Jun 29, 2020
In this episode, Danielle Blessing Taylor reveals her creative avenue for telehealth. Before COVID-19, Danielle was already utilizing telehealth services for her clients. So, COVID-19 wasn’t as much of a shock to her therapy business – essentially nothing changed! Danielle describes how subleasing an office can save you loads of money, and she also gives her telehealth tips and tricks. Tune in later as Danielle and I speak about working with couples and high-risk patients virtually.
Danielle Blessing Taylor is a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist in DC, MD, VA, and PA who has been providing therapy since 2010 and has built her ever-growing private practice which was created in 2015. In addition to specializing in Telehealth, she also specializes in helping individuals, families, and couples to cultivate healthy relationships. She helps people to make sense of their past and create healthy changes for a happier life within themselves and in relationships with others.
Danielle uses her EHR as the base for her practice; it is straightforward. It has everything you need like scheduling, billing, and all of that. At first, Danielle started off having an Excel spreadsheet, and her husband would track how much she was making. It just became a headache. Danielle says to set up your LLC or sole proprietorship to keep it separate from your personal stuff. When tax season comes, it’s easier to look at your business credit card and bank statement. Then, write it off from there.
Danielle shows private practice owners how to position the camera at the top of the screen and put their head at the top of the screen. That way, it looks like you’re making more eye contact. If the internet goes out, Danielle encourages therapists to restart their computers and update their browsers. Also, clearing the cache in the browser and updating the actual computer system will help with any audio issues.
Danielle gives a tips and tricks sheet to her clients for the initial set up, which also explains how to troubleshoot if they have issues. Also, think about where you will be practicing therapy virtually. You need to be comfortable at home in a private space, where nobody can hear you. Do not be in a moving car. Danielle says it’s important to know where your clients are. If the client is in a different place, you need to be licensed in that state. Especially in the summer, clients will be on vacation all over the place, and not even realize that it will affect their therapy.
Gordon was surprised how smooth the transition was for telehealth. However, some clients did not want to do it. Gordon is seeing 1/3rd of his clients online. At first, telehealth can be uncomfortable. Therapists are used to seeing people in person. It’s a little weird not being able to see people from the waist down. So, Danielle has started asking specific questions on her questionnaire. For instance, now, Danielle asks: do you have any physical limitations? Sometimes, you can’t even tell if someone is in a wheelchair when you’re talking online. Telehealth has become second nature for Danielle. Plus, her clients are so open when they are in the comfort of their own home.
Knowing your client’s names is essential. You have to keep addressing each person by name because they won’t be able to tell who you are looking at. Couples’ work in telehealth can be challenging. Not being able to move around puts you in an interesting position. A therapist can only get so loud. So, Danielle uses telehealth to her advantage. For instance, she will ask one of the partners to go in the other room and calm down. Having another place to cool down in isn’t something you can usually do in the office.
Danielle says that higher risk clients need someone in person that they can also see. Someone needs to be monitoring this person, especially if they have severe depression. A few of Danielle’s clients have been suicidal. She cannot call 911 when she is in a different room than them. So, you have to find the right emergency number to call. Plus, it’s essential to have current emergency contact numbers up to date. Seeing an actively suicidal person on telehealth is a liability.
Danielle built in her telehealth consent form into her other paperwork. There is a separate section on technology and everything else the client needs to know. There is a clause where Danielle encourages them to be sober during therapy sessions. Also, there are crisis numbers in the forms too. Basically, Danielle adds anything a client should know about telehealth into the paperwork she already needs to give out.
Danielle blocks off a week every couple of months and rents the office by the hour. It is the same office every time, as long as they have the same rent situation, Danielle will keep renting out that space. Having the same space every time she speaks with clients helps them feel more comfortable and familiar with telehealth. Plus, it helps have a balance between in-person practice and telehealth. Essentially, Danielle has created a hybrid practice.
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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 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play. Follow us on Twitter @therapistlearn and Pinterest “Like” us on Facebook