By Allison Lane
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought so much change into our lives. We have endured the deaths of family and friends, the loss of employment and work opportunities, and the adjustment of adopting new safety precautions into everyday life.
One such widespread safety precaution has been the transition of many in-person activities to a virtual format or hybrid. Schools and employers have moved their day-to-day operations to video-conferencing platforms, and many people now work or study from home on a consistent basis, or some combination of in-person and virtual.
Just like many other professions, the field of counseling and therapy has adapted to include a virtual/video format as well. You may notice that many therapy practices now offer something called teletherapy or therapy via video. If you are seeking therapy and teletherapy is an option for you, you may have some questions:
What is teletherapy?
According to Goode and Shinkle (2019), teletherapy is “the online delivery of speech, occupational, and mental health therapy services via high-resolution, live video conferencing.” This means that you will be able to engage in a therapy session with your counselor or therapist from your own home or another private location.
Some counseling agencies and therapy practices have transitioned fully to remote/video services, some have chosen to remain in-person, while others have adopted a hybrid of the two based on client and clinician preference. The modality of services may differ from agency to agency, so be sure to request information on teletherapy services when discussing your care.
Is teletherapy effective?
According to David Mohr, PhD, teletherapy is “just as effective as face-to-face psychotherapy.” Research on teletherapy indicates that teletherapy not only increases access to therapy, but that the effects of teletherapy are “comparable to in-person care.”
What are the benefits of teletherapy?
There are a number of benefits involved with receiving services remotely. According to Dhara Meghani, PhD, teletherapy can be helpful for individuals who face barriers to receiving in-person care. These barriers can include lack of access to transportation, difficulty obtaining childcare, dangerous weather, and busy schedules.
Elaine Mead, BSc. shares that teletherapy can be a great option for people who are new to therapy as well. If you are just starting the process of seeking support and feel apprehensive about visiting a therapy office or sitting in a waiting room, teletherapy is an option that will allow you to engage in this new experience in familiar surroundings.
Is teletherapy safe and secure?
Just like in face-to-face therapy sessions, therapists are required to protect the confidentiality of their clients and patients. The video platform over which the therapist conducts the sessions must be secure as well, adhering to HIPAA safety standards.
The practice of teletherapy is constantly changing and developing. The field of counseling and therapy as a whole is striving to ensure that teletherapy is safe and effective for everyone. As we speak, additional research on teletherapy efficacy is being conducted, teletherapy practices are being adjusted and improved, and clinicians are learning how to best support their clients remotely. If you are considering teletherapy, be sure to ask questions and voice any concerns that you may have about the process.
At Let’s Talk Psychological Wellness, P.C. we use a HIPPA compliant, secure video platform so that we ensure the confidentiality and security of all video therapy sessions.
Are you interested in engaging in teletherapy? Are you looking for additional support managing anxiety and stress? Contact us today.