Teletherapy is becoming very popular in these times of social distancing. Nowadays, isolation is becoming a norm while uncertainty reigns the day and loneliness, sadness and uncertainty lurks in every corner. Telehealth refers to providing psychotherapy or counseling services remotely through phone and/or video conferencing.
Benefits of Teletherapy
- No Commute – You don’t have to drive to a far-away office anymore. Now your therapist’s office is just a click away. You make yourself comfortable in your own home or office, and just click the link that your therapist sends you.
- Privacy – The therapist will be using a HIPAA compliant platform to talk to you over video or phone while you close your door for privacy. With telehealth, you don’t have to quickly wear your shades to avoid the staring eyes of people in the waiting room as you leave.
- Flexibility – See a therapist in any state. You get to choose your therapist based solely on skill and not the constraints of physical distance. Telehealth is especially beneficial to parents. You no longer have to chauffeur your kid to one more appointment after basketball, tennis, swimming, etc., you can now relax in your own backyard while your child attends therapy.
- More Flexibility – This mode of therapy also helps in circumstances where either the therapist or you have moved to another state or area. You don’t have to worry about finding another therapist among other health providers. If you have moved to another state, you can keep the same therapist as long as they are licensed in that state.
Concerns about telehealth: Here are a list of concerns you may have with Telehealth.
- Is online therapy right for me?
Research shows that telehealth is very useful in cases of depression, anxiety, anger management, life transitions, family dynamics, and also PTSD.
Therapists will often do careful assessment and sometimes will not work with clients online if they present with complex PTSD, eating disorders, suicidality, etc.
- How do I know that my therapy session will remain private if it is online?
The therapist will ensure confidentiality and privacy by using a HIPPA compliant platform, end-to-end encryption, and a closed room. However, on your side, there may be the risk of someone walking into your room while you are in session. Do not fret, this is solvable! Make sure you are situated in a well-lit room with your doors closed and a strict do not disturb notification for others living in the house. Use noise-canceling headphones to prevent distractions while in therapy. Work with your therapist to create a safe space.
- What kind of internet problems can I expect with telehealth services?
With the rise in teleconferencing in this time of COVID-19 and social distancing, the internet bandwidth available at sites can create problems with video conferencing. There can also be occasional glitches, freeze ups and loss of sound or picture that can interfere with the smoothness of sessions.
Most of the therapists have a backup plan in place in case there is a technical glitch. They will discuss it with clients before starting telehealth sessions. With increased use of internet technologies comes more advancement and learning. As such, the little glitches that we have now will definitely smoothen out as we progress.
At the same time, we minimize glitches by utilizing the most bandwidth available, better internet cables and providers, better Wi-Fi systems, clearing memory and closing all apps while in session.
Why should I do telehealth?
As social creatures we enjoy things that bring us a sense of community and well-being such as going to the gym, hiking, yoga, and meeting up with friends. COVID-19 has changed our sense of normalcy and given us a new norm of isolation and uncertainty. During this time, it is important to take care of your mental health by reaching out for professional help or continuing therapy.
Mamta Bhargava is a licensed therapist in Arizona who just transitioned to telehealth after 10+ years of practicing in office. She can help you find a safe space to face your fears and anxieties during this difficult time.