If You Build It Will They Come

 

I’m still here (and not just a hologram)! Read more about the transition from an office to online and telephonic counseling.

The line from the movie, Field of Dreams, is:

If you build it, they will come.

Yet I admit, up until last week, I did not know for sure if the line was true. I stated it as a question, “If you build it, will they come?”

For the last couple of years, I prepared for a transition from a stand-alone, brick-and-mortar private practice office that provided supervision for new therapists, counseling and coaching services, and a sub-speciality in autoimmune and chronic disease support, into an online and telephonic practice that would allow others to access services from different time zones, and free me to travel where I am needed. Supervision of new therapists earning hours towards licensure would also happen over the Internet and phone.

Two weeks ago, I worked furiously to pack up the office, donate some of the furniture, and begin to set up a home office base. I bid my office farewell, and yes, I did shed a few tears.

The home business license arrived in time, the movers came and moved my furniture and boxes, and I took a little time to put my head into a Half Ironman distance race in the beginning of June.

You might be wondering if the movie quote is true. Read on to find out.

Build It

Set up for the online and telephonic practice has been happening for several years. Not only do I have experience as a telephonic Triage Nurse, I also explored what kind of software applications would fit the needs of my future clients, and what kind of equipment I like to use. In the hospitals and clinics, I used the programs and hardware that was chosen for me; for SDC online, I select the applications and hardware I prefer, as well as the ones I know my clients will enjoy.

These days, there are some really great video conferencing platforms that meet the standards for confidential, HIPAA compatible conferencing. I chose Doxy.me because it’s easy to use, free to get started, and has additional professional features at an affordable price for the healthcare professional. 

Insurance carriers are on the crux of making decisions about coverage for telehealth services. Ten years ago, hardly anyone covered behavioral health services delivered by telephone; now, more carriers are seeing the benefit of covering these services, people are busy and often unable to find conveniently located clinics and offices with hours that cater to their needs.

Finally, I did buy one of those dorky looking wireless microphone headsets. My Logitech h800 Wireless Headset is a bit reminiscent of Customer Service Representative (CSR) headset worn by someone in a warehouse in a distant country, and I can assure you, I am in Redmond Washington, enjoying the comforts of my home and my cat. From home, I am better able to address the concerns of my clients without being challenged to take care of my own health concerns. 

Will They Come?

After I returned from my race-cation weekend in for the Victoria 70.3 Half Ironman Triathlon, I wondered if those who were the most enthusiastic about switching to the online and telephonic sessions would actually show up for their appointments. And if they did, would they like it?

You should know that I admit I suffer from Imposter Syndrome. It comes with the territory of having worked hard, built a private practice, and yet like many entrepreneurs across a variety of fields, I wondered how much of what I have experienced is a matter of luck versus skill and hard work.  Despite gaining knowledge, experience, credentials, and expertise, I sometimes feel like I still haven’t done enough, or might have missed some iota of detail that might interfere with a successful endeavor. I’ve been told Imposter Syndrome is particularly high among women.

I started with an easy week back in the office — that is, the home office– and prepared for some bumps and hiccups. To my surprise, everyone who has used the video platform has given positive feedback, and even expressed surprise as well as relief! They tell me that it’s easy to set up, easy to use, and the video quality is good (of course, that is dependent on the connectivity). While many of us have used Facetime and Skype for work and personal calls, using video conferencing for counseling is a new experience for most of my community members, and I wanted to be sensitive to their needs and experiences. What a relief to know that all this hard work has paid off.

I’m still working through the initial “first sessions” on the new platform, and I have been happy with the transition and the results. Most of all, my current clients have been happy to hear that I have been able to better take care of myself, which decreases the chances of my health issues negatively impacting the work we are doing together.

Next week, I travel for my second presentation on autoimmune disease, mood disorders, and food at a medical conference. One of my goals was to be able to free myself to be able to travel other places and conduct workshops, deliver speeches, and eventually resource others with books and other products to help those with autoimmune disease and medically-necessary diets get the help and support they need to shift their lifestyle in ways that support healthy behaviors. I am tickled pink that next week, I will see that aspect of my career goals come true.

Who knew that I’d get to hit all three of aspects of my goals in the same timeframe?

So… will they come?

Yes, they will, and yes,  they have.  Welcome.

 

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