Individuals seeking therapy for decades had only one option: Find a qualified professional in their area, book an appointment and go to the office to receive an in-person session.
COVID-19 was the next step, which made it possible to access most therapy online in a matter of hours.
One silver lining to this pandemic is that the virus has been eradicated Transformed psychotherapy altogether — and in a good way.
All of a sudden, telehealth was popularized in the industry, making it easier than ever for clients and their families to access the care they need to live the best possible lives.
Many therapists are now pondering how to structure their practices in a post pandemic world as vaccines begin to roll out and life becomes more normal.
Are you trying decide whether therapy should be done in person or online?
If so, you’re not alone.
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of each type of session — and why your private practice might be best off taking the hybrid approach and offering options for both therapy online and in person.
Telehealth and In Person Sessions: The Pros and Cons
As you begin to think about the next phase of your practice, it’s important to weigh the Pros and cons of both telehealth and in-person sessions.
Client safety and social distancing
Telehealth enables your practice to treat clients remotely — something that has proven to be critical during the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing. Virtual sessions enable your practice to maintain social distancing — which, in turn, improves the health of your community.
In today’s fast-paced world, clients are busier each day. As everyone who’s had to see a doctor or therapist on a regular basis knows too well, traveling to the office isn’t always the most enjoyable experience. It is no surprise that more than 80% of people who visit a doctor or therapist regularly don’t like the experience of driving to the office. Three times as many clients kept their telehealth appointments than those who had in-person sessions.
Telehealth can make your practice more inclusive by providing options for disabled people. Additionally, it helps folks who live in remote areas and can’t easily get to your office to get the help they need.
Clients, believe it or not Prefer convenience over Care quality. By offering telehealth services, your practice can meet client expectations and increase operational efficiency — all while delivering the Same caliber of care as in-person sessions.
Telehealth: The cons
Insurers were reluctant to cover online therapy before the pandemic. After COVID-19 was over, however, many insurers were open to covering online therapy. Many changed their tune. However, some insurance companies are still holding back which could be a barrier to potential clients.
Even the most proficient technology user will run into problems every once in a while. When you host telehealth sessions, there’s always a chance things like connectivity issues, uncharged devices, and platform problems can derail your efforts.
Client confidentiality is key to ensuring the best possible outcomes. Unfortunately, Bad actors have been increasingly targeting telehealth providers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic — which means there’s a non-zero chance telehealth platforms get hacked, hurting client privacy.
Telehealth can be a great tool for helping practitioners meet social distancing needs, but it does have its limitations. For example. in the event a client is going through a significant event in the real world — perhaps a physical one — therapists can’t intervene through a screen.
The pros of in-person sessions
Change of pace
Most people have been at home for more than a year. By returning to in-person sessions, you get a change of pace — while giving the same to your clients. As a result, you’ll reforge personal connections and feel less isolated because of it.
While Different policies apply to mental health.Insurance companies that cover therapy are more likely not to approve virtual sessions over real-world ones.
Delivering treatment in person allows you to be there when your clients need it most. In-person sessions are also easier to understand body language. Communication plays a crucial role.
Cons of in person sessions
If you’re like most therapists, you have an office in a building that’s not your house. While in-person sessions provide tremendous upsides, they can also eat into your practice’s margins if you don’t own your own real estate.
It’s not easy for most clients to carve a chunk out of the day to see their therapist particularly — when there’s a pandemic going on and they’re working from home and taking care of their kids. Virtual appointments can be more convenient for clients and can help improve overall health outcomes.
It can ruin your entire day if a client is delayed by traffic and arrives 20 minutes late. This could result in inefficiencies that stop your practice from reaching its full potential if it is not dealt with quickly enough.
Why you might not want to put all your cards in one basket
Whether you’re a therapist who’s itching to go back to the office or one who’s wondering if you even need a dedicated space to begin with, it’s important to determine your ultimate goals to define your game plan moving forward.
Keep in mind there’s no rule stating you have to go 100 percent in-person or 100 percent virtual. A hybrid approach is often the best choice for many therapists.
By offering a combination of both therapy online and in-person, you can cater to the preference of boomers, Gen Xers, millennials, and zoomers alike — delivering care in the format that each client prefers.
How to Choose the Best Approach for Your Private Practice
1. Take a survey of your clients.
Ask clients about their opinions on online sessions versus in-office visits. Tabulate the results.
2. Take advantage of that feedback.
These answers will guide your decisions. You must respond to 80 percent of your clients who prefer telehealth over in-office visits.
On the flip side, if everyone’s telling you they can’t wait to get back to an in-person setting, you need to figure out how to make that happen as soon as is safely possible.
Marketing for Your Plan
Are you looking to have more clients in your office? Are you considering increasing your virtual visits?
Perhaps you’re trying a little bit of each.
Whatever you decide, it’s probably worth your while to update your GoodTherapy profile accordingly.
Are you new in GoodTherapy Sign up today to increase your practice’s visibility and help more people become the best versions of themselves — using whichever treatment format they prefer.
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