Have you been thinking about adding online counseling to your in-person practice? Or are you looking to start your own practice and are thinking about the pros and cons of an online practice? As a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in an in-person practice and now my own online practice, I want to share 6 compelling reasons why an online practice might be the right fit for you!
Are you tired of the 9 – 5 grind? Or sick of working evenings? If so, the flexibility of online counseling could be appealing to you. With online counseling, clients can do sessions while their kiddos are napping. Even from their office on their lunch break, or between classes in their dorm room. With this convenience and flexibility, you can truly create a schedule that works not only for your clients but also for you and your life. You can learn more about creating a lifestyle business here.
Does being tied to an office, a specific town or state, or even country make you weary? Do you need to move to a new state due to a significant other’s job change? Would you love to be able to travel and still bring in an income? With online counseling, most states require that you only work with clients who are located in the state (or states) where you are licensed This means that your clients all need to reside in your state(s) of licensure, but you can provide the service from anywhere. Moving out of state? You can still provide counseling to your clients in your previous state if you maintain your licensure. Wanting to travel the world and continue to work? As long as you have access to wifi, you can!
Unlike an in-person practice, there is no need for an office space which is a major expense. You can offer online counseling services from your home if you have a private space to host video and phone sessions. In addition, if this home office space is used exclusively for your business, then you can claim a home office tax deduction on your taxes too. In addition to rent, there are minimal additional start up costs. Many HIPAA compliant email and video platforms are available for free or at low costs of $30 per month or less. Secure phone lines can be found for $20 per month. Psychology Today is a great marketing option for online counseling, and its monthly profile fee is only $29.95. For less than $100 per month, you can start your own online practice!
Increase Your Caseload
Within online counseling, you can provide therapy to anyone within your state(s) of licensure. With these laws in mind, you can expand your caseload beyond those who live in your community and can easily travel to your office for sessions. You can work with anyone in your state – even if they are hours away. This is a huge benefit to those who are homebound, disabled, lacking consistent transportation, away at college in your state, etc.
Wave of the Future
Online counseling has been slowly growing in popularity over the last 10 years and research indicates that it is going to continue to do so in our technology driven culture. Some organizations, such as the Veterans Administration are beginning to rely more heavily upon telemental health services to reach their clients. In addition, a growing number of insurance companies are covering telemental health services. With the expected surge in online counseling demand in coming years, this could be a great time for you to consider your own online counseling practice.
Scale Your Practice
Are you looking for a way to scale and grow your current in-person practice? If so, you could expand by adding online clinicians to your existing practice. You would not need to rent a larger office. These clinicians would be working from their homes or personal offices. Your only expense would be in providing them with HIPAA compliant platforms and electronic health record (EHR) software. More information about scaling your practice can be found here.
Wendy Galyen, LCSW and BC-TMH, is the founder of Thrive for Life Online Counseling, a solely private pay and entirely online private practice in Indiana. She has degrees from the University of Indianapolis and Indiana University where has also served as an adjunct faculty member. Wendy has over 16 years of experience working with individuals, couples, families, and children. She also has extensive social work research experience and has published and presented this research in textbooks, journals, online periodicals, magazines and at national conferences. In addition to her work with clients via online counseling mediums, Wendy also provides consultation services to other counselors who are looking to add online counseling as a component of their practices.