But why would I consider accepting Bitcoin in the first place? As far as I know, I'm the first therapist to do so. It's not as if I am having any trouble offering my clients a variety of ways to compensate me. My practice has always accepted, cash, check, credit, debit, and medical savings cards. I even accept that hard to work with vendor, American Express. I want as much flexibility as I can manage for my clients. If I had my way, I'd be happy to see some of my clients in exchange for organic eggs and kale, but I work in a conservative and highly regulated field that frowns on barter.
As a group, therapists are conservative in their business practices. When I started my practice there was only a small percentage of therapists actively promoting their practices on the web. Up until that point, therapists relied on word of mouth, referrals, and lots and lots of public speaking engagements. It was a five-year haul just to get moderately established. I managed to promote my practice on the web in an entrepreneurial fashion and created a business model that worked for my practice and my family. When a few of us started accepting credit cards it was also controversial. Folks were worried about setting their clients up to go into debt. Sometimes we therapists can get parental! What I found is my clients LOVED being able to use their cards. They told me my check was the only check they were still writing. My clients enjoyed the convenience of whipping out a card, they enjoyed the mileage benefits on their credit cards, and the ease of using their debit cards. They enjoyed the flexibility. I think they will appreciate the flexibility of being able to use Bitcoin, as well. Besides, you just can't beat the Cool Factor.
Really, it's as much about privacy as anything else. Maybe more. Some of my clients, (the self-employed who must purchase their own health insurance, entrepreneurs, CEOs who value their privacy highly, law enforcement, military personnel, attorneys, politicians, judges, teachers, therapists, and others) guard their privacy aggressively and often prefer to pay in cash and stay off insurance for this reason. Although many of my clients elect to bill back to their insurance companies for my Out-of-Network services, privacy concerns are one reason I have avoided joining insurance panels, myself. I don't want to be on the phone with your case manager, discussing your history and advocating for 20 more sessions. It gives me the creeps. Maintaining privacy is an increasingly valid concern these days; it's not only Anxious Folk who are worried. Bitcoin offers, not just flexibility, but an anonymous method of payment, as well.
The face of business and commerce is always changing. I want to change with it and meet my clients in that new place. Innovation excites me. So, I market over the internet, accept credit cards, process them on Square through my smartphone, and now I offer invoicing for Bitcoin. I do so, because it is my goal to make therapy and personal growth accessible and attainable by as many people as possible in as many ways as possible. I think about my business this way and I think about the way I actually practice therapy and the modalities I employ in the same way. There is more than one way to get anywhere. Bitcoin is simply a new tool for a new time.