not sure where to start?
No worries! I got ya! Over the years I have collected some of the most frequently asked questions from all of YOU…from our Facebook Group, consultation calls, emails, etc. I don’t want to keep you wondering, “Okay, okay…I hear all this, but what do I do?” So, to help simplify some things, below is a list of some of the most pressing questions I get E.V.E.R.Y. D.A.Y.! No need to look everywhere for ALL the things…I got you, right here!
no more overwhelm here. quick answers, easy solutions!
Is it legal for me to do online therapy?
YES, in most cases.
Every state and each mental health profession within in it, have slightly different rules about telehealth so it’s important that you contact your state board directly, and the state board of any state you have a potential client requesting services.
CLICK HERE for a shortcut to get an initial idea about what your state board says about telehealth!
Is it ethical for me to do online therapy?
YES, in most cases.
Again, each profession has different ethical guidelines, particularly as they relate to telehealth. However, most of these are just about HOW you conduct yourself in the online sphere not IF you can.
CLICK HERE for a shortcut to get an initial idea about what your professional ethics say about telehealth!
Does online therapy work?
Though online therapy may seem new to many of us, it’s been around for six decades! The research about online psychotherapy is quite strong. The VA system, who have been using it for decades, have done many studies supporting it’s efficacy.
What if I call it coaching?
Regulatory boards and ethics committees are getting wise to the fact that therapists are trying to work around interstate restrictions by “calling therapy coaching”. Therapy and coaching are two very different interventions. While coaching is largely unregulated, therapy boards in many states are saying that no matter what intervention you may be using, they will hold you to the standards of your LICENSE TYPE. There are several Facebook groups that address how to coach ethically and legally as a licensed clinician. Check them out.
Can I do online therapy across state lines?
Generally, you can provide therapy if you are licensed in the state in which your client is currently in. Again, this varies by state and by professional organization, but this is the most common answer.
The best way to get the answer for YOUR situation is to email the state licensing boards in both the state in which you are licensed in AND the state in which the potential client is currently in and inquire if what you want to do is permitted.
If not, inquire about the process to receive a temporary license. In many states, it is an easy process. Often this will allow you to see a therapy client for some set number of days, non-consecutively which usually means you can see your client for that number of sessions. It’s important that you contact the regulatory bodies directly as each state and professional body have different regulations.
Can I see people in other countries?
This depends. You’ll want to check at least four things.
The regulatory bodies of that country
Your liability insurance
Your professional body’s ethics code regarding telehealth and cultural competency
Your licensing body
To check out my online just for International Practice, GO HERE!
Do I need to do anything special with my paperwork?
Yes, you do. All of our professional ethics organizations require that we speak to the risks and benefits of the type of treatment we provide. Telehealth comes with it’s own unique risks and benefits, particularly as it relates to security. You also will need to include specific emergency response plans that address how you may respond to emergencies differently given the location of your client. As a shortcut for you, I have my very own full ten page informed consent that I sell directly here on my webpage that covers ALL THE THINGS! If you are interested, check it out HERE!
Can I bill insurance for online therapy?
Yes, you can. You will need to check to see if the insurance company covers telehealth; if there are special restrictions to when and how they cover telehealth; and if their reimbursement rates are the same or different than in person reimbursement. Some insurance companies will require confirmation that you are using HIPAA secure software or that you are “certified” by a designated company to provide telehealth or that you are registered with the company with whom they partner to provide telehealth services.
Do I need special training to do online therapy?
Yes, in my opinion, you do. There are security issues, ethical issues, and legal issues that you may just not think of on your own. There are also many tips and tricks to doing great work online that make a big impact on the effectiveness of your therapy. Some states require that you take a certain number of CEUS in telehealth, or complete a certification. Some do not. Some insurance companies will require the same. Some do not. Some professional ethics require the same. Some do not. But good practice? Ensure your competence to treat clients via a mode that is new to you.
How do I get clients for online therapy?
Remember that most people do not yet know that online therapy exists, so don’t expect them to search you out based on the fact that you are “online.” You need to market your niche (which isn’t online therapy), and in much the same way you would if you had an in person practice. The primary differences are that directories, like Psychology Today, will not fill your practice. You will need to do additional marketing and you will need to learn to talk about your therapy practice in ways that clearly connote its value, without being coercive. Need help? You can sign up for my marketing tips HERE!
What else is important for me to know?
Creating an online therapy practice may be a little extra work upfront, but once you have it set up and filled up - you get to coast. It’s well worth the upfront heavy lifting, when you are working from home, with lower overhead, more flexibility, and more freedom. You get to do the work you love, AND live the life you WANT.