What is Teletherapy?
Teletherapy is the provision of psychotherapy or mental health services through a live video format with your psychotherapist or online counselor. Teletherapy is like traditional therapy in that it is possible to provide most of the therapy experience virtually through video. You and your psychotherapist may be in different locations but are able to engage in psychotherapy as if you were in the same room. Your psychotherapist can provide individual, couples, family or even group psychotherapy through this format.
Teletherapy has taken off more than ever since the coronavirus pandemic as it can help with a wide range of psychological conditions and issues, including depression, anxiety, relationship problems, parenting, and chronic stress, like traditional psychotherapy. Even though face-to-face consultations cannot be replaced entirely by online counseling, we have accepted that teletherapy is going to be a significant part of the future of mental health treatment.
We provide individual therapy for adolescents and adults to help:
- Resolve the emotional distress associated with anxiety, depression, stress, or trauma.
- Improve relationships by enhancing communication skills, teaching conflict resolution skills, and helping set firm and consistent boundaries.
- Increase self-care by strengthening coping skills, improving management of transitions and life demands, and removing the barriers to nurturing the self.
- Resolve past or current issues that create barriers to the living of a more rewarding life.
Who is Teletherapy Useful For?
People Under Strict Lockdown Conditions
When people are restricted to their homes (for whatever reason) and are unable to leave it except for during emergency situations, teletherapy allows them to participate in psychotherapy, helping them feel less anxious and alone.
Technology is becoming more and more accessible and convenient for use, even by senior citizens. Since many may have limited mobility, are often immunocompromised, and are medically vulnerable, it is often in their best interests to not leave their premises. However, many senior citizens also require mental health services, therefore virtual counseling using video aids can help them get the counseling they require while maintaining their health.
People with Physical Limitations
People with physical disabilities may find it difficult to make their way to mental healthcare providers, especially without the help of an aide or a friend who may not always be available. Therefore, they can seek counseling online using teletherapy.
People Who are Intimidated by Clinical Settings
Some people have psychological conditions which cause them to feel uncomfortable in or avoid unfamiliar settings, and no matter how well-versed the psychotherapist may be, client comfort is invaluable to ensuring the development of rapport and openness to treatment. Teletherapy provides an opportunity for these individuals to receive the mental health services they need in a setting where they feel comfortable.
What are the Advantages of Teletherapy?
There are many different advantages to Teletherapy that make it an ideal treatment format for many clients. They include the following:
Teletherapy is convenient for people in a myriad of ways. It can be accessed from the comfort of your home or wherever you are at the time if you have an internet connection. You do not have to battle traffic or miss an appointment because of it. Teletherapy is also beneficial for individuals who may not have access to in-office services due to their schedules.
Helps Maintain Health
For the medically vulnerable, such as those with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, or an immunocompromised condition, even a minor infection such as a cold can have serious implications. Teletherapy allows these individuals to access mental healthcare safely. For those who may have a minor infection or virus, teletherapy helps prevent the spread of illness to others while allowing the continued participation in needed psychotherapy. Participating in teletherapy helps eliminate the risk of exposure, as well as the spread of bacterial illnesses or viruses, allowing us all to remain healthier.
Accessible from Remote Areas
Rural areas and other places where healthcare facilities are not easily accessible can greatly benefit from teletherapy as well. Many people with different psychological issues are hesitant to receive consultation because of the long traveling distances. However, since teletherapy simply requires an internet connection, which is now available virtually anywhere, these individuals can now have access to necessary mental healthcare. Even if internet availability is an issue, teletherapy can be provided over the phone as well.
For many people, teletherapy provides greater privacy and confidentiality. It eliminates the need to sit in waiting areas and allows them to receive the same services in the privacy and comfort of their own home.
What Are Some Concerns About Teletherapy?
Teletherapy is a growing practice with a lot of promise for the future. However, because of the recent emergence of it there are still many concerns about it, such as the following:
Breach of Confidentiality
A concern that many clients have is that their confidential data may be leaked online. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires all therapists to protect client privacy. Unsecure chat and video programs may expose sensitive data, and for this reason, we advise that you only choose to work with therapists who use secure video platforms that are HIPAA compliant, and read their fine print of the teletherapy agreement to ensure no breach of confidentiality occurs. As such, we offer teletherapy using a HIPAA compliant format to ensure confidentiality which is discussed in our teletherapy agreement. Our program meets HIPAA standards of encryption and privacy protection. It is simple to use and does not require passwords.
Unprofessional Online Counselors
A major concern for many clients is that the psychotherapist online will not be professional and may be subpar to traditional in office psychotherapy. To address this problem, we suggest you do research before settling on a virtual counselor or psychotherapist. Our online psychotherapists are the same psychotherapists who work in our physical office providing traditional psychotherapy. They are all licensed professionals with areas of specialization. Our psychotherapists follow the state regulations for telehealth as well as their respective professional board regulations (APA/GPA or ACA/LPCA) and ethics. They have also received training to provide teletherapy services.
Insurance May Not Cover It
Most insurance companies are now covering a form of online counseling and may continue to do so in the future. If not, you may also use your FSA or HSA account to cover teletherapy or in office psychotherapy. We also have counselor interns who can provide both in-person and teletherapy services at a reduced cost.
For many clients spotty internet connections, slow internet connections, glitchy video programs and delayed communication can cause teletherapy to be stressful and feel less personal and therapeutic. Teletherapy may create unnecessary frustration for individuals who lack technological familiarity or know how. For these clients, in-person psychotherapy in our physical office may be a more practical option.
Yet another concern many clients may have is the lack of privacy or a confidential place within their home to engage in teletherapy comfortably. For these clients, in-person psychotherapy in our physical office may be a less stressful option.
Teletherapy or online counseling has become a significant component of mental health care. There is a growing body of research that indicates that teletherapy can be just as effective as in person therapy for treating most psychological conditions.
We at SBS Psychological Services have incorporated teletherapy into the services we offer and provide the same great customer service for our online counseling program as we do for our in-office services. If you are interested in teletherapy, call our office at 678-205-0838 to discuss whether it would be beneficial to you.