7 Reasons Why Clients & Counselors Prefer Home-Based Counseling
This post was created in partnership with Mindly. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
First of all, what is home-based counseling? Home-based counseling is when a therapist travels to your home to conduct a therapy session. Can you remember stories from back in the 1930s when doctors commonly made house calls (Unwin & Tatum, 2011)? They had time to spend more than 15 minutes with each patient. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get back to that kind of quality and patient attention? There is a movement in the healthcare field to a more personalized and on demand practice. One step in this direction is the expansion of home-based counseling services.
In a professional counseling setting, there are potential advantages to home-based counseling services for the client and counselor. I feel that I can speak to this as someone who provided home-based services to clients in a rural setting for years.
#1 The Environment
If your counselor can see your home, they are able to gain environmental insights very quickly. Where and how you live speaks volumes about who you are and what you might struggle with. The counselor can also make sure basic needs are met and connect you to local resources.
#2 Incorporating Your Home into Therapy Exercises
A great counselor can use your natural surroundings to create better therapy interventions that are specific to your needs. From family pictures to the hundred-year-old tree in the backyard, anything could be used to construct a personal therapy experience. Counseling is not limited to the home, but could also include going for a walk on the beach or a stroll through the park.
Therapists can model behavioral interventions with children for parents during an actual tantrum, work with obsessive-compulsive symptoms through in home exposure techniques, and even help someone with social anxiety take those first few steps outside in months. This level of personalization is simply not possible in a separate office environment.
#3 Family Information
Your counselor can potentially speak, with written permission, to family members and other significant people in your life who are unable or unwilling to come to an office. This aids the therapist in gathering even more knowledge so they can design a treatment plan to address your unique situation.
Also, as a marriage and family therapist, I always consider a client’s family and relationships when I conceptualize problems and make a treatment plan. I have found that usually more than one member of a family contributes (even unknowingly with the best of intentions) to the problem.
#4 Family Therapy
Having a counselor onsite can bring about more opportunities for family and marital therapy. The counselor may see a clearer reality of how families interact with each other since they are in a more comfortable setting. Clients sometimes feel as if they are on stage during counseling, and being in the home may ease this feeling.
Many people find it convenient to have a therapist visit their home rather than fight traffic to make it to an appointment or make a long commute. Some may not be able to drive a car or even have difficulty getting out of bed. How would they ever make it to appointments consistently? Home-based services make professional counseling more accessible to a wider range of people.
It is not as expensive as you might think. Since therapists do not need to pay for office space, those savings can be passed on to the client. Some home-based counseling services, such as Mindly, provide reduced rates for a package of services.
I personally would guess that a client, who pays for a package of sessions, is more invested and much less likely to cancel an appointment. This is a significant financial investment and the type of motivated client I love to work with.
The counselor comes directly to you, so you will never be seen in a therapist’s waiting room. Celebrities and other high profile individuals have been doing this for years to assure their privacy. You deserve the same quality of care.
Every method of counseling services, even in an office setting, has potential challenges. Some might consider safety or confidentiality to be more of a concern for home-based counseling. I am confident that this growing treatment approach can adapt to meet the needs of both therapists and clients.
What do you think of home-based therapy services? Is this better than Skype or online chat therapy? I would love to hear what you think.
If you are interested in learning more about home-based counseling services, please visit Mindly today. Mindly provides home-based therapy from only the best licensed therapists. Their goal is to provide home-based mental health care to increase access, lowering the barriers for therapists to provide therapy, combat stigma, and provide a better care experience. Mindly also has exciting opportunities for qualified counselors to join their provider network. If you are a licensed therapist, please take a moment to consider joining their team. You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter.
- Unwin, B. & Tatum, P. (2011). House calls. Am Fam Physician, 83(8), 925-938.
Check out Summit Family Therapy in Peoria, IL to learn more about Dr. Courtney Stivers’ professional work.
I like what you said about giving your counselor written permission to speak to your family members who are unable to come to the office. My sister has been telling me about how she wants to start going to a counselor to get help with her anxiety soon. I’ll share this information with her so that her therapist can get some more information.
Yes, I agree with you, this is a good way of counseling and useful article.
It’s good to know that home-based counseling can help your counselor to better determine who you are and what you might struggle with. My brother and his wife have been having problems communicating, and I think that counseling might be able to help them. I’ll pass this information along to them so that they can look further into their options for home-based counselors who can help them better identify their problems.
I like the point you made about home-based counseling being convenient for families by not having to visit a therapist. I have been considering brief strategic family therapy training to help pursue a career in family therapy. I also like that you mentioned that visiting clients in their homes can provide your clients with privacy.
I am really intrigued by this type of therapy but how does the professional offset the opportunity cost of so much traveling compared to in-office visits of 1 client/hour. For example, say your rate is $75 per visit and each visit is normally 45-55 minutes long. This allows 1 client per hour. In-office hours equal 8 per day with 1 hour lunch. That equals 7 client visits a day. Say you work 4 days a week. That is 28 visits a week, or $2,100 in revenue per week. That’s $8,400 per month. Even though you might save $300-750 a month in driving to clients vs office rent fee, how are you going to make around the same amount?
Say it takes you 20 minutes to end with one client, take some quick notes, leave their home, travel to next client, review old notes if needed, and start next visit. Each visit is 45-55 minutes long. If you have to spend 20 minutes between each client, that is 1-2 clients less per day due to traveling. That means you miss out on $75-150 per day in revenue. Will you charge more for in-home visits to offset the pay cut?
I am not a money hungry fool but I do have a family to take care of. So if a private practice does in-home visits, which greatly interests me, how would this opportunity cost be mitigated? Or do you just accept making less for all of your training and expertise?
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Your insights into the topic are very deep. Home-based counselling is always preferable in my point of view.
Yes, I agree with you, this is a good way of counseling and useful article.
Home-based counseling seems like a great way for a counselor to get a more realistic view of your home so they can give you better treatment and advice. People who go to counseling often share with their counselor biased views of their situation so their counselor does not have an accurate depiction of the situation. If a counselor is able to see the situation more clearly by being able to be within your home it could be very beneficial for your treatment and healing process because they can be more frank with you.
Good article! A person have all his things related to his home first and to his family. A person can leave anything but family.
Home-based counseling has always been our centerpiece service at Strategic Therapy Associates. You have done a great job detailing the benefits of this service. We have found it especially powerful when working with children and families.
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I have to agree with Lori. Currently I am providing in home counseling and it is much different than therapy in the office. Families tend to be more comfortable in their natural setting which brings out more issues and the therapist can see the bigger picture of the family and how they relate and function with each other. I remember doing therapy in office and I would have my clients tell me that their parents were “faking” and that’s not how they really act. Great article.
Noor, thank you for the insight! You certainly get to see a clearer picture in the home. I appreciate you posting!!
Thank you, Lori! I really appreciate your feedback on the post. There really are many advantages to seeing clients in their homes.
I have done therapy in the home and in the office. I prefer home-based counseling services because I get a very clear picture of what the family is struggling with, family functioning, and get an opportunity to involve other family members into the therapy. I think that home-based therapy services are by far better than Skype/online chat therapy because you are there in person in the client’s natural environment. I feel that online chat therapy loses a sense of personal connection and can make it more difficult to develop a therapeutic relationship. With home-based therapy, the client is more comfortable in their own home and the therapeutic relationship seems to develop, maybe even more easily than in an office setting because of the deep understanding of the client and family in the home. One challenge of home-based therapy is the distractions that occur, such as people coming to the house, young children, and other family members talking or making noise in the next room.