’t ask so she never knew.
Don’t let that happen to you or any other “Bestys” by making sure you’ve done these five things:
ONE: Print a poster that states you provide online therapy and pin it up in your office.
TWO: Make it evident on your website. Evident, as in, on the first screen of your website so they don’t have to scroll anywhere to find out!
THREE: Talk about it in a social media post, blog post, or youtube channel.
FOUR: Direct communication. Email newsletter, make sure your clients are aware that online therapy is an option to them at any time whether they’re traveling or sick or just want to switch entirely. If someone asks to reschedule or cancel, make sure they know there is an online option.
FIVE: Tell your referral base that you can take online clients.
Here’s a video by our Chief Technology and Marketing Officer who goes into this in a little more depth.
Help your clients understand teletherapy
Crystal is a high level executive who is ready to uplevel her personal life by working through childhood trauma. The only problem is she’s constantly on the move with her company. While she’s interested in online support she hasn’t made the leap for three years because more than anything she wants to feel safe while diving into the deep hurts of her past.
While Crystal has spent the last three years on the fence about whether or not she can trust online therapy she’s suffered a string of unsuccessful relationships in every area of her life.
So, what will it take for Crystal to finally take the leap into online therapy?
And that’s something you can provide in two ways:
ONE: Explain how online therapy works. Some therapists, like Jamie of Mission Ready Counseling, provide a separate informed consent. They include information about the platform Secure Video that is used and HIPAA-Secure as well as some info ensuring them that you are in a private space whenever conducting a session.
TWO: Tell them how they can create a safe atmosphere for the session as well (ie, make sure you’re in a safe space with no distractions, be sure your internet connection is strong enough to stream netflix, wear pants).
Steve is on a mission to reclaim his sanity and zest for life for the first time in 2 years since his wife’s passing. As a single father with a full-time job, time isn’t the only thing he’s short on (the reason he’s only considering online therapy). His budget is tight, too. The only way he will be able to work with a therapist is if they accept insurance.
In order to serve individuals like Steve you need to be sure of three things (aside from being approved/certified to provide care in their state):
ONE: Make sure your insurance covers online therapy. Be clear on whether or not you have to be at a physical office location in order to hold online sessions as well!
TWO: Clarify what your malpractice covers and that it follows the therapist wherever they are located (home or office).
THREE: Make sure your online video platform (and all means of communication…email, phone, text) is secure and HIPAA compliant. If you’re not sure, schedule a free call with us.
As related to COVID-19
Since this post is being written and shared during the COVID-19 Pandemic we wanted to point out a three things you can be aware of and intentional to address ASAP:
ONE: Mental health will suffer incredibly during this time as a result of anxiety and low interaction with others. This is your time to shine and be there for people! Be 110% sure your method for providing online therapy is secure and HIPAA compliant!
TWO: If you haven’t already, notify all your clients that you are available for online sessions. It’s genuinely in their best interest to continue having care during this time than rescheduling their session until after this craziness ends.
NOTE: This would be a good time to offer a special package of 3-4 sessions dealing with anxiety at a lower rate and invite your current clients to share the opportunity with anyone they know who might want some extra support.
THREE: Talk about online therapy on any social platform you already occupy.
If you have questions on how to have a secure and HIPAA compliant online therapy practice be sure to reach out. We’ve helped over a hundred therapists build a successful online practice or transition to supporting their clients through telehealth. We have what it takes to help you, too!