Back in January 2017, I alluded to some new changes to the way Seattle Direct Counseling would do business. I knew informing my current client community would take a couple of months to begin getting the word out and discussing those changes, and now the time has come to broadcast the exciting news.
Seattle Direct Counseling Goes All Online
From my letter to my client community, here’s a statement about the big change in the way I deliver services, and why I decided it was time to shutter my private practice doors and move it to an online practice:
By May 31 2017, I will be shuttering my physical counseling office location at Grand Central Building in Pioneer Square. By end of March 2017, all current and prospective clients will be offered the option to receive services from me via one of three modes:
- Online counseling via Doxy.me
- Phone counseling (known as asynchronous technology)
- Coaching services via Internet or phone
I will be supplying daytime and evening hours on a variety of week days, but no weekend hours. This should allow people some access to services, who otherwise have work hours and commutes that have prevented them from being able to access counseling. It should also cover the needs of my current counseling community.
A Fair Fee Structure for All
I will also be terminating my contracts with both Premera and Regence when each comes up for renewal later in the year. By doing so, I am freed from obligation to price fix services in a time where it makes more sense to offer services at a lower rate and allow clients to seek out-of-network reimbursement. The fee structure will let people decide how much service they want, use out-of-network payment*, and use flexible spending accounts for needed services.
I have thought long and hard about this. Our healthcare program in the U.S. is very broken and fragmented. Health insurance companies did not raise their reimbursement rate to match the cost of doing business, effectively shuttering many practices over the past couple of years. Changing my fee structure after removing the overhead costs of running a physical office is one way I can better serve others.
A Better Way to Take Care of the Healthcare Provider
It has been my honor to serve the Seattle area for 17 years in mental health care, and nearly 26 years in health care services overall. As a person with two Autoimmune Diseases, it’s come to my attention that the energy to maintain an office distal from my home and commute nearly two hours a day has become not only difficult, but challenging to take care of myself.
In order to improve my health, I’ve made decisions to focus my work hours in such a way to allow me to take better care of my disease processes, which includes shifting my place of work to my home office and decreasing the amount of time I’m exposed to the illnesses of others.
Come With Me
Through a survey, nearly 85% of my current clients have indicated they would transition to online and phone counseling services in order to continue counseling with me, and I am thrilled and humbled to hear that support.
However, it’s a personal decision as to what is in your best interest regarding the modality of counseling or coaching services that works best for you. I remind myself that I can’t make everyone happy — I’m not pizza! But if this works well for you and your busy life, consider coming with me.
I invite you to have a conversation with me about how online counseling or coaching could benefit you, and to try a brief trial on Doxy.me (it’s free to use) or by phone to see how this would feel for you. While it isn’t the same as being in the room together, you may be surprised about the wonders of a virtual connection.
Years ago, I named my practice, “Seattle Direct Counseling” and had a logo created to represent how it’s the, “relationship that heals” (Irvin Yalom). I still believe this, and I’m excited to offer that healing relationship through digital technology and phone counseling.
*Out of network payment means you may be able to use your health insurance by sending in information to them, with my verification that you received care from me. Depending on the company, that reimbursement could be 60% of the fee.