Benefits of Remote Therapy for Therapists

I wanted to write a post that focuses on the benefits of remote therapy for therapists. Most posts that cover Tele counseling and online psychotherapy focus on the benefits for clients, like convenience and affordability, and neglect to mention the benefits on the other side.

I think there are, however, some unique benefits that remote therapy can offer for therapists, like better work-life balance and a larger pool of clients. Therapists who have been practicing for some years now likely got “a taste” of remote online psychotherapy during Covid-19, when everything went remote. Some therapists may have liked it, and some may not have.

To those that did not, it could be possible, that they just weren’t optimized to deliver remote therapy.

I currently work as a remote-only therapist but have done in-person therapy in the past. So, I can make a fairly informed comparison between the pros and cons of remote therapy for therapists.

Stuart Cameron MSW, RSW posing for the pros of remote therapy for therapists featured image

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Remote Therapists Can Save More Money

For remote-only therapists, there are primarily two main ongoing costs, internet, and software. That’s it. They typically don’t have to worry about renting office space which is often the bulk of their overhead costs.

Remote therapists don’t have to travel, like, at all. They don’t have to commute to an office and they don’t have to drive somewhere for an in-between session snack or meal. As a remote therapist who lives in a small-to-medium-sized town myself, I get to run errands quickly at any point in the day that allows it, like a two-hour gap in between sessions.

I fill up my car less than once a month, so in some ways, it’s better for the environment as well.

Remote therapists also don’t have to worry about my clothes as much. I’m the type of person that would just wear one outfit every day. I’m not saying I think this is the way the world or other people should be. I just mean it wouldn’t bother me to give up that choice (well, maybe it would sometimes).

But psychotherapists typically see clients once a week, and if they want, they can re-wear a nice “fancy” top each weekday for that week. This has really helped keep things simple in my day-to-day life, since becoming a parent a little over two years ago.

It’s like you get to have a “weekly outfit” instead of a daily one. Remote-only therapists have less need for acquiring and updating their professional attire.

And when it comes to resources for clients, it’s all digital. Online counselors don’t have to print paper, order workbooks, or make duo tangs, everything can be attached to their client’s dashboard in their portal and they can screen share during remote video sessions to complete them in real time.

Remote Therapists Have Better Work Life Balance

When remote therapists are done with a session, they can immediately do whatever they want or need to do. It gives them so much flexibility in their day-to-day life, and this benefit may be of more value to therapists who are also parents.

As a remote therapist myself, I get to drop my daughter off at pre-school everyday, and see her before and after her nap on days when appointments allow it.

And even though I work evening sessions three days out of the week, I still have the choice to eat dinner with my family every night.

Remote-only therapists can also run errands during the week where as a lot of people have to wait until the weekend. This allows weekends to be even more relaxing or adventurous. They can also make time during the week for keeping up with some household cleaning (again, instead of using time on the weekend to accomplish such chores).

With remote only therapy, work fits in around your life, not the other way around.

Don’t get me wrong, there are aspects remote therapists might miss. Remote therapists will have to go out of their way to get out of the house and have “transition” time between work and home life, which might be necessary for your own well-being and self care.

This is more of a “heads up” to remote therapists, you will need to build in your own transitions and commute times around work.

It can be difficult to immediately be home after you’re done therapy work, so it’s worth paying attention to and tweaking as you go and find what sort of process works best for you.

Stuart Cameron MSW, RSW taking a nap in his remote therapy office
When my schedule allows it, and when I feel the need to, I get to nap in the comfort of my own office, and can even change into some “comfies”.

Remote Therapists Have Get Access to A Larger Pool of Potential Clients

As a remote therapist in Canada, my “service area” extends to all of Ontario, as that’s the province I’m registered in. Of course, it’s still limited to those who are seeking remote-only therapy, as some clients are only looking for in-person. But there’s no denying remote therapists have access to a larger pool and geographical area for potential clients.

Remote therapists can also, potentially, register in other Provinces, Territories, and States, to provide remote therapy to clients in other areas of the country they live in. There may not be the same opportunity for all countries, but in a lot of them, you can register in other geographical areas. For example, I can register in other Canadian provinces.

It just depends on their criteria for registration and the associated fees to see if it’s worth pursuing, as a lot of colleges have their own required annual fees.

Remote Therapists Can Work When They’re Not Feeling 100%

Therapists in private practice don’t get to enjoy the perks of being an employee. When they don’t work, they don’t get paid. This is why most clinics and centers are so firm on their cancellation policies. In private practice, therapists don’t get paid vacation, paid sick days, or paid Holidays (if anything, since people are off on Holidays, therapists are more inclined to work them).

But a unique benefit for remote-only therapists is that even when they’re feeling physically weak from a cold or the flu, they may still have the mental capacity to meet with clients. Being an in-person-only therapist, you may be far more inclined to stay home when feeling “under the weather” to avoid passing anything on to clients or colleagues.

I am not at all implying therapists go to work sick or contagious. I just mean people can sometimes, we have symptoms or might be contagious but still feel capable of performing work duties.

Don’t Have to Worry About Scents

This last one is definitely unique and a little odd, but remote therapists don’t have to worry about scents. Scents can be really triggering for people, and in a therapy context, that’s something therapists try really hard to acknowledge and avoid for clients.

Scents can trigger past negative memories and experiences in clients, but they can also trigger allergies in some folks.

However, I have recently discovered that I enjoy aromatherapy. I was given one as a gift a few months ago and found it one day when doing some organizing in my garage. I discovered the box and decided to set it up and get some pure essential oils to use in it.

image 3
“I’m feeling calmer already!”

I’ve tried Lavender and Eucalyptus oils and really like them so far. The eucalyptus even seems to help a bit when it feels like I’m fighting something off and have nasal congestion, which has become commonplace ever since my daughter started preschool…

Continue Reading: The Disadvantages of Remote Therapy and Online Counseling

Final Thoughts

Remote therapy can be effective for clients and their goals in therapy. It’s not going to be the “right” fit for every client, and it certainly won’t replace in-person “for good”, but it is an option for doing psychotherapy that can offer unique benefits for clients and therapists.

If you’re a therapist who has been getting frustrated with some of the drawbacks and inconveniences of having to be in an office located away from your home, remote therapy may be a good fit for you to start trying.

Therapists also have the choice, however, to offer both in-person therapy and online counseling. And since most online booking software for therapists offer the ability to meet virtually with their clients, most therapists already have the option to conveniently do remote therapy.

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