Running a Practice from Another Country or While Traveling

By: Dr. Jennifer Kane

We are excited to have Dr. Jennifer Kane share her WeCounsel story.  She currently lives in France most of the year and continues to maintain her clients based in the US.  Keep reading to get ideas for how you can create the flexible practice you’ve always imagined.

“Late last year, my husband was offered a job in Europe. On a personal level, moving to Europe from the U.S .was undoubtedly an exciting prospect; professionally, however, I was much more wary about what it would mean for my work as a clinical psychologist. While we accepted that the move was the best decision for our family, I could not escape the painful reality that it might mean I would have to take leave of a rewarding career and from clients that I cared for deeply.

At the time we were making this decision, I was only vaguely aware of the potential for providing therapy remotely. A decade earlier, a classmate in graduate school described her uncle’s practice that he conducted entirely by phone. I remember thinking that over-the-phone therapy sessions seemed vastly inferior, even potentially irresponsible, as compared to in-person sessions. Despite obvious advances in technology since then, the possibility of seeing patients via an online format still seemed slim. Given our impending move, however, I began to look into what I could put together.

In discussing the possibility with my license boards, I was happy to learn that seeing patients remotely was possible. I began to research web platforms and support organizations and performed trials with several. Ultimately, I was drawn to because of their ability to integrate both the session and the billing into the same process.

For several of my clients, having a designated space specifically for therapy was an essential component of what they were looking for; for others, the level of support they needed prevented remote care. Not being able to continue to work with these clients was indeed difficult. As it turned out, however, many of my clients were immediately open to the idea of working remotely and were relieved that we could continue despite my move. Others were initially hesitant, though agreed to test the format. Four months into this new arrangement, all of my patients who have continued have agreed that the online format is nearly identical to our in-person sessions, and in some ways even more convenient.

As a psychologist, I have often appreciated the flexibility that comes with being able to set my own schedule. The ability to avoid being tied down to a set routine has made everything from running errands to raising my child unquestionably easier. The remote format adds significantly to these advantages. I very much value the benefit of being able to largely recreate the in-person clinical experience in a remote format. When I return to the U.S., therefore, I plan to continue to offer the online format as an option for my practice. For patients who are caretakers of young children, who have trouble leaving their office during the day, and individuals with limited mobility, having access to mental health care online is incredibly useful (and, I imagine, will also help reduce my cancellation / reschedule rate). With all the other changes we faced in our move to Europe, it has been hugely reassuring and helpful to find a platform that has made my work transition so smooth, both for me and for my clients.”