- Teletherapy has helped increase access to mental health support by removing the barriers that often accompany in-person care. But many therapists say they struggle to build connections with peers when working from home.
- Fortunately, there are many digital opportunities to foster relationships with peers and colleagues. Therapists can go to virtual conferences, attend professional networking events online, and join digital supervision and consultation groups.
- In addition to administrative support, therapists who work with Path benefit from our robust network of mental health peers. In addition to opportunities for professional development and consultation, therapists can receive support from other therapists running digital private practices with Path.
“Before I joined Path, I expected that private practice would feel really isolating. But with Path, I truly don’t feel alone. And that was a huge, meaningful surprise that came out of joining. Path is the best of both worlds: there’s tons of support, but I’ve also been able to maintain autonomy and accountability for my practice.” – Amy Mikulski, LCSW
In just a few short years, teletherapy has become part of the “new normal.” This is in part due to the evidence that remote therapy can be just as effective as in-person treatment in many circumstances. But if you’re among the first generation of therapists to run hybrid or completely remote practices, you know that the transition away from traditional in-person care isn’t without its challenges.
For example, our professional standards tell us that having a community of peers to lean on for consultation and support is critical. But now that many of us aren’t gathered together in group practices or agencies, it can be tough to stay connected to our professional communities.
Feeling isolated can negatively affect your ability to care for your clients and can lead to burnout for many therapists. So read on to learn more about how you can find support and nurture professional connections when running a digital private practice.
1. Joining online therapist communities and forums
The digital landscape has come a long way since the internet forums of yesteryear. Now, there are professional communities for people in all sorts of professions to meet online, including therapists.
To find some that are a fit for you, start by exploring the platforms you already use the most. Some of the most popular places for therapists to gather online include Facebook, LinkedIn, and Slack. But as you would with any in-person networking group, do your due diligence before signing up for a digital networking group, and be sure you understand the privacy and security limitations on these platforms.
Once you find some spaces for digital connection, don’t be afraid to take these connections “offline.” Look for opportunities to attend group events and meet your local peers in person if possible.
2. Attending virtual conferences and events
Over the past several years, there’s been a major rise in the number of virtual conferences and events within the mental health industry. These events can take many forms, but what they all have in common is that they make it easier to access professional development and make connections in our industry.
Thanks to the always-evolving suite of software options available to host these events, virtual conferences can be customized, engaging experiences. You can choose the presentations and discussions you attend, much like you would at a traditional conference and you can meet with peers for a “virtual coffee” in digital breakout rooms. When you don’t have to worry about the challenge of travel, you can more easily attend events that are focused on your specialty area.
To find virtual conferences and events, check to see what your professional organizations are hosting, join some of the online therapist communities mentioned above, or reach out to a colleague for recommendations.
3. Participating in online supervision and consultation groups
“Private practice can feel very isolating, so make sure to create a professional community for yourself. All therapists get stuck sometimes or have difficulty with certain clients. Having a supportive community to turn to for advice in those times helps you be a better clinician. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to say, “Have you tried this?” Seeing things through a different lens can make a huge difference.” – Michelle Muñoz, LMFT
Running a hybrid or fully remote therapy practice doesn’t mean you have to operate in isolation and an online supervision and consultation group can give you much-needed support. No matter the stage of your career, you and your practice will benefit from coming together with your peers for skill development, case discussions, and networking. This is especially important when navigating the unique ethical considerations that might come up when conducting therapy online.
To find an online supervision and consultation group that’s right for you, check with your professional associations, relevant training institutes, or your local professional networks. If you can’t find a group that feels like a fit, consider forming your own! Check with other therapists you know who might share a similar interest in professional development and group support to see if they might be interested in meeting regularly.
4. Networking with other therapists in your area
One of the most unique challenges of being a therapist is that there aren’t many opportunities to speak freely about what happens during the workday because privacy is the backbone of what we do. But similarly to people in other professions, it’s important for therapists to have an outlet to discuss the ups and downs of their professional lives and gain support and guidance from peers.
If you work from home, it’s important to seek opportunities in your community to engage with other therapists. Of course, these opportunities can vary depending on your geographic location. Therapists living in larger metropolitan areas will have an easier time meeting other therapists locally. But even if you live somewhere with few mental health professionals per capita, you aren’t alone. Check with your state’s licensure board to see if a statewide community exists for therapists and other mental health professionals in your area.
How Path can help
“I’ve connected with other therapists through Path’s online community, which is a great resource for connecting with other people who are figuring out private practice. I’ve also made a point to maintain connections with colleagues from previous jobs and grad school. Having both Path and my professional community behind me has been really helpful.” -Michelle Muñoz, LMFT
As therapists, we often speak to our clients about the importance of creating community and building networks of support. But we too need to prioritize nurturing meaningful connections as we grow our private practices.
At Path, we know that feeling isolated can take a toll on therapists’ personal and professional lives. So we created our platform to not only support therapists with the business side of running a private practice, but to support their professional development as well.
Therapists who work with Path benefit from opportunities to meet with like-minded peers for digital consultation, continuing education, and more. To learn more about how we can help you stay connected with other professionals in your field as you grow your practice, check out our website.