Print Posted on 10/04/2017 in How-To

Providing Online Therapy: 5 Things to Keep in Mind

Providing Online Therapy: 5 Things to Keep in Mind

Have you considered offering online therapy (or teletherapy) as part of your clinical services, but wondered what the pros and cons of this might be? If this is a direction you or your practice is heading in, take a look below for perspective on what you can expect as you supplement (or replace) a traditional face-to-face practice with online sessions.

Flexibility

One of the greatest benefits of online therapy is the flexibility it provides. Although private practice practitioners are able to generally set their office hours as they wish, online therapy eliminates the issues that come in the way of complete schedule flexibility in a traditional setting (such as office sharing, building hours, etc.) This means that you will have the ability to see clients whenever you like, as long as they are able to make that appointment.

Convenience

This leads into another benefit of online therapy – convenience for both yourself and the client. For you, online therapy means you can practice from a home office or any other private location with a stable Internet connection, making online therapy a wonderful idea for practitioners with obligations at home, long commutes, or other things that make working from home easier. This convenience also applies to clients – since they will be working with you a location of their choosing and not your office, it’s less likely you’ll experience last-minute cancellations, no-shows, or late arrivals.

The Client’s Comfort Zone

One of the underdiscussed benefits of online therapy is that clients will likely be meeting with you in their comfort zone – their home, their office, or other comfortable space for them. Whereas in traditional face-to-face treatment the client is in your space, this change in setting may offer the practitioner a better understanding of the client by seeing how they are present in and interact with this setting.

Fees

With the benefits above, there are definitely some trade-offs to be made. One of these are the fees charged for online therapy. In general, online treatment is less expensive than face-to-face; it’s also unlikely that insurance will reimburse for this service. However, while you may be earning less gross earnings per hour from clients, this may not mean you are earning less money – taking into account a lack of a commute, home-office tax deductions, and less cancellations, you may be in a better financial place than you would be with strict face-to-face service delivery.

Technological drawbacks

One of the biggest barriers to effective online counseling is a lack of technical knowledge or technology problems that arise in session. To be effective, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of video-conferencing technology and be able to guide clients who are less tech-inclined to ensure you can see and hear them properly in session. Even with a savvy understanding, issues such as dropped Internet can still occur and can impact session quality.


 

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