Therese Mascardo, PsyD, used to spend four hours a day commuting between her Los Angeles home and the Orange County office of her practice Exploring Therapy. While the COVID-19 pandemic has her holed up in her current European home base of Lisbon, Portugal, she typically travels full-time, seeing patients via videoconferencing just two days a week. “I knew there had to be a better way to use my time and still serve my clients,” says Mascardo, who spends much of her down time exploring the city and working on such projects as an e-course on how other psychologists can start a virtual practice of their own.
For Monica Lyn Thompson, PsyD, not having a “brick and mortar” presence for her Atlanta practice Therapy for Queer People of Color was “a no-brainer.” “I wanted to keep my overhead costs as low as possible as I built my practice,” she says. Plus, she adds, a virtual practice can help increase access for many patients, reducing their worries about finding transportation and childcare, or other logistical concerns.
Mascardo and Thompson represent a growing number of psychologists who had exclusively virtual practices even before the pandemic forced other practitioners into telehealth. A survey of APA members found that 76% of the practitioners who stopped seeing patients in person because of COVID-19 have been treating all their patients remotely.
If you’d like to launch a 100% virtual practice, Thompson and other experts offer these tips.