Aug 31, 2020
In this episode, Ashley Comegys gives us the basics of building an online practice. We talk through some of the challenges of being a full-time virtual therapist and how clients react to telehealth during COVID-19. Stay tuned as Ashley explains the process behind getting licensed in several states and the importance of flexibility during these uncertain times.
Ashley Comegys is a licensed clinical social worker with an online therapy practice that helps women with anxiety navigate life transitions, grief, trauma, and loss. She has been working with clients online since 2014 and loves the ability to work with clients who may not be able to make it into a traditional office for therapy. Through cross country moves, and a growing family, Ashley has built a successful online practice, working with clients in Louisiana, Hawaii, and Colorado. Ashley is passionate about helping other mom clinicians build their own online therapy practices so they can have the time freedom and flexibility to have a career and raise their family.
To help moms get started with building their online practices Ashley has created a free guide called The ABCs of Online Therapy: A Quickstart Guide for Mom Clinicians to Take Their Practice Online. You can download the free guide at bit.ly/momABCguide.
The reality is, schools can shut down at any time. Working with clients online will give you the flexibility and freedom that a brick and mortar office doesn’t provide. For example, do you share an office space with someone else? Then you may be limited to which hours you can go in there. Working with clients online, you have the flexibility to work around your schedule and your childcare. It cuts down on the extra time for commuting too! No one knows what the outcome will be from COVID; it’s time to pivot and adjust your expectations and find success in online practice.
Clients have been willing to be very flexible during COVID. There are a lot of moms who understand the importance of being flexible. Even those clients who aren’t moms, they understand the need to be flexible. Nothing is normal right now. Some days we can work from home, while other days we need to be in the office. Ashley has very understanding clients.
When you need to make adjustments to your schedule, Ashley says that it needs to be an upfront conversation. Tell your clients the situation and prepare them for possible changes. Also, be willing to have options for your clients. For the most part, our clients are also going through difficult times too; they understand and relate to you. Communication is critical during these uncertain times.
Getting licensed in several states happened organically for Ashley because she kept moving around. As a military spouse, it’s hard because each state is so different. The only beneficial thing is that Ashley’s application went to the front of the line in Hawaii. Compared to some applications, the Hawaii application wasn’t too bad. Most of Ashley’s clients are in Hawaii, even though Ashley lives in Louisiana. Plus, Ashley works with military families that moved to Colorado. So, she got licensed in Colorado – it was a simple process compared to other states.
Get a good website! That will be a significant source of referrals for your practice. When you market to too many people, then you’re marketing to no one. Think about your physical location. That will be the most accessible place to start marketing. A website will be the easiest way for people to find you. Plus, you can still have a lunch meeting with someone in your area that is a natural collaborator with you. That way, you can connect with other counselors and get a referral source.
Get the basics in order. Figure out what is the EHR system that you are going to use. There is a variety of systems out there, which one will be best for you? After you get the nuts and bolts, you can start picking up the phone and finding clients. Ashley has a free guide to help you get started. You can find it here: https://bit.ly/momABCguide.
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Gordon is the person behind The Practice of Therapy Podcast & Blog. He is also President and Founder of Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC. He is a therapist, consultant, business mentor, trainer, and writer. PLEASE Subscribe to The Practice of Therapy Podcast wherever you listen to it. Follow us on Twitter @therapistlearn, and Pinterest, “Like” us on Facebook.