Online therapy is booming as mental health concerns take centre stage amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. It has served as an effective solution to treat multiple mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and more. According to a study cited by the Journal of Affective Disorders, teletherapy is found to be as good as in-person therapy to treat depression.
However, the success of a virtual therapy session is determined more by the logistics that go into running the session. Network availability and lighting can turn out to be spoilers even if you offer the best-in-class therapy experience to your clients.
In this blog post, we discuss the key steps that are essential to set up a teletherapy office at home:
A professional website and social media handles are mandatory for an online therapy practice. Ensure that your website clearly communicates your services and highlights your professional experience, background, qualifications and license certifications. Stay active on social media channels where your clients are likely to engage. Having an online presence strengthens your credibility as a professional therapist and helps potential clients reach out to you easily. It also helps you practice teletherapy across state lines, increasing your clientele and income. Some teletherapy companies such as BetterHelp and TruePill take care of the marketing and client procurement entirely, requiring little to no effort from therapists on their payrolls to market themselves.
It is important to secure your practice with a home healthcare business insurance, if you are going to consult online. The cost of insurance may vary depending on factors such as location, jurisdiction and coverage of international work. Check if your insurance provider covers the possibilities of being sued by overseas clients. It is recommended that you only proceed with an insurance that would cover your defence as a minimum guarantee, unless you prefer to remain vulnerable to unforeseen risks.
If you are a teletherapist in the US, investing in the right video-conferencing and chat tools must be your topmost priority before taking your practice online. While some may suggest platforms such as Skype, Zoom and Facebook Chat to connect with clients and provide therapy online, it must be noted that none of these platforms are HIPAA-compliant. Using HIPAA-compliant technology platforms is critical to secure the privacy of your clients data and safeguard yourself against lawsuits in case of a data breach. Alternatively, you could also choose to work with teletherapy platforms such as BetterHelp which provide HIPAA-compliant technology and technical assistance to run online consultations.
Create a space within your home exclusively for online therapy sessions. Ensure that this space is well-lit with ceiling lights and abundant natural light coming in from the windows. Keep the décor minimalistic to avoid distraction and instead, fix select few art works to set the mood for therapy. Also, get rid of any potential background noise to establish the best auditory environment for the session.
Unlike in-person sessions that allow you to assess the potential treatment outcome beforehand, online therapy sessions are set in the digital space where therapists may not always be able to read the client. However, it is proven that therapists who screen their potential clients are more likely to offer successful therapy sessions.
Dig deep into your professional experience to come up with screening questions or mechanism, before you take the consultation forward. Here are some questions that could help you get started:
Setting up a virtual practice is a big career decision. But with the right tools and acumen, you could become a successful teletherapist with a global clientele.