Three things therapists wish they had thought about before providing therapy to out-of-state or international clients.
You’ve spent hours with your client and they’ve covered a lot of ground. Your client recently received a promotion and is now moving. Because they’re thankful for all you’ve done together and want to continue the work they ask if you can continue being their therapist via online sessions.
It’s an epic moment, right?! Until you realize you don’t know what to say…
Don’t worry, after extensive research we discovered what you need to check off your list when providing therapy online to out-of-state clients, overseas clients, and internationally. We even snuck in a few bonus thoughts at the end!
One thing you don’t want to miss and will apply regardless of where you’re providing therapy: make sure you’re following the guidelines of your licensing board. In other words, figure out what your licensing board guidelines are FIRST and give them the most weight!
Now that, that’s out of the way…
Providing therapy online in different states.
Let’s say you live in North Carolina, but you just moved from Virginia. What’s gonna happen to all your clients?! You can refer them of course, but what if they want to keep working with you? After all you’ve spent a lot of time building a relationship to get to where you are today.
You already have a license in Virginia, the state you originally practiced in. So here’s what you need to do:
- Is the state your client resides in telehealth friendly?
- What are the state’s regulations for telehealth that you client resides in?
- What regulations does the state you reside in have?
As Roy Huggins of Person Centered Tech says:
When you work with a client in a foreign state, your work is in both that state and your state. The purpose of the licensing board(s) in the client’s state is to regulate who is working with that client (Can I Practice “Skype Therapy” Across State Lines?).
In other words, you need to make sure you’re practicing legally in both states that therapy is being provided to and from.
Providing therapy online to overseas clients.
Your current client, in the state you’re licensed in, is traveling and wants to continue sessions while abroad. More often than not, you’re good to go (finally, a simple answer), but it can never hurt to check your state’s regulations!
You have a client living overseas, you’ve crossed all the “t”s and dotted all the “i”s to provide them therapy internationally, but they’re moving stateside. You need to abide by the regulations of the state your client will be resident in – more often than not you’ll need to be licensed in that state (make sure that state is telehealth friendly). If the state is not telehealth friendly it would be a good time to build your referral list.
Providing therapy online while living overseas.
You’re living overseas (gosh, I’m jealous) and want to provide therapy online, right?! All I have to say is you’re one brave and dedicated therapist.
There’s three areas you’re going to want to check:
- The regulations where you are certified.
- The regulations where you are located (providing therapy from).
- The regulations where your client is located/resident.
You can do further research on this here.
Additional thoughts to consider…
- Is the online platform you’re using HIPAA compliant?
- Does your insurance cover practicing in other states and overseas?
- If you’re sued by an international client have you taken legal actions to be protected?
Basically, every everything we talked about today boils down to: if you’re providing therapy to someone outside of your state or nation you’re technically providing therapy in two places and therefore need to meet the regulations of both locations.
If that sounds like a lot of work to you, you’re feeling overwhelmed by the business end of an online practice AND finding a HIPAA compliant video platform book a call with us. Making YOUR practice simple is what we do!