Should Therapists Have A Virtual Assistant Or In-Person Administrative Support?

The landscape of mental health practice is evolving at a rapid pace, driven by technology and the growing acceptance of virtual systems. Among these transformations, one discussion among counsellors stands out: Should therapists opt for a virtual assistant or stick with an in-person admin? This article seeks to throw light on this question and explore the pros and cons of virtual assistants vs in-person administrators.

What Exactly Is a Virtual Assistant?

Virtual assistants, as the name suggests, provide professional services from a remote location. They can perform an array of tasks, from managing schedules, billing, responding to emails, support with associates, and even doing client intake. As therapists navigate an increasingly digital world, virtual assistants, particularly those informed in mental health practices are an attractive option.

Benefits Of Therapists Using VAs

The first point in favor of virtual assistants is cost-effectiveness.A virtual assistant is typically contracted on an as-needed basis, allowing therapists to control their resources according to their specific needs. 

Here’s something cool – there are now virtual assistants who are clued-up on mental health practices (like at Timely VA). These specialized assistants understand the unique ins and outs of mental health practice. They’re pros at handling sensitive client info, keeping things confidential, and interacting with clients in a kind and supportive way. This can really enhance the patient experience and takes a ton of pressure off the therapists.

Another perk of virtual assistants over in-person admins is their financial flexibility. You can easily scale up or down the number of hours you use them per month depending on the workload.

Switching gears, virtual assistants also fit well with the growing trend of teletherapy. As therapists provide more remote services, having an in-person admin might not be the best fit. But a virtual assistant? They’re right at home in this system, managing all the behind-the-scenes tasks while the therapist concentrates on their clients. Worried about what will happen if your VA gets sick or is on vacation? Timely Virtual assistants also all have what we like to call a “VA Alternate” which means there is another employee at Timely who is trained to step into your permanent VA’s shoes in case of illness or a scheduled holiday.

And let’s not forget about the environment. Hiring a virtual assistant helps reduce the physical footprint of the office. No need for extra office space, utilities, or commuting. That’s a win for Mother Earth!

Cons Of Using A VA

While there are many benefits of therapists using a virtual assistant, there can be some limitations. One big concern is that they are reliant upon the internet, so if there’s a nationwide outage, you could be without your assistant until the internet is fixed. Another one is that for some older clients, they may consider a “virtual” administrator to be less convenient than an in-person administrator to welcome them to the therapy space, especially if you have a hybrid model and see clients in an office space part time.

Benefits of Counsellors Using In-Person Administrative Assistants

While hiring an in-person admin can be a considerable expense, taking into account workspace, equipment, payroll support/taxes and other overhead costs, having someone in your office does add to your credibility as a professional. If you have an in-person brick and mortar therapy space, having someone at the front desk at all times to greet clients does look very good. That being said there are many drawbacks to in-person admin support.

Cons Of Having An In-Person Administrator

We’ve already discussed the extra cost of equipment, payroll taxes and other overhead fees, but something that often gets overlooked is sick days and vacation time. When that happens it will most likely be you who has to pick up the slack!

Another con of having an in-person admin is that unlike a VA, who often you can end services without giving a reason, with an employee, you need to worry about all valid employment laws in your location. That could mean giving a sizable termination package, or multiple warnings before being “justified” in ending the employment of an unsuitable employee.

Overall A Virtual Assistant For A Therapist Makes More Sense Than An In-Person Administrator

No doubt, in-person administrators have their plus points. But as therapists adjust to a more online world, the benefits of virtual assistants – especially those with mental health know-how – are hard to ignore. They offer savings, flexibility, better patient interaction, and seamless integration with teletherapy models. While both options have their place, it looks like virtual assistants are starting to steal the spotlight, ushering in a fresh era in mental health practices!

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