4 min read


Alyssa Petersel

How To Grow Your Therapy Practice During COVID-19

During this time of heightened uncertainty, you may also feel a heightened sense of anxiety or existential threat, particularly around your business. In an effort to support you during this time, we at MyWellbeing have put together 6 best practices to maintain -- and GROW! -- your therapy private practice, especially during this time of relative uncertainty and crisis.
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During this time of heightened uncertainty, you may also feel a heightened sense of anxiety or existential threat, particularly around your business.

First, it bears repeating: you are not alone. Any feelings of doubt or fear are completely normal. Much is in flux and we may feel waves of discomfort as we figure it all out, together.

In an effort to support you during this time, we at MyWellbeing have put together 6 best practices to maintain -- and GROW! -- your therapy private practice, especially during this time of relative uncertainty and crisis.

1. Transition to a remote practice

This one is particular to COVID-19 and many of you have already taken steps toward it. In light of social distancing and keeping yourself, your clients, and the wider community safe, the best practice at this time is to transition your practice to remote therapy as much as possible.

The first step here is to identify your tool set. Some providers choose to purchase a variety of different tools and to piece them all together. We recommend that you identify one practice management software that encompasses the tools that you need in a HIPAA-compliant way.

(Note: the formal regulations around HIPAA compliance have been relaxed during COVID-19, but we still recommend that you invest in adopting a HIPAA-compliant solution so that you can trust your clients’ information is safe and you can continue to use this solution moving forward should you choose to).

Our top choice is Healthie, which is why we’ve secured a 65% discount off of Healthie for MyWellbeing members (while the package we offer is usually $129/month, it is $45/month for members). MyWellbeing does not earn any money from this partnership; we merely believe this is a high-quality, tech-enabled platform that consolidates everything you need into one place. With Healthie, you gain access to HIPAA-compliant:

  • Chat with your clients
  • Video with your clients
  • Payment with your clients
  • Tools to host webinars, marketing groups, workshops, and more

Once you have identified a platform that you like, we recommend notifying your clients and onboarding them onto the platform, as well, to update things like their payment information and their notes.

You can then use this platform to continue your regular sessions with your clients by video. You can also utilize this platform to streamline collecting payment from clients, or to market new offerings, which we will talk about in more depth next. Additionally, getting licensed in multiple states can help you expand your client base even further. We've made an ultimate guide that breaks down the process of getting licenses in other states.

2. Diversify your revenue streams

One way for you to earn income, which you are already intimately familiar with, is earning session fees from clients who come to see you in your office. Session fees, however, are not the only way.

You are a trained, talented, exceptional professional, and we’re here to brainstorm some other ways that you can use your experience and talents to supplement your income, during this time and beyond.

One way is to offer group therapy. Many of you already offer groups and are accustomed to offering groups in-person. You can also offer groups remotely! This can be a great way for you to earn more than a 1:1 session fee for an hour of your time, as well as to give back to the broader community by supporting larger groups during that hour.

One of the hardest aspects of group therapy is filling groups, which is where we’d like to support you. By marketing your groups through MyWellbeing, we will feature your groups to over 10,000 people in our newsletter and over 22,500 followers on our social accounts. That is a great way to get your name and practice out there.

Another potential revenue opportunity for you is to offer webinars and lunch and learns. This is something you can offer for free to your own networks to help people familiarize with your name and practice. Then, when they or someone they know are ready to begin therapy, you are the first person who comes to mind.

You can also offer webinars and workshops at enterprise/corporate organizations, which is a great way to get your name and practice out there to consolidated groups of employees.

Sometimes, organizations will pay you a stipend to facilitate these workshops. Other times, they do not have this allocated budget. It’s important to ask up front. Either way, this is fantastic exposure for you and your work.

A third way is to pursue licensing in other states. During COVID-19, it’s likely that state-by-state licensing requirements will be relaxed for remote work. However, it may be useful in the long run to become licensed in other states so that you can offer remote therapy for clients anywhere they are located. This is helpful if your clients ever move and would like to continue working with you (or they have moved temporarily to live with family during the outbreak), and if you’d like to expand your practice in the future to work with clients all over who you may acquire through things like social media or your own newsletter.

3. Continue to market your practice

All of which is to say: marketing your practice should not not stop with the corona outbreak. COVID-19 is more reason to continue to get your name and practice out there.

History shows us that, during times of recession, experiences of anxiety and depression increase, which leads to spikes in demand for therapy. When clients surpass their initial shock, settle into a new normal, and think about starting therapy, you want to be the first practice that comes to mind for them.

Arguably the most important people to keep in touch with are your current clients, especially anyone who has had to pause or take a break due to financial concerns at this time. Write an email to them once per week, or send them a blog post with some tools and resources they can use while they’re on pause. This serves multiple purposes: it’s important to be there for your clients and to help ease them through this transition, especially if they can no longer afford full session fees. It also helps them to see that you really care about them. When they are ready to return to treatment, they will think of you, and you will be there.

Moreover, you want to market to reach new clients, especially as some of your current caseload will need to pause or take a break. This is where MyWellbeing is especially helpful. You can contribute to our blog, which we will feature in our newsletter and on our social media channels, showcasing your expertise to tens of thousands of people. We will also match you to incoming clients who are a particularly strong fit for your expertise.

Even as your practice begins to fill, as you know, clients will sometimes graduate or terminate treatment for a variety of reasons. It’s important to stay engaged with a few active marketing channels so that you continue to meet and engage new clients to keep your practice healthy. It’s okay (and actually preferable) to invest in multiple channels or marketing platforms if you choose to. Having your practice featured in multiple places will only help you.

4. Take care of yourself first

You are probably familiar with the importance of “putting your own oxygen mask on first.” You are an inspiring leader who is trained to hold, embody, and help process the traumas of others. Especially during times of heightened anxiety and panic, you are especially vulnerable to vicarious trauma and burn out. It is extremely important to identify and invest in the things you need to remain healthy on a personal level.

The first thing we always recommend is to invest in your own therapy. If you are searching for your own therapist, we are happy to help. Let us know by phone or email, with a little bit about what you’re looking for and any clinicians you’d like to not work with for personal or professional reasons, and we will facilitate high-touch matching for you.

The second thing we recommend, especially during crises, is to do your best to refrain from panicking. You have probably felt what it feels like to be in the presence of a friend or colleague who is highly anxious. It can heighten your own anxiety and cause you to feel on edge. This happens with your clients, and your business, as well.

Try to remind yourself that this circumstantial uncertainty and dis-ease is temporary. You are well equipped with the resources that you need to get through this.

If you don’t believe that to be true or feel you are missing any resources, please reach out to us. We will point you in the right direction to the best of our ability.

Finally, connect with at least two emotional support outlets. At MyWellbeing, this means community. We are facilitating weekly peer support groups for practitioners as a way for our community to come together to create safe spaces for clinicians to process with each other and lift each other up. You may want to facilitate virtual coffees with your colleagues, or virtual dinner and movie dates with your friends and loved ones.

Just because we are social distancing does not mean we need to be socially distant or disconnected. Identify 3-5 people who help you feel seen and loved and schedule some non-negotiable virtual time with them into your calendar.

5. Give back

Giving back to the broader community is a tremendous protective factor against symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Each of you will have a different capacity of time and resources available to you. Below are a few examples of what giving back may look like:

  • Donate to a food pantry
  • Volunteer counseling hours to those who cannot afford mental health resources
  • Write love letters to yourself and your loved ones
  • Write blog content for an outlet that will share stress-relief tips with those who cannot afford mental health resources otherwise
  • Deliver groceries to a neighbor who cannot leave their home
  • Call loved ones and family members who you know are likely isolated or susceptible to things like loneliness, anxiety, or depression

There are a million ways giving may present itself to you in your life. When possible, lean into it, while of course, always respecting your boundaries and recognizing when it’s time to prioritize your needs, as well.

6. Button up your business

For some, COVID-19 has opened up time that otherwise felt elusive. For many, day-to-day life looked like running around at 100 miles per hour. Quarantine may present the opportunity for you to focus on things that you were otherwise tempted to put off or push further and further down the to-do list.

During this time, you can reinvest your time in things like:

  • Reviewing and polishing your business finances
  • Learning new skills
  • Completing your CEU requirements
  • Identifying advisors you trust whom you can consult with
  • Investing in a business or professional coach

You can consider each of these items to be like planting seeds for your business that, over time, will grow to flourish. You may not see the immediate effects today, tomorrow, or the next day, but you may feel a renewed sense of control and ownership as you use the time and resources you do have to gain more clarity, take care of some operations, and trust that you are moving yourself and your business forward.

It is natural to feel more than average anxiety and depression during this time of uncertainty. We hope that the above resources are a helpful starting place to regain a sense of control and optimism in your work life.

Know that we at MyWellbeing are here with you and are interested in supporting you in the best way we can. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected] to learn more about our community, to provide any feedback, or to ask any questions. You can always find us on social, as well, and relish in some free wellness tips and perspective at @findmywellbeing.

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About the author

Alyssa Petersel, Co-Founder and CEO of My Wellbeing and author of Somehow I Am Different, graduated from Northwestern University in 2013 with dual BA degrees in psychology and international studies, graduated summa cum laude from New York University in May 2017 with her Master's in Social Work, and graduated from The Writer's Institute non-fiction program at CUNY Graduate Center in May 2017. A native New Yorker, Alyssa now lives in Brooklyn and enjoys running, coffee, community, and social justice.