As a mom clinician, have you always wondered what it would be like to start an online practice, even if it is just part-time? Have you felt overwhelmed about where to even begin starting your online practice? What benefits would you and your clients enjoy if you were to start your practice online?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks Ashley Comegys about The ABCs of Online Therapy: A Quickstart Guide for Mom Clinicians to Take Their Practice Online.
Are you frustrated with the burden of insurance billing or credentialing? Have you had to write-off several claims due to insurance issues? Have you spent hours on hold with insurance companies?
Practice Solutions’ mental and behavioral health billing solutions are designed to save you time so you can stay focused on providing superior care for your Patients and growing your practice.
Meet Ashley Comegys
Ashley Comegys is a licensed clinical social worker with an online therapy practice that helps women with anxiety navigate life transitions, grief, trauma, and loss. She has been working with clients online since 2014 and loves the ability to work with clients who may not be able to make it into a traditional office for therapy.
Through cross country moves and a growing family, Ashley has built a successful online practice, working with clients in Louisiana, Hawaii, and Colorado. Ashley is passionate about helping other mom clinicians build their own online therapy practices so they can have the time freedom and flexibility to have a career and raise their family.
In This Podcast
- Life as a military family and how that impacts an online practice
- What happens if a client moves to a state where you aren’t licensed in?
- Building your online practice website
- What address should you use?
- How to network effectively
- Benefits of online counseling for your clients
- Benefits of online counseling for you
Life as a military family and how that impacts an online practice
Due to all the moving around, having an online practice if you’re a military family can be confusing at times when it comes to your licensing. Here are Ashley’s suggestions on how to navigate this:
- Certain states have difficult licensing processes, while others (such as Colorado – which also doesn’t charge a fee) are a lot simpler. The authority can be confusing, but for instance, in Hawaii, you are able to get your license expedited.
- Certain areas are known to be places where military families live, therefore it can be an easy kind of referral source to count on.
What happens if a client moves to a state where you aren’t licensed in?
It really depends on the state, as you can look into the state’s authority, and in some cases, it is not a lot of money or admin to apply for a license, while in others it isn’t viable. Ashley recommends that if you cannot continue seeing a client, then you should help them with the transition, and look for therapists in the area who are licensed or who work online.
Building your online practice website
There are ways to utilize these tools that you normally would in a brick and mortar office, it just takes a little bit of creativity, but the same strategies can apply.
For online practices, you need to be very clear about the fact that you are an online therapist, and also define your niche group if you have one. This will then help you with your SEO strategy so that you can target specific locations.
- Have a page that is dedicated to a state and using words that are specific to that location so that Google’s algorithms drive traffic to your site.
- Also have smaller pages that are town-specific and are hidden and only visible to people who perhaps are searching for a New Orleans online therapist, for example.
Another thing to note is the importance of having a Google Business page, as this will help drive more traffic to your page as an online therapist.
What address should you use?
As an online therapist, you may be wondering about what address you should use? Well, Ashley suggests having two addresses, one to your UPS Box, and then also a virtual address.
- UPS Box: This is located where you are physically located and is an actual address close to your house.
- Virtual Address: This is more for the location of your practice address wherever you want it to be to help drive more traffic to your website and reach your target audience.
A lot of different companies offer virtual address services, but Ashley uses iPostal1 for $10/month.
How to network effectively
Sometimes people think that with online therapy it opens up this whole world of we now have access to the whole state, which is very very true. But you can end up kinda talking to everyone and then talking to no one.
Before Covid-19, networking meant meeting in person, but for online therapists pre- and post-COVID, networking can take place in the following ways and still be just as effective as traditional networking:
- Search for people through social networks and reach out to them. Find the people who perhaps would work alongside your potential clients, such as Doulas or lactation specialists if you’re interested in seeing women for mental health sessions post-pregnancy, for example.
- Contact doctors or providers in your area or rural areas where perhaps there aren’t many therapists, and introduce yourself over the phone, or arrange to meet for a lunch-and-learn.
- Contact office managers and introduce yourself and show you can support their clients, team or patients.
With this in mind, you need to build relationships with referral sources that are in your area of expertise – a bit like the Doula and lactation specialist example mentioned above.
Benefits of online counseling for your clients
I’ve had people reach out to me, saying ‘oh I was hoping to see somebody in person but let’s give it a try.’ And they end up really liking it for the convenience.
People no longer have to contend with traffic or drive long distances in rural areas to reach you. They can see you wherever they are, and not worry about spending precious time away from their family.
Flexibility of time
You can meet your patients at times that suit you both, and not stick to traditional meeting times. This means watching more soccer practice and being there for their kids when they need their mom or dad most.
Less admin and planning beforehand
Working with moms means that they no longer have to arrange a babysitter or pay someone to look after their child while they take care of their mental health.
A greater sense of connection
If your client is at home, they are already in a place they feel comfortable in and are perhaps more likely to open up and be vulnerable. They don’t have to worry about entering a new space that they aren’t familiar with.
Clients no longer have to settle with whichever therapist is available in their area – something particularly true in rural areas.
Benefits of online counseling for you
Having my own private practice that is all online, that I’ve made this myself, has given me you know so much more career fulfillment and purpose, that I can say like, ‘I’ve done this.
- With Covid-19, many therapists have suddenly had to adopt online therapy as a service offering, and even if you don’t want to stay online forever, it is still something that can form part of your practice model. You may even find that some of your clients prefer it now that they’ve tried it.
- You can be a therapist and also a mom, as it allows you time flexibility that many other jobs don’t allow.
- Little things like not having to remember to pack your lunch and traveling to work all add up, whereas now you are in control of how you spend your time.
- You can have more family time such as enjoying lunch with your kids – even if you have a babysitter minding them while you work upstairs.
- Optimizing a Physical Therapy Practice with Dr. Robert Moss | PoP 494
- Send a voice message with your feedback here
- Killin’It Camp
- Sign up to join the free webinars and events here
- Podcast Launch School
- Practice of the Practice Podcast Network
- Free resources to help you start, grow and scale
- Apply to work with us
Meet Joe Sanok
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.
Thanks For Listening!
Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!