Why Online Counseling and Psychotherapy?
Don’t let the name fool you…
Teletherapy (also known as online counseling and online psychotherapy) is almost identical to the more traditional, in-office counseling and psychotherapy services most of us are used to, with one major exception … our teletherapy sessions are conducted via TheraNest – a live, high-resolution, HIPAA-compliant video-conferencing platform similar to Skype or Zoom – instead of you and I sitting together in the same room.
What does this mean?
It means that if you’ve ever used Skype or FaceTime … teletherapy is really no different.
I know a lot of us have preconceived ideas about what counseling and psychotherapy should “look like” – whether or not you’ve been in therapy before, we’ve all seen countless images of clients and therapists sitting together in a comfortable, private office – but the setting is far from the most important element of the work we do together.
The relationship we create and build is what allows change and growth to occur … not how comfortable my office chairs are, or how well lit my waiting room is.
In fact, the vast majority of my clients have been surprised by how well teletherapy works … and how easy it is!
And, less you think teletherapy is something new or untested, it’s actually been used successfully since the late 1990s for hundreds of thousands of therapy sessions across the United States, and over 20 years of research and over 40 academic studies have shown teletherapy’s effectiveness time and time again.
Is Teletherapy Right for You?
While teletherapy may not be right for everyone, teletherapy is an effective, convenient, flexible, and cost-effective alternative to in-person counseling and psychotherapy that overcomes the obstacles of both time and distance.
Teletherapy is particularly ideal if you:
- Travel frequently;
- Work or live abroad;
- Need to reduce commute and travel time;
- Need more flexibility in your schedule;
- Have ongoing obligations that make leaving your home or office difficult;
- Struggle with physical disabilities;
- Suffer from agoraphobia; or
- Live in a rural setting or a community where in-person counseling services are unavailable.
As you can see, teletherapy can be incredibly helpful for a wide variety of clients, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some things to consider before
getting started …
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Teletherapy Technically Challenging or Difficult to Set Up?
Fortunately, while the technology underpinning teletherapy is incredibly powerful, getting it up and running is actually extremely simple and straightforward!
As discussed above, if you’ve ever used Skype or FaceTime, teletherapy works pretty much the exact same way … and TheraNest (the platform I use) is incredibly easy to get up and running and is available on your smartphone, tablet, laptop and desktop computer.
Lastly, just to be sure you don’t have any issues, if you’d like some help I’ll be more than happy to walk you through the process of getting everything set up.
Are Teletherapy Sessions Private and Secure?
When it comes to privacy, the vast majority of my clients either attend teletherapy sessions from a quiet room in their homes or offices, in which they know they won’t be disturbed.
Of course, there’s a greater chance your sessions may be interrupted by other family members now that we’re all at home together “sheltering in place” … but there are ways around that (I even have clients who do teletherapy from their backyards or their cars)!
And as far as security is concerned, TheraNest is a confidential, encrypted, HIPAA-compliant platform that conforms to the privacy, security, and integrity of protected health information standards contained in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Is Teletherapy Effective for Couples?
Most teletherapy platforms offer both 2-way and 3-way teletherapy sessions, meaning teletherapy can be just as effective for couples work as it is for individuals, even if the partners are in different locations.
That being said, I’ve found that most couples work needs to start with each individual …
All too often, people want to attend couples and marriage counseling sessions in order to “fix” their partners. Yet the only person we have any control over, let alone can truly change, is ourselves.
For this reason, if you’re interested in couples or marriage counseling, I encourage you to attend individual counseling or psychotherapy first (either in person or via teletherapy sessions).
If you decide teletherapy is an effective solution for your individual needs, you can then consider online couples work with a therapist who provides teletherapy sessions for couples.
Will Insurance Cover Teletherapy Sessions?
Prior to COVID-19, many insurance companies did not cover teletherapy sessions, or covered them only on a limited basis. However, all of that has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic, and the vast majority of insurance providers are now, at least for the time being, providing coverage for teletherapy sessions.
While there’s no guarantee any specific insurance company will continue to provide coverage for teletherapy sessions, they may find it difficult to roll back this coverage now that it’s been granted.
Also, please note that it is your responsibility to determine whether or not teletherapy services are covered by your particular insurance provider and plan.
While teletherapy can be just as effective as more traditional in-person counseling or psychotherapy, it’s obviously not right for everyone. In some cases, a “hybrid” option (combining on-site with online therapy) may make more sense. And teletherapy isn’t the recommended solution for higher-risk populations, such as those with eating disorders or who may be suicidal.
Yet, when all is said and done, teletherapy offers you an effective, convenient, consistent, and secure means of getting the help and support you need and deserve!
Are you ready to get started?
If you have any questions about how teletherapy works or whether or not it’s right for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me today at 510-735-8868 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any other questions or to schedule a free, 20-minute, initial consultation. I look forward to speaking with you and helping you create a life you truly love living!