Online Therapist or Clinic Therapist: Pros and Cons
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have been forced to operate from home for the past year. Although working as a therapist online has its advantages, many of us are eager to return to or join a practice environment. We miss the one-on-one contact with clients, the buzz of working with other professionals, and even the small talk...
Choosing to rent or share a space with a practice of private practitioners has many benefits. While some prefer the convenience of working solely online, as a private therapist, working in a community-minded environment where you feel supported and valued as a professional, will assist you in growing and providing the best service possible.
Without committing to a long-term agreement, renting a room to conduct therapy in will help you establish yourself as a therapist and set the tone you want for your specific clients.
When weighing the advantages and disadvantages of working remotely online vs. working with a private practice, there are several aspects to consider. When thinking about life after COVID, it is important to consider where you would like to work and if it is the best choice for you.
Boundaries and Time management
It is important to have a clear schedule for seeing clients, performing administrative duties, and responding to enquiries and referrals. No matter if you work online or in person, the many different aspects involved in managing your practice can sometimes be overwhelming. Working as a private practitioner makes it difficult to keep these activities separate and uninterrupted. It is critical to ensure you have allocated time for specific activities in your working day while preventing them from slowly drifting in your personal life.
Going into a practice to work (even two days a week) helps you create a specific time frame that is solely delegated to seeing clients. Removing the burden of admin work spilling over into client time and rushing on to zoom, you can be confident that when you are in the practice, the space is dedicated to one part of your work that day. This helps set clear boundaries and allows you to focus and manage one thing at a time, increasing overall productivity.
It can also be difficult to switch off in the evenings after a day of clients. When you finish work and close your laptop, only to look up and see that you are still at home, you may feel as though there is not much difference between working and not working, preventing you from unwinding.
Having a clear distinction and physical difference between your work desk space and home space is a valuable tool in obtaining a successful professional and personal lifestyle.
Spending the majority of your working day alone, paired with lockdown restrictions that prevent you from socialising, can be very isolating whether you are a physiotherapist, nutritionist, or psychologist. With the COVID social restrictions already in place, having the ability to go into a workplace where you can see and talk to fellow professionals (in a COVID safe environment) can help you feel more "normal". Having a closed-off and individual work life without social connections and relationships can affect our mental health and wellbeing.
It is extremely helpful to work in a place where you are within a supportive group of people who can understand and relate to the same challenges that you are going through.
There is a certain lack of connection and relationship that comes with life online, making interacting in person all that more important.
Your work environment affects your self-confidence too. You can feel nervous and unsure when working alone, and if there are no quick conversations or short talks after a client with other practitioners, it can lead to self-doubt. In a practice environment, you receive reassurance from other professionals, and by just having someone to listen to you, you can positively impact your mood and boost confidence emotions.
Surroundings and Space
Working in a professional setting offers a clean, relaxed, and secure atmosphere (with all the necessary COVID safety regulations in place.
If counselling sessions are conducted at home or online, there is a stronger possibility that client privacy can be jeopardised. It requires time, effort, and money to ensure your space is sound protected and that the client feels that there is absolutely no possibility of family members or neighbours listening.
Working in a practice has the benefit of fewer distractions than in a home setting and you are in control. No doorbell delivery, children to tend to, or dogs barking in the background, just you, your client and peace.
There are plenty of gorgeous soundproof spaces to rent or practices to join that offer a warm, friendly, and homely environment whilst still prioritising sophistication and quality.
You can also create the atmosphere that works best for you if you rent a space. Changing the lighting and rearranging the furniture can completely reinvent a room, allowing it to be tailor-made for your type of therapy.
Additionally, there is more of a professional identity associated with working in a clinic environment. Clients are not able to peer into your background on zoom or notice the dog toy you left lying around if they meet with you in a practice. This aspect can effectively damage your appearance as a professional because the surroundings you provide are an extension of you and no clients want a messy, distracted therapist.
Building referrals by joining a practice is an excellent way to network for your benefit and to grow your client list. Working closely with experienced practitioners to educate yourself, challenge your thoughts ideas, and collaborate with different therapists to cross-referencing clients.
As a private practitioner, online platforms are useful for networking, but demonstrating your character and expertise in person allows you to form strong professional relationships which help to promote your service.
Highlighting and sharing your specialist therapy and listening to other therapists in a broader or different area can be immensely beneficial to your career development. Friends of friends, GPs, and other healthcare professionals are all credible referral sources. By operating in an environment where you are surrounded by a group of people who are involved in this community, would ensure that you receive many different and even cross-reference referrals.
It is also a good idea to find a supervisor inside a practice. That way you can receive help on the business side of your practice, including admin, CPD, and marketing. Having a mentor with whom you can meet with can help you remain engaged, focused, and elevate your overall service.
We invite you to join with like-minded clinicians and experts at our private clinic, Surrey Therapy Practice. Our high-quality therapy rooms are available to rent, and we have a supportive environment for new and experienced therapists.
If you would like to see our rooms or learn more about becoming an associate, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our website here and connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn.