What Does a Mobile Therapist Do?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Some hair stylists are mobile therapists who visit clients in their own homes.
Some hair stylists are mobile therapists who visit clients in their own homes.

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.

A marriage therapist might travel to a couple's home to offer her services.
A marriage therapist might travel to a couple's home to offer her services.

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.

Some mobile therapists offer massages in the customer's home.
Some mobile therapists offer massages in the customer's home.

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.

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.

Mobile therapy may focus on helping someone who has been injured recover daily living skills, such as standing up from a chair or couch.
Mobile therapy may focus on helping someone who has been injured recover daily living skills, such as standing up from a chair or couch.

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.

A mobile therapist may work with those who have agoraphobia and are so impaired that they can't leave their homes.
A mobile therapist may work with those who have agoraphobia and are so impaired that they can't leave their homes.

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.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

burcinc

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

@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

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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    • Some hair stylists are mobile therapists who visit clients in their own homes.
      Some hair stylists are mobile therapists who visit clients in their own homes.
    • A marriage therapist might travel to a couple's home to offer her services.
      A marriage therapist might travel to a couple's home to offer her services.
    • Some mobile therapists offer massages in the customer's home.
      Some mobile therapists offer massages in the customer's home.
    • Mobile therapy may focus on helping someone who has been injured recover daily living skills, such as standing up from a chair or couch.
      Mobile therapy may focus on helping someone who has been injured recover daily living skills, such as standing up from a chair or couch.
    • A mobile therapist may work with those who have agoraphobia and are so impaired that they can't leave their homes.
      A mobile therapist may work with those who have agoraphobia and are so impaired that they can't leave their homes.
    • A mobile therapist may offer services to individuals who have trouble leaving their homes due to limited mobility.
      A mobile therapist may offer services to individuals who have trouble leaving their homes due to limited mobility.
    • A number of LPCs and psychologists whose practices are centered on older adult populations provide mobile therapy.
      A number of LPCs and psychologists whose practices are centered on older adult populations provide mobile therapy.
    • Those who suffer from a fear of crowds or other social anxieties may require a mobile therapist.
      Those who suffer from a fear of crowds or other social anxieties may require a mobile therapist.