From the comfort of your own home or set apart space, therapy can now come to you. Have you wondered whether a season of therapy could improve your wellbeing, but felt that the journey to our office has just been too difficult?
Is TeleTherapy Right for Me?
Whatever the barrier or difficulty, teletherapy may provide you a way to access the care you need. Our online meeting platform is secure and confidential, allows both video and audio connection, and enables therapy sessions to feel as close to being together in person as possible. Our skilled team of clinicians has become experienced in using the virtual platform of teletherapy, and no matter your situation, we are committed to remaining accessible. If the option of teletherapy makes counseling finally feel more accessible to you, consider speaking with us and giving it a try.
Want to explore further? TeleTherapy Q&A’s:
Research in this area is still evolving, but findings suggest teletherapy is at least comparable to in-person services (“Telehealth for Mental Health Professionals”, PESI). Teletherapy has been shown to be effective in treating individuals, couples, families, and groups surrounding a wide variety of issues (anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction, and more). In some cases, treatment can occur more quickly with telehealth, and clients find the financial and time-saving benefits advantageous. Most important, however, is your intentional engagement, as the American Medical Association has found that positive outcomes in teletherapy heavily depend on the engagement of the client.
Advantages include greater flexibility in scheduling and greater privacy, which may lower the fear of stigma. Some children and teens may feel more comfortable in the familiarity of their home or room. Moreover, telehealth allows people who may otherwise be unable to access therapy services to be cared for. For example, telehealth has proven highly adaptable to meet the needs of those with disabilities.
The same factors that contribute toward a successful therapy session translate into teletherapy, and a majority of skills and interventions used for care during an in-person session remain effective in teletherapy.
Preparing a calm and private environment for your teletherapy session is one of the most important parts of getting the most from your time. We encourage you to find a confidential space that is free from distraction, so that you are able to communicate as freely as possible during your session. If this type of private space is difficult to establish, try placing a noise machine outside the door of your meeting place to drown out noise.
If your child or teen is participating in teletherapy, check in with your therapist about items to have readily available. Toys, games, or paper and markers to color with are common tools therapists may want to incorporate with your child during session.
Next, we’ve found that for in-person therapy, the driving time to and from the office is a useful mental and emotional transition time for clients. Yet, for teletherapy, this transition time needs to be intentionally created. Try taking a few minutes to gather your thoughts and needs before your session, and if time allows, plan to also take a few minutes for yourself after your session is over.
Finally, your devices and internet play a huge role in the success of your session. Make sure you have a strong internet connection, your device is charged or connected to power, your notifications are silenced, and that you have a back-up plan established with your therapist if connection gets lost. If possible, place your device on a solid surface so that your screen is stable—this avoids the potential of motion sickness for you and your therapist.
Many of Grace’s clinicians have received education around the use of teletherapy, and participate in consultation in order to continually learn and grow. Main areas of training involve securing confidentiality and HIPAA compliance, risks of technology use, ethical issues, client screening for suitability for teletherapy, intervention effectiveness and competence, boundaries, and more. Don’t hesitate to ask your therapist about their training or any specific concerns or questions.
Therapy, in general, can bring unpleasant thoughts and emotions to the surface. But processed with the help of your therapist, this experience can lead to greater healing and freedom. The same risks apply to teletherapy.
For those who are already feeling a great sense of isolation or withdrawal from society, the distance of teletherapy may amplify this feeling and in-person therapy may be a more helpful setting. Additionally, crises or emergency situations are not well-suited for teletherapy, as a therapist is hindered from appropriately intervening. Moreover, if you are struggling with suicidal thoughts please let your therapist know immediately, as it is highly important to adapt and implement an effective safety plan and assess suitability for teletherapy.
The short answer is … just about everyone! Our staff is experienced in conducting teletherapy with every age group, in addition to individual, couple, family, and group formats. If you have questions about your specific situation, please contact us. Also, check the website for our most current listing of online groups.
While teletherapy offers accessibility to many, some limitations may occur. For example, children under the age of five may be better suited for therapy in person at our office. Most importantly, your therapist is responsible for your safety and the safety of those around you. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and presenting issues, your therapist may recommend an in-person setting.
The main difference between teletherapy and in-person counseling involves experiencing the direct presence of your therapist when meeting face to face. The distance through your screen can make subtle nonverbal cues difficult to notice, and you may feel a slight difference in personal connection, just as they way you feel limited when speaking to a loved one over the phone or video call. Meeting in person can more greatly enhance your therapist’s ability to understand what words sometimes struggle to describe. Because of this, we recommend the use of video during teletherapy sessions whenever possible. Phone calls do not show any nonverbal cues (facial expressions or body language) and can sometimes limit the therapist’s ability to accurately understand your communication. However, as mentioned above, the success of a teletherapy session is greatly connected to your intentional engagement during treatment. Finally, while teletherapy increases the personal distance between you and your therapist, the quality of your care, the nature of therapy, and the unique implementation of your treatment remain unchanged.