Group of girls having a conversation, and some are taking notes.

We talked with Colleen Marshall, VP of Clinical Care at Two Chairs, about the flexible care model that allows for a seamless combination of virtual and in-person sessions.

Founded in 2017, Two Chairs is a mental health practice built for clients and therapists. We start with a research-backed matching process to ensure the ideal client-therapist fit, offer hybrid care to maximize choice and access, and employ a diverse, collaborative team of licensed clinicians across 90+ areas of expertise. 

At Two Chairs, hybrid care is a flexible care model that allows for a seamless combination of virtual and in-person sessions. For clients and clinicians alike, hybrid care is about tailoring the experience of therapy to something that will work for each individual person.

What are the benefits of virtual vs. in-person therapy for both the client and clinician experience?

Over the past couple years, virtual care has come to prominence out of necessity, but it has many benefits. For clients, it provides access to therapeutic support quickly and with little hassle. It can also lower barriers to care associated with physical spaces, eliminate the need to travel and associated costs, and save time to fit therapy into life more easily. 

For clinicians, it can make work more convenient by eliminating a commute and allowing them to work on a more flexible schedule, as well as enabling them to reach patients they otherwise may not be able to. 

On the other hand, many people still want the option of in-person care and find more benefit in doing therapy face-to-face—66% of clients want the option of seeing a clinician in-person for behavioral health purposes, according to Rock Health’s 2021 Consumer Adoption Report. With in-person therapy, clinicians can better read nonverbal cues that support verbal communication, and different therapeutic methods like art and music can bolster support. In-person therapy also provides a safe space away from everyday life for clients and allows clinicians to connect with their clients more directly and without technical glitches.

Hybrid care combines the best of both worlds, and it gives people the option to get care when and how they need it, whether it’s all in person, all virtual, or a little bit of both.

What is Two Chairs' approach to the design of in-person clinics?

At Two Chairs, we believe in spaces as sanctuary. Whether our clients are virtual or in-person, we want them to feel safe and comfortable. 

All of our therapy clinics across the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Seattle are warm, welcoming, and open spaces, reflecting the core tenets of therapy itself. They incorporate trauma-informed design with simplicity, privacy, safety and a sense of peace, with natural elements weaved throughout to calm senses and have a positive impact on psychology.

How does hybrid care connect to the matching process at Two Chairs?

Research shows that a strong client-therapist relationship is the key to successful therapy, so we’ve invested in perfecting the match. 

Part of the matching appointment that every Two Chairs client goes through involves a discussion around how they want to receive care, whether that’s in-person, virtual, or both — and how important that factor is to them. 

Whatever they decide, that is taken into consideration with hundreds of other data points covering symptoms, goals, preferences, demographics, and other factors to match them with a therapist who is just right for them. 

How does hybrid care improve access to exceptional mental health care?

We aim to center the client in everything we do, and that includes offering options for care delivery to provide quality and well-tailored care to a wide range of populations. 

Offering virtual care gives access to folks who may live in more remote areas in the states we serve, or those who can’t easily get to a clinic on a regular basis. Alternatively, providing immediate and effective in-person care gives an option to people who want in-person therapy but are having a hard time finding the right therapist for them with availability. And a hybrid option gives people flexibility to receive care when and how they need it, allowing therapy to more easily fit into their lifestyle.

To us, providing hybrid care is one of the best ways to improve the mental health system. By giving both clients and clinicians the option of where and how they do therapy, we’re building a practice that enables a strong therapeutic alliance and improves access to exceptional mental health care for all.