Your business won’t survive this crisis unless you…..

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The novel coronavirus has caused a global pandemic. The adverse effects of this crisis are wide-reaching, and each of us will be impacted in ways that we cannot predict. Even those of us who were prepared will experience losses. The biggest obstacle will be your mindset.

You’re going to face obstacles as you navigate the uncertainty of the next few months. Yes, it’s going to be months, not weeks. Let me repeat. This crisis is going to last months. How will you survive?
I’m hearing stories of therapists scrambling to transition from in-person to virtual sessions. I’m seeing other therapists shamed for not transitioning to virtual services. There’s no right or wrong answer, but if you’re operating from a place of fear, you will feel stuck.

One of the reasons I’ve experienced success in my practice is my ability to traverse obstacles. I don’t see them as stops, I see them as a call to action. I focus on how to get around and not the barrier itself. Here’s an example—the state where I practice sent an email indicating that Medicaid would not reimburse phone sessions. I sent a sharply, but a well-reasoned response to the powers that be and by 7 pm that evening, I received this response:

“According to the Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance (DMMA), audio-only (phone) will absolutely be covered, and DMMA is working on policy guidance.”

The relaxing of the laws on Telemedicine and HIPAA compliant systems is necessary, or people will die. The local and federal governments are rising to the crisis and dismantling obstacles. As professionals, we must provide them with guidance and drive the policy based on what is in the best interests of the people we serve. I shouldn’t have to say this, but sound professional and ethical judgment must prevail.

Are you struggling with getting clients to accept virtual health? Unless this has been the primary means of service provision, you’re probably finding some clients are resistant to the change. How can you get beyond this obstacle? Like many of us, clients were under the assumption that this crisis would be short-lived. You might hear them say things like-“let’s just wait and see’. Perhaps they don’t fully understand h They could also fall into the category of people who don’t have access to the internet or can’t navigate the technology.

Here are some sound ways to help your clients (and you) to solve this problem. 1. Stay in touch with your clients who decline virtual mental health. After a week or two of being isolated, the reality is going to set in. 2. Use your website and social media sites to explain what virtual mental health is and how it works. Do this often. 3. Many internet providers are offering free or low-cost service. Provide your clients with this information. 4. Deal with your discomfort with virtual mental health. Challenge your negative thoughts and perhaps a fixed mentality. 5. There’s an entire market of people looking for virtual mental health services. Figure out where they are (*hint* they’re online!) Stop limiting yourself and think more broadly. Some licensing boards are allowing providers to practice across state lines. Do your research and find which ones are making it easier to reach more people in need.

This crisis is an opportunity to expand or shrink. You might have to reinvent yourself, but with the vast amount of skills mental health providers have, this is possible.

In the COC membership site, we are hosting a roundtable discussion on how to survive in these uncertain times. It’s tonight at 7 pm EST. You have to be a paid member of the site to join the discussion. Click this link for more details. www.cliniciansofcolor.org