How to Transition to a Remote Therapy Practice

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Transitioning to remote therapy is the new norm. between the COVID-19 pandemic, and of course the advent of technological advances,remote therapy is not only common, but encouraged in many cases.

But how do you transition to remote therapy? Why does it matter? Read on to find out how you can transition to remote therapy practice easily.

The Setup

First, you need to set up your office, just like you would when you were at an actual office. You should make sure that your space is secure and private, and use a white noise machine if you live with others. You should make sure that the space is set off from the rest of the house.

Then, make sure to inform anyone else in your home that this is where you practice online therapy, so minimize those distractions as needed.

Finally, make sure that the area near you is also not too busy. Your walls may not seem busy, but it’s best to have a small little photo or two on the side, and the rest of the wall be blank.

Logistics and Security

First, you will want to make sure that you have your telehealth office set up in compliance with state laws. There may be specifics to follow.

Next, make sure you can get malpractice insurance for you as you practice in telehealth.

And finally, make sure that you do update any and all consent forms for electronic signatures. Try to keep the paperwork in a format where it can be digital.

As for your software, make sure you purchase a platform which is HIPAA compliant for the video feeds. This of course prevents you from getting in trouble.

And finally consider whether or not you want to be a part of an insurance network.  This can be covered on some health insurance plans, but also keep in mind whether or not the people you’ll be serving are in-network or out of network, since of course if they’re the latter they will have to pay out of pocket for their care.

Get a Payment Platform in place

If you typically have people pay privately, you will want to get a service which is BAA compliant. For example, Square and Stripe are good options, but SimplePractice offers this along with the video conferencing platform.

PayPal and Venmo are not HIPAA-compliant so don’t use those.

Make it Comfy

Next you have to work on using the platform.

Get it set up, and make sure that you have an understanding of the platform as well. You can also make sure you have instructions for your clients to use this platform.  You should make sure that they can access this easily, and show them if needed if they are starting to use this.

You may need to tell them to download an app if it is compliant with mobile devices.

You should, before you begin, to start the virtual session a couple minutes early.  That way, if there is awkwardness, you two can get comfy before you continue.

You should make sure that the consent forms are straightforward and have a placed where they can sign. That way, it isn’t just spouting a bunch of words in their face, and instead, makes it super easy for everyone!

Practice Mindfully

This is going to be awkward for you two at first, so try to work with a client you knew beforehand. You should make sure that clients can use the tech that’s provided for sessions. If it doesn’t work out, you may have to meet in person, but do so social distancing.

You can also give them some resources to help them get used to this type of therapy. Remote therapy is not easy to begin with, but this can ease their troubles and concerns.

Continue to Network and Provide

Now, you want to continue to network and provide the services that you can during this. This is stressful for everyone, but providing a means for the clients to feel safe and secure will help them feel far less alienated and worried.

Try to market towards others, and express in your advertisements that you’re dedicated to providing a safe, comfy, and personal care for everyone through this harsh period of time. This is great for anyone who is curious about this.

You can also reach out to existing clients too. That way they have the care and help that they need to effectively get the resources they need.

You can also explain how you will help people who need that extra step. For example, if there is someone getting counseling for substance abuse, you can outline how to help them from a safe distance.

Make the Most of This

This is a weird time for everyone.  This is however, a good way for you to connect with your clients, and also to build a better connection with them.

For example, if a client is struggling with anxiety, you can give them other things to do as well outside of therapy too, and also help them handle their living environment so that they can be better.

You can also include new skills to practice. If you want to, guided mindfulness, meditation, and even some somatic recognition is a safe form of therapy to do outside of the session. Allow for your client to get comfy too. You would let them relax in their sessions, so why not let them do the same here?

You can also let them bring their pet if they want to.Obviously don’t have a barking dog, but a therapy cat or even a quiet animal is a wonderful addition to your sessions.

This transition is different for everyone, and here, we highlighted not only the best ways for you to work on therapy while at home, but also how to make the transition from a brick and mortar practice tosomething a little bit more offsite a lot easier for everyone involved.

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