Ask the Expert Clay Cockrell on Online Counseling | PoP 393

Clay Cockrell on Online Counseling | PoP 393
Clay Cockrell on Online Counseling | PoP 393

Where do you start with online counseling? How do you market yourself and find clients? What are some of the logistics involved in online counseling?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks to Clay Cockrell about the opportunity of counseling online, how to start your online counseling practice, and some valuable tips on how to make it work.

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Meet Clay Cockrel

Clay Cockrell, LCSW is the founder of – a listing directory with the mission of helping clients all over the world to find the therapist or life coach that will best meet their needs.  The site also works through their educational resources and podcasts to help counselors work online in an ethical, responsible and legal manner.  This is a site for online therapists developed by an online therapist.  Originally from Kentucky, Clay moved to New York City with his wife in 1997 and started the concept of Walk and Talk Therapy – he walks with his clients in Central Park instead of meeting in an office.  He has been featured on ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS’s The Doctors.  He has also been profiled in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio. | Take Your Practice to a Global Audience.

Find out more about Clay on his website, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Clay’s story

Clay was born and raised on farmland in Kentucky and is familiar with the difficulties of rural small town life. Yet living and working in New York City has made him acutely aware of the stresses of city life too. Clay’s years on Wall Street have provided him with great insight into the unique pressures of the corporate world. He is both a small business owner and entrepreneur, successfully launching and running Walk & Talk (his own outdoor therapy sessions) simultaneously.

In This Podcast


In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks to Clay Cockrell about the opportunity of counseling online, how to start your online counseling practice, and some valuable tips on how to make it work.

Why did you start

Clay had a love for travel and thought to himself, “What if I could take my practice with me?” And so he did by starting counseling online which allowed him to work from anywhere. When starting out, he broke all the rules but then finally found the right way to do it. He thought again, “What if I could create a directory for online therapists that were doing what I’m doing?”

At the time, there wasn’t a site that broke down online therapists state by state. He then started interviewing people that were doing it right in the process. And so was born. What was a passionate side gig from online counseling, now became his full-time gig.

You don’t have to be stuck in one place… Your side gig can also become the gig.

What are some of the basics of online counseling?

There are two crucial essentials to get started. First, you need to have a license in the state where your client resides. This doesn’t need to be overthought. In fact, there is a site that can help called, Epstein Becker Green. They look at all the different states, requirements and laws, and have an app that can give you all the information you need.

Secondly, you need a HIPAA-compliant platform which you can use to counsel. For example, you can’t use Skype or FaceTime.

Once you’ve got that, you’re legally ready to go.

Other useful tips to consider:

  • Your background on your video is important and needs to be professional and clean.
  • Lighting is also important. You can invest in some equipment if you need to.
  • Maintain good eye contact with your clients and remember to blink.
  • Wear earphones to help with background noise and a more intimate connection. This also reassures your client that it is a confidential session.
  • Send your client a tip sheet on how to prepare for your upcoming session.
  • Have a Plan B link if the connection on your chosen platform doesn’t work.

How do you find clients?

The beauty of online counseling is that there are no restrictions to “where” you want to counsel. Now you have the whole world as potential client opportunities. And there is a massive need for online counseling.

It’s really similar to how you’re finding face-to-face clients.

Understand what your niche is and where they are spending their time online. It’s important to note that most of your current clients probably don’t know that online is an option, so communicate both to them. Have a page that explains online counseling and answers any questions they might have.

The logistics of online therapy

How do you take payment for self-paying clients? Clay suggests using PayPal or looking in iTherapy, as it is a one-stop-shop.

Average fees for online therapy varies depending on experience and state. For example, Clay started off by charging $150 a session to now charging $300.

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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