In March 2020, normal became abnormal.
Going out to eat, attending a packed concert, seeing therapy clients in person – all vanished within a couple quick weeks.
The tragedy is already extensive. And it’s still building to a more painful crescendo.
We will live this story together and find our way through to the other side.
The process of this pandemic will change things. We’re not yet sure what, or how. But many things will never return to the way things were.
If we’re focused entirely and only on the field and format of therapy, what will never be the same?
An Enormous Opportunity for Online Therapy
I had my first virtual therapy session a couple weeks ago.
It was easy. Convenient.
I didn’t have to leave my house.
I just switched from working at my computer to opening up VSee and saying hello to my therapist.
Speaking from my personal experience as a client, here’s what I noticed:
- Prior to the “shelter in place” phase of this pandemic, I had zero interest in becoming an online therapy client. I was quite happy with high fidelity in-person sessions.
- Now that I’ve had one virtual therapy session, I was able to evaluate the online therapy format for myself – and I noticed both upsides and downsides.
- The convenience is hard to deny. No need to drive myself to my therapist’s office. The comfort of home plus the comfort of spending time in the presence of a trained professional helping me work through all the feelings and reactions I’m having around self-isolation and living through a global pandemic.
- I will surely be open to additional online therapy sessions – not just the ones that will be obligatory during however long this quarantine lasts, but afterward. Whatever normal looks like in a few months, I will be totally open to online therapy in a way I simply wasn’t prior to trying it out of pandemic-mandated necessity.
The Brutal Challenge of Building an Online Therapy Practice
Before COVID-19 and the shelter-in-place policies that have swept the nation, building an online therapy practice meant you were in direct competition with every other therapist and deep-pocketed corporation able to offer therapy services anywhere in your state.
Most state licensing regulations necessitate either only seeing clients in a state where you hold a license, or even only seeing clients physically present in a state where you’re licensed. So, for some states with some licensing guidelines, it’s only permissible to see online therapy clients where both you and the client are simultaneously somewhere within the same state’s lines.
Other states have slightly more flexible policies whereby a therapist can be located in a different state but see clients via online therapy as long as the client is physically in the state where the therapist is licensed.
Between the steep statewide competition, navigating the state-specific rules and guidelines, and a general public that hadn’t yet widely embraced the online therapy model, many practitioners who wanted to create an online therapy practice had a difficult time of it.
Now, though, with the COVID-19 pandemic, bureaucratic guidelines are shifting or falling away (such as a wider array of acceptable video conferencing platforms regardless of HIPAA compliance). Most (and, in some places, all) therapy clients are de facto online therapy clients.
People who never would have considered online therapy are getting a taste for it because the choice is either do online therapy or forego therapy during an incredibly trying time.
There is a window currently open that may not open again in this way for any therapist interested in building an online therapy practice – or supplementing a traditional in-person therapy practice with online therapy.
How Sharp Are Your Marketing Teeth?
Of course, there is a vast amount of uncertainty in the air right now.
Uncertainty ripples through the economy and the stock market plummeted as an external confirmation of the widespread uncertainty both investors and noninvestors alike were experiencing.
Regardless of what’s to come, one fact is certain: if you want to grow and sustain an online therapy practice, you will need every edge when it comes to presenting your work to the world.
When you’re in potential competition with every therapist in your state – as well as well-heeled startups and other online therapy outfits – then you really can’t leave anything to chance.
Razor sharp messaging, razor sharp offerings, client-focused service innovations, next-level customer service, and skillful mastery of everything required to run an online therapy practice – that’s what’s required of you if you wish to grow a practice that’s all- or mostly-online.
Gain Every Possible Advantage for Your Practice’s Success
We speak with practice owners like yourself every day – and we offer a streamlined, systematic approach to growing a practice both offline and online.
If you know this is your moment to elevate everything you’re doing, and you want every possible advantage for growing the full practice of your dreams, reach out and let’s discuss how we can help.