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What Does a Mobile Therapist Do?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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A mobile therapist is often a mental health clinician providing service to children, adults, couples, or families in these clients’ homes, schools, or places of business. It’s comparable to a physician who makes house calls or a concierge doctor. The term can be defined much more loosely to include a variety of other visiting professionals, such as hair stylists, or therapists specializing in massage, speech/language, or physical rehabilitation. Central to the idea of a mobile therapist of any type is that he or she conducts business by traveling to the client’s location.

Almost all mental health therapists, like social workers, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, and psychologists, occasionally travel for work. Making intermittent home visits may be useful, and some clients, like those with agoraphobia, are so impaired they can’t leave their homes. In contrast to therapists that pay occasional visits to a client's home, mobile therapists may not see any or most clients in a classic office setting.

There can be advantages and disadvantages to being a mobile therapist. Among the benefits is that a more natural setting like home or school could be more comfortable for a client, and it gives the therapist opportunities to observe how the person interacts with his environment. Conversely, it may be disadvantageous to practice therapy in settings that aren’t totally private. This may especially be a problem for children with disruptive family settings or overly intrusive parents.

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Moreover, visiting clients means a lot of travel. It may cut down on the number of sessions that can be conducted each day. This could sharply reduce earnings potential.

As stated, a mobile therapist doesn’t have to be a mental health clinician. Many talented hair stylists offer in-home beauty therapy. This may be desirable for clients who are gathered together for an event like a wedding. Other customers are simply more comfortable at home than they would be at a salon.

The mobile therapist for massage travels to people’s homes or offices. Massage therapy is very popular, and many customers prefer it to going to spas. Sometimes therapists of this type work with other colleagues so they can provide services like couple’s massages.

Other therapists may also conduct all or part of their business in client homes or other locations. Speech/language therapists do this frequently, especially with very young children. Physical therapies that are simple and don’t require a lot of equipment could be offered for people with limited mobility or those who are homebound.

Occasionally, professionals who are mobile assess additional fees for travel. This isn’t always the case. With psychotherapy, speech/language interventions or physical therapy, the mobile therapist may merely bill insurance. The issue of payment greatly depends on the professional, her employer, and any contractual obligations she may have with insurance companies. Additionally, therapists who are only mobile aren’t paying office expenses, and this may save money, despite the extra travel costs.

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burcinc
Post 3

I wish I had a doctor who would visit me at home. I don't have a car and I hate calling friends to give me a ride when I'm ill. How do I find a doctor or therapist who doesn't mind visiting homes?

serenesurface
Post 2

@bluedolphin-- I'm exactly the opposite. I don't feel comfortable with therapy sessions at home. I prefer to go to the therapist's office. Therapy sessions at school or at community centers may be okay as well.

Since most of my problems involve my family, I would not like them to be around during sessions with a therapist. My family is not the type to respect privacy, so I'm sure they would be peeping in or listening to my conversations with the therapist by the door. That's not exactly the best environment for therapy.

bluedolphin
Post 1

I have a mobile therapist. He visits me at home once a week.

This is working great for me because I have social anxiety and going to a therapist's office every week was an issue for me. I tend to get very stressed and nervous in formal settings. So a therapist's office is not a good environment for therapy for me. I can't discuss issues as openly as I would like.

At home, I feel safe and more comfortable. I can speak more about my issues. I do hope that one day I will feel just as comfortable in formal environments but for now, I plan to continue my mobile therapy sessions.

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