Resources for Practitioners


Safe Practice: Is Your Virtual Healing Practice Ready for Clients?

BY Mary Ann Mace

Whether you have always dreamed of working out of your home or necessity now forces you to home-base your services, you want to make sure that you manage your virtual energy healing practice professionally.

Switching to remote work is not just a matter of commuting logistics — there are business practices and mindset shifts that should be considered. If you are in a situation with an immediate demand for your services, it can be very tempting to jump right into running a virtual business without a lot of planning; however, you want to give as much thoughtful consideration to your practice as you would if you were moving into a formal office situation. You want to be as well prepared as possible with a remote set-up. If you have not already, take a few minutes to consider what needs to be done to ensure both the operations and services components of your business are in place.

When shifting from an office-based to a virtual based practice, it might be tough to prioritize what steps to take first. It seems like everything needs to be done at once…getting your office and technology set up, preparing forms for clients to sign, setting up policies and procedures and adapting treatment to a virtual platform. You want to make sure that when you do start booking clients, you will have the operational and treatment elements of your business all ready to go and you have the peace of mind that you are prepared.

So, what exactly should you have in place for your virtual office? Let’s start with the physical space. Ideally you have a separate room that you can use, if not, then a quiet space that is roomy enough for you to present to your client or clients whether it is for a group meditation or individual healing. Think about the type of background visuals that you might want to set up behind you as this could be important in setting the tone and ambiance to supplement treatment. Check to see what your clients view when you are online. You can accomplish this by reversing the camera setting to check your appearance or perform a test session with a friend.

Next, there are a few important decisions to make and technical requirements to satisfy. First, consider the virtual platform that you want to use. There are many options: Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting or even telephone. To help you decide which platform to use, think about the objective for your practice. If you intend to switch permanently to online services, then consider selecting an online platform that meets your needs long term, is scalable (grows with you) and professional. If you feel a virtual business model is temporary, then choose an online platform that is easy to use and simple to set up. Once you have decided on a remote provider, do a quick test run with a friend or colleague to check how the program works. Consider ease of use, not just for yourself, but for your clients too.

You could go a step further in creating your online presence. There are some telehealth software programs that include video conferencing capabilities and HIPAA compliance. For example, TheraPlatform offers a teletherapy and practice management software that combines remote capabilities with client relationship management. With a built-in remote function, you would probably save some time in setting up your virtual practice. Another benefit, many of these programs are HIPAA compliant which is another aspect of virtual services that you need to consider.
On the subject of HIPAA, you want to ensure client confidentiality and privacy are a priority and consider actions you need to take to ensure compliance. You might want to consider wearing earphone with a microphone as it offers additional privacy essential to some practices. Audio is clearer with a headset and clients will feel more at ease of not being overheard. You want to make sure that your written communications with the client remain confidential and are HIPAA compliant. Consider subscribing to providers offering encrypted software solutions (such as Paubox or NeoCertified), so you can be confident about sending confidential messages and documents.

There are also authorization and consent forms to prepare. With new clients, you will not have to worry about this, but it is different with existing clients. You might want to consider updating the consent form with existing clients given your shift to virtual. You will want to make sure that your current clients are comfortable with the new platform. As you acquire new clients, you should have a consent form appropriate for virtual work as well as a disclosure form that addresses privacy and practice policies and other relevant guidelines. Protect your practice by getting professional advice about the wording of your informed consent form. You will want it specifically written for your practice and not a templated form that you found through an internet search.

Also, in addition to your state of residence, if you will be performing services to clients outside of your state, look into energy healing guidelines in other parts of the country. Licensed providers must comply with the laws and regulations in their state. You can easily find information online on your state’s regulations for your modality. One way to search would be to use the key words containing the name of the modality followed by “state regulations” and the name of a specific state. For example, if you were looking up your state’s laws for reiki, you would use the following search: reiki state regulations Texas.

Business details aside, you will also want to familiarize your clients with using an online format. You will receive mixed responses from people regarding their familiarity and comfort with a distance practice. Some will be quite savvy technologically and need little guidance in accessing online sessions. Others will require more guidance. You might want to consider putting together a quick “How To” guide for your clients that provides step-by-step instructions on accessing your virtual sessions.

Additionally, you might want to include some helpful recommendations or advice about participating in an online session as there are a number of considerations to suggest such as:
1) where to position their computer or phone
2) set up a private location
3) remove distractions
4) discourage interruptions

Encourage your clients to join a session a few minutes in advance of the appointment in case there are technical difficulties. This way, any issues can be resolved before a session begins. Do not forget to establish a follow-up routine into your session. In a virtual setting, it might be more challenging to implement this part into the schedule. Many people are used to immediately logging off from an online meeting, so you might have to overcome imbedded habits. Consider using the last five minutes of a session for follow-up and help yourself by notifying your clients that you will be doing this. Use these five minutes to take care of things like getting feedback, setting up the next appointment, and depending upon the type of practice, use the time for self-care recommendations. If you need more than five minutes for this section, then allot as much time as you and your clients need.

By taking all of these variables into account before starting your virtual practice, you will be prepared and organized so you can focus on your energy practice and clients. Even if you have already started working with clients, review the items discussed in this article. If you missed any of the recommended steps, then resolve it now while it’s fresh on your mind. Knowing you have done everything to create an efficient and effective business and services will give you the peace of mind and clarity to focus on your clients. After all, isn’t this what attracted you to the field of Energy Medicine and the purpose of your practice?

Disclaimer: This article is provided for educational purposes only and is not legal advice or opinion. This general information is meant to raise questions, educate, create discussion and dialogue around the ethical and legal issues of teaching, learning, studying or practicing alternative and complementary energy healing modalities. You are advised to seek an attorney for any of your professional legal issues, concerns or needs.

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