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We're the iTherapy Team! AMA about mental health, online counseling, or starting your private practice! by iTherapy in IAmA

[–]iTherapy[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That is a great question. Once you earn your graduate degree you have multiple options open to you. You could choose to work for an agency, a school or college, the government or many, many others. If you decide to go into private practice, which many people do as it offers so much flexibility. If you decide to go into private practice, you would have to be licensed in the state/states you wish to practice in. Then you would take the necessary steps to form your practice. iTherapy or our partners are here to help you establish your practice. iTherapy offers all of the tools you need such as HIPAA compliant technology, marketing, billing, claims and much more. There are also many online that have been established to provide support and guidance,groups such as Dr. Amber Lyda's online therapist group.

We're the iTherapy Team! AMA about mental health, online counseling, or starting your private practice! by iTherapy in IAmA

[–]iTherapy[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I understand, I would think that is a fear of most practitioners, I know it is for me. I know I am not a doctor but I do borrow from their oath, each day I say a little pray that "I do no harm". It is a weighty proposition to try to help others. I try to listen closely consider my words carefully when working with others. While working in mental health can be overwhelming at times, what makes it all worth it is when people let you know how much you have helped. I have had notes slipped under my office door, years after therapy had ended, thanking me and updating me on their life. I live in a small town, and I have been stopped by family members thanking me. (I just smile- to be HIPAA compliant!!) It is those moments that help to take away those fears. I think those fears are healthy and work to keep us in check!

We're the iTherapy Team! AMA about mental health, online counseling, or starting your private practice! by iTherapy in IAmA

[–]iTherapy[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Building a private practice is not as difficult as you may think. It took me about 6 months.

I think the first step is determining what your practice will focus on and what type of clients you would like to see. Then you need to develop a presence, this usually includes a website, marketing efforts that can be online marketing or a more traditional approach of contacting referral sources, such as doctors offices, or a combination of both. The key is finding a few good referral sources and developing those relationships. I work at being very prompt with responding to referrals and letting the referral source know when I have scheduled the appointment and providing updates as appropriate.

In my experience, referral sources share that they do not typically get a lot of feedback and they really appreciate. Once you have a good network of referral sources your calendar will quickly fill up.

One of the other challenges is getting paneled with insurance companies. I know many practitioners only accept self pay clients, but I have found that many clients cannot afford self pay. There is some upfront work to getting paneled, but once you are paneled the work is over and you are ready to go. Depending on the size of your practice and your personal preference you may want someone to assist you with billing. In my experience, it took about two months to really establish a good cash flow, as some insurance companies pay very quickly others more slowly, but once you have the cash flow established the income is very reliable. I have earned a good stable income since starting my private practice ten years ago. I enjoy the flexibility and autonomy, however I must say it can be isolating, so I have learned that it is important to establish a lot of professional relationships both online and face to face as they will help to sustain you when you need a little guidance and support!

We're the iTherapy Team! AMA about mental health, online counseling, or starting your private practice! by iTherapy in IAmA

[–]iTherapy[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

My advice would be to take the time to discover what your passion is and what types of clients you want to work with. It could be adults, children, athletes, IDD clients, - etc. You might want to work with individuals, groups, couples or families.You may also want to specialize in a certain areas such as Eating Disorders, Depression, Couples Therapy, etc...Then you can identify referral sources and let them know about you and your practice. One of the things that is so wonderful about our field is that there are so many opportunities and in private practice you can grow and change your model as you see fit. I think if you can find a specialty that you truly enjoy, it allows you to become proficient in an area and your clients benefit from your expertise. Your practice will expand naturally from satisfied clients and referral sources. You can also continue to add specialty areas as your practice evolves.

We're the iTherapy Team! AMA about mental health, online counseling, or starting your private practice! by iTherapy in IAmA

[–]iTherapy[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think that the challenges of online therapy are not much different than providing face to face services. The ACA code of ethics states that counselors should be aware of any challenges or concerns regarding confidentiality and to ensure that they meet legal and ethical requirements for online services, this is really the same as face to face services. ACA also states counselors should be trained in the nuances of working on line we provide information that can assist you as you begin your practice and we can also recommend training programs. iTherapy always recommends that counselors are aware of any requirements of their licensing board and state regarding online practice. iTherapy has developed our platform to provide services that meet HIPAA guidelines. We also provide tools and training to help practitioners be aware of what is required to practice online. We are here to assist with questions or concerns and can provide the opportunity for you to collaborate with other practitioners who are actively practicing online and can help you to be successful.

We're the iTherapy Team! AMA about mental health, online counseling, or starting your private practice! by iTherapy in IAmA

[–]iTherapy[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I provide Psychological Testing and many of my referrals come from psychiatrists. I find that the psychiatrists who request testing are very open to consulting and collaborating in order to provide their clients with the most effective treatment. I find that open discussions with the client, their psychiatrists and counselor allows valuable information to be shared that assists with proper diagnosis and treatment.

We're the iTherapy Team! AMA about mental health, online counseling, or starting your private practice! by iTherapy in IAmA

[–]iTherapy[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Great question! There's two things that really set iTherapy apart.

First, we're a one stop shop. We provide clinical notes, payment processing, email, phone, fax, and our online counseling platform. We have the tools you need. You can even add a full-website to your iTherapy subscription. On top of that, we've now partnered with professional service providers to offer help with credentialing, licensing, marketing - even a business coaching service and virtual assistant service. We make it as easy as possible to start, grow, and manage your private practice. Here's our video demo for more info.

Secondly, unlike other online therapy platforms, we put you in control. We don't set your pricing or your schedule or tell you how to interact with clients. Instead, we provide you with all the tools and resources you need to manage your own private practice.