Robyn Raye, M.A., CCC-SLP, grew up in a small town in northern New Jersey. After graduating with a degree in liberal arts, she pursued a master’s degree in speech-language pathology and worked in private practice for several years. In 2009, she moved to Florida, where she has since worked for the public school system. In addition to her work as an SLP, Robyn is a certified aromatherapist—you’ll find a few of her recommendations for helpful essential oils in her response to the first question.
Could you walk us through your daily routine? A “day in the life of a PL therapist” if you will?
My daily routine starts the night before. I lay out workout clothes as a visual reminder to move my body in the morning, turn on my essential oil diffuser with comforting aromas, and reflect on at least one positive moment that happened during the day. Before the sun rises, my essential oil diffuser is going with uplifting aromas and I’ve started some intentional movement like stretching, yoga, or a fitness video.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings I head to work at brick and mortar schools. After the school day, I return home to provide a few hours of teletherapy to students on the West Coast (WA and CA). Before the first teletherapy session, I set up my workspace by opening the blinds, diffusing stimulating essential oils, and adjusting my sit/stand desk. The days are full, but they go by quickly thanks to the variety from day to day.
I reserve Fridays for planning, evaluations, makeup sessions, computer work, creating therapy materials, professional development, or getting a head start on weekend travel! My first therapy session on Mondays usually isn’t until noon, which allows me the opportunity to put in a full day’s work and still schedule personal appointments or go food shopping at off-peak times. My scheduled sessions start with students in Florida and progress to the West Coast from 4pm-7pm EST.
These are a few of my favorite essential oils:
Can you tell us about your caseload?
I work with various virtual schools, providing services to students from elementary through high school. Some are individual sessions. Some are group sessions. So I have a variety of students within that age group.
What made you want to be a teletherapist with PL?
Flexibility to work while traveling to visit family, in states where I’m cross-licensed, is a priority of mine. I also wanted the convenience of working from home. And less exposure to germs 🙂 I went into the field because of the flexibility—I could work in schools, hospitals, and with different age groups. And that was before I started teletherapy. Now I have even more flexibility with locations, populations, and hours!
What do you enjoy about being a provider with PL?
I appreciate the clinical and technology support. I’ve always felt like PL is a safe environment to ask questions and I like the different levels of support. I have my lead clinician I can go to. I have my colleagues to go to in the Lounge, PL’s online provider community. I’ve joined the groups based on my discipline and areas of interest, so I can easily ask questions and get answers from my colleagues in the PL Care Network. If there’s a tech issue, I like that I can email and get a response right away. I feel like I am heard. What I like is it’s all very professional from the first interaction I had when I called to set up an initial interview. That’s the one thing that really impresses me about the company—how professional everyone is across the board.
Can you expand on what you appreciate about the clinical and technical support and how that differs from other companies?
Working with PL, there’s a lot of peer-to-peer for support. People come from a variety of different areas with unique perspectives and skill sets that they bring with them. I’ve had the opportunity to co-treat a student with severe delays, alongside an Occupational Therapist (OT). We support each other’s goals, by working on motor tasks and communication skills within the same session. So we’re not isolated. We work together to best support the family. The parent is involved also because the student is in a virtual school and we’re supporting him in his home. It’s a unique telepractice experience I wouldn’t have had in the schools. Working with our students is a team effort. Having the ability to call or live chat with a tech expert during a therapy session is a huge stress relief! And if there’s a tricky case, PL offers direct access to a clinical quality manager who will talk through the case, review a report, and direct us to helpful resources.
What were you most surprised about when you made the transition to be a teletherapist?
I was surprised by how easy it is to communicate with friendly colleagues across the country.
What tools do you rely on to keep communication open and fluid?
Email is very important. It’s my number 1 way to communicate with colleagues. We use hangouts for quick chats back and forth so that’s really convenient. I will say phone calls are key as well—all of my lead clinicians reach out via phone. Everyone within PL is readily accessible and people return my communication right away.
What do you find most challenging about being a teletherapist?
Shifting from PST to EST throughout the day is a challenge.
What’s one piece of advice you would offer a therapist who’s considering transitioning to telepractice?
It’s important to do a self-analysis and see if you are comfortable being in your own space and working alone because that is very different. For me, I love it—that’s one of the things I like—having my privacy and my own space. But that might not be for everybody.
From the technical standpoint it has been helpful to have my sit/stand desk and to do a little research to find what in the physical environment is going to help. Setting up my workspace has been a process. When I first started I was just doing a few hours and was working at my kitchen table. Now that I am working more hours, I have a separate and dedicated space so I have a clear division between workspace and living space. I hang a piece of fabric behind me in my space that adds a little contrast so I don’t blend into the wall. I keep it simple and can change it out—change up the different colors. Maybe down the road I’ll get more thematic. I think anything to minimize the distractions to the students is best so I wanted to have a clean background.
There were different expenses that came up—more toilet paper, you use air conditioning more, it was surprising. The sit/stand desk has been a great investment from a health perspective. I like that I can put two laptops on top—having a second monitor has been huge!
And one other thing to be aware of—it was interesting to me how every state and every school within a state is different. I work for 4 different schools right now. So learning all those different rules was important. I’m licensed in 4 states—WA, NJ, FL, CA. PresenceLearning has been great at providing the support to help me get to the point where I am now. The professional development sets PL apart. There are even emails that go out to remind me when my licenses need to be renewed…they help keep me on track that way. And speaking of professional development, PL’s onboarding coursework is top-notch. It’s engaging, educational, and comprehensive!
Are you interested in joining the PL Care Network? Visit our Provider page to submit your application today!