A client stopped a recent session and said, “I need to weed my garden.” And then she showed me how high the weeds were.
No, she didn’t live next door to my office. We were doing a video session online, and she was sitting on her back deck. She turned her phone’s camera toward the yard to show me the weeds. (For the record, they weren’t that high.)
I’m always looking for ways to make therapy more accessible for families, and switching to an online practice is the best thing I’ve done to make that happen. At my old office, families often showed up frustrated by fighting through traffic and stressed by juggling activities just to be there in the first place. Add the hassle of gathering everybody in one place and herding them into the car, and it’s a wonder they ever made it to the session.
The online approach changes all that. Clients schedule sessions when they have a free hour in their day. They schedule family sessions in the evenings when they’re settled in at home. Flexibility for them is also flexibility for me; I offer more flexible times because I just go down the hall to my office instead of rushing to one several miles away.
The online practice doesn’t change the kind of sessions I offer, though. Many online, web-based therapy services offer short contacts, even through e-mails or text messages, to work through your problems. Those can be helpful, but they’re often insufficient. At Grody Online Family Counseling, sessions will still average 60 minutes for individuals and 90 minutes for families or couples, and the sessions will be the same as if you’re in a traditional office with me. I’ll still see and hear you; you’ll still see and hear me. The sessions are like using FaceTime or Skype, only our sessions will be HIPPA-compliant to protect your confidentiality.
Sessions are simple to access. When it’s time for our appointment, I’ll send you a link that invites you to the session. You’ll click on the link using your computer, tablet or phone, and then we’re face-to-face and ready to get to work.
Another advantage of online sessions is that clients don’t have to be local to Columbus. Instead of opening offices in other towns (and passing those expenses on to you), I can offer video therapy to families, couples or individuals anywhere in the state of Ohio. If you travel for work within the state, you can participate even when you’re out of town. And if you live in the country or in a small town with limited resources, you can still access quality therapy without driving to the nearest city.
If you’re interested in trying online sessions, call me at (614) 477-5565 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also schedule an appointment online at carlgrodylisws.clientsecure.me; click on a time that works for you, and I’ll contact you with the paperwork we need to get started.
If you have any questions, give me a call. In the meantime, I’ve got a break between sessions, so I’d better check the weeds in my own back yard.
(Carl Grody, LISW-S, runs Grody Online Family Counseling based in Columbus, Ohio. He has 12 years experience working with children, adolescents, families and couples. He’s a trained group leader in the Incredible Years parenting program, and he’s also the family therapy columnist for Columbus Parent magazine. For an appointment with Carl, call him at (614) 477-5565 or e-mail him at email@example.com. To schedule online without the middle man, click here: carlgrodylisws.clientsecure.me.)