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.
- 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.