What is Teletherapy?
-Originally utilized by the military to treat veterans and serve clients in rural areas, teletherapy is an online mental health counseling system that allows people to get therapy from the comfort of their own home.
-The therapist either sits at their rented office space, or an office at home, and conducts the session through a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant website. The website that I use with my clients is doxy.me where we are able to video chat without any issues!
“Teletherapy is the new frontier in mental health counseling. It’s amazing how it’s caught on: It’s private. It’s convenient. It’s comfortable for both the therapist and client. And it eliminates the stress of traffic and time”- Gaoli Saedi Bocci, a Mental Health Therapist states.
Can I be a candidate for Teletherapy?
-Absolutely! Anyone with a working computer or smart phone that includes a webcam and has privacy is able to join for a teletherapy session. Recent studies show a higher rate of ‘burnout’ in the work place where stress is easily mismanaged. Because many people are concerned with the number of hours they spend in their office, they oftentimes find themselves rushing to get home after a long tiring day.
-Millenials currently comprise the majority of the U.S workforce. They often state that the concept of separation between work and free time doesn’t exist. If you feel that way, perhaps teletherapy is a good choice for you.
-Some teletherapists are able to take health insurance, while others are private pay. The biggest issue with health insurance supporting the session is that some don’t cover teletherapy, but do cover face to face.
-One thing most people don’t know is that when you see a therapist through your health insurance, that therapist is required to supply a diagnosis to the insurance company. Some people are hesitant with being ‘marked’ as something, so they oftentimes prefer to see a therapist through private pay.
-In this day and age, most people are trying to find ways to disconnect themselves from technology whenever they can. This is because technology has made us responsive regardless of where we are or what we’re doing. To combat that, technology through the use of teletherapy can actually help utilize extinguishing this type of burnout, therefore reconnecting us to technology in a positive way.
-Being a millennial myself, I notice that being a “digital native” naturally draws me into apps and online services. The ability to connect to someone anywhere with a click of a button is something I don’t take for granted.
-Teletherapy is not for everyone, so be mindful of the hesitations you may have! If you’re curious and are unsure about what teletherapy can do for you, reach out to your therapist and let them explain to you how it may or may not benefit you to try it.
Teletherapy Vs. Face-to-face
-A recent survey of insured adults throughout the U.S. found that millennials were far more likely to express interest in telemedicine compared to prior generations.
-For example, let’s say you live in an extremely remote location in the state of Pennsylvania (which is pretty large), what are your chances of finding a therapist that meets your needs? Probably not so great. Teletherapy allows therapists to reach individuals living all over their state. The reason I specify ‘state’ is because MFTs are only allowed to teletherapize people living in the state they are licensed or getting licensed in. I am not exactly sure what the rules are for other mental health professions, I simply know the rules for MFTs. Someone living in Waynesburg, PA (located near west Virginia) is actually able to have the means to access a therapist that is located in Philadelphia through teletherapy. This provides so much more support for individuals searching for help!
-Teletherapy may not be an “alternative” to a traditional face-to-face care, but it is definitely effective and has many pros. It ensures comfortability and allows people to sit in the comfort of their own home or office (if it is secure), while communicating via a mobile device or computer.
-Another awesome advantage to teletherapy is giving your kids the option of being able to see someone without the stressors of finding them a ride. I have been able to see adolescents through teletherapy, which has led parents to express how comfortable and easy it is for their child to access the help they need. This also gives the kid autonomy to plan their own schedule and meet up with the therapist whenever they need.